by Kezia Bacon, Correspondent
Enjoying nature doesn’t have to involve vigorous activity. While hiking, paddling and mountain biking are excellent ways to experience the outdoors while also raising your heart rate, there’s something to be said for the gentler pursuits, whether it’s strolling, wading, or just sitting. This month’s column features 12 beautiful places that invite you to “just sit.” Check them out and enjoy the view!
Also, be sure to keep up with our 2022 Explore South Shore Challenge. Each week, we suggest a different outdoor activity. This month’s themes include: Pick Your Own Blueberries, Swim in a River or Pond, Take a Firefly Walk, and Identify a Dragonfly! To help you meet these challenges, every day in July we’ll feature a relevant property on Instagram and Facebook. Post photos from your adventures to Instagram with the hashtag #ExploreSouthShore. Each month we randomly select a winner from the posts to receive a prize package.
Butterfly Garden, Abington
This tiny park on the Shumatuscacant River is an enchanting spot to observe the natural world. Created in 2001 and maintained by the Abington Garden Club, it features plantings that are especially attractive to butterflies. Limited parking at 833 Central Street.
This grassy, tree-lined, 24-acre historic district in the James Brook watershed is a lovely spot for picnic or a short stroll. Bordered by churches, private homes, and the Town Hall, it was designated as public land in 1670, when Cohasset was part of the Town of Hingham. Limited on-street parking on some perimeter streets, plus additional parking at Cohasset Town Hall (Highland Ave.).
Bumpus Park, Duxbury
Located on historic Weston Wharf, this small grassy park offers gorgeous views of Duxbury Bay. A short gravel path leads to a bench overlooking the water. Interpretive signage tells the story of Ezra “King Caesar” Weston II. His home, across the street, is now overseen by the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society. Limited roadside parking on King Caesar Road.
Indian Head River Trails, Hanover
The Indian Head River Trail network extends for 2 miles, with numerous opportunities for adventure and exploration. But if it’s simply serenity you seek, park yourself on the bench toward the end of the trail, not far from the Cross/State Street Bridge. A short path leads from the parking area to a secluded bend in the river. Designated parking on Cross/State Street.
Governor Long Bird Sanctuary, Hingham
Located on a grassy hilltop overlooking Hingham Harbor, this property features a forested hillside sloping down to marshland and a stream. Named for John D. Long, who once had a home at this spot and served as the 34th Governor of Massachusetts (1880-1883). Limited on-site parking with access off Cottage Street.
Mary’s Garden, Marshfield
Drive to the end of Cornhill Lane and look for the bench overlooking the marsh and the North River. This tiny “pocket park” was named for Mary Eliot, a staunch supporter of river conservation efforts who lived nearby. It is also the site of Rogers Shipyard (1790-1819), where the Pacific Trader, the only snow-rigged vessel of record on the North River, was built. Limited on-site parking.
Luddam’s Ford Park, Pembroke
In recent years, the Town of Pembroke has installed numerus benches at this pleasant park on the Indian Head River. Enjoy views of the water, the fish ladder, and the forest that surrounds it. Today, Luddam’s Ford Park is serene and naturally beautiful. It is hard to imagine that only 150 years ago, the area was a booming industrial complex, home to the Clapp Rubber Works. Limited on-site parking on West Elm Street.
Town Brook Park, Plymouth
Prior to European settlement, the Patuxet Wampanoag established a pathway along this brook. When the Pilgrims arrived in 1620, they built their homes near the stream, to make use of its fresh water supply. Today, it’s the location of a grassy park with a pond and a half-mile, mostly paved walkway which extends past the Plimoth Grist Mill, through Brewster Gardens to Pilgrim Memorial State Park. Numerous benches offer places to pause and enjoy the view, or perhaps to watch for alewife herring swimming upstream in the spring! Limited on-site parking on Spring Lane.
Studley Pond, Rockland
Also known as Reed’s Pond, this quiet spot near Rockland’s bustling town center was created in 1705 when the French brothers built a dam on French’s Stream. It has been home to a mill, a box factory, an ice company, and a swimming pavilion, as well as a station on the Underground Railroad. Look closely along the shoreline for evidence of the past. Now it’s a great spot for fishing, paddling, and enjoying the view! Limited on-site parking with an access road to the left of the CVS on Market Street (Route 123).
Lawson Common, Scituate
Visit between Memorial Day and Labor Day so you won’t miss this park’s most endearing feature, a seasonal water fountain with an elephant theme. This grassy spot in the Satuit Brook watershed features numerous war memorials and benches, plus inviting shade trees. It is named for Thomas Lawson, who established a country estate in Scituate named Dreamwold. No dedicated parking, but look for short-term parking on town-owned property nearby.
Great Hill Park, Weymouth
Drive up to the top of Great Hill and enjoy the breathtaking view of the Boston skyline! This grassy hilltop park in the Fore River watershed offers benches and a picnic area — a great spot to contemplate the natural world. A historic marker honors the colony of Wessagusset, and refers to the tense relationship between European settlers and native tribes at that time. The 1623 Massacre at Wessagusset took the lives of aboriginal leaders Wituwamat and Pecksuot, who are interred nearby at Old North Cemetery. Ample on-site parking on Bradley Road.
Established in 1880 and designed by the Olmsted Brothers, this 14-acre park near the center of town features a pond with a fountain, stately shade trees, broad walking trails, and benches, plus athletic fields and a playground. Numerous parking spaces along Whitman Ave., adjacent to the park.
Kezia Bacon’s articles appear courtesy of the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, a local non-profit organization devoted to protecting our waters. For membership information and a copy of their latest newsletter, contact NSRWA at (781) 659-8168 or visit www.nsrwa.org. You will also find 25+ years of Kezia’s Nature columns there. Click here for more information about the 2022 Explore South Shore Challenge.
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