PALMER, Mass. (WWLP) – For the second day in a row, western Massachusetts was dealing with record-high temperatures; more than a week before Memorial Day, and well before the opening of any municipal pools.
But no matter how hot it gets early in the season, people in Palmer cool off at Forest Lake; a private property used by anyone who wants to take a dip and cool off.
Cristina Feinberg has been coming to Forest Lake since she was a child.
“Very relaxing, nice day off; beats sitting on the couch!” Feinberg said.
Because Forest Lake is privately-owned but publicly used, there are no lifeguards on duty to protect swimmers. But that has never been a problem for children who grew up making Forest Lake their summertime second home.
“We usually went with friends, so everybody was watching out for each other. So yeah, we always had a good time,” Daniel Hull of Palmer said.
Just up the road, Dick Rondeau, owner of Rondeau’s Dairy Bar, is something of a Forest Lake historian. He traced the lake’s roots as a community landmark.
“Way back after the Civil War, to bring the people from Springfield to do something during the summer; such as Holyoke did it with Mountain Park,” Rondeau said.
All that is gone now, and all that remains is Forest Lake; a favorite place for eastern Hampden County residents to cool off on a hot day.