Here is Melrose

Breakheart Reservation

... a favorite place near Melrose

by Elizabeth Samit

This 700 acre scenic area is located just off the Lynn Fells Parkway in Saugus, but only a ten-minute drive from downtown Melrose. Since "favorite places in Melrose" is the topic of the Special Feature section of this issue, this parkland is my 'pick' as an outdoor enthusiast.

Carol (a volunteer walk leader) in front of the Visitors Center at Breakheart Reservation.

On my first trip, I fell in love immediately with the rustic Visitors’ Center, which is wheelchair accessible and has an indoor bathroom. In fact, I enjoy it just as much in the winter as in other seasons. With its over-sized fireplace and comfortable sofas, it provides a heated place to have a cup of coffee or tea after a chilly stroll around the 5-mile loop road.

In March of 2009, I attended Breakheart Reservation's annual maple sugaring event. On that special weekend, there were demonstrations by the staff of the entire process from tapping the maple trees to boiling down the sap. And, in the summer, I've enjoyed reading the Sunday newspaper in the gazebo located near the Visitors' Center.

There is a mostly flat, paved road for a gentle walk to a swimming pond (great spot for parents with young children), along with several unpaved trails with steeper inclines. Additionally, there is an area where dogs can run off-leash, called ‘Bark Place’.

Judging from the number of people walking, jogging, and enjoying the scenery, it’s also a favorite place for a lot of folks--though it rarely feels crowded. (On the other hand, it is good to arrive early as there is limited parking.)  

The Friends of Breakheart Reservation have ensured that this open space is truly a local gem, and they publish a newsletter available at the Visitors’ Center.

For more info, see the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation's webpage for Breakheart Reservation at:

June 4, 2010

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