The Jewel of Boston: The Emerald Necklace Part 1

Unfortunately for you, I’ve become very camera-happy. I’m not particularly good at pictures, but I’m more than making up for quality with quantity, right? Ha!

The Emerald Necklace is actually a string of interconnected parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted that pass across Boston roughly in a horseshoe with the edges conveniently at stops on the Orange Line. It’s somewhere in the vicinity of 14 miles long, which is a good day’s walk to see everything.

I was originally going to start at the west end and work my way back home, then decided I was too antsy for that and started out on the east end in Boston Common.

Boston Common: The park totally covered with people in the afternoon and dogs in the morning. Because apparently dog owners are the only ones that wake up before 9am on a weekend in Boston.

Next to the Common is the Public Garden, which has swan boats you can ride around on if you’re so inclined. Instead, I watched this guy:

Remember One Man Band, that Pixar short with the two warring street performers? Yeah, they actually exist.

The public garden also has a big statue of George Washington (and apparently some ducklings on the other side that I didn’t visit).

The garden empties out into a tree-lined corridor that connects it to the other parks. It’s a really nice walk in the shade, and there are some really cool churches along the way that look like they were dropped straight out of the 18th century.

Now I did skip out of the corridor to visit the Boston Public Library and wander around that way, so I unfortunately missed the Lief Erikson marker near the river. I was still mildly disappointed that I hadn’t seen too much new wildlife in any of the parks I’d visited thus far, but I was rewarded with a promising sight right when I walked down the concrete stairs to the Back Bay Fens path:

This blue heron was hunting in the far corner of the fens near a rather large number of Canadian geese and something else trying to camouflage itself:

I almost dismissed this mourning dove as a rock before I noticed how smooth and decidedly un-rock-like it was. Of course, when you see it in the picture, it doesn’t look well-hidden at all, so it could be that my eyes are failing me.

While I was watching some European starling fledglings fight with their parents over some bread, a park ranger drove up behind me and scared them off. I was kind of mad at him, but apparently people who stare at things in the brush warrant seeing if something interesting is going on, so I shrugged my shoulders and continued on.

The funny thing about the Fens is that the park looks like this one one side:

And like this on the other side:

And in between, it looks like this:

All of the waterways in the Fens are totally covered in carp, and not tiny ones, either. This one was a good 20 inches long at least. And also the only one that didn’t run away when I tried to get a picture.

And in the interest with not boring you with a too-long post, I’ll put up the rest of my Necklace adventures next week.


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