Friday, September 03, 2010

Only On The Map - Beechwood Corners and Wyman Hill

At Richmond, I ducked down Rte 32 to get a look at Wyman Hill, just over the border in MA. A side road offered no vistas, so it was necessary to continue on into Mass, when the road passes right by it. The peak was so close to the road, in fact, that I was envisioning a steep, if small, pinnacle on my left as I crossed over. Both sides were forested as the road rose and twisted, so crane as I might, I couldn't see the top. I started descending into Royalston, a bit disappointed. Only as I reached a turnaround outside of town did it occur to me that Wyman Hill was not a knob just off the road - Wyman Hill was what I had just driven over. The peak-mark on the map identified the highest point of a fairly flat-topped hill. Crossing past on the way back, I saw this was clearly so. The ground to my right rose gently to a spot about 20 feet higher.

My connection to these Wymans would not be direct. However, the first settlers of the area were likely not far removed from the immigrant ancestors, John and Francis Wyman in 1634. Puritans came to America young, with children in tow, then had a bunch more once they got here. Settlers in 1740's were likely great-grandchildren of the first Wymans. I digress.

But I digress to avoid actually coming to the next section. I have no photos of Beechwood Corners to show you. I went right by it without seeing it, even though I was looking. There was an intersection with Prospect Hill Rd that marks it, but I don't recall that. Checking up on mapquest later, I still can't find it. No houses or businesses, no historical markers, no anything. It is right on the boundary between Richmond and Fitzwilliam, but neither town mention it on their websites. So this one really is Only On The Map.

I trundled along right into Fitzwilliam, a town I don't recall ever being in. It fairly drips with New England charm. Drips in a good way. There is no false nostalgia here, no faux colonialism, as we will see in other towns nearby. Town green, churches a little down-at-the-heels but still in use, roads that go a bit inconveniently from one spot to the next, an old inn, an historical society and small museum hanging on. You could pass up some of these other towns and stay here and not be disappointed, though there are no obvious tourist draws.

No comments: