7 Lovely Garden Walks in Massachusetts

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Taking a stroll outside is always a good way for you to give yourself some down time.

With green shoots popping up around us and flowers just beginning to blossom, the next few months will present the perfect opportunity to explore Massachusetts’ various verdant gardens.

For Mother’s Day or any other day, from Beverly to the Berkshires, here are seven spots where you can smell the roses (or a few other flowers, at least) and let your mind unwind. Enjoy!

Mytoi Garden in Edgartown

If you’re taking a trip to Martha’s Vineyard in the near future, be sure to immerse yourself in Mytoi, a truly mesmerizing Japanese-style garden with delightful pathways, inviting views and a quaint footbridge that leads to a private island.

Mytoi

Photo: Footbridge in Mytoi Garden

Close by, you can also find the Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge for a little more exploring, the Edgartown Inn for an overnight and the Seafood Shanty for a mid-day bite.

Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston

Just a 15-minute drive from Worcester, Tower Hill Botanic Garden offers elegant views of native perennials spread across 132 pristine acres. This year-round spot, known to many as a “living museum of plants,” is especially lovely outdoors during the warmer months. Nearby, you can enjoy casual fare at O’Connor’s Restaurant & Bar or extend your day of fresh air at the Tougas Family Farm. If you’re spending a few days in the area, the Beechwood Hotel will keep you comfy.

Tower Hill

Photo: Tower Hill Botanic Garden Mountain Laurel

Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge

This Berkshires haven not only educates its visitors on the value of conservationism and environmentalism, but also serves as a peaceful escape for the avid nature lover. Stockbridge’s best-known botanical garden is a standout in a region that counts many scenic vistas, and it’s also a location that consistently hosts special events, which are always good to check before any visit.

Berkshires Botanic

Photo: Berkshire Botanical Garden in spring

To take a look around before you stop by, click here. And for a peek at lodging options and food stops in Stockbridge, click here and here.

Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University in Jamaica Plain

Home to more than 176 varieties of lilacs, Arnold Arboretum is one of Massachusetts’ most historic natural sites. Since its founding in 1872, this nationally recognized landmark and research facility has preserved hundreds of acres of diverse floral plants, trees, vines, and much more.

Arnold

Photo: Arnold Arboretum landscape

For a day filled with the arts, consider adding a customized private art tour with My Art Boston. If you’re in the area during mid-July, you can also enjoy a nearby concert at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy. And of course, a trip to Jamaica Plain is never complete without a stop at the original JP Licks (more food options here)! To rest your head in a similarly pastoral setting, consider a stay at The Taylor House Bed & Breakfast, which has some delightful gardens of its own.

Long Hill Arboretum in Beverly

Formerly an early 20th-century summertime family retreat, this North Shore spot showcases an impressive collection of rare tree and shrub species. Each garden, or “room,” surrounds the Federal-style estate, a spectacle in itself for those with an appreciation for New England’s rich architectural history.

An apple orchard, peaceful meadow, organic farm, children’s garden and scenic loop trail are among the other features that make Long Hill a springtime favorite for many. For more attractions in the area, click here, and for a list of suitable lodgings, just click here.

Beverly

Photo: Flowers in Long Hill Arboretum

Ashintully Gardens in Tyringham

Much like other great sites, the Ashintully Gardens weren’t built in a day. This serene landscape, which is accompanied by a rushing stream and tranquil meadows, is the culmination of 30 years of work by contemporary composer John McLennan and is a true a springtime treat.

Ashintully

Photo: Ashintully Fountain

Open to the public starting on the first Wednesday in June 2014, visitors can relax by strolling the winding footpaths, taking in the delightful terraces and scaling the stone stairs. To complete your nature-inspired escape, opt for an overnight at the Cobble View B&B or the Tollgate Inn.

Plimoth Plantation Hornblower Garden in Plymouth

A popular and romantic wedding destination, this authentic 20th-century formal perennial garden is tucked away in the area’s living history museum, right along the South Shore. Spending a few minutes in the garden makes for some nice down time in between activities at Plimoth Plantation, where there’s always plenty to see and do. To spend more time around Plymouth, try a night or two at the Bramhall Cottage, Above the Bay at Thornton Adam’s House B&B, or any of these additional lodging areas.

Plimoth Garden

Photo: Hornblower Garden at Plimoth Plantation

For those who like to spend time outside but seek something a little more ambitious, browse the Outdoors section of our website. You can find even more Massachusetts spring ideas here.

What’s one nature spot you like to visit each year in Massachusetts? Let us know in the comments!

  • NJ Daughter

    My Dad & Stepmom lived across the street from the entry drive to Long Hill in Beverly. I enjoyed a trip up the hill nearly every time I visited. I hope the present owners of my Dad’s old house enjoy the view as much as my Dad & Stepmom did!

    • MassVacation

      We hope so, too!

  • http://www.thedistractedwanderer.com Linda Orlomoski

    I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Long Hill in Beverly which was absolutely beautiful as well as peaceful and relaxing. I’m a big fan of The Trustees of Reservations and their preservation efforts so have lots of their properties on my list of places to visit in Massachusetts as they do a phenomenal job of not just maintaining the beautiful lands that have been entrusted to them but in also making them available for the public to enjoy. You can’t go wrong picking any of them to visit!

    • MassVacation

      Couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Linda!

  • Denise

    My boyfriend and I are hiking the Midstate Trail in six-mile segments, almost halfway now on this 92 mile trail! Lots of beautiful forests, wetlands, streams, ponds, wildflowers and history!

    • patty

      Where does this start

      • MassVacation

        Patty, the mid-state trail runs from Rhode Island through Central Massachusetts and connects to the Wapack Trail in New Hampshire. More on it here: http://www.midstatetrail.org/

    • MassVacation

      Nice, Denise! We hope you’re enjoying :)

  • flowerpower

    Moore State Park in Paxton MA, especially when azaleas and rhodedendron are in bloom. Lovely wooded trails, scenic pond, and an historic old mill all grace the property.

    • MassVacation

      Absolutely! That’s another great option.

  • Morris

    The Metropolitan Wind Symphony appreciates the mention, in connection with the Arnold Arboretum, but although our mailing address is in Jamaica Plain, our only concert near there this year is on Sunday, July 20, at Pinebank. See http://www.emeraldnecklace.org/calendar/events/summer-sundays-2013/ for details of this and the rest of the summer concert series at Pinebank.

    • MassVacation

      Thank you for letting us know about that, Morris. We’ve updated the post to accurately reflect that.

  • SAWolf

    Stanley Park, right across from Westfield State University.

    • MassVacation

      That’s another good one!

    • GvlGirl

      You are so right. Stanley Park is awesome!

  • Central Mass

    Mount Auburn Cemetary should be on the list, for beauty and history it is unsurpassed.

    • MassVacation

      Absolutely! Mount Auburn is a terrific spot. Great for bird watching, too :)

  • GvlGirl

    Not sure if anyone mentioned it already, but the Botanic Garden at Smith College is also a must-see.

    • Trixibelle

      Yes! Their spring bulb show is astonishing, and draws large crowds (especially on weekends.) There’s a fall mums show there too which is quite lovely.

      • MassVacation

        Thanks for adding that, GvlGirl and Trixibelle! We might have to whip up another post featuring some more of Massachusetts’ great gardens :)

  • Betsy

    The bridge of flowers in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts is an exceptional walk!

    • MassVacation

      It is indeed, Betsy! That’s another great spot.

  • Lisa D

    Forgot Elm Bank. Mass Horticulture Summer Gardens in Wellesley, Dover, So Natick…it’s magnificent!

  • Andrea

    Heritage Museums & Gardens on Cape Cod (Sandwich) is beautiful and offers something for everyone. 100 acres of lush gardens and nature trails, plus fountains, great play spaces for the kids, antique cars, and exhibits that change yearly.