Falling for Boston: Part I
Apple picking, hiking among ways to enjoy autumn near campus
Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 15:09
With the autumnal equinox this past Saturday, fall is officially in full swing. The nip may not be in the air quite yet, but students around campus are already preparing for the season’s festivities.
This article is the first of a two-part series exploring the many activities students can enjoy in the Greater Boston area during the fall season. Today’s installment will focus on traditional fall activities, including apple picking and leaf peeping; the second article, in tomorrow’s Daily, will look into popular events and festivals.
Sophomore Massachusetts native Sean Fernald is accustomed to these regional autumnal activities.
“When you think of New England, people think of the stereotypical fall foliage, the apple picking and the small rural towns of Massachusetts,” Fernald said.
In terms of apple picking, one hotspot is foremost in the mind of Tufts students: Smolak Farms in Andover, Mass.
“It has pretty much everything you’d want from a farm in fall: apple picking, delicious doughnuts, a pumpkin patch and even a hayride,” senior Ellis Heneghan, who grew up near the farm, said.
Fernald, who also frequented the farm with his family, echoed Heneghan’s appreciation for the farm, especially its apple cider doughnuts.
“There’s this shop with all of the doughnuts freshly made and little trinkets to buy,” he said. “You sit down by the fireplace with a hot chocolate and then [go] apple picking.”
Smolak Farms, located in North Andover, is roughly a 40-to-45-minute drive from Tufts. Fernald argued that those without a car should not shy away. For him, the most convenient way to get there is by public transportation.
“You can rent Tufts Bikes and take the commuter rail over to Andover and there’s a stop there,” Fernald said. “It’s a short — maybe 15 minute — bike ride from the station.”
French Lecturer Tracey Pearce, whose family lives in western Massachusetts, cited another popular apple picking destination: Honey Pot Hill Orchards in Stow, Mass.
“It’s a great place, but it’s also very big, so you’re going to have to expect crowds if you go on the weekends,” she said.
Given Honey Pot Hill’s distance from campus — it’s about a 50-minute ride — she suggested that students make a trip out of it by stopping in nearby Lincoln to visit some local sites.
“There’s also the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, which is very neat, and on the way there’s the Gropius House, which you can visit on the weekends,” Pearce said. “Lincoln is beautiful, and a great place to go for foliage.”
Students looking for a taste of fall closer to Tufts need not look beyond the reach of the T. Junior Sarah Tralins frequents the Copley Square Farmers Market.
“It’s really fun to get out, get some fresh vegetables, see the city and warm up with some really unique homemade apple cider,” she said.
Tralins described the different kinds of cider each vendor sells, explaining that some use locally produced honey to sweeten, while others use farm-grown herbs.
Perhaps more importantly for college students, the market is inexpensive, Tralins said.
While most students and faculty can agree on the favorite apple-picking and food-tasting locations, there is no such consensus when it comes to prime spots to view the fall folige. Fernald argued that making the trek out to further away from campus is worth it for the unique sites.
“I highly recommend the North Shore or the South Shore to bike [through] because everyone at Tufts usually just goes right into Boston. All of these other places are really easy to get to,” he said.
Fernald added that making the nearly hour-long trip there was worth it for the chance to visit Plymouth, a popular fall destination.
Another well-known place for students to check out the leaves is Walden Pond, according to Balch Arena Theatre Manager Joanne Barnett.