A Section of the Charles River You Probably Didn't Know Existed
by Eric Hurwitz. Article created Jan. 25, 2017. All photos by Eric
unless otherwise noted.
Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts are not the only
ballgames in town when it comes to the Charles River. About
20 miles west of Boston is a completely different
version of the Charles River at South Natick Dam Park in South Natick
where the peace, quiet and grace of a semi-rural, historic area takes
of traditional small town New England. It's truly a great,
off-the-beaten path discovery!
The Park, established in 1903, is located at the site of a former
gristmill where you can still see embedded millstones in the paved
area. According to the Natick government web site
(http://natickma.gov/1123/South-Natick-Dam-Park),"The island in the
middle of the river is named for Horace Holyoke, one of the characters
from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Old Town Folks;” the character is based
on her husband, South Natick native Calvin Stowe."
The real prize in this area, however, is the adjacent Charles River dam
with its scenic waterfall. What an ideal spot to sit on a bench, hear
the roar of the waterfall, and marvel at the beauty of the Charles
River. Within walking distance are big historic Colonial homes,
the Bacon Free Public Library dating back to 1880 ( I always liked that
name; sounds like no bacon is allowed on the premises!), and the aptly
Charles River Coffeehouse at 57 Eliot St. that serves great coffee,
baked goods, sandwiches and salads.
While the Charles River will always be associated with Boston and
Cambridge, this South Natick location offers a completely different
experience surely worth visiting. The Charles River Dam Park is
especially beautiful in the spring and summer when vibrant flowers
frame the body of water, as well as in the fall where foliage brings
even more color. South Natick Dam Park is
located at 9 Pleasant St in South Natick and is open from dawn to dusk
at no charge.
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