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Because of illness in my family, I cannot travel far from home for awhile, and have to be able to return quickly if necessary. However, I will be in Boston at the end of February visiting MIT and would like to have the illusion that I am in TGO for one or two half-days, (a) preferably, but not necessarily, actually in Boston or Cambridge; and (b) preferably but not necessarily accessible by the T. (Do they still call the rapid transit the T?)

I am very familiar with the area around MIT, but it has been years since I was anyplace in the Boston/Cambridge area outside of the MIT/Boston Commons axis. By "the illusion that I am the TGO" I mean, at a minimum, that the sounds and sights of traffic are at least greatly muted and there is no-one walking in high heels. Walking along the Charles or in the Public Gardens/Commons is pleasant, but it is unmistakably in the city.

  • Not sure this is a great fit for TGO.SE ... I think the trails around hammond pond in Newton are probably the closest (right off the T), but depending on how far you are willing to go or what you are looking for there might be better options (e.g., Quincy Quarries is T/bus accessible). Happy to answer more in chat. – StrongBad Dec 24 '18 at 2:02
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    @StrongBad I hope you can write an answer here. I don't see why this is not a fit for TGO: I am asking for a TGO experience inside or very close to a city and am narrowly specifying my criteria. For example, if someone asked this question about Vancouver, Stanley Park would be a natural answer. Years ago, Fresh Pond would be a good answer for Boston, but I have no idea what that area is like now. How would you I suggest I tweak this to be a better fit? – ab2 Dec 24 '18 at 4:01
  • Hi ab2! As you know, I grew up not too far from Cambridge. I was going to suggest the Arnold Arboretum, but @mmcc beat me to it. You can see by my comment under the answer that it's an awesome place!!! It's at the end of the Orange Line (yup, we still call it the T!), and can take 45 minutes or so from MIT, but if you have the time, please go!!! (An anecdote: It's policed by officers on horseback. Dogs are only allowed on a leash. Once, my dad let his dog of the leash and it ran right into a police horse. Daddy was fined and sent home!) – Sue Dec 25 '18 at 20:29
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At closest, your options are probably Hammond Pond in Newton (right off the green line) or Arnold Arboretum in Forest Hills (right off the orange line). Hammond pond is more of a walk a little down the trial, turn off and find a secluded spot and sit and relax. As the area is really small and surrounded by roads, it would be hard to get lost so you could wander around the woods off the trails for an afternoon if that is what you want. Arnold Arboretum is much bigger and you could conceivably spend an afternoon on trails (or you could find a secluded spot and sit).

A little further out, but still inside RT 128, are Quincy Quarries/Blue Hills Reservation, Middlesex Fells, and Lynn Woods. You can definitely spend 1/2 a day wandering the trails in these parks. Middlesex Fells and Blue Hills are more T accessible than Lynn Woods. All would be easy (and reasonably affordable) to get to via Uber (or T and then Uber) Of the 3 I like Lynn Woods more, but that is probably because I used to bike there as a child.

Places like Walden Pond, Hopkington State Park (the start of the Boston marathon), and others are outside RT 128, but still inside I495. They are pretty hard to access by the T, but an Uber would be expensive, but easy.

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Middlesex Fells is a great location just north of the city. It's fairly T-accessible and is as close to TGO as you'll get in metro Boston. Trail Map and info

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I’ll let you do the mapping but you’ve got a couple of good options. The Arnold Arboretum is walking distance from Forest Hills Station (directions by different methods, including Forest Hills Station are provided here), and while it’s more of a very large park and you’ve got to get off the main paved paths for any solitude, it can be done. For real wilderness Blue Hills Reservation in Milton is more of a schlep with multiple transfers but the fire tower view from the summit is impressive and some of the trails feel quite remote.

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    Hi mmcc, This is what I was going to suggest! I grew up in that area and the Arboretum was the most peaceful place I know. We spent huge numbers of hours there as kids, and still go even though we live an hour away. It's many acres of land owned by Harvard. There are no cars allowed in the park and even if there are people there, you can always find a quiet spot. I just recommend staying away from the edges, because there's a lot of noisy traffic. Other than that, it's a perfect choice! – Sue Dec 25 '18 at 20:27
  • Thanks Sue for the helpful edits/comments – mmcc Dec 26 '18 at 10:44
  • My pleasure! I've lived near and spent time at both places, and really think these are excellent suggestions! – Sue Dec 28 '18 at 18:12

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