We recently read about a campaign called First Day Hikes, which was encouraging people to get out and explore the outdoors on the first day of the New Year. The program was actually started here in Massachusetts and there were 6 or 7 state parks organizing hikes to ring in 2017 around the state. The timing of those hikes didn't work out for us, so instead we opted to celebrate our own way with a "Last Day Hike" on the last day of 2016.
A couple we had met in a restaurant a few months back had told us about the Gibbet Hill Trail and the stunning views at Bancroft's Castle. We had discussed going there many times but didn't quite make it till now. It was a little challenging finding the trail-head, especially with a fresh covering of snow, since it is just a small pull-off on the side of Lowell Road by some stone pillars. You can start the hike at the Gibbet Hill Grill and Barn parking lot too if you can't find parking at the main entrance.
Due to the colder temps, we were just looking for a casual walk/hike and didn't complete the entire trail. We headed up the hill to explore the Castle and then almost over as far as the cell tower (shown on trail map link below). At that point we turned around and headed back to the castle for a mini picnic in the snow before heading back to the car to warm up. In total we probably hiked about .75 miles.
Since Gibbet Hill is close by, this is definitely a spot we will come back to each season to take in the different views offered.