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Get Outdoors This Summer for Your Health

August 15, 2020

Summer in New England is the perfect season to get outdoors, whether for a backyard BBQ, a day at the beach or an evening of stargazing. There are many benefits to safely spending time outdoors including getting fresh air, boosting Vitamin D, relieving stress and getting exercise. In these stressful times, being in nature can calm your nervous system and exposure to sunlight helps boost the serotonin levels in your brain which raises your energy and keeps your mood calm, positive, and focused.

A recent study found that half an hour of midday summertime sunlight can inactivate 90 percent of coronavirus. Our communities are full of outdoor activities and beautiful places to visit. Here are some suggestions:

The Trustees of Reservations

Over one hundred properties of The Trustees of Reservations are once again open to the public, including some of the most popular properties which have reopened their outdoor spaces on a controlled basis to provide more access to nature during the COVID-19 pandemic. Members can access these properties for free with a timed entry or daily parking pass, including deCordova Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Castle Hill and Crane Beach in Ipswich and World’s End in Hingham.

For the health and safety of everyone, The Trustees asks that visitors follow these social distancing guidelines when enjoying these newly reopened properties:

  • Limit visits to open Trustees properties in your respective town or neighborhood
  • Stay at least six feet from other visitors, including stepping aside on the trail to let others pass
  • Please keep dogs leashed and away from other visitors at all times
  • If a parking area is full, please come back at a less busy time

Massachusetts State Parks

In order to get outside for healthy, outdoor recreational activities, including walking, hiking, jogging, and bike riding, Massachusetts State Parks and other natural resources, including coastal and inland beaches, managed by DCR remain open and accessible to the public. But parks may have limited parking and amenities and all parks have COVID-19 safety guidelines. Please check the DCR State Parks Covid-19 update for information on facilities and closures before you go.

Visitors to state parks should follow these guidelines:

  • Minimize outdoor recreational time to limit potential exposure to COVID-19
  • Stay within solitary or small groups, and avoid gatherings of ten or more people
  • Practice social distancing of at least six feet between individuals
  • Administer healthy personal hygiene, such as handwashing for at least 20 seconds
  • Participate in only non-contact recreational activities
  • Leave a park or area should large gatherings begin to build
  • Stay home if ill, over 70, and/or part of a vulnerable population

Hingham

Photo credit: Pete Marotta

World’s End in Hingham: World’s End is a 251-acre property with tree-lined carriage paths, rocky shorelines, open fields ringed by woodlands, and sweeping views of the Boston skyline which is only 15 miles away. The tree-lined carriage paths were designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and make pleasant walking trails. The property is ideal for walking, jogging, bird watching, or simply enjoying nature and the outdoors.

The four drumlins that comprise World’s End were created by a retreating glacier that helped create the islands of Boston Harbor. World’s End was once an island at high tide, but farmers in colonial times dammed the salt marsh to grow hay. Wealthy Boston businessman John Brewer built a farming estate in the 1880s and in 1890, he hired Frederick Law Olmsted to design a large subdivision. The homes of the subdivision were never built, but four miles of carriage roads remain. In 1967, dedicated residents from Hingham and surrounding communities along with The Trustees were able to preserve this special place from development.

World’s End is currently open in a controlled manner to limit overcrowding and reserved Time/Day Passes are required in advance. For more information on getting passes to visit World’s End, check The Trustees website.

Weymouth

Webb Memorial State Park is a scenic peninsula at the end of River Street which extends half a mile into Hingham Bay with scenic views of Boston’s harbor and skyline. Recreational activities for visitors include fishing, picnicking, and walking. The main trail provides a one-mile loop for hiking. According to the Massachusetts State Park website, the main parking area is closed to aid in the prevention of spreading Covid-19.

The glacial hills and connecting lowland that form Weymouth Neck and Webb Memorial State Park have been sculpted by both natural and human forces for thousands of years. Native Americans utilized the area for its wealth of shellfish, finfish, and wild fruits. European settlers used the area for agriculture through the end of the nineteenth century.

Quincy

Quincy Shores Reservation on Quincy Shore Drive in Quincy provides 2.3 miles of beach. The area is popular for its jogging and biking trail. Free on-site parking is available.

Caddy Park on the southern end of the beach has more than fifteen acres of fields and marsh, and includes a play area, lookout tower, and picnic tables. To the north is Moswetuset Hummock, a National Historic Site, which was a summer campsite for the Massachusetts tribe in the 1600’s. Now a mix of woodland trails and marshland, Moswetuset Hummock offers a short loop trail with views of Quincy Bay and Squantum Marsh.

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