July 30, 2020 by Gabrielle Martin
In the current coronavirus climate, people are opting to eat outdoors more than ever! Plus, let’s face it: after months and months of being confined to our homes, we’ve all begun searching for new places to visit to cure our cabin fever. But don’t sweat it! The Anchor has the scoop on where to picnic around town this summer.
HINGHAM HARBOR BATHING BEACH GROVE: A GREAT SHADY SPOT FOR WHEN IT’S HOT
The Hingham Harbor Bathing Beach is a peaceful place to picnic. Featuring a fantastic amount of overhead foliage to provide refuge from even the most oppressive of temperatures and a lush lawn spanning along the scenic strip of coast, the Harbor Bathing Beach is a great spot to set up shop when it’s hot! Equipped with incredible amenities, including a brand-new bathhouse, the Hingham Harbor Bathing Beach also hosts a series of informational signage as well as the Hingham Farmers Market, which has been relocated to Station St. for the summer to better implement thorough COVID-19 preventative measures. (It will be hosted in Wompatuck State Park this winter).
There's free parking (and lots of it!), not to mention a multitude of picturesque photo ops with views of World’s End, Button Island, and the Hingham Harbor Marina. You can walk over to Veterans Memorial Park for a bit of historic Hingham or down to the water’s edge to interact with the local wildlife: look for horseshoe crabs crawling around in the shallows or sit on the seawall and look for moon jellies in the water below.
I recommend this spot for a picnic because it’s can’t-beat-it convenient. The Bathing Beach is located close to several coffee shops and restaurants, such as Redeye Roasters, Stars on Hingham Harbor, Tosca Cafe, and The Lobster Pound.
You can easily take a working-from-home lunch break here; pack your picnic or order ahead of time with a nearby eatery, bring a blanket, and make the most of your hour off! Not only is it a great place to bring your family for a laid-back brunch, but it’s equally excellent to go by yourself with a good book and some afternoon snacks. I would also suggest this spot to anyone as a grassy alternative for sand-haters who want to picnic by the beach.
THE LAUNCH at THE HINGHAM SHIPYARD: OFFERS A SOCIAL SCENE AND SEASCAPE WITH A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING
The Launch at The Hingham Shipyard is a picnic spot that has it all! The Shipyard itself is a magnificent seaside social hub featuring fantastic sunsets and a stunning skyline view of the city. The Shipyard contains an assortment of restaurants and bars as well as shops; it also is home to a walkway along the waterfront. This paved path offers pedestrians benches, bushes with blooming hydrangeas, and grassy spans of lawn to sit for a spell. The vibe at the Launch is oceanic and flowery, the marina docks contrasting with the colorful flora and fauna displays.
The Shipyard is a great place to picnic because it offers attendees a range of options of where to eat: you have your choice of the impeccably well-manicured lawn, a bench overlooking the Weymouth Back River, or you could even eat dinner on the docks! The Shipyard is an amazingly accessible place with plenty of free parking and a lot of versatility: here, there’s something for everyone! You can pair this picnic with a bit of window shopping afterwards, or a spectacular sunset.
TRIPHAMMER POND CONSERVATION LAND: A SECLUDED PLACE TO PICNIC IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A PRIVATE GETAWAY
Triphammer Pond Conservation Land is connected to the Wompatuck State Park Trail network. Hingham acquired these 98 acres of land in 1945. The 19-acre pond and surrounding trails make Triphammer an excellent picnic place, best paired with hiking boots, the gentle wind from the water, and a summer afternoon. Make a day of it and do some fishing with your family after you feast! Hike along the winding wooded trails that follow the pond and find a secluded spot to set up. Alternatively, you could choose to really take your lunch on Triphammer Pond by bringing a kayak with you and eating your lunch out on the water.
The easiest way to access Triphammer Pond is off Popes Land, near Weir River Farm. You must use a vehicle that can weather the rocky dirt road that leads to the parking area–though if my Prius can do it, I bet your car can, too! You’ll be fully immersed in the forest by the time you hit the parking lot. This is a great place to go if you’re feeling the need to get away because it’s rarely busy; here, you can enjoy some privacy as you picnic. It’s important to prepare to carry-out anything you bring in; there are no trash cans on-site, so be sure to bring your garbage with you when you go.
TURKEY HILL: RUSTIC, BARNYARD FEEL WITH ONE BREATH-TAKING VIEW OF BOSTON
Turkey Hill is an excellent place to picnic in the mid- to late-afternoon; I suggest setting your sights right at the cusp of golden hour and setting up shop till sunset. You can dine in the warm summer night air as sunlight illuminates the surrounding fields and farm. Bask in the hilltop breeze as the wildflowers dance around you and bunnies dart to and fro! Prepare to take pictures, as you’ll have access to some of the best views of Boston and a clear look across the Hull peninsula. Be sure to bring some sunglasses for when you settle in among the wildflowers for your take-it-to-go feast: it will be bright!
Pair your picnic with a walk around the surrounding property. You might even have some company, if the cows happen to be grazing in a nearby pen! Take a trip down to Weir River Farm to visit the barnyard residents: they have horses, pigs, chickens, and sheep. This is a great way to immerse yourself in the spirit of Turkey Hill’s rustic charm. Alternatively, take a grassier path to the Grove and enjoy the Garden Path, lined by shrubs and flowers; bask in the serenity of this woodland sanctuary!
One thing to know before you go: Turkey Hill does offer a limited amount of free parking, so be sure to observe the property rules and plan accordingly. (You must leave the lot by sundown.) I recommend pairing this picnic location with fresh berries, lemonade, and your favorite faded blanket.
WOMPATUCK STATE PARK: MAKE THE MOST OF OUR HOMETOWN’S WOODLAND HAVEN
The land that is now Wompatuck State Park once belonged to Josiah Wompatuck, leader of the Mattakeesett tribe of Massachusetts Indians; in 1655, Wompatuck deeded the land to English settlers. During the 1940s and through the 1960s, the Park became the Hingham Naval Ammunition Depot Annex. For this reason, Wompatuck offers several unusual attractions, including over 100 decommissioned military bunkers, some of which remain exposed. The Park is also home to the remnants of an abandoned railroad as well as Mt. Blue Spring, which has been in operation since the mid-19th century.
Wompatuck State Park contains an assortment of other fun features, such as 262 campsites, access to the Aaron River Reservoir, 12 miles of paved bicycle paths, and trails for hikers, bikers, horseback riders, and cross-country skiers. Additional amenities include maps and restrooms, provided at the Visitor Center, which is currently closed “to aid in the prevention of spreading COVID-19.”
Hinghamites are fortunate to have something as historic and lush as Wompatuck State Park right in our backyard, figuratively–though quite literally, for some Hingham residents! Like the Bathing Beach, Wompatuck is accessible in that there’s a large amount of free parking. There’s also several entrances along the perimeter of the park that span around town. Due to ongoing COVID-19 preventative measures, trash cans may not be available for Park visitors; prepare to take any trash you bring or create on-site.
With this option, you can also incorporate a hike or bike ride into your picnic plans; as they say, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” Though, in my opinion, everything is “location, location, location!” With that in mind, Wompatuck is a wonderful place to picnic this summer, whether you want to picnic under the pine trees or beside a lilypad-covered pond. Just pick a spot on one of the Park’s 3,500+ acres! If you aim for dusk, you might even see some of the Park’s wildlife: rabbits, deer–or, rather, in the case of the symphony of frogs and cicadas, you may hear them! Treat yourself to a meal in the great outdoors at Wompatuck, a hidden-away haven that happens to be right in your hometown.