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Jamaica Pond: Jewel in the Emerald Necklace

Rowing, sailing, fishing, strolling, or just sitting


For a a spur-of-the-moment day in the country, just minutes from BU by bike or car, you can’t do better than Jamaica Pond, one of the brightest jewels in Boston’s meandering park system known as the Emerald Necklace. The pond offers enough diversions to pass a long summer day, with no crowds to battle. Stroll, row, sail, fish, picnic, or just park yourself on a bench here in the heart of one of the nation’s most diverse communities, Jamaica Plain.

First incorporated into renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace in 1892, Jamaica Pond covers about 68 acres, with a broad 1.5-mile paved path tracing its shore. In the late 1800s, many of the grand homes fronting the pond were the summer residences of wealthy Bostonians. A glacier-formed “kettle” pond, Jamaica Pond is a haven for ducks and is stocked with fish each year by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, which issues fishing permits.

Visitors can rent sailboats and rowboats at the Jamaica Pond Boat House, which is administered by Courageous Sailing, a nonprofit that offers sailing and leadership programs to Boston area youth. Sailboat rentals are $15 per hour and are available Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from noon to sunset and Friday through Sunday and holidays from 10 a.m. to sunset. During July and August, the Boat House is closed to the public for weekday rentals and lessons until 3:45 p.m. to accommodate educational summer youth programs. Renting a sailboat requires the completion of a short course ($20) from any of the onsite sailing instructors; a complimentary hour of free sailing is earned after successful fulfillment of the course. Rowboat and kayak rentals are $15 per hour (rowboat rentals are $10 with a Massachusetts fishing license). Hours are the same as those for sailboat rentals. Credit cards are not accepted.

Street parking is available along Perkins Street on Jamaica Pond’s west side. The park closes at 11:30 p.m. The path around the pond is for pedestrians only. Swimming, wading, and alcoholic beverages are prohibited. Dogs are welcome on leashes; owners must clean up after their pets.

This article was originally published on June 28, 2010; it has been updated to include current information.

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Susan Seligson, Senior Writer for BU Today and Bostonia
Susan Seligson

Susan Seligson can be reached at sueselig@bu.edu.

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