Posted by: jeannineatkins | September 10, 2009

The Myth of Whately Glen

I’d heard about the beauty of a grove in our town where legendary picnics were held before my time. When we heard the president of our local historical society had never been there, Whately Walkers, our little group that meets weekly to walk – yes! – and often discuss old houses and new flowers we pass, decided we had to find our way to Whately Glen. The morning began with Paula reading an excerpt from her old WPA guide. We were ready for the Old Man in the Cliff and Maiden’s Leap and a twenty-five foot waterfall.

We parked near a barn.

Then we trekked down the path we’d been told to follow and saw a brook. And a big field of goldenrod and purple asters. Maybe this is it, we said. And agreed it was pretty. But, really, was it Whately Glen? We wandered further, and found a big rock. When we looked hard, there was sort of maybe a face. Could that be the Old Man in the Cliff? We walked some more through the woods, and even over a narrow, ramshackle bridge. “What we’ll do for history,” Paula said.

When we turned around, we agreed we saw what we’d come for, but there was no celebration. The “I’ve Been to Whately Glen!” t-shirts we’d joked about earlier weren’t brought up. There are other woods, brooks, and fields of goldenrod and purple asters around.

So I say thank goodness for story.

And friends you’re happy to go any old where with.

Whately Glen! Maybe one day I’ll be telling my grandchildren about all the good times that were once held there.



  1. Looks like it was a fun day – even if Whately Glen wasn’t all it was cracked up to be!

  2. On a trip back east, my parents & I stopped at a place called Ruby Caverns or Rainbow Caverns. It was inside a cave system, so you walked along this narrow, short path for quite some ways, looking at all the formations (or–if you were me–not looking too much, because you’d just found out you had turned claustrophobic as an adult!) until you came to this HUGE cavern that had been washed open over years by the waterfall in the middle. The fall wasn’t that big, but the scene was gorgeous.
    Until they turned on the colored, flashing lights that gave the place its name. 🙂

  3. We did start with more enthusiasm and leave with less, but that’s the way with myths. I guess it’s the rare bird or flower that surprises us that are the most fun. Have a good weekend!

  4. Yes, that’s what Whately Glen needs! Different lighting!
    That’s quite a memory though. I’d like to go into a cave or two, and hopefully not discover claustrophobia there. It might have been enough for me to tour a retired submarine. Unbelievable that people can live on those underwater.

  5. I think it’s the “Whately Walkers” who deserve their own T-shirt!
    Your adventure brought a smile to my face. A good reminder that it’s the journey that counts, and the company.

  6. Amy, it’s always so nice to hear from you. I hope your back is mending. And you’re staying away from heavy boxes, pumpkins, and too much sweat pea lifting. xo

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