Nice view of Wachusett from Rollstone Hill, but where are the colors?

I was heartened this morning by a story about the fall foliage on the front page of the Sentinel and Enterprise. They even had a couple of pictures of brightly-colored trees, to help make the point. So, after dinner, I decided to head out to see for myself.

This time I went someplace I hadn’t been to in a while – the old quarries at the top of Rollstone Hill in Fitchburg. I was in for a couple of surprises.

First, the old dirt access road off Pratt Road was now a paved driveway with a new house at the end of it. But just past the house there was a gate, and the road continued – not the old path I remembered – but a wider and graded dirt road. It led to a new communication tower. There were signs of recent quarrying, too.

Like I said, it’s been a while.

Eventually the improved roadway ended, and it was back to the old paths I remembered.

The top of the hill is strewn with huge, jagged chunks of granite, left behind after the quarries closed in the 1940s. It was up here that the famous Rollstone Boulder used to sit, perched above the city. The 110-ton boulder was left there by the glaciers 10,000 years ago. During the 1920s, people began to worry that with all the quarry work, it might roll down into the city.

So they did the only sensible thing. The boulder was blown up and re-assembled on a traffic island at a busy intersection at the end of the Upper Common.

Back to my search for brilliant fall foliage. Newspaper stories notwithstanding, there wasn’t any.

It was fun scrambling around the big rocks. The hill dominates the surrounding landscape, and offers great views. But once again, there was hardly any bright foliage color. What colors there were, were muted.

I’ll just have to try again next weekend.