15 Best Things to Do in Hanson (MA)

This inland coastal city is called Cranberry City. The Ocean Spray Cooperative was founded in Hanson in 1930 and was headquartered here until 1977.

There are numerous cranberry bogs, many of which are now closed, but still form a large part of Hanson’s landscape.

The Barrage Pond Wildlife Management Area shows where the state intervened in 2002 to protect a network of ancient swamps and natural wetlands.

Today Hanson is a quiet town with an urban center surrounded by beautiful ponds and many nature reserves where you can hike miles of nature trails.  

1. Boston Skydive Company

Boston Skydive Company

Cranland Airport, in the southeast corner of Hanson, is home to the Boston Skydive Company, which specializes in tandem skydiving.

No skydiving experience is required for these jumps. Connect with experienced and qualified instructors at 4 points.

The company uses the most advanced tandem systems on the market (United Parachute Technologies SIGMA and Micro SIGMA) to perform the jumps from highly maintained and reliable Cessna 182 jumps to the highest standards.

For an additional fee, you can order a photo or video recording of your jump. The entire experience takes approximately 4 hours, including check-in, safety briefing, and preparation. 

2. Plymouth County Hospital Meadows

Plymouth County Hospital Meadows

South Hanson’s Plymouth County Hospital (1919-1992), which was eventually demolished in the late 2010s, was an important part of the town’s history in the 20th century.

One of the first hospitals with a modern heating system, the facility opened as a tuberculosis sanatorium and grew into a place to treat chronic diseases.

Maintained as an agricultural farm by the hospital, Rusthe Meadows is your starting point and you can hike through the former grounds.

About a mile long, the trail winds through the woods before emerging into a large meadow. Other hikes take you around the old hospital grounds and through lingonberry ponds and wetlands, both privately owned.  

3. Smith-Nawazelski Conservation Area

Smith-Nawazelski Conservation Area

Smith-Nawazerski Reserve is another natural area traversed by the Bay Circuit Trail, west of the Barrage Pond Wildlife Sanctuary.

Acquired by the city in 1989, this native farmland is actually Hanson’s largest nature reserve, covering more than 100 acres.

There are approximately two miles of trails through pine, oak, beech, cedar, maple, and blueberry forests.

A great feature is the flowered holly stand. There is also a red maple swamp, some large boulders, and a spring pond full of wildlife in the spring.  

4. Heidi’s Hollow Farm

Heidi’s Hollow Farm

As of 2020, this popular seasonal ice cream stands in Hanson has been run by the same husband and wife for over 30 years.

Founders Tony Quigley and Linda Quigley are now enjoying well-deserved retirement and handed over the business to new owners.

A quintessential New England ice cream parlor, Heidi’s Hollow Farm is open from April to October and serves about 40 varieties of Richard’s Ice Cream, as well as Soft His Cream, Froyo, and Sorbet. It offers. There are many kinds of sundaes, and you can make your own sundae. 

5. Hanson Bowladrome

Hanson Bowladrome

Operated by the Hanson Athletic Association, Candle Pin Bowling Alley is the oldest of its kind and one of the best in the area.

For those new to candlepin bowling, this is his variation of tenpin bowling, which was popular in Worcester in the 1880s.

The pins are longer and thinner, and the balls are smaller, making them harder to beat.

Strikes are very rare in candlepin bowling, but you get 3 throws every time. Generations of bowlers learned the game at the Hanson Bowldrome, which has 12 lanes and still uses manual scoring.  

6. Old South Hanson Station

Old South Hanson Station

Next to the current MBTA commuter rail on Main Street in South Hanson, there are interesting mid-19th-century ruins in the shape of the old South Hanson Station.

This railroad, the same one that the Old Colony Railroad opened, was built in 1845 and has not been in service since the line was closed in 1959.

Even in its neglected state with some windows boarded up, it is a beautiful building with large eaves, carved corbels, and sash windows.

There has been much debate about the station’s future, but at the time of writing this article, the building was not in use. 

7. Burrage Pond Wildlife Management Area

Burrage Pond Wildlife Management Area

In 2002, the state purchased approximately 5,000 acres of cranberry bogs, cedar groves, and wetlands to preserve the rural landscape typical of the South Coast and southeastern Massachusetts in the 20th century.

The Barrage Pond Wildlife Reserves in Hanson and Halifax are easily explored on foot or by bike, crisscrossed by wide, flat trails that were once used to groom the moors.

If you take your time, you’ll notice an amazing diversity of wildlife, from turtles to otters, amphibians, deer, herons, and ospreys.

On the Hanson side, you can hike the Indian Crossway, part of an ancient Native American trail that connected the Taunton and North River divides. 

8. Wampatuck Pond

Wampatuck Pond

Hanson’s city center, City Hall, is located on the north shore of this 150-acre man-made pond at Indian Head Brook.

Wanpatak Pond, named after Wongpatak (c. 1627-1669), the sack of the Matteisett band of Massachusetts Indians, is truly a city landmark.

It is worth noting that the Town Hall is one of the few buildings located on the coast.

The rest are Stadtwald (more on that later), Fern Hill Cemetery, and a small housing development in what used to be a youth camp. There is a small waterfront park by the City Hall parking lot, and you can paddle here and by the cemetery on the West Bank.

There is little development along the embankment, making it a great place to paddle. You can also explore a small canal system dug to feed the cranberry ponds off the south coast. 

9. Cranberry Cove

Cranberry Cove

For those who grew up in and around Hanson, the name Cranberry Cove evokes memories of carefree summer days.

Located on the shores of Maquan Pond, this beach has welcomed swimmers since 1940 and features fine sand, a restricted bathing area, and a small jetty for children to jump off.

Cranberry Cove is part of the city’s Camp Kiwanee, which includes campgrounds and event venues on approximately 70 acres.

Kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals are available on the beach most summers. You can also sign up for a class if you want to improve your paddling skills.  

10. Bay Circuit Trail (BCT)

Bay Circuit Trail (BCT)

The Bay Circuit Trail is a great way to see as much of Hanson’s outdoors as possible. The trail winds through the city on a 330-mile route through Boston’s suburbs.

The trail follows a huge arc from Plum Island in Newburyport to Duxbury on the south coast, making use primarily of existing trails, nature reserves, and public parks.

Running west to east, the trail, marked by white markers, passes through Hanson’s Smith Nawazarski Reserve, via the Indian Crossway, and through Barrage Pond Wildlife Sanctuary.

Pass the beautiful north bank of Wanpatuck Pond via Liberty Street and continue towards Pembroke past the disused Cranberry Ponds of the Alton River. J. Smith Reserve.  

11. Oldham Pond

Oldham Pond

Hanson’s eastern boundary includes part of the shoreline of this 235-acre natural pond fed by the Herring River, a tributary of the North River.

Along with Furnace Pond to the south, Herring Pond is a spawning ground for the Alewife herring, which makes its spectacular journey upriver each spring.

This booming migration since the 20th century can be seen in several locations in nearby Pembroke.

Oldham Pond becomes a veritable recreational area in the summer. People leave their boats and congregate on the beaches of the East Coast to line up for different types of fish. 

12. The Blueberry Farm

The Blueberry Farm

Hanson’s summer staple, Blueberry Farm, is open to the public in July and August, so you can pick your own blueberries.

There are hundreds of shrubs on this sprawling property, and with the blue bucket around your neck, you’ll quickly get used to the rhythm of picking.

Not only can you enjoy the satisfaction of picking the healthiest fruits, but you can also enjoy the idyllic scenery of the farms on the banks of Poorhis Meadows and Brooks. Always wear a hat on hot days. However, the owner provides free cold water for all pickers.  

13. Veterans Memorial Town Forest

Veterans Memorial Town Forest

The hardwood and pine forest on the east bank of Wanpatak Pond was acquired by the city in 1938 and became the first protected area.

Accessed from the trailhead across from Indian Head School on Route 58, the Veterans Memorial Town Forest is a beautiful piece of nature just steps away from the town’s events.

A mile-long, maze-like trail includes part of the Bay Circuit Trail, which takes you to the scenic waterfront later in the day as the sun begins to set. One of the sights to see during a walk here is the giant yellow birch tree.  

14. Channell Homestead Family Farm

Channell Homestead Family Farm

The farm is run by a husband and wife who purchased the land in 2014 and has gradually expanded to offer a range of products, events, and services.

Channell Homestead not only raises Nigerian pygmy goats for milk and sale, but also has an apiary, Wyandot chickens, Swedish blue ducks, Flemish giant rabbits, and more.

Farm stalls sell everything from soaps, balms, and lotions made from organic goat milk to bath bombs, room sprays, and honey.

You can also visit the facility during the warmer months for ticketed events, such as goat yoga and the chance to interact with newborn goat cubs. 

15. Rocky Run Conservation Area

Rocky Run Conservation Area

At the northeast end of Hanson, where Rocky Run Brook meets the Indian Head River, there’s a small but spectacular nature reserve.

Rocky Run Reserve is one of a series of reserves that can be hiked for miles along the banks of the Indian Head River in Hanson, Pembroke, and Hanover.

On the Hanson side, there is a small path that leads to a rock outcrop with great views of the river.

These cliffs are unique to Hanson and at their base are the lowest elevation in the town, just 8 feet above sea level.

Away from the river, an old wagon trail leads through the forest, where the remains of a stone and earth dam can be discovered, a reminder of the area’s early industrial past. increase. 

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