The rest
of Hidden Boston:

Jamaica Plain
Galleries and antiquarian bookstores, Irish pubs and Hispanic bodegas are at the center of a melting pot bordered by woods and ponds.

The Chestnut Hill pumping stations
Possibly the most beautiful public structures in America.

Museum of Bad Art
A roomful of really, really bad art. In Dedham, conveniently located just a couple blocks from the Dedham Mall and the Norfolk County Courthouse (where Sacco and Vanzetti were convicted).

Tank's for the memories
One of the world's largest pieces of art, off the Southeast Expressway (OK, this one's not exactly hidden, but we bet you won't find it in Fodor's).

The Jackson Homestead
Classic example of Federalist architecture and a stop on the Underground Railway in Newton.

Charlestown historic houses
Take an online tour of the neighborhood's houses, which date back to the 1700s.

Stonybrook Reservation

Stroll into the reservation and after a couple of minutes' walking it's easy to forget that you're still within Boston's city limits - and hard to imagine how Boston wound up with a 500-acre forest.

Take the West Roxbury Parkway south, and you eventually cross busy Washington Street and enter the reservation on Enneking Parkway (sometimes called Turtle Pond Parkway). Go about 7/10ths of a mile in and look for a small, closed off parking lot on your right. Pull in there (even with the closed gate, there's enough room for three or four vehicles). Cross the road and continue on foot in the same direction.

You'll come to a short path that leads to a small dock jutting into Turtle Pond. Look for frogs - and the turtles that give the pond its name. You might see some ducks, as well. Then settle down on the dock for some serious solitude - if you need to just unwind for a few minutes, this is the place. There's rarely anybody else there - maybe some retired guy from Hyde Park out for a little fishing.

At night, bring a flashlight to find your way to the dock, then look up at the stars (this was a good place to see Comet Hyukatake) - although be aware that the reservation officially closes at dusk (the parkway is a major connector between Hyde Park and the rest of Boston, though, so unlike other on other state lands, the road is always open). In the fall, look across the pond at some beautiful foliage.

To get more of the forest experience, get back on the parkway and continue away from Washington Street. You'll come to an intersection. Turn left. About 3/10ths of a mile on the left, turn into the small parking area. A paved path leads into the woods. Take the left fork for a walk toward the pond. Take the right path for a walk deep into the woods, where you'll see some dramatic examples of the glacial forces that shaped much of eastern Massachusetts - boulders perched precariously atop hillocks. Look around - as with Turtle Pond, chances are there's nobody nearby. That the Metropolitan District Commission, which owns the reservation, does little to maintain or promote it, has some benefits.

FYI

The MDC has its own Stony Brook Reservation page with some additional information. Don't believe the part about picnic tables, though. The MDC cut down most of the trees on 25 acres on the Hyde Park side to put up a recreational complex (ballfields, a swimming pool and a hockey rink). This is the only part of the reservation that seems to get regular maintenance - including the installation and care of picnic tables. There are no picnic tables, or much of anything, in the forested part of the reservation.

Map

Getting there:

By public transportation

By car - Take the Jamaicaway/VFW Parkway (same road, a.k.a. Rte. 1) south to the West Roxbury Parkway rotary. Follow the signs to West Roxbury/Roslindale, which puts you on the West Roxbury Parkway. You'll come to another rotary; veer right next to the police station (which looks more like an overgrown blue Colonial than a police station). At Washington Street, the parkway changes name to Enneking Parkway and you enter the reservation.

Nearby:

Jamaica Plain | Museum of Bad Art, Dedham


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