So Boston’s Public Garden turned out to be one of those places I thought I would enjoy a quick visit to, nothing special, and yet it was one of my favorite things about my trip to Boston earlier this month. As it was close to our hotel, I figured it would be a nice place to check out our final morning before we hopped a plane back home. And I was right.
The Public Garden is quite old…178 years since it was first established. Credit for its creation can be given to a philanthropist (Horace Gray, for inquiring minds) who petitioned for the use of land as the first public botanical garden in the United States. Although it took some time for the park to actually be built (construction took place in late 1859 and the following years), today, the 24 acre landscape is one of the prettiest spots in all of Boston.
I primarily wanted to visit the Public Garden for some ducklings. As in the famous Make Way for Ducklings statues which are based on the beloved children’s classic of the same name. (Helpful tip-Robert McCloskey’s book is available in a beautiful hardback edition all over Boston. I didn’t buy one as I didn’t want to be lugging a bulky hardback children’s book with me in my carry on; lo and behold it’s not available on Amazon. So buy in Bahstan!) While my guidebook warned about the large numbers of children and parents crowding the ducks, I was “slightly” annoyed when adorable toddlers and small children kept toddling into my pics, staying on said ducklings (they were the perfect size for wee ones to “ride”), but thankfully I persevered and got some good shots.
And then there are the swan boats, which are just as important in Boston as anything that brave blacksmith Paul Revere once did. They’re a fleet of dual-pontooned pleasure boats which operate in the garden’s pond and look exactly like its name. The boats are quite old, having made the journey around the pond since 1877 and are a cultural icon for Boston. They begin operating the second weekend in April and go on hiatus the third weekend in September until the following season. Luckily for me, my visit to Boston took place in early September so not only did I still get to see them out on the water but I also rode on one too. While I had never planned on actually riding in one, we had the time, the cost was nominal ($3 for adults), and I just thought I’d regret it if I didn’t since they literally were right there. The ride is a peaceful one, lasting about 12-15 minutes, and offers a slightly different perspective of the garden since you’re on the water. We saw plenty of cute ducks up close in addition to the famous resident swans and even saw a group of turtles who looked fake for how still they were until you saw one move its neck.
One of my favorite areas of the garden that we saw, (I feel we only skimmed a small surface of the park), was the statue of the nation’s first president, Equestrian Statue of George Washington by Thomas Ball. It’s located at the Arlington Street gate and was dedicated in 1869. This appeared to be one of the more prominent entrances of the park and it seems fitting that a statue of Washington himself was there, welcoming visitors to the garden. Washington actually came to Boston following the Battle of Bunker Hill to take control of the newly minted American army, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I know being there in late summer certainly added to the garden’s beautiful setting. Everything was in full bloom, the Boston sky was a bright blue color, and the weather was just idyllic. It was a photographer’s delight and it was apparent that the park that day (and probably any day) is full of both tourists and locals alike. A park in the middle of a city is always a wonderful thing but a park that’s more of a garden, replete with all sorts of stunning flowers and other greenery is even better.