Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Suburban Boston Oasis at Hale Reservation in Westwood, MA

Article and Photo by Eric H., at VisitingNewEngland.com

It's amazing that the peace and tranquility of Hale Reservation in Westwood, MA, is just minutes from the maniacal, sometimes hostile, commuter-crazy Route 128 in the thick of the southwest suburban Boston suburbs.

More than just a basic, suburban, token place to walk and hike, Hale Reservation features 1,100 acres of untouched woodlands, scenic, protected ponds, meandering streams, long stretches of hiking trails large playing fields, and outdoor pavilions. Hale Reservation feels more like being in New Hampshire than southwest of Boston.

Best known as a day camp for outdoor exploration and learning, as well as having a membership-only beach, Hale Reservation brings in large crowds, yet it never seems too busy. With all those acres, there's indeed room for everyone.

My favorite hikes include the 1.7 mile Page and Saddle Trails with great views of Noanet Pond and somewhat challenging steeper hills on the south side of the pond; and the 2.3 mile Storrow Pond Trail, a fairly easy but long hike with some more pleasing waters views of Storrow and Noanet Ponds. At some points along the hikes it's virtually silent, making one realize how much noise we have to deal with every second of the day in our suburban neighborhoods.

Living in the suburbs means making a greater effort to find wide, open spaces than if living in, say, the natural regions of Vermont and New Hampshire where pristine surroundings are virtually in one's backyard. Taking that extra effort, however, yields a highly satisfying experience at places like Hale Reservation where the beautiful surroundings validate that there's still some large areas of scenic beauty in the overdeveloped Boston suburbs.

Hale Reservation
80 Carby St.
Westwood, MA
Phone: 781-326-1770

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