Beacon's best: Must-see sites for fall frolicking

by Christina Bartson / Beacon Staff, Cathleen Cusachs / Beacon Staff, Mark Gartsbeyn / Beacon Staff, Laura King / Beacon Staff, Kyle Labe / Beacon Correspondent, Jackie Roman / Beacon Staff, and Rebecca Szkutak / Beacon Staff • October 27, 2016

It only takes a handful of writers to make a city immortal, and Boston’s Jamaica Plain is certainly suspended in time forever. It’s home to Sylvia Plath, born near the Arnold Arboretum; Anne Sexton, another Pulitzer Prize winner; and poet e.e. Cummings, who is buried in Forest Hills Cemetery. Its rows of autumnal-hued Victorian homes, otherworldly cemetery, curious biodiversity, and artistic inhabitants make it a charming and nostalgic setting to pass a fall day. If you’re seeking escape from the city, wander out to Jamaica Pond. It’s a quiet place to take a walk or read a book, and the smell of the fallen leaves is intoxicating. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, meander over to Centre Street and pick up pastries at Fiore’s Bakery and some more books at Papercuts J.P.

-Christina Bartson, managing editor

Maybe you find cemeteries spooky or eerie, but to me, they’re serene and beautiful. As the leaves change, there’s no better time to visit some of Boston’s most handsome burial grounds. Check out the absolutely stunning Mount Auburn Cemetery all the way in east Watertown, a short bus ride away from Harvard. It’s a large bucolic greenspace complete with sculptures, lakes, walking paths, historic headstones, and bountiful flora and fauna. Mount Auburn is a favorite spot for bird-watchers. Tip: Climb the tower in Mount Auburn for one of the best views of the city.

-Mark Gartsbeyn, managing editor

Growing up near the shore gives one an appreciation for waterfronts at any time of year. I don’t think the beach should be reserved purely for those steamy summer days. True, it’s inadvisable to laze around the sand when temperatures are dipping below freezing. But the cold ocean views at Constitution Beach in Eastie, or the waterfront in Southie, are worth bundling up against crisp autumn air.

-Laura King, managing editor

As a kid we would always go to the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary in Topsfield, Mass. in the fall. The scenery is beautiful, ranging from open fields to warm-colored leaves. It has 12 miles of trails so it’s a great place to walk around with a PSL in hand. It also features a bird sanctuary where you can feed birds straight from your hand. Pro tip: Do not just throw the seeds at them and yell, “Here birdies.” I tried at age four and failed!

-Rebecca Szkutak, lifestyle editor

To me, there’s nothing that can replace the walk to Faneuil Hall in all of its cozy tourist glory. When I was a freshman and felt homesick, I just went for a stroll to Quincy Market and bought a hot coffee. Then I walked through all the shops, and spent extra time in the all-year Christmas store. Surrounded by twinkling lights, visiting families, and children in marshmallow thick jackets, there can be nothing but pure joy. If you’re looking for the same kind of storybook comfort I am, this is the activity for you. 

-Jackie Roman, editor in chief

A great place to visit this time of year is Downtown Salem District. All month is Haunted Happenings, a gigantic festival throughout the town for Halloween. Take a tour of the famous Salem Witch Museum, visit the fair, get a psychic reading, see the House of the Seven Gables, walk along the waterfront, down some hot apple cider, or even just sit in the Salem Common to watch the outrageous costumes and fall foliage. Once you navigate through the crowds, Halloween at Salem is a rite of passage for any Bostonian.

-Kyle Labe, assistant lifestyle editor

When the temperature starts to drop, there’s no place I love more than L.A. Burdick’s. Their handmade artisan desserts and variations of the classic hot chocolate always put me in the seasonal spirit. With intimate seating and shelves of all-natural sweets, you’ll feel like you walked right into a Hallmark movie. The best part is, this rom-com scene waiting to happen is on Clarendon St., only a hop, skip, and a jump from campus. L.A. Burdick’s can get expensive and usually is very busy, but for those autumn evenings with the very best of friends, it’s the perfect splurge.

-Cathleen Cusachs, arts editor