Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Swampscott, Lynn, and Nahant Beaches

You really don't have to go very far outside of Boston to get some stunning, relatively unspoiled ocean views. Take the stretch of beaches from Swampscott through Lynn to Nahant, for example. As the photos below show, the views from these coastal areas are quite nice, with truly outstanding vistas from some spots. And while more of a walk than a true hike, you can go several miles along the walkways from Swampscott to Nahant, making for a good day trip.

photo of King's Beach, Swampscott, MAA good place to start a walk along the beaches in this area is in Swampscott Center, a picturesque spot located along King's Beach (see photo). From the center of town, a walkway heads generally southwest, crossing the Lynn border within minutes. Paralleling Lynn Shore Drive, the walkway gradually goes uphill, allowing for excellent views back into Swampscott.

view from Lynn Beach, Lynn, MANot too far after crossing into Lynn, a paved loop veers left and heads out to a rocky point that has sweeping ocean vistas, including scenes of Nahant and an island just off its shore (see photo). From there, the paved path loops back to the main walkway, giving more nice ocean views along the way, and continues back along Lynn Beach.

photo of Lynn Beach, Lynn, MAThe walkway continues on a southwest course, sometimes right up against Lynn Shore Drive, and other times being a bit further away from it, slowly dropping closer to the ocean. Before it drops toward Nahant Beach, however, another sweeping view unfolds, this one of a long, flat stretch of Lynn Beach where it meets Nahant Beach (see photo). Eventually, the walkway starts curving south as it begins its route along Nahant Beach.

photo of Nahant Beach, Nahant, MAThe Nahant Beach stretch of this walk can be busy during the warmer days of the summer, but on a day when the beach isn't crowded, it feels a bit more isolated then the stretch along Lynn Beach, Views eastward of Nahant Bay can be found along the entire path (see photo), with an interesting view of the Boston skyline across the causeway to the southwest. It is a long walk to the end of the beach, with terrific views of Lynn and Boston at the end. From this point, you can continue walking through Nahant or backtracking to Swampscott.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lilac Weekend (2009) at the Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain

A group of us hiked around the Arnold Arboretum this past Saturday (May 10, 2009) to see the lilacs and other plants and trees blooming during Lilac Weekend. Below are a few pictures from the walk:

photo of Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, MA

photo of Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, MA

photo of Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, MA

photo of Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, MA

Monday, May 04, 2009

Melrose Rock and Black Rock, Middlesex Fells

I hike a lot in the Middlesex Fells Reservation, a huge area of conservation land just north of Boston. The Fells is split in two by Route 93, with western section being much larger than the eastern section. But the eastern section has a lot ot offer in its relatively compact area, including some very rugged geography and spectacular views that you just don't get in the more placid, less rocky western section.

photo from Melrose Rock, Middlesex Fells, Melrose, MAA number of us saw some of these rugged sections of the eastern Middlesex Fells late last month, including the extreme eastern edge of the reservation where the land drops off sharply. From Black Rock (see photo, you literally cannot go further east, as the Fells simply ends in such a steep dropoff that it feels a lot like a cliff From this point you can see some of the residential sections of Melrose as well as Melrose Center in the distance.

photo from Black Rock, Middlesex Fells, Melrose, MAWe also hiked south a short distance from Melrose Rock, ending up a Black Rock, which is perhaps even more stunning than Melrose rock, with the same sharp dropoffs as well as more sweeping views of both Melrose and Malden (see photo). Black Rock is a great place to stop for a lunch/picnic break, as there are lots of rocky outcroppings where hikers can sit and enjoy the views far below.

There is another scenic spot south of Black Rock called Pinnacle Rock which is so steep and rugged that some hikers feel a little hesitant climbing it. But it does make for a great third stop before turning west once again and heading into the woods. I will try to post pictures of Pinnacle Rock in a future entry on this site.