We just finished up a whirlwind visit to Boston. The trip started with us picking up Gavriella and heading to Halls Pond Sanctuary for a picnic lunch.
This tiny wildlife sanctuary is tucked in a block off Beacon St. What it lacks in size it more than makes up for in character. There's a small trail, boardwalk, pond, garden and most importantly, ducks and turtles. It was the perfect space for Gavriella to explore and served as the ideal picnic location.
Gavriella has the 3 R's going on: running, repeating and being really-cute. Whether we were on the trail, rocks, boardwalk or sidewalk, she wants to get down and run. We found that we only used the stroller because she was too fearless for her own good, not because she ever tired of walking. And be warned: once she hears a phrase once, she starts repeating it. Shira and I can have a healthy debate about which she says more often: "Uncle Ben" (or "Uncle") or "Aunt S-heera" (or "S-heeera").
After lunch we picked up the older kids and made our way to Hammond Pond and Webster Conservation Area. This is another incredible natural resource located essentially within city limits. Besides providing a wonderful trail around a pond, it has an abundance of interesting rock formations made up of "Pudding Rock." Yelp suggested that it was an ideal place to rock climb, and sure enough, we saw one climber practicing his skills on a 20~30ft face. The kids loved climbing on the rocks, and Dovid especially was absolutely fearless. His compact, tiny size totally works for him in that he can squeeze into spots I'd have to crawl around.
Tzipora was our little geologist. She kept packing her pockets with various special rocks. I finally had to convince her to stop and leave some rocks for the next set of park visitors.
Seriously, these Next Door Nature spots are absolute Bostonian gems and worth searching out if you're in the area.
On Shabbat, we found out just how far we can march the kids before even we feel like we overdid it. We made it almost 3 miles with almost no complaining. We visited one of our all time favorite spots: Chestnut Hill Reservoir (it's served as the first outdoor adventure for each of the kids). The reservoir didn't disappoint, providing oodles of turtles, a handful of ducks and one entertaining fisherman. I noticed for the first time that next to the reservoir is a Waterworks Museum--I'm so dragging the kids there next visit.
Another Shabbat highlight: the topic of allergies came up and I mentioned to the kids that Superman's only allergy was Kryptonite. Chana had to know more about this, and in no time had designed a tag-like game we could play.
Today we finished up with one last adventure: a trip to the water treatment plant! That's right, we hiked around Deer Island (a bit of a misnomer because there's neither deer there, nor is it technically an island) which serves as a massive water treatment plant for the entire area. The island is situated across from the airport and is part of the Boston Harbor. As a result, we got to watch planes, boats and oggle the massive structures that make up the plant.
Some resources suggest you can take a tour of the water treatment plant. As far as I can tell, the tour consists of what we did: hiking around the island and looking at various buildings and plaques. While it would have been interesting to get inside and get a real tour, doing the perimeter was perfect for the kids.
Truthfully, all of the sites on the island took a back seat to the real fun: standing on the shore and chucking rocks into the water. Seriously, that was the real highlight for the kids. I gave it a try, it's actually not that bad.
I leave Boston exhausted and content that we packed in all the fun we could in 3 days time. I could ask for nothing more.