I’ve been on the hunt for short hikes near work that can consume my lunch time hour. I’ve driven by a sign on Brown Ave in Manchester that says “Pine Island Park” more times than I can count. But it didn’t really mean anything to me until I came across an article regarding some short hiking trails on the grounds. After doing some quick research, I was shocked to learn that it was actually the historical location of a pretty popular amusement park that has long since been removed.
The entrance to the park is located on Brown Ave. in Manchester and there are signs facing both directions of the road so you can’t miss it. There’s a small parking area in front of a pretty large children’s playground. Behind the playground is a small field area with benches and picnic tables. On the north end of the park, I noticed two kiosks right away that headed up two different trails.
The first kiosk had information for Moore Cemetery which was located at the end of the short Moore’s Cemetery Trail. I took a quick walk down there but since it was a bit spooky, I snapped a couple photos and quickly took another trail east which hooked into the trail network around the park.
This trail followed a small brook a ways and connected with the Lake Trail which is the main trail that hugs Pine Pond. It was clear that the forest portion of the park is a hangout for teens as it was littered with trash (lots of beer cans) and graffiti. In the woods, I found some wooden beams placed in a hill, setup like old bleachers. Also, parallel with some of the Lake Trail were wooden beams in place outlining an old walkway or sidewalk that was grown in. I love finding historical features in the woods!
The trail then ran parallel to the banks of Pine Pond. It looked like it was a great place to cast a rod. There was also a great rope swing stage setup, although I’m not sure how people retrieved the rope as it was high and hanging directly over the pond. Someone also got creative with a tree that had fallen over the banking into the water. It was carved out flat on the top like a homemade dock or plank to sit on.
Once the Lake Trail pulls away from the bank of the pond, it enters back into the rear of the park area, creating a quick 0.5 mile loop or so. Overall, this is a very nice park and has historical significance which I think is great. When you keep your eyes peeled through the woods, you can find some of the historical footprint that was once there. I was hoping to find old, grown-in roller coasters and merry-go-rounds, but I guess that has all been removed!
When looking up the history, I found some interesting information. Pine Pond was actually man made by flooding the area between the years of 1892 and 1902. The park was opened in 1902 and closed in 1963. They had roller coasters, dances, stunt acts, etc. One article I read that was interesting said it may be haunted or cursed due to the misfortunes through the years of injuries and deaths on the grounds. But many remember the park for its fun times. If you’d like to read more on the park, please check out the below links. It is certainly interesting
Historic photos below compliments of sites mentioned above!