Jewels of the city of Boston

One of the most historical and colorful cities in America, Boston has more than enough attractions to keep visitors busy exploring the streets of the city for days. Downtown Boston offers a vast array of popular sites that give tourists the opportunity to experience all the history that made Boston such an important part of our nation’s creation. But, if they stay in the downtown area, visitors are likely to miss out on one of the best and most intimate parts of the city.

Many of Boston’s beautiful and historic attractions can’t be found on the downtown streets. For those visitors who want to experience the charm and intimacy of the local neighborhoods, there are little known places that await the chance to welcome those that want to see the city from the personal perspective of those who live there. For the adventurous tourists who are willing to rent a car and navigate the sculptured parkways that surround the city, the “Emerald Necklace” offers a visitor the chance to experience some of the finest parks and green spaces that Boston contains in a way that only those willing to go deep into the heart of Boston will ever see.

The “Emerald Necklace” is a series of parks and open spaces designed by the renowned architect, Fredrick Law Olmsted. A long, meandering stretch of parks and open spaces that ring the city in great, green, ornamental gems of parkland. The lush and lavish landscaping lends an air of open country to spaces surrounded by urban confines. The “Crown Jewel” of the necklace is the Franklin Park area that is home to the Franklin Park Zoo and the adjacent William J. Devine Golf Course.

Along the parkways that follow the long green expanse through the city’s small and close knit neighborhoods lay beautiful and easily accessible public parks. Treasures to be discovered and explored by the visitor who wants to enjoy the attractions the of nature at its best. In the nearby streets of the adjacent neighborhoods, restaurants and shops display the diverse and intricate aspects that represent the multicultural and ethnic history of the people that make up Boston’s populace can be found.

Beginning at the Boston Common and Public Gardens, traveling south, a visitor can follow the wide green median in the middle of Commonwealth Ave; a stretch of greens and gardens that is filled with beautiful statues and memorials of historic people and events. The median is lined with benches and grassy spaces where people can stop and admire some of the classic architecture of the magnificent and extravagant townhouse mansions that line the avenue. The median leads to Kenmore Sq and the Fenway Park area where folks can explore the nearby Fenway Gardens, community gardens and natural marshes that dot the area.

From there, the routes known as the Riverway and the connecting Jamaicaway lead past a string of greens and paths that stretch beside the long waterway known as the Muddy River. The walkways and paths along the Riverway are lined with many parks, picnic spots, softball fields and playgrounds that are filled year round with neighborhood and community groups and activities.

Leaving the boundaries of the inner city, the Riverway connects to the road known as the Jamaicaway. A winding, four lane parkway that passes a number of parks and athletic fields that gradually expand in size as you leave the confines of downtown and enter deeper into the outlying neighborhoods. The lovely, tree lined Jamaicaway leads to one of the best kept secrets in Boston’s park system; the beautiful man-made lake called “Jamaica Pond”. With its wide lawns, athletic fields and historical boat house, where visitors can rent sail boats, fish, admire the swans and other waterfowl that call it home, tourists can easily spend a quiet day relaxing and soaking in its beauty.

Once past Jamaica Pond, the road brings you to the world famous, Arnold Arboretum. Maintained by the staff of Harvard University and open year round, it is an enormous expanse of flora and fauna dedicated to all the beauty that Mother Nature has to offer. A veritable museum dedicated to the study of all things green it is filled with trees, shrubs and flowering plants of every description. It Is absolutely breathtaking in the endless variety of trees, shrubs and plants one can see.

Based on the season, various areas of the Arboretum offer something for everyone when it comes to exploring the world of nature. Springtime, with the blooming of all the incredible flowers and shrubs contained in the park, attracts visitors from around the world to witness its spectacle. A display of magnificent miniature dwarf trees and Bonsai exhibits will leave any visitor speechless when it comes to describing their ageless and ancient beauty.

At the gates of the Arnold Arboretum, the Jamaicaway connects to the Arborway. Going south it winds its way to the crowning jewel of the Emerald Necklace, Franklin Park; an enormous and splendid expanse of parkland that contains the largest zoo in Massachusetts and a professional grade, 18 hole public golf course. The Franklin Park Zoo offers a complete array of wild and exotic animals on exhibit that will thrill and delight any visitor. Tiger Tales and the Serengeti Crossing are just two of the newest zoo exhibits.

The Tropical Forest and the western lowlands gorilla exhibit is one of the finest in the world and allows visitors to admire the great primates in a natural open setting. Guests can admire the African lions of the Kalahari Kingdom and the Giraffe Savannah featuring the Masai giraffes and Grevy’s zebras. Its famous, Franklin Farm, offers kids a chance to explore, touch, pet and interact with a host of fascinating and gentle creatures.

Leaving Franklin Park, following Columbia Rd, visitors begin the return trip north back to the city. Columbia Rd leads to the South Boston neighborhood and the stretch of parks that line the shoreline back to the city. Along the way, dotted with yacht clubs, playgrounds and public beaches, one can view the waters and islands of Boston Harbor. At the tip of Carson Beach is the famous “Castle Island”. There you can explore the historical fort that defended colonial Bostonians during the revolutionary war. Following Summer St, along the piers and ports that line the harbor, visitors complete the long circle arriving at South Station in the heart of downtown Boston.

A tour of the Emerald Necklace will treat any visitor to an historic and intimate experience that most tourists never realize. Aside from the parks, the trip will bring people into contact with the diverse and multicultural neighborhoods that comprise the city of Boston. The restaurants and businesses that line the route offer the means of experiencing all the different ethnic flavors of the people that inhabit Boston and make it a great and complex, cultural Mecca that represents the best of America.

If the goal of their visit is to get up close and personal with Boston, visitors couldn’t ask for a better way to meet the people and experience all the color and fun that Boston has to offer.