August 1, 2012 / Issue #17

Audibles: When Walden is Packed

Because when you think it’s a perfect day to go to Walden Pond, everyone else probably does too.

Does this sounds familiar? You wake up on a Saturday morning to a perfect New England summer day and you think it’s a perfect day to venture outside with the family. Someone cries out, “Let’s go swimming in Walden Pond!” and the next thing you know you’re packing bags with sunscreen, towels, snacks, and everything else you might need for optimizing a fun afternoon at Walden. Then you load up the car and hit the road.

It all sounds great. But the problem is that hundreds of other families in metropolitan Boston think it’s a great idea, too. Something you first get clued into when you see a long line of cars on Route 2 all waiting to make that turn onto Walden Street and into the Walden Pond parking lot. After waiting for about 10 minutes with traffic still mostly at a standstill, you realize that the root cause of the situation is that the parking lot is completely full.

You’re now faced with a decision point. Do you exercise patience and wait it out? Or do you start thinking about Plan B? What you need are some options.

One of the key things about enjoying a wonderful day outdoors with your friends and family is that the best plans often involve backup plans. Whether it’s due to a passing rain shower, crowds, or traffic jams, being brave and capable of calling an audible will help you adjust, keeping your focus on having fun.

This week, we’re sharing a couple options for being prepared with when that trip out to Walden starts going bad.

Take a Walk At Walden Pond in Concord, MA

Photo Credit: Jeremy Hetzel

Photo Credit: Jeremy Hetzel

The most obvious solution is to skip that lot and take a walk

The lot at Walden Pond is awfully convenient if you’ve got a family that includes little kids and all the stuff they can’t carry. But it’s definitely not the only place to park if you’re willing to walk a bit.  There are some pull offs on Walden Street north of Route 2 and also around the high school. Additionally, you can try to find one of the spots on Old Concord Road and off Fairhaven Road near the Lincoln Land Conservation Trust entrance. They can be hard to spot, but they’re there

But keep this in mind: If the lot is full, the beach is sure to be jam packed on nice summer days. You might want to ask yourself if that’s the spot you really want to be in. If you’re kid free or you have children that are a little older (say, around 8 years old or more), walking around the pond and finding a big rock to use as home base for the afternoon is a viable option.

Another option is to skip the pond entirely and take a walk through the 104 acres that make up Adams Woods. If you have a frisbee, bring it along as you’ll want it when you discover Pleasant Meadow in the southwest section of Adams Woods. Pay attention to which path(s) you’re taking as there are spots in Adams Woods that interconnect with the trail system around Walden Pond.

Visit Drumlin Farm in Lincoln, MA

Photo Credit: Juhan Sonin

Photo Credit: Juhan Sonin

Fun with animals

Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary is less than 3 miles from Walden Pond. In addition to a variety of short hikes, it’s a working New England Farm as well as a wildlife sanctuary featuring over 150 species of birds. If nothing else, walk the loop that takes you past Bird Hill, the Sheep Shed, and the Pig Barn.

As a working farm, there’s a produce stand at Drumlin Farm that is usually open and they have great basil.

Mass Audubon members get in free. For non-members, it’s $7 per adult and $5 for children ages 2 to 12.