Spectacle Island

19 09 2011

MA - Boston - Spectacle Island

    • Location: Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, Boston, MA
    • Owner/Manager: Boston Harbor Islands Partnership/Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
    • Highlights: A scenic walk up the North Drumlin to a fantastic view of Boston Harbor from the tallest hill in the Boston Harbor Islands. Well worth the ferry ride out to the island, which is open part of Spring through Columbus Day.
    • Description: The 105-acre island has had many uses overtime including as a farm, glue factory, landfill and dumping spot for dirt from the Big Dig. The island was initially made of two small drumlins joined by a spit, before it expanded by 36 acres because garbage was dumped on it starting in the 1920s.  The island includes a marina, visitor center with exhibits about the island and a beach for swimming. (Source: National Park Service)
    • Directions: Spectacle Island is an island in Boston Harbor and is not accessible by car. Ferries leave from Long Wharf in Boston.
    • The Trail: 1.56 miles, round trip following the path outlined in the video (to be added in the future)
      1. From the ferry dock, head to left/north to the North Drumlin, following a couple of potential routes.
      2. Return on the same path or explore other routes back. It’s an island, so it is hard to get lost.
    • For an island map, see this PDF.

Peters Hill

27 02 2009

MA - Boston - Peters Hill

  • Location: Arnold Arboretum, Boston, MA
  • Owner: City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department/Harvard University
  • Highlights: A nice afternoon stroll on predominately paved or gravel paths to an urban oasis with a fine view of the Boston skyline
  • Directions (via public transportation): Take the MBTA‘s Orange Line, Needham Commuter Rail Line or various buses to Forest Hills Station.  Exit the station through the bus loading area.  Cross Washington Street at the crosswalk and enter the arboretum at the Washington Street Gate.
  • Directions (via car from Boston): 5.6 miles, 17 minutes
  • All of the gates except Washington Street Gate mentioned on this page have parking of some sort (usually just along the roads’ shoulders).  Thus, this hike can be significantly shorter if one parks on Bussey Street.   
  • The Trail:
    1. From Washington Street Gate, follow Blackwell Path to its intersection with South Street.
    2. Cross South Street (has vehicular traffic) and pass through the South Street Gate onto a wide paved pathway.
    3. After a short distance, bear left at a split onto Hemlock Hill Road (no vehicular traffic).
    4. Follow Hemlock Hill Road as it winds past various tree species until reaching Bussey Street (has vehicular traffic) at the Bussey Street Gate. 
    5. Cross Bussey Street, re-entering the reservation at Peters Hill Gate.
    6. Follow Peters Hill Road (no vehicular traffic) until it come to a T.
    7. Straight ahead is a relatively steep unmarked dirt trail that leads to the top of Peters Hill and a fantastic view.  NOTE: At the T, one can also take a right and follow that path uphill to another on the right that leads to the summit.  This is slightly longer but a little less steep. 
    8. Return along the same route or explore some of the other trails in the arboretum.
  • Here is a link to a trail map (PDF file).  Trail maps are not available at any of the gates specifically mentioned on this page.