By Alex del Tufo
I was born a city person. I know more than a few Boston University students who grew up surrounded by trees, corn fields or the ocean and wanted nothing more than to get into a major city. The inactivity of rural life pulls may of us toward the energy and excitement of city living. My first couple months in Boston, I did nothing but venture up and down the green line, thrilled by the busyness of it all. But my first trip home over Thanksgiving break brought up feelings about my hometown I’d never felt. I cherished walking my dog in the woods behind my house and driving down winding back roads between miles of cornfields. It was a breath of fresh air. I am still wholeheartedly a city person, but finding the escape of nature in Boston has made it home. These are a few of my favorite places to get away from the bustle of the city, in or around Boston.
The Arnold Arboretum
The Arnold Arboretum is one of the largest green spaces in the city of Boston and is spread over the neighborhoods of Jamaica Plain and Roslindale. It’s a great place to simply walk among the trees and lose sight of the city, especially during fall foliage. The Arboretum also has an incredible lookout with a view of the entire Boston skyline. It is accessible by the Orange Line and parking is available.
As most Boston residents know, Walden Pond was the inspiration for Henry Thoreau’s book, “Walden.” It’s distance from the city and serene water makes it the perfect spot to relax with a book (maybe even “Walden” if you’re feeling clever). Walden Pond is unfortunately difficult to visit via the MBTA, so a car or Zipcar is easiest. The pond is about a 20-minute drive outside the city in Concord.
Boston Common/Public Garden (duh)
This one may be obvious, but if you haven’t spent an afternoon reading a book by the Public Garden pond, you haven’t truly experienced the relaxation Boston Common/Public Garden can offer. Although it is — quite literally — in the middle of the city, the Common feels like an escape. One afternoon, I brought my book down to the Public Garden and sat by the pond under a tree to read for two hours. Despite having the skyscrapers and tourists surrounding me, I still felt the breath of fresh air I needed.
Outside the downtown Boston area, but still within city limits, Jamaica Pond is a beautiful spot to go for a run, walk or just relax by the water. Jamaica Pond is in the Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain and is a part of Boston’s Emerald Necklace. The Emerald Necklace is the chain of green spaces across the city that are somewhat connected in a “necklace” formation.