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Dog jaunts: Dogs are welcome at many of Massachusetts’ Trustees of Reservations properties

From the ocean to the woods — last week, visiting my friend Deb, Chloe played on a beach at Woods Hole, MA, and took two long, beautiful walks in the woods. In this post, I want to tell you about the walks, and point you to a great resource for finding other places to visit with your dog.

The Trustees of Reservations manages over 100 properties across Massachusetts, and we visited two of them: Whitney and Thayer Woods (locally known as “Turkey Hill”) and World’s End. Both happen to be wooded properties, but the Trustees also manage a number of beaches, working farms, historic homes, gardens, and even a handful of places to stay overnight. Of the places to stay, alas, only the Tully Lake campground (in northern MA, near Royalston) allows dogs.

Here are Chloe and Cal the Border Collie on one of the carriage trails at Turkey Hill:

There is so much wrong with this picture -- the dogs are off leash, and Chloe is blurry -- but I've seldom seen her happier

Yes, they’re off leash, which is wrong and bad, but it was only briefly, and both dogs stayed, pretty much, on the path (Chloe certainly did, but Cal is drawn like a magnet to muddy ditches, and came away from the walk looking like his legs had been dipped in chocolate). Part of the reason that going off leash is a bad idea, as well as not allowed, is that the carriage trails are also used by local riders — we hastily put the dogs back on their leashes when we saw two horses approaching.

As you can see, though, the Turkey Hill property is beautiful. The terrain includes a large meadow and a webwork of forest trails, as well as carriage trails like the one in the picture. Deb told me that even after walking for an hour or so, we’d only seen a fraction of what’s there.

World’s End is also on the South Shore. It’s a crazy combination of beaches, marshes, meadowed hills…and careful landscaping by the Olmstead Brothers (a previous owner had plans to turn it into a subdivision, in the 19th c., but only the landscaping part of the plan was implemented). It’s lovely, and features distant views of Boston, and would be an awesome place for a picnic someday. When we visited, it was a little chilly for picnicking, but believe me, I’ll be back.

And those are just two of the places that come up when you type my friend’s zip code in to the locater on the Trustees of Reservations home page. Mind you, not all of the properties welcome dogs — be sure to look at the string of icons for a property, when you retrieve one, to make sure that there is a dog symbol, and that it doesn’t have a bar across it. To find a complete list of properties that allow dogs, go to the Advanced Search page, and under “Activity Type” select “Dog Walking.”

Both properties we visited provided poop bags at the entrance, but bring your own in case the container is empty. There are no trash cans, so you’ll need to take your dog’s waste away with you. The Trustees’ site provides PDFs of trail maps, and I recommend printing one before your visit and bringing it with you. World’s End was easy for a stranger to navigate, but I would have become lost rapidly at Turkey Hill if my friend hadn’t been with me.


  • Jennie

    Thank you! I have looked it up and realized there are two dog-friendly trusts in Westport! Of course, having good tick treatment is ESSENTIAL (for humans, too!)

  • You are exactly right, Jennie — after these two outings, I found four ticks on Chloe and one on me. Happily, Chloe’s on Revolution, and next time I will absolutely spray my legs. Horrible things — we don’t really see them in the PNW, so I had to remind myself to check for them.

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