A picnic in the park on a beautiful day is a vision many of us have to get away from our lives of work, school and responsibilities. An excellent location to have this special picnic is at the Arnold Arboretum, located on 265 acres just south of Boston in Jamaica Plain. Cared for by Harvard University, it is owned by the City of Boston and leased to the university for 1,000 years, beginning in 1882.
Arnold Arboretum was the first public arboretum in the country, and features a rolling landscape with 4,000 varieties of woody plants and 15,000 trees, shrubs and vines. They are located in forests and a few huge trees stand alone, surrounded by meadows and ponds. World-renowned plant species collections exist here. The splendid Boston skyline can be viewed from the highest point of the park, Peter's Hill.
The arboretum is part of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, a public-private partnership established in 1996. The mission of the organization, which includes several area Boston parks, including Back Bay Fens, Jamaica Park and Franklin Park, is to protect, maintain, restore and promote the natural landscapes of the Boston area as special places for visitor and residents to enjoy.
The park has plenty of free parking, a visitor's center, restrooms and a bookstore. Hike and bike trails provide access for athletes and strollers alike, and bring along your dog if you wish - as long as you have him on a leash. It is accessible from the T on the Forest Hills Orange Line, or Bus 39. Open 365 days a year, if you want a breath of fresh air from your Boston apartment, grab a sandwich and some chips and plunk yourself on a park bench at the Arnold Arboretum.