This last September Saturday was beautifully clear and warm. Silver Lake State Park is easily accessed on Route 122, with a massive parking lot. At the far end of the lot there are hiking/biking trails supported by the town. Hollis is fascinating, as it is immediately surrounded by busy Nashua and Milford and Manchester, but as soon as you cross the town line you reach orchards and farms in all directions. I believe Hollis was made for fall, with apples and pumpkins lining the streets!
Years ago, dear family friends left New Hampshire to move south. Our last adventure together was to Silver Lake State Park…and I never went back. I wondered why I disliked the thought of this place until my daughter reminded me it was where we said good-bye. Living in close proximity to the iconic Mount Monadnock, I am fascinated by the “Power of Place”, the emotional ties that hold us to the earth. It should not have surprised me that I related this “place” with negative vibes. But I am so glad to throw those vibes off and enjoy this expansive park on the first day of autumn!
I was taken aback by the expanse of this park. The lake itself was small and long, lined with houses on the street-side. The water was shallow, and the muddy edges were riddled with tracks of herons, raccoons and deer, as well as populated with the largest fresh-water snails I’ve seen in NH.
There were only a few people taking advantage of the warm late afternoon, but this park was made with large crowds in mind. Huge lawns are peppered with picnic tables and grills, and small rises afford dozens of picnic areas overlooking the lake.
There is a small playground, a huge field for Frisbee or softball, a spacious bathhouse and a store with kayak rentals.
Hidden beyond the picnic tables is another treasure…a nature trail that is only .3 mile long, but immerses you in a wild forest world. We found evidence of deer and turkeys, as well as old homestead foundations and of course, stone walls. The farm that once made this land home left behind some wonderful wild grapes!
September is so busy. Exploring/meandering around Silver Lake State Park reminded me again how important those emotional connections to places are. They ground us, re-organize us. What began as a short visit after a long day in the city of Manchester, became hours of quiet appreciation. For the changing season…For the “places” to gather and play and connect with each other…And for the thoughtful people who looked at this powerful place and decided to set it apart, believing as I do, that land and water are more than property. They are our balance.