Thursday, September 24, 2015

Spectacle Island Adventure in Boston

Thanks to Laila Soleimani for this second Guest Post with photos!

This month, I had the opportunity to go to an adaptive hiking program on Spectacle Island. The program, organized by Stavros Outdoor Access as part of the DCR Universal Access Program, allowed participants and their family and friends to enjoy a fabulous outing in Boston with gentle hiking and breathtaking views of the city’s skyline.

Spectacle Island, 114 acres and just 4 miles from Boston in Boston Harbor, is an accessible getaway open annually from May to Columbus Day weekend in October.  It’s a twenty minute ferry ride from Long Wharf and a perfect day trip for anyone interested in exploring. The ferry ride allows for a closer look at the gorgeous boats on the harbor and planes landing at Logan International Airport. We had clear sunny skies and perfect weather to do just this.

When we first arrived at Spectacle Island, we convened at the technologically green visitor center, where an interpreter taught us about the history of the island. Outside of the visitor center were big Adirondack chairs where some of us sat and lunched while taking in the sights. Given that Spectacle is the highest point in the harbor, there is quite a bit to see. It’s a tranquil change of pace from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Acton and Arnold Arboretums Accessible to All

Thanks to Marjorie Turner Hollman for her second Guest Post and for keeping us informed about great accessible places to visit and enjoy nature!

My husband and I used to visit the Acton (MA) Arboretum often in our courting days. It had been a while since we last visited, but we stopped there recently and found some positive changes in this 64-acre town-owned arboretum. Much remains the same: shady paths, a ramp with railings through a wetlands area, and herb gardens. The boardwalk over a quaking bog offers interesting sights and exciting views of diverse plant life (if you love swamps). Throughout the arboretum are lots of both sunny and shady spots to simply rest and enjoy being there. And if you’re a fan of shade-loving hosta plants, you’ll have the opportunity to study 150 different varieties.

In the past, the trails were all crushed stone or woodland paths. But on our most recent visit, we found some paths that are still crushed stones, but many of the trails that lead from the main parking area off Taylor Road in Acton are now paved. We also found a handicapped-accessible port-a-potty next to the parking lot (available from May-November). The Acton Arboretum information kiosk (and website) notes that numerous other accessibility improvements are in the works. Great news all.