Where: Bobby's Ranch, behind Nagog Park, Route
119/2A, Acton. 978-263-7165. bobbysranch.com
Our 12-year-old daughter Athena (above) loves horses so much that she claims she would rather muck out a stable than tidy her bedroom -- and I believe her. She still has to clean her room, though. To stave off a case of severe equine withdrawal, we decided to spend a little time on horseback recently, and the folks at Bobby's Ranch in Acton provided both horses and picture-perfect scenery.
We were greeted by Bobby himself, who built the enormous barn and founded the ranch in 1972; the family-owned business is open year-round every day except Tuesdays, with guided trail rides leaving every hour from 9 a.m. until dusk. The trail rides cost $30 per person during the week, $35 on weekends and holidays; Bobby suggests you call first so he can make sure he has enough horses at the ready.
The rides are geared toward those who have little experience and/or just want to meander over some truly beautiful trails -- galloping and racing are not allowed, and customers must be at least 4 feet tall to ride. The height restriction left our two youngest children out, or so we thought until we arrived at the ranch and discovered more horses (the ranch is home to about 60, Bobby says), ponies, chickens, friendly dogs, Gwendolyn the buffalo, and preening peacocks that provided plenty of entertainment while we waited for the big kids to complete their hourlong ride. And by "plenty of entertainment" I mean "our toddler actually refused to leave." [More]>
Yes, that's her in the picture, happy and sweaty, post-trail ride. We'll be going back soon, I'm sure!