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Boston - Around Town : Boston South (part 1)

1/31/2013 4:24:56 PM
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South of Fort Point Channel, Boston’s neighborhoods of Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, Dorchester, and South Boston are a mixture of densely residential streets and leafy parklands that form part of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace. The lively street scenes of Boston’s African-American, Latin American, and Irish-American communities make the city’s southerly neighborhoods a dynamic ethnic contrast to the more homogenized city core. Virtually ignored by tourists, Boston South is full of quirky shops, local bars, hot nightclubs, and great off-beat places to enjoy ethnic food. This area is a little harder to reach but it is worth the effort to experience a more edgy, diverse Boston that many call home.

For the parks and cemetery take the “T” down to Green Street or Forest Hills (orange line)

Take the “T” to Dudley Square for Roxbury (silver line), or to Jackson Square for Jamaica Plain (orange line)

For the John F. Kennedy Library and the east of the area catch the “T” to JFK/U Mass (red line)

  1. Arnold Arboretum

    One of the US’s foremost collections of temperate-zone trees and shrubs covers the peaceful 265-acre (107 ha) arboretum. Grouped in scientific fashion, they are a favorite subject for landscape painters, and a popular resource for botanists and gardeners. The world’s most extensive lilac collection blooms from early May through late June, and thousands of Bostonians turn out for Lilac Sunday, the third Sunday in May, to enjoy the peak of the Syringa blooms. The main flowering period of mountain laurel, azaleas, and other rhododendrons begins around Memorial Day (end of May).

    • 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain

    • 617 524 1718

    Arnold Arboretum
  2. Jamaica Pond

    This 70-acre (28-ha) pond and its surrounding leafy park was landscaped by Frederick Law Olmsted to accentuate its natural glacial features and it offers an enchanting piece of countryside within the city. Locals take avidly to the 1.5-mile (2.4-km) bankside path or fish in the 90 ft- (28-m) deep glacial kettle pond (fishing is permitted with a Massachusetts license, call 617 626 1590). The boathouse rents small sail boats and rowboats during the summer.

    Jamaica Pond
  3. Franklin Park

    Frederick Law Olmsted considered Franklin Park the masterpiece of his Emerald Necklace, but his vision of urban wilds has since been modified to more modern uses. The park boasts the second oldest municipal golf course in the US and the child-friendly Franklin Park Zoo, which contrasts contemporary ecological exhibits with charming zoo architecture, such as a 1912 Oriental bird house.

    • Franklin Park Rd, Dorchester

    • 617 265 4084

    Gorilla at Franklin Park Zoo

    Franklin Park
  4. Forest Hills Cemetery

    More than 100,000 graves dot the rolling landscape in this Victorian-era “garden cemetery”, one of the first of its kind. Maps available at the entrance identify graves of notable figures, including poet cummings and playwright Eugene O’Neill. Striking memorials include the bas-relief Death Stays the Hand of the Artist by Daniel Chester French, near the main entrance.

    • 95 Forest Hills Ave, Jamaica Plain

    • 617 524 0128

    Forest Hills Cemetery
  5. Pleasure Bay

    South Boston’s Pleasure Bay park encloses a pond-like cove of Boston harbor with a causeway boardwalk, where locals turn out for their daily constitutionals. Castle Island, now attached to the mainland, has guarded the mouth of Boston harbor since the first fortress, Fort Independence, was erected in 1779. A grisly murder here in 1817 inspired Edgar Allen Poe to write his short story The Cask of Amontillado. Anglers gather on the adjacent Steel Pier and drop bait into the midst of striped bass and bluefish runs.

    Pleasure Bay
  6. Centre Street

    Jamaica Plain is home to many artists, musicians, and writers as well as a substantial contingent of Boston’s gay and lesbian community. Centre Street is the area’s main artery and hub. There is a distinctly Latin American flavor at the Jackson Square end, where Caribbean music shops and Cuban, Dominican, and Mexican eateries abound. At the 600 block, Centre Street morphs into an urban counter-cultural village, with design boutiques, funky second-hand stores, and small cafés and restaurants.

  7. Upham’s Corner

    The area known as Upham’s Corner in Dorchester was founded in 1630, and its venerable Old Dorchester Burial Ground contains ethereal carved stones from this Puritan era. Today, Upham’s Corner is decidedly more Caribbean than Puritan, with small shops specializing in food, clothing, and music of the islands. The Strand Theatre, a 1918 luxury movie palace and vaudeville hall, functions as an arts center and venue for live concerts and religious revival meetings.

    Strand Theatre

    • 543 Columbia Rd, Dorchester

    • 617 282 8000

  8. Dudley Square

    Roxbury’s Dudley Square is the heart of African-American Boston as well as the busiest hub in Boston’s public transport network. The Beaux-Arts station is modeled on the great train stations of Europe. Among the square’s many shops and galleries is the Hamill Gallery of African Art, as much a small museum as a gallery. A few blocks from the square, the modest Georgian-style Dillaway-Thomas House reveals Roxbury’s early history, including the period when it served as HQ for the Continental Army’s General John Thomas during the Siege of Boston.

    Hamill Gallery of African Art

    • 2164 Washington St, Roxbury

    • 617 442 8204

    • Open noon–6pm Thu–Sat

    Dillaway-Thomas House

    • 183 Roxbury St, Roxbury

    • 617 445 3399

    • Call in advance for tour hours

    • Free

  9. Samuel Adams Brewery

    With its supply of good local water and knowledgeable German immigrants, Jamaica Plain has long been Boston’s brewing center. The Boston Beer Company, creator of Samuel Adams lagers, maintains this small brewery and beer museum.

    • 30 Germania St, Jamaica Plain

    • 617 368 5080

    • Tours noon–3pm Tue–Thu, noon–5:30pm Fri, 10am–3pm Sat

    • Donation


    Barrels, Samuel Adams Brewery
  10. John F. Kennedy Library & Museum

    This nine-story white pyramidal building designed by I. M. Pei in 1977 stands like a billowing sail on Columbia Point. Inside, the 1,000 days of the Kennedy presidency are recreated in more than 25 exhibits. Kennedy was the first president to grasp the power of broadcast, and video exhibits include campaign debates and coverage of Kennedy’s assassination and funeral.

    John F Kennedy Library & Museum
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