Centenarian Trees, Sculpture, and the Song of the Red-winged Black Bird
June 2, 2013

By Andrea Pelosi, Kids Outdoors Boston Parent Ambassador

Every once in a while, I find a few hours of unscheduled time. Whenever this happens, I try to make the most of it by finding a new outdoor space to visit. In order for me and my children to enjoy the trip, I rely on simplicity. I look for a place that is close by, easy to get to, and offers something interesting that won’t take hours to discover. Forest Hills Cemetery, located on more than 275 acres, seemed to fit the bill perfectly. It’s also on the National Register of Historic Places.

The cemetery is a 10-minute drive from my house. The long, winding driveway to the entrance is the perfect transition from crazy city driving to serenity. The parking for visitors who are there for a walk is on the side of the driveway near the main entrance.

After passing through the entrance, we found the information kiosk just past the sundial. There we picked up an extremely informative visitor’s guide and map. After considering a variety of possibilities, we decided to check out the waterfall, a few of the sculptures, and the lake at the center.

Austin wanted to be in control of the route, so I handed the map over to him. There was no way he could get us lost here! Our first stop was the waterfall. It wasn’t Niagara Falls, but we were impressed there was a waterfall within the city of Boston at all.

Austin and Olivia wanted to go find the source of the waterfall, but we decided to save that for another day.

Instead, we made our way to see some of the sculptures. On our way, we discovered some amazing centenarian trees. There are quite a few within the cemetery. 

Whenever I see these old trees, I am just inspired. They are truly living history.

Olivia found the first sculpture that we were looking for, The Sentinel. It seemed to invite her for a closer look.

It took a little more searching to find the protected sculpture of the little girl. It is incredible to think that all of the marble sculptures in the cemetery used to look like this.

We made our way to Lake Hibiscus, where two chairs beckoned my children to take a “rest” under the copper beech tree. We listened to the birds for a while. We couldn’t help but notice the distinctive call of the Red-winged Black Bird over the Robins and Sparrows. We watched three black Heron-like birds dive for food in the lake before we headed home.

We enjoyed exploring the Forest Hills Cemetery. It seamlessly combined being outside with art and history. I’m glad to have it so close by for future visits. I have also recently discovered that Mt. Auburn Cemetery, the predecessor of Forest Hills, is similarly designed. If I find myself across the river in Cambridge, I just might take a side trip there. All I have to do is just find a few free hours.

AMC’s Outdoors with Kids Boston guidebook recommends Forest Hills for all ages with its stroller-friendly options. You will find more helpful information on this trip at Kids Outdoors Boston, and don’t forget to rate your experience and share one of your own photos!  

Forest Hills is open every day from dawn to dusk. Before going, you can print off a map with points of interest on the Cemetery’s website at:
http://www.foresthillscemetery.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Forest_Hills_Map_2011_03.pdf.

You can drive or take the MBTA’s Orange Line to the Forest Hills Station. 

About the blogger: Andrea Pelosi is a featured guest blogger as part of AMC’s Kids Outdoors Boston Parent Ambassador program, which partners with local parents to share their outdoor experiences with this online community and beyond. Andrea lives south of Boston inside I-95 and enjoys exploring outdoors with her 10-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter. Stay tuned throughout the summer for monthly blog posts and trip reports from Andrea, as well as from other local Parent Ambassadors and AMC’s Outdoors with Kids Boston author, Kim Foley MacKinnon.

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