Bartholomew’s Cobble
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Submitted by kfmwriter
Address:105 Weatogue Rd., Ashley Falls, Sheffield, MA 01257
Hours:Visitor’s center is open year round. Hours vary by season. Call 413-298-3239 x 3013 for hours.
Fee: Parking: $5 per car for nonmembers; free for members; admission: $5 per person for nonmembers; $1 per nonmember child (6-12); free for members.

Bathrooms: In the the visitors center and natural history museum.
Water/Snacks: Bring your own snack. Water fountain at Visitors Center and museum.

This Trustees of Reservations property in Sheffield, MA, offers lots of adventures for kids, from looking for beavers in ponds to exploring two small caves.

This Trustees of Reservations property in Sheffield, MA, offers lots of adventures for kids, from looking for beavers in ponds to exploring two small caves. The 5 miles of trails take you through open fields, transitional forest, and freshwater marshes. The highest point on the 329-acre property is Hurlburt’s Hill, which rises 1,000 feet to a 20-acre upland field on the Massachusetts-Connecticut border with panoramic views up the Housatonic River Valley.

My family loves the Trustees’ Quests (sort of historical treasure map guides) and the one here is named “Rocks, Roads & Revolutions,” which directs you through the property while informing you about the minerals in the ground, the people who used to live here, and the history of the area. This quest is 1.5 miles and takes about an hour and half. At the end, look for the hidden box, stamp your pamphlet (or book) and sign your name. It’s always a satisfying act for kids.

Things you learn include that the property’s name comes from the twin rocky knolls here that started life as coral reefs, shells, and sand as long as 500 million years ago. The cobbles are made up mostly of quartzite and marble, whose alkaline soil supports an unusual array of flora. The area is home to one of North America’s greatest diversities of fern species. It also has one of Massachusetts’s largest Cottonwood trees.

The reservation is named for George Bartholomew, a farmer who purchased the fields and uplands in the late 19th century. But 100 years prior to that, Col. John Ashley had an estate (the current reservation was only a part of it). The Trustees acquired the Cobble in 1946; Ashley’s home, also owned by the Trustees, is nearby. See Plan B for more info.

Plan B:

The Ashley House tells the stories of the Ashleys and the enslaved African Americans who lived here in the 18th century. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and an anchor site on the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Nearby North Canaan has diners and other kid-friendly places to eat.


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