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Urban Safari: Spring in Boston

Time to put away the parka!

Los Angeles may have wonderful weather all year around, but we prefer the joy of the few perfect Spring and Fall days in New England…

Castle Island (February)

February is not yet Spring, but the weather was nice enough that we went for a walk around the Sugar Bowl and Castle Island. It was one of those days between Nor’easters and some intrepid folks were having some fun with the wind. Not quite a “beach day,” but we take what we can get in Boston!!! Here is a clip of the kite-sailors in action.

Boston Marathon (April)

Men’s Wheels

Technically Spring begins March 20th, but to many people everybody in New England the Boston Marathon (on April 18th this year) is the marker for Spring. This premier endurance event starts in Hopkinton and ends in Boston on Boylston Street, right in front of the Boston Public Library. This year’s race was remembered for more than the typical grueling conditions. Heavy rain poured down and there were wind gusts of more than 25 miles an hour, along with the coldest temperatures in the last 30 years. Such were the conditions which greeted the participants in the 122nd running of this annual race.

Elite Women and Elite Men

Plymouth Rock (April)

We were down in Plymouth MA in late April for a Craigslist transaction, and because it was such a beautiful day, decided to take a stroll along the town brook up to the Plimoth Grist Mill. The water powering the Mill is from the Town Brook. Note the clear water and the brownish bed. Closer to the mill the brownish bed disappeared and the surface looked rippled.

Looking closer, the “ripples” were actually the bodies of fish packed up against each other!!! Evidently we accidentally stumbled upon a herring run!

The photo below is a clearer view of the density of the herrings in the brook. All of the herrings, each about a foot long, were heading in the same direction up toward the Mill!

Jamaica Pond (May)

Jamaica Pond is one of the gems of the Emerald Necklace and Spring is when it really sparkles.

When we first came to Boston in the early ’80s, the Pond was not always the safest place to be. The area has gone through a lot of positive changes, and today it is an urban oasis and a vibrant gathering spot for all who live in the area.

This kettle pond is about 1.5 miles around and is ringed with flowering trees and shrubs, an abundance of water fowl, and is home to lots of urban wildlife.

And Goslings. Who doesn’t love goslings?

Swans have always been present at Jamaica Pond. We know the ones in the Boston Public Garden  “winters” at the Franklin Park Zoo. Our assumption is that the ones in Jamaica Pond do as well. While we don’t really know if that is true, we do know they reappear at the Pond in early Spring. This year was no different.

Wollaston Beach (April)

To celebrate OUR First Day of Spring, we went to the Clam Box on Wollaston Beach in Quincy for lunch.

We had an unsuccessful attempt in going to the Clam Box on their announced opening day back in March, but it was a failure as it was right after one of the Nor’easters and there was water and sand everywhere. Our second outing was a lot more successful: fried clams, onion rings, cole slaw, and one big-ass lobster roll!!!

To work up an appetite for all that seafood (we knew better than to think we would go for a walk AFTER), we took a stroll down the Beach’s “sidewalk.” Even though it was late in April, none of the vegetation had really started their Spring growth. Still, there were some interesting colors on the marsh side of Wollaston beach.

Arnold Arboretum (May)

There is no better place to enjoy the emergence of Spring in Boston than to visit the Arnold Arboretum. We were there at the beginning of May and returned a few weeks later. What this taught us was that you can go any day in May and something spectacular will be blooming somewhere on its grounds.

Flowering trees are breathtakingly beautiful, but shrubs and bushes can be equally dramatic, especially when different flowering ones are clustered together in a colorful spray. It is a joy to come upon them when rounding a curve on the trail.

If you wanted to not only see amazing blooms but also overwhelm your olfactory senses, then the Arboretum’s Lilac Sunday is the event for you. It is always held on Mother’s Day.

Pro tip: If you want to avoid the crowds, go on the Friday before Lilac Sunday. Also, a very nice person told us that there are early, middle, and late bloomers on the Arboretum’s “lilac street” and that the blooms would actually be around for around three weeks.

Farmer’s Market (June)

Spring in New England also marks the return of the outdoor Farmer’s Market, and the one in Roslindale reopened on the 1st of June and runs every Saturday until late November.

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