Rochester’s Mary’s Pond and Fond Memories of My Youth
Oh, to return to the days of my youth and the hours spent thrashing around in the cooling waters of Rochester's Mary's Pond.
Mary's Pond played a significant role in my childhood. It was where my family sought refuge on hot summer days when I was a kid in the 1960s. We were there a lot, sometimes three or four times a week.
During the week, my aunts Ella and Shirley would watch my brother and me while my parents worked. They would pack all of us kids into the car, and off to Mary's Pond we would go. On Sundays, the entire family, including my parents, the aunts, uncles, cousins, and even Nana and Gramps would make the pilgrimage to Mary's Pond from New Bedford.
You knew you were getting close when you took the left fork onto Mary's Pond Road and approached the yellow buildings associated with East Over Farms.
These Sunday excursions would involve charcoal grills, enough hamburgers, hot dogs, and linguica to feed an army, inflatable truck tire tubes, lawn chairs, and oodles of suntan oil. We didn't block back then.
Sometimes we'd get french fries and ice cream from the food counter across the street near the parking lot and the entrance to the Peter's Pond Campground in the woods behind.
Sundays were meant for family gatherings when I was a kid. We had no malls yet, the stores were closed, and practically no one had to work on Sunday. Some of the most memorable days of my life were at Mary's Pond. I learned how to swim there.
Swimming is no longer allowed at Mary's Pond. A Town of Rochester Conservation Department map indicates that access to the pond is restricted. Kayaks and fishing are permitted.
According to the Buzzard's Bay Coalition's website, Mary's Pond is a natural kettle hole created by receding glaciers during the last ice age. Who knew? I thought it was just a fun place to swim, catch small fish and frogs, and bond with cousins who remain lifelong friends.
Did your family spend time at Mary's Pond in Rochester when you were growing up? Share your memories with us.