Wednesday, September 8, 2010

ON HOME ~ A Walk In The Woods...


Before we bought our home here in Natick, MA not far from the center of town, we rented an apartment in South Natick which is mostly residential and the more historic part of town. It is a quiet little section of farms and history, along with the Charles River running through. It also abuts the town of Wellesley which is a very rich suburb of Boston and home to Hillary Clinton's alma mater, Wellesley College where the movie Mona Lisa Smile was set and filmed. Just on the town line, across from the farm that was our apartment's view, lies the Elm Bank Reservation which we never got around to visiting when we lived there. So, when we were looking to get some fresh air without travel hassles this past Labor Day we decided to go back to our old stomping ground and see what Elm Bank was all about.

The first thing we learned was that even though the entrance appears to be in South Natick, Elm Bank is actually in Wellesley. As if Wellesley doesn't have enough claim to fame! The second thing we learned is that it is not very clear where you are supposed to drive and park once inside in order to find the hiking trails. First there are a bunch of soccer fields but the road keeps going and so did we. There is a Visitors Building a ways down but it was closed when we arrived. There were no maps or explanation as to what the various buildings were. We finally ran across a worker escaping the closed building and she pointed us down the road farther to the trail head.


Elm Bank encompasses the Charles River Peninsula and the wooded path follows the banks of the river while wandering in and out of the cool shady trees with a wide and level path soft on your feet due to all of the fallen needles from the trees. I was expecting a bit more of a river view but it was very peaceful. There was only one formal bench that we found and so we had to eat our picnic lunch on a rock along the way. We saw people on bikes, couples, families, strollers and tons of happy dogs. There was even a man with a terrific baritone voice singing away to himself in his kayak as he paddled by. The trails were not marked and forked off in many spots and at some point we made the wrong choice and ended up back at a service road near where we parked instead of looping around the rest of the river.


Back at the Visitors Building, the gates were open to a series of fantastic gardens run by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society who is headquartered here, and although generally the admission appears to be $5 per adult, the ticket gate was closed so we gave ourselves a free tour of the garden grounds. There are formal gardens, gardens for Goddesses, herb gardens, experimental gardens and my favorite - Weezie's Garden. Weezie's Garden is a garden designed with kids and the inner child in mind. You can run around, play hide and seek, climb on, in and around structures, dig in the sand, play with rocks, splash the water and explore the flowers. Every single child in the vicinity tugged on their parents to go into Weezie's. Many knew it by name so it was obviously a favorite place.




All in all, it was a great way to spend a beautiful holiday afternoon with summer days winding down. And just because summer was still with us, we stopped by for a treat at the local ice cream parlor in the center of town before heading home. It was like the cherry on top of a perfect day.



How did you spend your Labor Day? Does your town have a pretty spot to enjoy nature?

9 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love the horticultural society! And the ice cream store - what a cute place! We spent our Labor Day in airports and on airplanes - probably not the most nature-filled way to spend the day!

lovesmukiwa said...

We spent our labor day in the hospital with our one sick 2 year old... I'm beginning to be suspicious of long weekends, but yours looked fantastic!

Sandy Nawrot said...

It is still too hot to do much outside in Florida (especially in the trees, with all the bugs) but we do have some amazing State Parks and places like that around Orlando. We had a barbecue, and we golfed over Labor Day. Your pictures are gorgeous. I can almost imagine the smells.

Kathleen said...

We have amazing outdoor places here in the SF Bay Area. I love that you found such a treasured place right in your own "backyard".

Jingle said...

lovely images!

Jingle said...

Please feel free to take the awards in the post , share each award with 1 to 10 friends,

Awards 4 u

Happy Thursday!
Happy September!

stacybuckeye said...

What a great way to spend the day. We worked on a home project (we are seriously running out of time for such things) and had some family visit for a bit. I'd have loved to spend some time in your neck of the woods :)

Margot at Joyfully Retired said...

What a lovely place to walk. I'm so glad you shared it with us. You do live in a beautiful part of the world.

Ashley Ladd said...

How beautiful. I'll definitely have to visit your state one of these dates.