1. Coming from Shrewsbury center, begin your journey through Prospect Park trails by entering the wooded area on the left on Prospect Street almost across from the Spring Street intersection. You will see two small, tumbled-down stone towers. Begin the trail by walking between these rock piles. (MERRIAM TRAIL) The trail almost immediately bears right and parallels Prospect Street. Please walk carefully as there are stumps, roots, and rocks along the pathway. If you have sharp eyes, you may see some wild asters and the remnants of Indian Pipestems which were more noticeable earlier in the season. In just over a tenth of a mile, you will come to MEETING HOUSE HILL TRAIL at the main entrance. Take an extra moment to walk right to the main gate and see our beautiful new sign as well as the beginnings of our flower beds, planted and maintained by the Shrewsbury Garden Club. Come back in the spring to see the lovely daffodils which were planted last fall by a Brownie troop.
2. Now you have two choices. You can follow the main road (MEETING HOUSE HILL TRAIL) to the highest point on the property where the Whittall mansion once stood, or you can take the BERRY HILL TRAIL on your left a little past the first bend in the road (about .1 mile). This rejoins the road at the top of the hill and is a beautiful woodland walk.
The BERRY HILL TRAIL starts to the east of the "Singing Tree" and ends near the water towers. The trail crosses a stream bed and turns north along a rock wall to a large felled tree. After turning east around the large tree, the trail follows the base of the hill parallel to Route 140. The trail then climbs the hill to meet the path to the water towers. BERRY HILL TRAIL, designed and created by Girl Scout Troop 50, is almost a half mile from Singing tree to end where you will again be on MEETING HOUSE HILL TRAIL
If you choose to remain on MEETING HOUSE HILL TRAIL, the road from the main gate to the top of the hill is about a half mile. You will pass a beautiful pine grove on your right with boulders that are just right for sitting. If still in bloom, you may note hydrangeas farther up on your left. In fact, all along this road you may see some of the garden materials, which formerly decorated this entrance road. Off to the right are wild blueberry bushes while gorgeous ferns run rampant on the forest floor under the forest canopy to your left.
3. At the top of the hill off to your right you will see a large open space where the mansion once stood. Close your eyes and perhaps you can imagine the stately summer home with its pillars and circular drive, a welcoming sight for guests. More recently this area has been used by the town for dumping leaves. Continue over the crest of the hill on the road. To your left you will see a stately stand of pines. This is the site of a future picnic area and one end of the newly created PINE GROVE TRAIL.
If you choose to follow the PINE GROVE TRAIL, it will lead you to WHITTALL TRAIL just below the entrance to the former formal gardens: the Garden of Remembrance. Turn right to go up to this entrance.
4. Slightly down the hill on your right, you will see the main trail leading into the former garden area. As you turn right into the former garden area, a mighty oak guards the entrance on your left. You will see extensive stone walls, steps, and small paths before you. On your right is the reflecting pool, which once held goldfish and was surrounded by marigolds and ageratum in a formal pattern. The pergola, with its roof overgrown with wisteria, is the garden centerpiece. It was here that Mrs. Whittall entertained for tea in the shade, overlooking her beautiful flowers and pool.
5. Retrace your steps now back to the road and this time turn right, down the hill. You are on WHITTALL TRAIL, which was formerly the service entrance to the hospital. You will see tall lilac bushes lining the road on your left. There will you pass the other end of PINE GROVE TRAIL, which runs around the northern edge of the property and circles back to MEETING HOUSE HILL TRAIL. You can continue down WHITTALL TRAIL to Prospect Street (about .2 miles) or you may branch off to the right onto JUNIPER TRAIL. Near the end of WHITTAL TRAIL is a new entrance area created and adopted by the Shrewsbury Girl Scouts. There you may relax on their new bench.
5. As you proceed down WHITTALL TRAIL, you will notice a sign for JUNIPER TRAIL on the right. This is the oldest trail on the property and is an easy walk back to the main gate (about .1 mile). This trail parallels Prospect Street and is marked with yellow markers. As you enter the trail, notice the stone walls on both sides and a large area of pachysandra off to your left. Listen to the birds and the chattering squirrels. A huge evergreen stands further on in the middle of the trail. Come back in the winter as the snow sifts softly through its branches. It's enchanting.
All this wild life is so close to the center of town! We hope you and your family will enjoy this newest park for years to come. Of course, there is still much work to be done. Do let us know if you'd be willing to join a work party!
(Picknicking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing...)
To learn more about Friends of Prospect Park, Contact Dorothy Perkins
website designed by Mark C. Ide