Beginning at Ebenezer Fiske's Home Site
We begin our bike ride on the far end of the park. There is no visitors center or notable parking lot to signify the beginning of the route. Instead, there is a small pullout across the street from the remains of a home. This is the best place to park if you will be biking close to or after sunset. Many of the park's lots are gated and locked at sunset.
There is a path out behind the remains shown above, which leads to the remains of another building, which is a very short walk and an interesting site. I tried to get more information about these sites from the ranger at the visitor's center, but she did not know anything about this site.
The path begins on the side of the street where the parking lot is. It goes into the woods and continues on a wide path, and at times intersects with small side roads where you need to watch for traffic.
The path comes out to a shoulder along Route 2A and then continues to the back of the visitor's center. The visitor's center has water, rest rooms, and rangers who can answer most questions about what you saw on the trail. There is a multimedia presentation that runs about 20 or 25 minutes that is really nice and ties together the sites you see on the path with the history of the day that began with Paul Revere's ride.
Paul Revere's Capture Site
Continuing on the trail (or returning to the trail from a pit stop), you will go by several numbered poles, marking several sites where the Nelson houses once stood. To your left is the main visitor's parking lot, which is where most people begin their walks and bike rides in the park.
Shortly past that area, you will see Paul Revere's capture site commemorated by a large rock with inscriptions on the right. A few hundred yards past that point, the trail ducks into an underground tunnel. This next part of the ride is very pleasant and scenic.
William Smith's House
This site is only opened for limited hours, so check with the park schedule if you wish to visit the interior. We were fortunate enough to finally arrive at a time that it was open. There was a ranger playing a harpsichord who took time out to talk about the home.
The historical Hartwell Tavern (1733), is usually open. This is the place that reenactors show up, and a musket demonstration occurs in the back several times a day. The park ranger told us about the women of the nearby town of Pepperell that had their own unit to protect their homes and property when the men left to fight. The house is set up with items that reflect the period, and we saw a demonstration on how linen was made. The sign in front has a horse on one side letting travelers know that they could house their livestock there, and the other side of the sign has a rider letting people know that people could stay there.
The path continues over the first of two long bridges where you must get off of your bike and walk. It is important to walk your bike along this part of the trail because the bridge makes sharp turns and it is a notable drop down if you tumble into the wetlands below. There are also people walking along the path and it is hard to see them around the tall grasses.
This part of the trail is beautiful due to the purple loosestrife. Though it is pretty, it is destroying the wetlands and the animal life in the area. The park is researching how to rid the areas of this plant.
The path exits the woods and continues through a field and back towards the road.
There are several sections of the trail that cross private businesses following this point, and the park has posted signs in these areas requesting that you walk your bikes through these parking lots.
End of the Trail
The path officially ends at the Meriam House. We have crossed the street in several places to follow trails, but all have come to a quick dead end or to private land.
Even though this is the end of the trail, we are only half way done with our biking, because now we have to retrace our path back to the car. From this spot, it it also possible to turn on to Lexington road and ride to the Wayside House, which is part of the park, and the Orchard House.