Summer came late this year, but, once here, heat and humidity descended upon us with a vengeance. So, the day of our Summer Place Mystery trip was sunny and bright but in the high eighties with a bit of humidity.
Everybody seemed pleased with our choice of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts. This is a location long pursued by Adventure Tours, but it took a while to get reservations as the banquet facilities are very popular for weddings. We arrived at the extensive site around 10:30 am and some immediately headed for the Grist Mill on the property. The road in that direction snaked though fields of wildflowers and past the Martha Mary Chapel and the Redstone School House (best known from the ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ nursery rhyme).
Following the same course as the road, there were woodland paths that also led to the Grist Mill. These were shaded and were delightfully cool from the swiftly running brook that powered the mill. The Mill is set in a clearing by the brook and is equipped with an immense water wheel. Once at the Grist Mill, we spoke with an interpreter who actually mills some of the corn and grain. Nice.
Once back at the Wayside Inn, we moved to the small ballroom on the second floor which was set for our 42 passengers. The room is brightly lit by windows on three sides. Photographs of the ballroom in use for dances in times gone by hung on the walls. A bartender poured drinks and the famous Minuteman Lunch Buffet was laid out for us. Our group was social, and everybody seemed to enjoy both the splendid meal and happy company.
After lunch, some took time to sit on the shaded lawns; others viewed the gardens; and many enjoyed the small gift shop. Soon we were on our way to nearby Garden in the Woods, home to the New England Wildflower Society and the National Plant Trust. Motor Coaches can’t enter the gardens, so we took a short hike up the road to the facility and, before long, most of us made it to the visitor center. The staff was glad to have us, and distributed maps of the walking trails on site.
We planned about an hour and a half for our visit, so most of us couldn’t do all the trails. An easy one (and one of the best) was the walk down a woodland garden path to a small lily pond. The place was alive with bees enjoying the black cohosh flowers and painted turtles sunning themselves on logs. Summer wildflowers were in bloom everywhere – a beautiful spot to visit. Most of us ended our visit in the stunning gift shop which was cooled with powerful overhead fans.
We met our motor coach at 4:00 pm and headed home with fond memories and tired feet. A good day was had by all.