"Lilac Sunday" at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston is an annual celebration of their extensive collection of lilac plants. The lilac is one of my favourite flowers. I find the soft colour beautiful, and the smell intoxicating.
I had never been to a flower festival before and did not know what to expect. The Arboretum's "lilac collection" is basically a small hill covered with dozens of lilac plants of every variety imaginable.
The lilacs' colours included everything from classic pale purple, to white, to ink-blue, to cherry-blossom pink.
The form of the flowers can vary quite a bit as well - from sparse, crisply outlined petals to fluffy, soft clusters.
Hundreds of people at a time wandered up and down the hill to pay homage to the lilacs - smelling them, photographing them, having picnics beneath them.
There were also musical and dance performances from several local folk groups.
The festival was so well-attended, that there were probably more people than lilacs - but we did find a spot on the grass nearby.
Did I mention I love lilacs? It was blissful to see so many in one place.
The roadsters were happy as well, especially as they finally got to cycle along Boston's Emerald Necklace all the way to the Arboretum.
The Emerald Necklace is a series of green spaces throughout greater Boston, connected by routes that are meant to be walkable and cycle-able. It includes the Back Bay Fens, the Jamaica Pond, the Riverway, and other small parklands. The project was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in the 1800's and is fascinating to read about, especially if you are interested in the history of urban planning and park design.
We had wanted to cycle along the entire Necklace for a while, but never had any cause to go in that direction of Boston until now.
As an urban green sanctuary, the Emerald Necklace is heavenly, with its lush vegetation and delicate bodies of water. As a cycling route... Well, it's frustrating. Throughout much of it, the trails are frequently interrupted by intersections and the crossings range from awkward to dangerous. Motor vehicles just do not yield - not even slowing down as bikes or pedestrians attempt to cross. Even on those intersections where there are lights, the same happens with cars turning: they do not even pause, let alone yield to pedestrians or bicycles.
An additional issue, is that unless you already know the route, it is difficult to find your way from one cluster of green to another; there are no signs or markings. We had a map from the Emerald Necklace Concervancy and still had trouble navigating.
On the way back finding our way got a bit easier and we even discovered some secluded dirt paths that the Roadsters liked better than the paved trails.
Still, I wonder: Is there any way to install better signals, so that the crossings feel less like suicide missions? And some signage for easier navigation? That would make this wonderful green resource infinitely more useful for the people who were meant to enjoy it.