by FreeFoodBoston - 20 Reviews - 56 List
While Boston might be an urban jungle, there are nooks and crannies of natural beauty scattered about--both in the city and just a quick hop, skip and jump outside Boston. Fulfill your need to run through the trees, forage for wild edibles, and relax and enjoy nature with our list of best nature-focused Boston daytrips. (Photo: Garden in the Woods by FreeFoodBoston)
Updated: September 16, 2011
Forget the number of farms located close to Boston; there's a farm that's practically IN Boston. Allandale Farm sits on the border between Boston and Brookline. In operation for more than 250 years, it holds the title as the last working farm in Boston, so you get a bit agricultural beauty as well as history. Stop by in the spring for hardy perennials at the garden center. In summer and fall, the farm stand overflows with vegetables and fresh cut flowers. And in the winter, you can pick up a Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas tree.
Jamaica Pond is part of that invaluable chain of greenery in Boston, the Emerald Necklace. It serves as a catchall for outdoors activities. Hill for hiking? Check. Running paths? Check. Sailing? Check. The 62-acre pond has it all. You can even go fishing--every year the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife stocks the pond. And a fun bit of trivia: The pond has the distinction of being the largest body of water within the city of Boston.
For those who want some elevation in their hike, there is the Blue Hills Reservation, just a few miles from downtown Boston. You can even get there via subway and bus. The reservation boasts 22 hills, the highest of which reaches 635 feet and provides views of the Greater Boston area. Being less than a mile from the coast, the park offers unparalleled views of Boston Harbor as well.
Some expanses of natural beauty are too vast to be contained within a city. A half-hour car ride will get you to Garden in the Woods, operated by the New England Wildflower Society. The space is a a public botanic garden and the largest landscaped collection of wildflowers in the Northeast. A series of walking paths and trails wind through this serene yet vibrant oasis of brightly colored flora. The coolest part may be the wildlife. Butterflies, frogs and--if you're lucky--reptilian creatures dot the landscape.
If you're like most city folk, you have little room to grow plants. That one window that lets in some sunlight barely supports a tiny basil plant, much less fruit or vegetables. Feed your green thumb at Verrill Farm in historic Concord. Come June, its strawberry patch is ripe for the picking. There's even a strawberry festival complete with music, hay rides and strawberry shortcake. Did we mention hay rides?