Peabody Mills/Joe English

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As a kid, I spent most of my summers in summer camp at Joe English Conservation in Amherst, NH. On the premises is the Peabody Mills Environmental Center (PMEC), which is where a lot of my camp memories are. Going back as an adult is a surreal experience. For one, I remember a lot of the trails. There are over 600 acres of land to explore and dozens of trails, yet I could tell you where each one ends up. It’s very weird.

I did all sorts of camps there when I was younger. The highlights include one where we learned about survival in the woods. Then there was the capture the flag one where they literally set us free in the 600 acres and were like “play capture the flag, have fun!”. Then my top fave, Wet n’ Wild! It’s what it sounds like. We got to swim and play in the water around the property.

Anyway, I digress. One thing I remember from camp that remains true, is that it is super buggy. There are a lot of marshy wetlands so the bugs have a fiesta every time they see a human, so bring the bug spray! When you get there, you’ll see on trail off of the parking lot. If you’re looking for another trail, walk up the road with the building on your left and head down that trail. It stops about 3/4 of a mile down but it’s gorgeous so I recommend taking it. You’ll notice before you get to the end, the trail splits off. After you get to the end, head back towards the parking lot but take that trail which will bring you to the parking lot!

Another trail head is located behind the pond that’s on your right as you pull up to the parking lot. You’ll see a little red shed, if you bear right at the shed, there’s another trail across the bridge back there. There’s a short loop that’ll take you past an old mill foundation if you keep left.

Overall, I think Joe English is a great place to explore. There are a lot of hidden gems and the trails are pretty easy and well marked. Great for kids or those looking to get into hiking! Get there early, the lots tend to fill up but the place is so big you’ll hardly every run into anyone. Also, if you have kids in the area, highly recommend their summer camps once it’s safe to do so!

Happy hiking!

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