After another week of trying not to drag my husband away from working on kitchen cabinets in order to take a hike, I headed over to Cramer Park in Rockport. We had never really explored this park before, just paused for lunch at the sole picnic table once or twice. On our most recent visit, even the picnic table seemed a little bit worn as the surrounding vegetation encroached upon its space. We ate quickly, leaving the scolding squirrel to his acorn debris once more.
Still, I wanted to see if there was more to the park then this so I returned on an August day that had suddenly become clear. For a park that is so close to both the downtown area and Marina Park just across the road, I was surprised that Cramer Park was devoid of visitors. Thinking that there would be greater numbers further down the loop road that went through here, I parked near Pascal Avenue and meandered down the loop.
Near the road, I spotted a flower that has been blooming in abundance along the roadsides lately. If I have identified it correctly from the GoBotany website, it is an invasive plant that we heard about during our Camden Snow Bowl walk. The flower, related to the Spotted Jewel Weed which is also blooming now, is known as Impatiens Glandulifera (or Himalayan Balsam). According to the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England, not only does each plant explosively disperse about 800 seeds or more, but the nectar of the flower seems to draw pollinators away from native plants. What a shame, since the flower is very pretty.
Further along, I walked towards the ledge overlooking the Goose River, the white walls of the canyon reminders of an active limestone industry so many years ago. Not far from where I stood there was some tangled, rusted debris which was probably another remnant from that time. The park seemed to end here, for I was at the point where the road looped back towards the entrance.
As I turned to make my way back, I discovered a path entering the woods. In the mood for further exploration, I entered the woods. It wasn’t long before I discovered another worn out picnic table taken over by nature. The two tables I had seen so far, were both perched at the top of the quarry. I suppose the intent was to allow visitors to enjoy their lunch with views of the river below but unfortunately, the vegetation had not been maintained. The trail dead-ended at the river. As I reflected on the view for a few minutes, a fisherman tried his luck not far from where I stood.
After reaching the parking area, I decided to descend the stairs that would allow explorers of Cramer Park to access Marina Park without having to cross Pascal Avenue. On the marina side of the road, there was a small bridge crossing the Goose River. From the center of the bridge I was able to get a good view of the river on one side and of Rockport Harbor on the other. I found these views soothing and paused for a time before continuing to Marina Park. Here, at last, there were people enjoying lunch on benches, walking along the harbor or pausing to view the remnants of the limekilns. Two parks, so close together, one used, the other waiting to be discovered.