What better way to celebrate Father’s Day than with a nice bike ride and a picnic lunch at the Quabbin? We decided to investigate Gate 40, which we had never been to. Looking at the Quabbin maps, it appeared to lead straight into the center of what was once the town of Dana. Nate’s great grandfather grew up in North Dana, and had to move when the Quabbin reservoir was born in the 1930s.
Having never been to Gate 40, which is on the eastern edge of the reservoir, we had no idea what to expect. What we found was one of the most historically interesting bike rides in the Quabbin. All along the old road, there are still stone walls, and cleared areas that were obviously where homes once stood.
We were looking for a nice spot for a picnic lunch, which is always tricky when you’re somewhere unfamiliar, but we found the perfect spot. It was once the Dana Town Common, and it is clearly still maintained nicely, with mowed grass, and a marker commemorating the site:
The marker reads:
Site of Dana Common
To All Those Who
Homes And Way
Dana Reunion 1996
Apparently, Dana is the only town center of the four Qaubbin towns that remained above the water line after the reservoir was filled, so there is still ample evidence of the school, town hall, town cemetery, and hotel that once stood here. There is still a big retaining wall visible that was part of the Vaughn family’s property (so Google tells me, anyway!). Coming across that made us all feel like archeologists stumbling upon a new site.
We spent quite a bit of time picnicking and exploring, and then carried on with our ride, determined to make it to the end of the road – the shores of the reservoir. However, we ran into a little problem about three miles in. Lydia’s brake seized up, so much so that the handle part was immovable, and the brake itself was seized around her rear wheel. In short, the back wheel was locked. So now we had to figure out what to do. Leave the bike and hike out? Carry the bike and hike out? We ended up putting both Lydia and Aaron in the trailer, and then standing Lydia’s bike up in front of them for them to hold in place while Nate and I took turns pulling 150+ pounds the three miles back to the car.
You can tell they thought the whole thing was a blast! That little trailer can sure hold quite a load – worth every penny! So we ended up having quite the adventure, and have vowed to go back and make it to the water. Now that we’ve done a little research, we’ll have some more exploring to do, as well.
I’ll leave you with happy children on a happy, happy Father’s Day Adventure!