BELLINGHAM — Marjorie Turner Hollman woke up paralyzed after a surgery to remove a brain tumor nearly 30 years ago. Adjusting to her new life posed several challenges.
“I started writing because there wasn’t much else I could do,” she said. “I didn’t have easy answers. I just wrote stories.”
“My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Finding the Sacred in Everyday (and some very strange) Places” is the fifth book in Turner Hollman’s easy walk series.
Her newest book focuses on healing post-surgery, regaining her ability to walk, and how everyone — including those with mobility issues — can enjoy the outdoors.
“It was a real blessing to figure out that even in constricted circumstances, I had things to give. And that’s really life-giving,” said Turner Hollman.
Since her surgery, she has regained considerable mobility. Today, she journeys on her easy walk trails with hiking poles and enjoys picking blueberries in her backyard.
Turner-Hollman wrote the first installment of the series — “Easy Walks in Massachusetts" — in 2013. It was inspired by a series of articles she wrote for the Bellingham Bulletin called "Naturally New England," where she would report on a local trail once a month.
Tired of the “newsie” angle, Turner Hollman left the paper and started a blog. Her website has expanded from just the blog to offering workshops on how to find easy walks, self-publishing and more.
When searching for easy walks Turner Hollman encourages readers to check out a trail kiosk in their town or the Trustees of Reservations website for details and contact information. But “the first thing is to be willing to explore.”
Alternatives include having someone with greater mobility scout the area first or look to a local Audubon Society for “all-person trails” — which are specifically designed to be completely accessible.
Her private Facebook group, "Easy Walks, Massachusetts, RI and Beyond," started as a way to market her book and now has more than 12,700 members.
Below are five of Turner Hollman’s easy-walk recommendations in Greater Milford and MetroWest
Upper Charles Trail, Milford
This 25-mile trail encompasses Milford, Ashland, Sherborn, Holliston and Hopkinton — the towns are linked by an abandoned CSX rail bed. For children and those with mobility issues, there are 6.6 miles of paved trail.
The Upper Charles Trail has four parking lots, one of which is off Granite Street in Milford. Here is a link for detailed parking directions.
Sculpture Park, Franklin
Sculpture Park covers a little over an acre and bends around a pond where you can see beautiful wildlife and local artwork (most of which is created by students at the Franklin Art Center). The park opened in 2014 and was built on the grounds of a former town swimming pool. Turner Hollman said the walk to the dam is “short, but wonderful.”
Sculpture Park is on Panther Way.
The Hidden Charles Trail, Bellingham
One of Turner-Hollman’s favorite walks in Bellingham is the “Hidden Charles Trail.” Walk to the back of the athletic fields on High Street and you’ll find a half-mile trail that takes you to the Charles River shore.
“It’s hard to even know that the Charles is even in town,” she said.
She writes about her experience along this hidden trail in a blog post. Others who are interested in discovering this spot may find parking off of Maple Street.
Southern New England Trunkline Trail, Bellingham
The Southern New England Trunkline Trail (also called the SNETT) is about 22 miles and travels from the Franklin State Forest to the Douglas State Forest. It is a recreational trail that parallels a former railroad corridor.
The Bellingham portion has a handicapped accessible, crushed stone dust trail. In comparison to pavement, the dust makes the trail easier to walk on, Turner Hollman said.
She adds that Bellingham’s Center Street to Lake Street “is a great place” to find trails like these. Also, as a grandmother of five, Turner Hollman said the SNETT is fun for all ages.
The SNETT can be accessed at 95 Newland Ave. in Bellingham. Here is a link for more information about the trail.
Mass Central Rail Trail, Weston
The Mass Central Rail Trail is 48.4 miles long, with 3 miles of it running through the north side of Weston.
The trail is a multi-use recreational path that welcomes walkers, joggers, bicyclists, horseback riders and more.
It is a part of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation plans to create a 25-mile long rail trail from Berlin to Waltham.
Parking can be found off Church Street in Weston.
This article originally appeared on The Milford Daily News: Bellingham author lists five "easy walks" in Greater Milford