Borderland State Park; Easton & Sharon, Massachusetts

Last Visited: Sunday, April 14, 2012

What to do here:  This park is packed full of things to do and has more than enough to keep lots of different people busy for an entire day.

  • Hiking: Borderland has an extensive trail network that crisscrosses the entire park.  The options go from nice strolls on the wider trails across the park to narrow meandering paths through the woods.  There isn’t much of an elevation change across the park but there are lots of pretty spots both on and off the main trails to enjoy.
  • Horseback Riding:  Horseback riding is permitted in Borderland and there are several nice wide graded trails that often have people taking advantage of the park on a horse.
  • Mountain Biking: Mountain biking is allowed on many of the trails in the park and there is a NEMBA (New England Mountain Bike Association) trail in the park as well for those of you who like challenging technical riding.
  • Fishing:  Borderland has several great spots to go fishing in one of its several ponds.  As long as you have a Massachusetts fishing license you should be all set.
  • Picnicking: Borderland is the mansion and grounds of the Ames family and, as such, has expansive lawns and grounds to enjoy a picnic, hang out of otherwise relax outdoors.  There are also some picnic tables.  However, there is no food for sale in the park, I’d make a stop at one of the great restaurants near the park if you’re hungry or want to bring in food.
  • Disc Golfing:  Borderland has a full 18 hole disc golf course that is pretty popular.
  • Tennis:  Borderland has several clay tennis courts that are open to the public and kept in good condition.
  • Mansion Tours: Tours of the historic Ames mansion are offered once a month (the 3rd Sunday at the time that this was written), highlights include the many painting by noted artist and suffragette Blanche Ames, Victorian Style furnishings, an amazing library with over 6,000 volumes and wonderful volunteer guides who explain the history of the park and the Ames family.  Check out their website for more details: http://www.friendsofborderland.org/Home.html
  • Ice Skating: Weather permitting.
  • Cross Country Skiing: The larger roads and fields at Borderland are a great place to cross-country ski if there is enough snow.
  • Sledding:  Although there isn’t a lot of elevation in the park there are a few spots where you can get some decent momentum sledding.
  • Dog Friendly: This park is definitely dog-friendly and very heavily used by dog owners.  Just make sure to bring something along to clean up after them.
  • Group Outings: With its huge grounds and expansive lawn there should be plenty of space for large groups to gather.  I’d recommend checking with the visitor center before you plan anything (508.238.6566).
  • Weddings:  Borderland is a very popular spot for weddings.  The Ames Mansion and manicured grounds make an ideal backdrop for a wedding and it is becoming a pretty popular place to get hitched.

This isn’t an exhaustive list and there’s tons of stuff to do and should be something for everyone.

Favorite Activities:

  • The tour of the Ames Mansion is a real treat with a look into a Victorian styled mansion fully furnished that comes with a lot of local history and an amazing lineup of art done by Blanche Ames.
  • Hiking across the park to enjoy some great views of Leech Lake, the Farmhouse and several other pretty viewpoints across the park.
  • Playing disc golf on the course in the park.
  • Bicycling in the park and the surrounding quiet residential streets.
  • Enjoying a picnic and an informal pickup game of something on the grounds surrounding the Ames Mansion.

How to get here:  The main entrance to Borderland is on Mashapoag Avenue in North Easton, Massachusetts.  The closest exits are Route 123 off Interstate 495, Route 106 exit off Route 24 and Route 140 (Exit 7) off Interstate 95 in Mansfield.  When you take the Route 123 exit off Interstate 495 make sure to head towards Easton and you’ll see a sign for the turn towards the park after Route 123 merges with Route 106.  When taking the exit off Route 24 go towards Mansfield on Route 106 West and you’ll see a sign for Borderland after Route 106 merges with Route 123 in Easton.  When you get off I-95 take the ramp towards Mansfield and then make sure to take a left on Route 106 east.  You’ll see the sign for Borderland after Route 106 merges with Route 123 in Easton.  If you have a GPS or Smartphone use the following address:

257 Mashapoag Avenue
North Easton, MA 02356

Facilities, Fees and other important information: The park’s visitor center has restrooms, a nice room with some exhibits and a place to relax along with a water fountain for those who are thirsty.  Make sure to grab a park map when you’re there, especially if you want to get off the main trails that cross the park.  There is a small $2 parking fee and the mansion tour is $3 each.  Beyond a vending machine and the fountain in the visitor center there isn’t any food or drink available in the park so you’ll want to pack in food and drink.  There are two useful websites to check out regarding the park.  The first is the official state Department of Conservation & Recreation website for Borderland (http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/borderland/).  The other site that is useful is the website for the park’s volunteer organization, Friends of Borderland (http://www.friendsofborderland.org/Home.html).

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