Boston's Emerald Necklace
Click on photos to bring up larger versions
Stretching from the Boston Common downtown to the Arnold Arboretum and Franklin Park in Roslindale and Roxbury, the Emerald
Necklace is one of the oldest series of public parks and parkways in the country. Designed by
Frederick Law Olmsted (better known elsewhere as the designer of New York's Central Park), this
park system brings a welcome respite from hectic city life (See the Frederick Law Olmsted
Web site for more info on Olmsted).
Jewels in the necklace include:
Welcome summertime relief at the Frog Pond
Located between Tremont, Boylston, Charles and Beacon Streets, the Common was founded in 1634 as
a place for Bostonians to graze their livestock. Later, the Puritans used it for hanging Quakers and other heretics. Today, cows are rare, but in the summertime, you'll find plenty of ballplayers, kids enjoying the watersprays at the Frog Pond and office workers loosening
their ties at lunchtime.
Take the Green Line or Red Line to Park Street or the Green Line to Boylston.
What's the deal with the statue of the starving horses?
The Public Garden
Just across Charles Street from the Common, the Public Garden is the
oldest public botanical garden in the country. Features include the Swan
Boats, the world's shortest suspension bridge and larger-than-life statues
of the avian heroes of "Make Way for Ducklings."
Take the Green Line to Arlington Street.
More photos of the Garden
Running west from the Garden to the Muddy River at Charlesgate, the Mall consists of the center strip
of Commonwealth Avenue, as well as a number of statues, including one of Leif Eriksson.
See the Wicked Good Guide to Bizarro Boston's
history page for an explanation of the Eriksson statue.
The Back Bay Fens
The Fens start inauspiciously at the hideous overpass at Charlesgate, then run to the Sears Building at the
start of the Longwood Medical District. Features Victory Gardens where residents raise vegetables
and flowers. Gained fame a few years ago, when a real-life Boston police officer helped a real-life duck
and her ducklings cross a busy road.
From Landmark Center (the former Sears Building) to Rte. 9, it runs along the Muddy River. At Rte. 9, bicyclists and pedestrians
either have to cross Rte. 9 or take their chances with crazed Boston drivers on the Riverway overpass.
From Rte. 9 south to Perkins Street, just before Jamaica Pond. Just south of Rte. 9 is a prime location
for seeing ducks, swans and geese. Some great sledding toward Jamaica Pond.
Boston's first drinking-water reservoir, Jamaica Pond today is a great place to jog or walk. Rent
a sailboat or go to a summertime concert. Some amazing mansions along the Jamaicaway stretch of
Wildlife at the pond
Owned by Harvard University, the Arboretum features thousands of trees, as well as numerous winding paths
for strolling. Lilac Sunday, in May, offers a rare chance to have a picnic on the Arboretum grounds.
Take the Orange Line to Forest Hills.
Arboretum Web site
South of Seaver and Walnut Streets, and the largest single piece of the Necklace (more than 500 acres),
the park includes the Franklin Park Zoo, an 18-hole golf course and hiking trails.
Take the Orange Line to Forest Hills, then the number 16 bus to the zoo.
Zoo New England - runs the zoo.
For more information on the Emerald Necklace, call the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, (617) 635-4505.