The North Central Pathway: Gardner’s Hidden Gem.

It’s been a whopping three weeks since we brought Ezra home from the hospital, and the weather is finally favorable enough to break out the stroller and go for a walk! Ezra and I ventured out into the world and decided to give the old bike path a try, and I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised with the upgrades its received over the past few years.

The North Central Pathway is a bike path that runs from the back of the Gardner Veterans Skating Rink and spits out right in the parking lot of Gardner’s local radio station. The path which if traveled round trip is a solid 1.6 miles in length, has received its fair share of TLC in the past few years. The path has undergone some changes, being cleaned up and made less heavily wooded, one doesn’t feel as if a serial killer is going to jump out at you as you make your way past Crystal lake which provides the area with its drinking water supply.

Adding to the charm of the path are the painted fire hydrants that are scattered throughout, my personal favorite is one painted in the likeness of Burt from Sesame Street, although other characters found on the path include Woodstock and a Dalmatian in a firemen’s hat.

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If you find your feet are getting tired, the Leo Club in Gardner has graciously provided two stone benches along the path for you to rest and take in the scenic views!

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Promoting employee health and wellness, there is a specific wellness path created that leads from Heywood Hospital which the path runs behind, across the path for a distance, and then loops backup to the hospital with clearly marked wooden posts.

Also added to the path rather recently is a bike repair station, a red post stands half way down the path, donated by O’Neil’s Bike Shop, the station has a bike pump as well as a slew of wrenches and tools attached to fix any of your emergent bike needs. The station came in handy just the other day in fact as I tightened the front wheel of my jogging stroller and filled the tires, making our walk significantly more enjoyable.

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It’s clear that community involvement has taken the path from one that was once dark and dreary, and made it into a trail to be proud of. With its natural beauty and the additions put forth by the community, the North Central Pathway is one worth pursuing! Lace up your sneakers and get those legs ready for a walk or run through the Gardner’s hidden gem.


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