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Arnold Arboretum: A different type of ‘going out’ for the weekend

Sure, Bostonians can see fantastic fall foliage all over town — liningthe Charles River Esplanade, on picturesque South End streets and allover the Fens, Boston Common and the Public Garden.

Sure, Bostonians can see fantastic fall foliage all over town — lining the Charles River Esplanade, on picturesque South End streets and all over the Fens, Boston Common and the Public Garden.

Still, the Arnold Arboretum is worth a trek to the end of the Orange line. The 265-acre botanical garden is a peaceful respite from the bustling city — and yes, it’s bursting with fiery, golden leaves.

It’s also free.

Visitors to this oldest arboretum in North America can take guided walking tours of the grounds on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays through mid-November, or explore on their own dawn to dusk any day of the year.

Although there are labeled walkways throughout the park, tour guides encourage visitors to go off the beaten path and explore.

The Arboretum has almost 4,000 plant species from all over the world. All of them are labeled — by name and year planted — with a tag. Every tree, shrub, vine and flower has been purposely cultivated on the land, because none of them were there before the Arboretum’s birth 140 years ago. The area had been a farm.

The Arnold Arboretum is part of the Emerald Necklace, Boston’s parks network, but Harvard University maintains and runs it.

 
 
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