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Top 3 Ghost Town Hikes: Dogtown, MA

walk 10 miles of demise carved in stone.

In the mid 1700s, the area known as the Commons Settlement was home to Cape Ann’s burgeoning upper crust. As many as 200 people lived in this boulder-strewn flatland until just after the Revolutionary War, when the wealthy moved nearer to the coast. The neighborhood spiraled downward after that, earning the dubious moniker Dogtown; authorities evicted the last holdout in 1830. Walk the dirt road into the old town square, now just a hole-pocked clearing, and bear right at .3 mile to wind past motto-inscribed, glacier-deposited stones on the Babson Boulder Trail. Then wander the 10-plus-mile network of abandoned roads and trails that winds through sparse woodlands. Watch for cellar holes and chiseled exhortations to “get a job” and “stay out of debt” that feel oddly judgmental for a town that couldn’t help itself. 

Slurp a bowl of red-and-white clam chowder at Halibut Point in Gloucester. (978) 281-1900

The Way
From Gloucester, go north .7 mile on MA 127, right on Poplar, left on Cherry, and right on Dogtown.

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