Time to Chill Out
- David Ginisi
On a hot summer day, there’s nothing quite as refreshing as a cool dip in a crystal-clear lake – unless it’s a plunge into a well-maintained pool, or a run through a children’s spray park. Whatever your summertime pleasure, you’ll find plenty of cooling spots in North Central Massachusetts. With its abundance of municipal, state and private parks and pools, this region is the perfect place to chill out when the temperatures rise.
Where to Begin?
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation manages a number of parks in the region, including several with great swimming spots – and many of them are universally accessible. Dunn State Park in Gardner has an accessible beach on Dunn’s Pond, along with a visitor’s center, restrooms, trails and playground – everything you need for a family retreat from the summer’s heat. Lake Dennison Recreation Area in Winchendon boasts a family-friendly beach with plenty of shallow water for the kids to enjoy. The state park also offers 150 campsites and trails for biking and hiking, so if you’re looking for a great spot to enjoy the great outdoors 24/7, be sure to check the state website. But those are just the beginning. Consider these super cooling state park locations: Crow Hill Pond in Leominster State Park; Pearl Hill Brook Pond in West Townsend; or Beaman Pond at Otter River State Park in Baldwinville. You’d prefer a pool over a sunny, sandy beach? No problem!
Try a dip in the Gustave Johnson Memorial Pool in Fitchburg; the Leominster State Swimming Pool in Leominster; or the Phillip J. Sweihn Memorial Pool in Clinton. Most state pools are open from about mid-June through August, but it’s a good idea to check the state website before you grab your swimsuit, towels and flip-flops and head out the door.
If you’ve got kids and just want to let them cool off in a spray park, you’re in luck, too! Coolidge Park in Fitchburg, located off the John Fitch Highway, offers a swimming pool with toddler water feature area. In Leominster, splash pads at the Arthur A. Fournier Sr. Memorial Paro and the Louis Charpentier Playground will thrill the kids. And for a fun-packed day, plan a visit to Davis Farmland in Sterling, which – among its many other activities and attractions – is home to New England’s largest zero depth, water spray park. There are, in fact, two spray pads: one for toddlers and the other for multi-generational fun. What more could you want (besides the animals, Imagine-Acres play area and action-packed Adventureland)? And don’t forget the private camp-grounds like Lamb City in Phillipston, Pine Acres in Oakham, or The Pines in Ashby, which have swimming facilities. When the sun is blazing, and you’re feeling it’s just too darn hot to anything, think about a refreshing dip, or splash, at one of the region’s abundant parks. Here’s where to find more information:
Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation – mass.gov/dcr
Leominster Department of Parks and Recreation – Leominster-ma.gov
Fitchburg Parks Department – fitch-burgma.gov
And, of course, the Destinations section of this Guide!