By Jayne Glennon
Babson Farm Granite Quarry went out of business 85 years ago. Seeping water was no longer removed and the quarry filled. Cut granite walls now enclose an oceanside pond while small trees, bushes and reeds grow wherever possible among the gray and rusty rocks. A World War II fire control tower overlooks the quarry, the Atlantic and much of Cape Ann. The quarry and surrounding land was purchased by the State of Massachusetts together with the Trustees of Reservations and in 1981 Halibut Point State Park opened to the public. About two and a half miles of well maintained trails crisscross this property that is open daily.
A mulch covered path through a woody area led Craig and me from the parking lot ($2 fee) to a "caution quarry" sign. A few yards beyond, over and through bushes, an unusual vista appeared. We were suddenly standing on a granite ledge twenty feet above a pool ringed by continuous sheer granite walls. Beyond the pool rose panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, the northern Massachusetts coastline, the New Hampshire coastline and into Maine. We followed the path left, to fire control tower and building now serving as a visitor's center. The tower was built to aid in aiming defensive guns along the coast during WWII, before the use of radar. I was reminded of an earlier walk at Odiorne Point in Rye, N.H.
We left the visitor's center and followed the self-guide tour stopping at each point to read about and examine the remains of the quarry. After taking in the fantastic views from atop the "Grout Pile," a dumping ground for discarded chunks of granite, we took the ocean path to the rocky shore hearing the thunder of relentless waves crashing against the granite.
After trying just about all of the trails at Halibut Point for a total of more than two and a half miles, we drove to Rockport Harbor and continued our walk among many shops, galleries and restaurants along Dock Square and Bearskin Neck. I ate an overcooked fish special on the roof deck at the 7th Wave restaurant but the setting was lovely and the Sangria tasty. A very nice afternoon adventure less than an hour away.
Halibut Point Trails
- Date: June 6, 2014
- Distance: 2.5-3 miles
- Weather: Partly cloudy
- Fee: $2 parking fee at Halibut Point State Park
- Pets: on leash
- What I liked about this walk: Interesting quarry and self-guided tour, visitor center museum, sweeping ocean and coastline views, good exercise climbing/walking along rocks near the ocean
- What I didn't like about this walk: I loved this place, but for an early season, Friday afternoon it was pretty busy - popular.