Saturday, January 28, 2012

Towers Atop Boston

I figure most of us enjoy a good vantage point to observe the world, or at least over Boston.
To see a region altogether, a view up high is particularly helpful. I've found there are a number of such opportunities in the Boston area. What's more, they are fun to get to. Take Wright's Tower, as an example.
Starting in Medford Square (bus 94 or 96 from Davis), the walk into the Middlesex Fells is quite pleasant.  Through the nearby neighborhood, walk north to the Fells through; I recommend Ashcroft Road.
As you get closer to the Fells you will notice a rockier topography. At the end of the neighborhood you reach the Fells near Bellevue Pond. Follow the old Quarry Road to the too of Pine Hill and you will find Wright's Tower.
The tower is open year round during the day with a short climb to the top, which affords a distant view of the Boston skyline (opening image, above). In the other direction is a sweeping view of the Fells, appearing as if there were no further development from here to Mt. Wachusett on a clear day.
Closer to Boston we find Prospect Tower in Union Square, Somerville (87 from Lechmere & Davis). It is on the top of a rather steep hill to the north of the square. The view of Boston and Cambridge from the top is fabulous, but always wintry. 
Unfortunately, the City only opens the tower to the public on January 1st, during their celebration of the first American flag raising at this location. The celebration and the view are worth the mid winter trek.
Another great view of the city, which is open year round is everyone's favorite in Charlestown, the Bunker Hill Monument. Best arrived at by walking through the old Charlestown neighborhoods from the Community College Station. The 221-foot tall tower commemorates the Battle of Bunker Hill, and affords a good 294 step workout to get to the top. This effort is not wasted since it is the closest tower to the center of the City, which provides striking views of the City that you can't get further away.
Sadly, the viewing area is cramped with four very small windows with grates, which diminishes an otherwise spectacular view of the City.
Of course, I  saved my favorite tower for last.
May I introduce the The Washington Tower in the Mount Auburn Cemetery (71 or 73 from Harvard). The experience is nothing short of majestic. I find it best to walk aimlessly through the Cemetary. Walk somewhere you haven't walked before. Work your way to higher points, eventually you may find yourself at the foot of the tower. Proceed to the top, it is a good climb but not tiring.
Observe the world.


  1. Don't forget the observatory tower atop the Blue Hills Reservation down in Milton. It has a gorgeous view of back bay and downtown boston!

    Another, which i haven't been to in 10 years, and I can't remember if you can even climb it, is the Highland Park tower on Fort Hill in Roxbury:

  2. JPTwins, The Blue Hills tower is on my list, though getting there by train or bus is a bit complicated, or involves a very long walk. I will have to look into the Roxbury Tower. Hopefully it is still open for walking up.

  3. After reading your blog post one thing is sure, I am gonna observe to world around me myself.