Thursday, January 9, 2020

Decorated Tree in the Woods

On the Assabet River Walk trail, which can be accessed from Concord Street or Colbert Avenue, there is a fifteen foot tall spruce tree. It is the only spruce tree in the entire forest. This December, for the third year in a row, it has been decorated with more than 100 red, silver and gold bulbs. Toward the end of January almost all of the bulbs will be removed. Until then, anyone essaying a walk in the woods gets a surprise. Walking in from the Colbert Avenue end, there are silver decorations every 20-30 yards, in tree branches above or alongside the trail, decreasing in distance between them as the decorated tree nears. Think 'breadcrumbs,' marking the way.

UPDATE: January 18th, before storm, all silver and gold removed (except near the top, which will require a ladder). Also most of the 'breadcrumbs.'

Sometimes winter adds its own decorations in the form of a dusting (or more) of snow. With a bit of snow only the red bulbs stand out, the silver and gold lost against the white snow.

With a lot of snow the whole tree folds up sort of like an umbrella. Snow-covered or not, best effect achieved by approaching the tree from the Colbert Avenue end in the afternoon of a sunny day. Distance from trailhead is about 1/3 mile along a root strewn trail. After rain or thaw there are soggy sections, so best to visit when the ground is dry or frozen.

Mid-January : all non-red bulbs (around 2/3 of total) removed except at top (because that will require  carrying in a ladder). By end of January most of the red will be removed, but a dozen or so will remain until next December. 


  1. I've never heard of this trail and have lived here for 15 years! Is there a recognizable trailhead and parking?

  2. Colbert Ave is a dead end, with parking next to the sign for the trail entrance. Concord St. has a sign, but no parking allowed on Concord. Possible to park on Hird Street and then cross Concord to a sign at the trail entrance. Tree is closer to the Colbert Ave end. Trail will be soggy/wet in parts, so waterproof boots recommended.

  3. Hi David, I recently learned that there was a sizeable pond in the area that is now King Street. I guess it was drained or filled in and houses built on the previous site around 1920 or 1930. Was curious if you know anything more about it from your various research and interest in the outdoors.

  4. Have not heard of that. I have a 1987 topographical map, shows nothing. I know there is drainage from the golf course passing under Concord St, but that is well east of King. I'm thinking - where is the watershed that drained to King, and were is that rainwater going now? Interestingly, the 1879 aerial image of Maynard does not show a pond there, but DOES show a pond about where Emerald Acres and Enterprise Rental Car are.