My Walk Itinerary

Berkshires -> Pioneer Valley -> Central Mass. -> Southeastern Mass. -> Cape Cod

Day# / Date / Start / Walk Along… / End in … / (Day’s Distance)
Day 01: Wed. July 04th Start in… NY-MA border / walk along… Rt. 2 / End in … N. Adams (10 miles)
Day 02:  Thu. July 05th Start in… N. Adams / walk along… Rt. 2 / End in … Charlemont (18 miles)
Day 03:  Fri. July 06th Start in… Charlemont / walk along… Rt. 2 / End in … Shelbourne Falls (8 miles)
Day 04:  Sat. July 07th Start in… Shelbourne Falls / walk along… Rt. 116 / End in … So. Deerfield (14 miles)
Day 05:  Sun. July 08th Start in… So. Deerfield / walk along… Rt. 116 / End in … North Amherst (7 miles)
Day 06:  Mon. July 09th Start in… North Amherst / walk along UMass Campus / End in … Amherst (4 miles)
Day 07:  Tue. July 10th Start in… Amherst / walk along… Rt 9 / End near … Quabbin Reservoir (14 miles)
Day 08:  Wed. July 11th Start near … Quabbin Reservoir / walk along… Rt 9 / End in … W. Brookfield (12 miles)
Day 09: Thu. July 12th Start in… W. Brookfield / walk along… Rt 9 / End in … Leicester (14 miles)
Day 10: Fri. July 13th Start in… Leicester / walk along… Rt. 9 / End in … Webster Square, Worcester (4 miles)
Day 11: Sat. July 14th Start in… DAY OFF / WEDDING 0 miles
Day 12: Sun. July 15th Start in… DAY OFF 0 miles
Day 13: Mon. July 16th Start in… Webster Square, Worcester / walk along… Cambridge Street and Rt. 122 / End in … Grafton (10 miles)
Day 14: Tue. July 17th Start in… Grafton / walk along… Rt. 140 / End in … Mendon (11 miles)
Day 15: Wed. July 18th Start in… Mendon / walk along… Rt. 140 / End in … Wrentham (13 miles)
Day 16: Thu. July 19th Start in… Wrentham / walk along… Rt. 140 / End in … Norton (12 miles)
Day 17: Fri. July 20th Start in… Norton / walk along… Rt. 44 / End in … W. Middleborough (18 miles)
Day 18: Sat. July 21st Start in… W. Middleborough / walk along… Rt. 28 / End in … Wareham (14 miles)
Day 19: Sun. July 22nd Start in… Wareham / walk along… Rts. 6 and 6A / End in … Sandwich (15 miles)
Day 20: Mon. July 23rd Start in… Sandwich / walk along… Route 6A / End in … Barnestable (12 miles)
Day 21: Tue. July 24th Start in… Barnestable / walk along… Route 6A – Rail Trail / End in … Orleans (19 miles)
Day 22: Wed. July 25th Start in… Orleans / walk along… Route 6 / End in … Provincetown (25 miles)
Day 23 Thu. July 26th Start in… Provincetown / walk along… Breakers / End in … Long Point Lighthouse (3 miles)

FINISH!!!

Featured post

Not quite done yet. Three more miles through Provincetown, and I then three miles tomorrow along the beach to Long Point.

Hi everyone, here is the link to the Wednesday’s Today Show interview… Thanks again to Al, Mike, Ben, Jared and Johnny for driving up to Leicester and Worcester to follow me around. I think Jared, the producer, did a great job with the the editing (I liked the drone shots – that was a first – and the re-caps of my other walks, where you see the map and the pictures, were especially fun). I hope you enjoy!

Day 21: Exactly three weeks on the road. Orleans to Wellfleet, 14 miles. Mostly along the Cape Cod Rail Trail, and then switched back to 6A. I slept about two hours the last night, since I was working on website stuff in preparation for the Today Show airing. Very tired walking!

Hello to everyone who came here after seeing my story on The Today Show. Welcome to my Walk Across Massachusetts. From the rugged Berkshires to historic Boston to sunny Cape Cod, we have a beautiful state… I hope you can come visit some time.

Contact me at: bjhill at gmaildotcom

or @WalkAcrossMass

Thank you! BJ

Whenever I do these walks, I discover a couple of stories that belong in the Can’t Make This Stuff Up category. This is one of my favorites.

Before I left Worcester on July 4th, my local newspaper, the Worcester Telegram arrnaged a phone interview with reporter Craig Semon. Craig told me the newspaper would send a staff photographer to get some snapshots, too.

The photographer contacted me and we arrnaged to meet at a quiet, scenic place in West Boylston. We met and he introduced himself as Steve Lanava. He had me do some walking shots, some sitting shots… The whole thing took about 15 minutes. He got what he needed and we parted ways.

While I was driving home, I began to think…. Steve Lanava…. Why was that name so familiar? I had did a little freelance work for the T&G on the past, but I know that wasn’t a photographer I had ever worked with. But why did he seem so familiar?

That evening, I was going through some (very) old pictures and newspaper articles and found this clipping. When I was growing up, the Sunday Telegram had weekly essay writing competitions. The winner got something like a book and a certificate. Well, I entered (I think my whole fourth grade class entered) and I won. The newspaper sent out a photographer, and it was… Steve Lanava.

That’s right, the same photographer who shot 9-year-old me in July 1986 shot me again, 32 years later in June 2018. We’ve never seen each other between that time.

There’s been a lot of flack lately against the media and against the press. But the men and women who work for local newspapers, they’re the chroniclers of our families. They watch us grow up, report when we go for a district championship, win a scholarship, serve overseas, start a business, or get a big promotion. They’re there to tell the story when we have to fight a disease or fight the insurance company. They document our best times and our tragic times. They’re overworked and underpaid . But there isn’t one parent in America who wouldn’t “cut out and save” an article about their child. That’s why this clipping is still in our family. So from me, thank you to all the dedicated men and women who work in the media. We appreciate you.

I try to do these walks on the cheap, but there are expenses like meals, snacks, and equipment. Every little bit helps. Thank you!

Staying with Bill and his family in Yarmouth. Fresh-caught clams and linguini…. This is how we dinner on Cape Cod (on the patio, naturally).

Walk Across Mass Day 20: Sandwich to Yarmouth. 15 miles. This part of the walk has some of the best homes and gardens. I wish there were a few more sidewalks along 6A, though.

After reaching North Amherst, Ken and I stopped in The Harp for a beer, chicken wings, and the Sox game. One of the patrons is writing his message to the governor.

This spring I built my very first birdhouse. I was pretty happy with it…. But this display at a shop in downtown Sandwich makes me think I have to up my woodworking game.

Walk Across Mass Day 18: Wareham, over the Bourne Bridge, along the Cape Cod Canal, into downtown Sandwich. This says 17 miles but it was actually less (more like 12-ish?). Im very happy to avoid the thunderstorms that were predicted.

Walking over the Bourne Bridge, looking South. The Cape Cod Canal is seven miles long and took five years to build (1909-1914) (Thanks Wikipedia!) For ships leaving the Port of Boston and heading south to New York, it cut off about 62 miles compared to traveling all the way around the outer Cape. During World War I and II merchant ships used the canal to avoid U Boats off the coast of the Cape…

The bridge in the distance is the Bourne Railroad Bridge.

You can see the gray, low hanging clouds in this photo. Severe thunderstorms were predicted and I considered not walking at all today. I’m glad I did. The rain stayed just to the west and the canal was like the border of the north- moving green blob on the radar. Central Mass got pounded, I hear, but this part of the Cape got just the occasonal drizzle. Whew!

Walk Across Mass Day 17: Middleborough to Waregam, Mass. 17 Miles straight along 28 South. Not looking forward to the rain tomorrow.

This is a cool story.

I was plodding along Route 28 and this black SuV pulls up to the side of the highway. The window rols down and there are two women inside. “Hey, we saw your sign on the backpack,” one says . “What are you doing out here?”

I launch my spiel. “My name is BJ Hill and I’m walking across Massachusetts from Williamstown to Provincetown. As you know, this is an election year in the Commonwealth, and I’m asking people I meet along the way to write their own personal message for the gover-”

“Wait,” she says. “Did you do something like this about three or four years ago?”

“Yes,” I said. “For the 2014 election!”

“I remember we saw you in Whitman! We pulled over to talk to you back then.”

Too funny! PJ and Kelly are the first people to randomly meet me on the road, and then randomly meet me on the road again years later. Fate?

Day 17… Norton, Mass to Middleborough, Mass. 16 miles. No idea how many steps because I lost my Fitbit again! I had this one for less than a week. (Grrrr).

I walked into The Silver City in the afternoon. Hung out downtown for a little while, talked to some people, and took some messages.

This intersection in downtown Mansfield is batty. Speed limits apparently don’t apply in this zone and I saw almost two accidents here in the time of one walk signal. Someone’s going to get killed here!

This underpass in Foxboro has a pretty lively pigeon culture. I’m not sure if this little guy fell out of a nest or got banged up by an oncoming car. Anyways, he wasn’t flying, just kind of wheeling around in the gutter, so I helped him get to higher ground. Hopefully he’s OK now.

This is a funny story…

As I was walking out of Franklin, I met two sisters, Marlene and Michelle. We were talking bout the walk, living in Worcester, being teachers, and large Italian families. It took Michelle an couple of minutes to reallize why my mom’s family name was so familiar – she had my cousin’s daughter in class when she was a second grader! Small world. Jenna is now a senior in college and studying to become a teacher herself.

This is a funny story…

As I was walking out of Franklin, I met two sisters, Marlene and Michelle. We were talking bout the walk, living in Worcester, being teachers, and large Italian families. It took Michelle an couple of minutes to reallize why my mom’s family name was so familiar – she had my cousin’s daughter in class when she was a second grader! Small world. Jenna is now a senior in college and studying to become a teacher herself.

I was greeted the next morning with clear blue skies – not a sign of the sheets of rain from the evening before.

Here is the Mendon town hall and the now-empty Taft Public Library (which has moved to a new building).

President Taft had family roots to this area and Millbury and would come to visit occasionally before and during his time in office.

Blister care. Two big baggy ones.

I used to volunteer for the 3-Day Walk for Breast Cancer Walks (when those were still in Boston), so for three days every summer I used to do blister care from sunrise to sundown. I miss those days.

I stayed with my cousin’s family in Mendon and their six-year-old daughter. I’m glad I could take part in her Marvel Movie Marathon (Dr. Strange) leading up to Infinity War.

Day 12… Back on the road after taking the weekend off. 10 miles, Webster Square in Worcester to Grafton Common. That last loooong hill to get to the Common is a killah!

On Sunday, my second day off, I went to the Worcester Bravehearts game with Jeff and Paul, two good friends from high school. Back to walking tomorrow.

On Saturday the 14th I took a planned day off to recoup, do computer work for the second half of the walk, and attend a family wedding. Best wishes to Zach and Caitlin!

Coincidentally, when I did my first walk in October 2006, I took a weekend off when I came through Worcester for the same reason – a cousin’s wedding.

Day 10: Leicester Center to Webster Square. 4.3 miles along Route 9. This was my hometown for 40+ years. I got a nice welcome yesterday evening at the Leicester Library and a great send-off this morning from the Senior Center.

Only 4 miles today, for reasons I’ll explain in the next post.

So a couple of days again I received an email from The Today Show saying they would like to interview me and talk about my Walk. Here’s how that happened: Al Roker owns a house in NY, just on the other side of the Mass border. Last week he read an article about my walk in the Berkshire Eagle and thought it would be an interesting story for the Today Show. They emailed me and made arrangements to meet when I reached Worcester (which was today). Eight hours of driving around Leicester and Worcester, setting up cams and mikes, interviews, and b-roll filming (“walk down the sidewalk, now turn around, walk back, but slower…”)… I think it went well. There was even a drone involved. The segment will air Thursday July 19 Wednesday July 25 between 8 am and 9 am. Kind of exciting… National news! Thanks to Al and Jared and the crew for coming out. Al Roker has been all around the country, but it was his first time in Worcester.

When Nancy Lamb and the Leicester Senior Center heard I was going to be meeting the Today Show crew in their parking lot Friday morning, they came out to give me a warm send-off. They even made coffee and refreshments. Thank you! I wish I could’ve stayed longer, but we had a full day of moving and filming ahead of us.

Chandler Walsh front Worcester News Tonight came to interview me while I was walking through East Brookfield. We stopped at the East Brookfield Baptist Church to speak to someone folks at community lunch. Chandler did a great job on this piece – thanks!! Getting press like this before I walk into a city helps a great deal.

Back in my hometown. This is where I grew up and lived, on and off, until just two years ago. BJ Hill Factoid: I mapped all five of my walks (Walk Across Mass ’06, Walk Across America ’08, Walk to the White House ’11, Walk Across Mass ’14, Walk Across Mass ’18) to pass through Leicester.

I thought this was where my old co-worker lives, so I stopped to take a picture and send it to her. It’s not her house. I don’t know who lives here. But Hi.

Downtown Spencer underwent a giant paving project a couple of years ago and it looks great. I appreciate the new, wide, clean sidewalks!

I stopped here for a haircut on my way through and met a guy I went to elementary school with. We haven’t seen each other in about 28 years.

Chandler Walsh from Worcester News Tonight drove out to East Brookfield to catch me on the road. Serendipitously, when she found me, I just happened to be walking by East Brookfield Baptist Church, which has a community lunch a couple days a month. Great place to stop in, talk to the town residents, collect messages for the governor, and shoot an interview. Chandler did a great job editing the piece and it was aired that night. I’ll post the link soon.

If you’re into baseball history, this is Connie Mack’s boyhood home. Connie Mack played pro ball from 1886 to 1896, then went on to manage and own the Philadelphia A’s for an incredible 49 years, from their inaugural season in 1901 until 1950. Under Mack they won the World Series five times (…and finished in last place 17 times!) He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937.

The Brookfields and Spencer have some great turn-of-the century architecture. Check out this massive Victorian from Brookfield Center.

There are four Brookfields in Massachusetts: West Brookfield, East Brookfield, North Brookfield, and just Brookfield (no South Brookfield). While on this walk I read a good book about King Philips War called “Until I Have No Country” by Michael Togias, a local author. It tells of the events and bloodshed of 1675-76 from the points of view of an English settler and a lieutenant to King Philip. Growing up in Massachusetts, this is something we just kind of glossed over in history class. We spent many Thanksgivings learning about how the Natives helped the Pilgrims during the first few winter’s, but we never learned how that relationship turned sour and one-sided within just one generation. I knew there was some sort of conflict between colonists and Natives but never realized the impact for both sides.

Day 8 – One week on the road! – Quabbin Reservoir to West Brookfield Center – 13 miles. Tough going today, I forgot how many hills were from Amherst on the way out of Pioneer Valley.

West Brookfield has one of the nicest, largest town commons in the state. When I walked into town, I learned that there was going to be a summer concert on the coming that evening. My hosts for the night, Heather and Jeremy, drove me to their place to shower and eat dinner, then drive me back to walk around and and collect messages from the concertgoers.

“What’s killing this state,” said one man volunteering at the Lions Club food truck, “Is taxes. You walk down that street over there and I can point out three houses where elederly couples, that have owned their homes for decades, had to move out because they can’t keep up with the taxes.”

It was a beautiful night for a town concert. The weather was just right and the sun was slow sliding down.

At one of .y favorite places in the Brookfields… The Book Bear Used Bookstore.

The bookstore recently changed hands and it’s good news that the new owner, a former employee, is going to keep up the business. This is one of the only, if the not the only, bookstore between Worcester and Amherst/Northampton.

There is a small graveyard behind the Meeting House. Most of the graves are those of the ministers of the church and their families. By examining the dates, it’s sobering to unravel the stories of these families… And how many of their own children these Men of God had to lay to rest. It makes me glad we live in a time when babies are expected to actually live into adulthood.

BTW, how do you feel about the female name “Submit”? Hmmm….

The old Ware Meeting House is one imposing structure. I stopped here under in the shade of the massive oak trees for breakfast – nuts, jerky, and an apple.

When I did my walk in 2006, I learned about about this type of New England architecture…. The big house (for sleeping and eating), little house (cooking), back house (storage and utility), and barn. Many old houses in the country follow this layout. Plus, it’s fun to say.

The stretch of Route 9 from Amherst to Ware isnt one of my favorite parts of the walk. There’s a lot of hills, heat, and humidity and not much to break it up. There’s a large amount of traffic on this stretch of Route 9 so it’s not exactly peaceful and quiet.

There is a giant foot at the Amherst Farm Winery. I’m not sure why there’s a giant foot here, but my friend says it had something to do with a divorce and one side got the foot. Also, the foot’s not doing so well… You can see cracking along the big toe.

Day 06: just 3 miles today. Used the downtime to update the website and try to arrange for places to stay in Southeastern Mass (still looking for Middleborough, Wareham and Norton). Uploaded photos. Two interviews, one with the Hampshire Gazette. This evening I wandered around downtown and collected messages. Thanks to Amherst Coffee.

This is the storefront window of a cool little shop that repairs and sells typewriters. If you’re ever here, stop in and talk to the owner – he’s an interesting guy to listen to.

The Design Building, one of the new buildings on the Univ of Massachusetts Amherst campus. It has a bunch of environmental features, such as using rain runoff from the rooftop to automatically drain to the greenery in the courtyard.

I spent most of Monday holed up at Kens place working. To give a little perspective on what happens when I’m not actually walking during a Walk, I had. To:

1. Do a phone interview with Scott Merzbach of the Hampshire Gazette

2. Do a phone interview with a segment producer from the NBC Today Show.

3. Contact the four gubernatorial like candidates , three lt. Governor candidates, and two Amherst state rep candidates (I heard back from one of those people)

4. Find places to stay in Norton, Middleborough, and Wareham

5. Figurevoutvthevdetails for a wedding I’m going to this weekend

6. Organize and upload photos from the first week to the website

7. Weed through photos from the ’08 walk a and and forward the best on to the NBC producer.

8. Laundry

I finally finished at the house around 4pm and limped the four miles through the UMass canpus to Main Street. There I hooked up with a photgrapher from the Hampshire Gazette and we talked to folks at Amherst Coffee .

Our walk finished, Ken and I stopped in The Harp in North Amherst for a beer, chicken wings, and the Sox-Royals game. A patron at the bar writes his message to the governor. “The funding formulas for the schools in the state need to be changed. Rural towns are drying up due to very high taxes and no industry. As the local school continue to close so go the rural towns.”

(I also learned that the elementary school building in Heath, which was still pretty new IIRC when I walked through in 2006, is boarded up now because there are far fewer children in the community… The remaining students are being bused to a regional elementary school a couple towns away).

Another benefit of walking with someone else is you have someone to take photos! Walking from South Deerfield into Amherst.

Those are hiking poles in my hands…. Not fishing rods hahaha.

It’s nice to walk with someone else. Not only does the time go by faster, but they point out things you may not notice by yourself. Ken pointed out how clean the Connecticut River is at this section. No trash on the shores and we could see the bottom.

That makes me happy we live in a state where our water is like this. Not everywhere. Some of our rivers and lakes could use a lot of work. But here, today, at this bend of the river, I’m happy.

Stacey and I went to brunch in South Deerfield, where i met up with my friend, Ken Johnston. Ken is a fellow long-distance walker and last year hiked across Massachusetts, in sections every weekend. Earlier this year he emabarked on a 500 mile trek from Selma to Memphis along the Civil Rights Trail in memory of the 50th Anniversary of Rev Martin Luther King. You can see his writings at www.OurWalkToFreedom.com

Ken helped me immensely during my walk and I’m fortunatte to count him among my friends.

The Deerfield River is on the right side of these photos. The farms are on the left side. (In this particular field they’ll be growing flowers). So how do you get the water from the river to the crops? Use an old fire department pump truck.

Chapley Gardens also carry plants and fish for aquatic gardens. Here are some of their koi for sale.

Besides the garden center, Stacey and her family also operate their own and have full-time jobs. They are hardworking people.

Thanks to the Chapley Family for letting me stay with them.

Day 4 Stats: Shelburne Falls to South Deerfield.

14 Miles

21,000+ Steps. Unfortunately my Fitbit is lost. It decided to go its own separate way somewhere between Shelburne Falls and Conway.

I’ve had worse places to pitch my tent. The building on the right is an old tobacco drying barn. Behind this field are small-farm commercial flower fields. And the hill beyond that is land owned by Bill Cosby.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started