Fun and Local Nature Activities
BY LUCIA SABATELLI '26
Summer has slipped through our fingers and with countless hours of homework looming overhead, a breath of fresh air is vital to prepare. In Acton-Boxborough and beyond, a variety of outdoor activities await, whether it be soaking in the last rays of summer at the Acton Arboretum or plucking blueberries at Honey Pot Hill Farm, this bucket list contains it all!
First, only minutes away from the high school, the Acton Arboretum boasts over 65 acres of accessible trails and meadows abundant with native plants (and animals). Additionally, the pure aesthetics of the location offers itself as a prime location for a secluded picnic or photoshoot. Now although I pride myself in being a cat lover, the arboretum is perfect for spicing up your dog’s daily walks; however, remember to bring that leash! Additionally, the Acton Arboretum has quite the dynamic landscape, from vernal pools and meadows to orchards and trails and even a butterfly garden. Ultimately, I believe the true must-see is the boardwalk with access to the bog, as there is a lively population of bullfrogs and snap turtles!
Next on the list is a childhood treasure of mine: Honey Pot Hill Orchards located in Stow, MA. The farm holds memories for many, offering sweet blueberry patches, corn mazes, and hay rides; however, the whimsical feel of Honey Pot Hill is now often clouded by the back-to-school rush of summer reading tests or homework. Therefore, I encourage you to visit this classic attraction for the winding hedge maze or my favorite - a promenade through the fresh apple orchards. Although Honey Pot Hill is known for their apple-picking beginning in late August (and for a good reason), the farm offers you the opportunity to pick your own blueberries, plums, and peaches, a timeless way to spend the last few days in the sweltering summer sun. Moreover, the Little Hedge Maze, a winding outdoor labyrinth curated purely out of hedge plants, costs only two dollars. Finally, as an animal lover, I adore the small farm animals Honey Pot Hill houses. From elegant miniature ponies to rambunctious pigs, the cuteness factor is off the charts and free of charge!
In my experience, a museum trip consists of admiring the artists’ unique message during the first hour, and then practically dragging yourself the grueling exhibits for the rest. Therefore, if you enjoy modern art with a twist, the deCordova Sculpture Park is a perfect option, located only 15 minutes away from Acton Center. The majority of the museum is completely outdoors, situated against the lush forest of Lincoln, MA. In an effort to conserve the natural habitat of New England, many sculptures decompose into the landscape or address conservation laws. In addition, if you itch to reach out and touch artwork at the Met, the deCordova is the perfect spot for you, as each exhibit is completely interactive, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in the handcrafted sculptures. My personal favorites include Requiem for the 20th Century by Nam June Paik, a merge of technology and art in a 1936 Chrysler Airstream or Lincoln by DeWitt Godfrey, a steel sculpture spanning over 150 feet and possessing a unique soffit quality. As a younger child, and even today, I appreciate the opportunity to roam freely around the sculpture garden. Of course, if you’re utterly famished after exploring over 30 acres of sculpture and contemporary pieces, the Twisted TreeCafe, with a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian options, is nearby. The deCordova experience typically offers an indoor gallery with rotating exhibitions, with a focus on unique programming. Unfortunately, this area is closed to the public due to regulations.
Whether it be your comfort film or novel, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is a beloved classic. Set in Concord, Massachusetts, Alcott explores the nuance of family ties through the perspective of Jo March, an aspiring writer. In my opinion, her house in Concord, MA, is an underrated activity for all the film buffs and books lovers out there. The Orchard House offers tickets for $8 per person (under 17), complete with a guided tour to enhance one’s understanding and overall experience. Even for those unfamiliar with the book and films, the Orchard House offers itself as a glimpse into life in the Boston Area during the late 1800s and the magnificent architecture preserved in its original state. Finally, although not technically an outdoor activity, the Orchard House is set against a curated garden and the ever-changing setting of New England.
Ultimately, New England is vastly underrated by its residents for the beauty it offers, whether it be in the preserved conservation land of the Acton Arboretum or the modern sculptures of the deCordova. I highly encourage you to get out there and explore all that the area has to offer, because the beauty is admirable!