Jacobs Pond is a 60-acre body of water with 189 acres of surrounding conservation land. This property is one of our favorite discoveries–it’s a place we’ll return to again and again, for many reasons. First and foremost, Jacob’s Pond is just seconds away from our favorite ice cream place: Hornstra Farms. More about this amazing destination below! Second, you can kayak here, right from the dock. There is even a special kayak cradle/launching pad. (Full disclosure, we have not kayaked here…yet.) Third, there are many geocaches here (at the time of publishing, there are 7 caches listed on the property). Fourth, the Esker Trail is a super cool example of the power of glaciers to shape the earth. Take the time to Google “How is an esker formed?” or “What is an esker?” with your kids either before or after the trail. Or, show them this video. Fifth, there are some amazing views of the pond from the trail. Lastly, there are plenty of bridges, weird looking trees, and wildlife along the trail to keep things interesting. This hike is well worth the visit, no matter where on the South Shore you’re coming from!
HOW TO GET THERE
Norwell, MA 02061
TRAIL DESCRIPTION & MAP:
The first thing we did was head down to the pond–the sparkling water beckoned! From the dock, we picked up the trail near the picnic tables, not the one down closest to the water. Essentially, we did two loops that form a figure eight, so you could start with either one of the paths by the dock. We simply chose to follow the trail counter-clockwise, so, we took the upper path. We followed Jacob’s Trail (marked with orange blazes) to the Esker Trail (marked in blue blazes). The trail junctions are labeled with helpful indications (to Prospect St., parking lot, etc.), and if you start where we did and just keep heading right (just be careful not the take the right where the sign says “Prospect St.” or you’ll leave the trail), you’ll do the same loop we did. (On the map linked below, we followed Jacob’s Trail, to Beech Trail, to Esker Trail, to Wes Osborne Trail.)
Rated on a scale of 1 (difficult/not good) to 5 (easy/awesome!)
P – Parking & Access – 4 (There is a decent sized lot exclusively for the pond across from the South Shore Science Center of Jacob’s Lane. The lot fits approximately 20 cars.)
I – Interest Level – 4 (The kids liked the pond, the bridges, the weird trees, the esker… and the ice cream right nearby! )
N – Navigation – 4 (With the map, the blazes, the signs along the trail, and the intuitive nature of the loops, it’s not hard to navigate the trails here.)
T – Terrain – 3 (The trails are fairly wide, but there are lots of exposed roots. The esker is rocky and narrow, with lots of exposed roots. We wouldn’t recommend tackling the Esker Trail with a stroller–even a rugged jogging one. And, near the pond on our way back, we found a strip of trail we affectionately named “Lava Lane” because of the large rocks sticking out of the “lava”. It would not be fun with a stroller!)
The P.I.N.T. Score represents our opinions of this trail. It reflects our experience, perception, and physical health. Therefore, the scores are not intended to be expert advice, nor will they be accurate for everyone: we cannot judge what may or may not be appropriate for each individual’s different abilities. Consult a physician or medical expert before attempting any new physical activity. Hiking contains inherent hazards, so hike at your own risk. You should always make your own decisions about what level of physical activity is appropriate for you and your family. Weather and other factors may affect trail conditions. Remember, trail conditions may change suddenly and drastically at any time.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- The pond, the dock, and the kayak cradle. (The kids were fascinated with the kayak cradle.)
2. The bridges. There are lots of cool wooden bridges throughout. Our kids love bridges–not sure why–but they can’t resist looking over the edge or doing funky walks down the “runway”.
2. The entire Esker Trail. It was so cool to see how the terrain changed from undulating wooded trails to this long and winding ridge higher than the rest of the forest.
3. Lookout Point. This is the perfect spot to check out the lake–with fewer people than the dock.
4. “Lava Lane” The cousins immediately began to play Hot Lava on the stones that pop out of the “lava” trail in this spot. It’s all in good fun until someone falls on a rock and scrapes their finger…
5. The multi-eyed monster tree. This weird looking tree tried to eat Sebastian. Luckily, he didn’t taste very good, and the monster let him go.
And here are our pictures from the rest of the walk!
Hornstra Dairy Farm is NOT to be missed. Hornstra has been in operation for over a century, and they make the ice cream with their own milk. (They even have milk delivery–glass bottles and all!) The property is immaculately kept, and the whole place has a quaint, old-fashioned vibe to it. You can visit the farm store for milk, eggs, butter, and more, or just get some ice cream. Be careful when you look up the hours–the dairy bar/ice cream hours are different from the store! Without a doubt, Hornstra ice cream is our favorite way to end a day of hiking (or any day)!