Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Christian A. Herter Park: Boston, MA

Directions: Click here for Google map

If you live in the Boston area, or feel like taking your best buddy for a drive to the city, this is a fantastic park to visit!  It is a wonderful section of the Charles River Reservation, offering long walking paths along the river, pretty trees and lawns, picnic tables, park benches, a playground, community gardens, and loads of free parking.  The well-paved trails are great for rollerblades, bikes, wheelchairs, and strollers and your dog can splash around in the river at any point along the way.

The area that is now Herter Park was originally built in 1899 as the Charles River Speedway, an oval track and promenade for horse-drawn vehicles.  It encompassed 90 acres, with a shore frontage of 2 miles.  Much of that acreage is now Soldiers Field Road, but the shoreline was preserved as the largest section of open parkland in the Charles River Basin. The park was named for Christian Herter, a former Massachusetts governor, US Secretary of State, and friend of the environment.  It is now the finish line for two of the biggest water sports events in the country: the Head of the Charles Regatta and Run of the Charles canoe and kayak race.

You can read an interesting master plan for the park by clicking here.  For more information about all the Charles River parks, click here.  

Dogs are required to be leashed in the park.

Information sources: Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs, Charles River Conservancy

Here are the positive features:
  • Lovely, well-maintained walking paths along the Charles River
  • Wheelchair / stroller accessible paths
  • Close to I-90 and easily accessible from Soldiers Field Road
  • Four large, free parking lots
  • Restrooms available (closed for winter)
  • Picnic tables and park benches
  • A very clean river for your dog to enjoy
  • A great playground with summer water sprays for the kids
  • Open year-round (it's very quiet and serene during the off-season)
  • Trash barrels provided
Negative features:
  • No doggie bags are provided, so plan to bring your own
  • We didn't notice any bugs in the fall, but the conditions are perfect for ticks and mosquitoes during warmer months

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