Enjoy Winter on the Esplanade | January 17, 2017

No matter the season, there are always plenty of ways to enjoy the Esplanade! During the winter, the park is full of wonderful reasons to bundle up and head outside. Browse some of our ideas below, or come up with your own unique ideas to enjoy winter fun on the Esplanade.

Snowshoeing

Don’t let the cold weather stop you from enjoying the park. Once the snow falls in Boston you can enjoy a beautiful day of snow shoeing along the Esplanade’s 3 miles of parkland.

Cross-Country Skiing

Feel the swoosh and glide of the snow as you cross-country ski through the Esplanade park. Though there are no defined trails, the park is a wonderful venue for cross-country skiers who don’t mind creating their own path.

Bicycle Riding

The Esplanade provides cyclists of all ages the opportunity to enjoy a pleasant, scenic bike along its Paul Dudley White Bike Path, an 18 mile loop that starts at the Museum of Science and runs along both sides of the Charles River to Watertown Square. You can ride on your own or take part in one of Boston’s scenic bike tours through the park.

Running and Jogging

As the City’s most used running path, the Esplanade is home to 5 1/2 miles of pathways. The Healthy Heart Trail on the Esplanade begins at the Lee Pool parking lot, is 1.5 miles long, and has an easy activity level designation. For runners seeking more distance, connecting paths continue into Cambridge and Boston.

Playgrounds

The Esplanade’s three playgrounds continue to be open and operating throughout the winter months.  Weather permitting, you can continue to take advantage of outdoor play in the park. Just remember to bundle up!

Exercise Course

The Exercise Course provides basic outdoor gym equipment for the benefit of park visitors. Course includes equipment for body weight exercises such as pull ups as well as equipment for stretching. It is located by the Silber Way Footbridge between the Mass Ave. Bridge and BU Bridge.

Photography

During the winter, the Esplanade can provide some of the most beautiful scenery in the city.  You can visit during the day and snap some wildlife or head over in the evening to get a shot of the beautiful winter sunset.  Don’t forget to share your photos with us using #EsplanadeAssn.

Don’t Feed the Reed | January 12, 2017

By Micah Jasny, EA Stewardship Manager

If you have walked through the Esplanade recently, you may have noticed patches of densely growing reeds hugging the waterline. While they may be nice to look at, these reeds are actually the invasive species Phragmites australis, and they pose a serious threat to the Esplanade and the Charles River.

Phragmites, also known as common reed, was common in Europe and was gown to be used as thatching for roofs and food for livestock. In the late 18th or early 19th century, Phragmites made its way across the Atlantic to establish in the United States. Many speculate that the plant was transported here accidentally through ship ballast (the water taken on by ships so that they lay lower in the water). Once the invasive Phragmites established itself, it then quickly dispersed across the U.S. through the 20th century.

Phragmites is a perennial grass that can grow up to 18 feet high and is often found in dense colonies along shorelines. In a single growing season, Phragmites roots can spread up to 10 feet or more and grow several feet deep. Not only do they grow fast, but Phragmites are also prodigious produces, with each plant releasing thousands of seeds each year. Phragmites can also spread by root fragments that break off from the original colony and begin growing elsewhere.

With this in mind, it is not surprising that Phragmites can have some seriously negative impacts on the Esplanade ecosystem. Once introduced, Phragmites spreads quickly and outcompetes native species, forcing them out of the Esplanade. Phragmites also provides little food or shelter for the Esplanade’s wildlife. Finally, when Phragmites does die-off, the reeds dry out and become brittle which can become a serious fire hazard. Not to mention, dense colonies will block Esplanade goer’s view of the Charles!

So how can we manage this threat to the Esplanade? A variety of techniques have been used to try and control Phragmites. One method is manual removal where we cut the reeds down to the root. However, this method usually just slows the spread of Phragmites and doesn’t actually stop them. Herbicide treatment has proven to be a more successful control method for Phragmites and is often sprayed, painted, or wiped over the stems and leaves of the plants. Finally, in areas where Phragmites are dominating the area and have already forced native species out, controlled burning has been used to manage the invasive population. To truly control the Phragmites population, it is best to use a combination of treatment methods over a number of years to ensure that the invasive will not grow back. We at the Esplanade are working to protect the Esplanade and its native species from the threat of Phragmites and will be employing a variety of techniques while minimizing harm to the surrounding environment.

EA Names Alexi Conine as New Board Chair

EA Names Alexi Conine as New Board Chair | Jan 5, 2017

EA Moondance

By Esplanade Association – January 5, 2017

The Esplanade Association Board of Directors is proud to announce that Alexi Conine has been elected to serve as Board Chair, beginning in 2017. Alexi has served as a member of the Esplanade Association’s board for the past year and has been deeply involved with helping to move the organization forward through her service on the Executive Committee and Project Planning Committee of the organization.

Alexi was an Engineer and Product manager at Rohm & Haas for 10 years and more recently has been focused on her family, parks and outdoor recreation.  She previously served as the President of Friends of Titus Sparrow Park in the South End for six years. A Back Bay resident, Alexi can often be found running or biking on the Esplanade with her family.  She has a chemical engineering degree from Cornell and an MBA from Simmons.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Alexi taking on the role of Board Chair for our organization. We know that her breadth of experience and passion for the park will make her an incredible leader”, noted Tani Marinovich EA’s Executive Director

Alexi will be replacing Margo Newman, who after serving for 6 years, is stepping down at the end of 2016 as the Chair of the Esplanade Association’s Board of Directors. Margo was heavily involved in the search for her replacement and has been working closely with Alexi to transition her into the new role.

Margo, in summing up the board decision, stated, “The board was looking for the right person to take on this position and after working closely with Alexi this year we all agreed that she would be an excellent candidate. Alexi has been a great asset to the organization and we are excited to see her take on the role of Board Chair.”

2016 Volunteer Spotlight - Boston Cares

2016 Volunteer Spotlight – Boston Cares | Dec 16, 2016

Esplanade Association would like to recognize Boston Cares as our volunteers of the year for their continued commitment to improving the park in 2016. We are pleased to have Boston Cares Volunteer Leader, Anthony Rufo accept this honor on behalf of the group and share his experience below.

My name is Anthony Rufo, a Boston Cares “Volunteer Leader” who coordinates between the wonderful Boston Cares organization and the eminent Esplanade Association. I began volunteering to offer my hand to help my adopted home of Boston while I was a student at Northeastern University and post-graduation volunteering has remained a very important part of my life. I enjoy relaxing, running and the like in our great parks, so it seems only right that I spend some time cleaning them up a bit. Some of my best experiences helping out have been with the great crew of skilled employees at the Esplanade Association. I highly encourage EVERYONE to get involved in their communities and lend a hand in any way they think helps. I am inspired by former governor of Massachusetts Michael Dukakis who picks up and throws away the litter off the ground as he walks to work every day.

Boston Cares is very grateful to accept the Esplanade Association’s designation as their volunteers of the year. The year was filled with excellently planned projects and Boston Cares was always able to provide energetic volunteers to keep the Charles River Esplanade looking absolutely gorgeous all year round. In 2016 Boston Cares volunteers spent 16 Saturdays with the Esplanade Association, helping to weed the greens, clean litter, remove invasive species along the river banks, lay playground safety fibar chips, and assist with planting some of the park’s awesome annual flowers. The Esplanade Association’s amazing horticulture team, Renee, Shiann and Meredith, and the DCR always made the work easy by providing us with the tools and guidance we needed. Boston Cares is the city’s largest volunteer mobilizing organization providing Greater Boston with thousands of hours of community service each year. Each Esplanade Association’s Park Cleanup and Restoration Project has a Boston Cares team of up to ten volunteers who sign up on www.bostoncares.org to participate in the project. Volunteers showed up for each project eager and prepared to help beautify the park.

To learn more about Esplanade Association volunteer opportunities visit http://esplanadeassociation.org/volunteer/

2016 Volunteer Spotlight – Boston Cares

Planning for Spring Blooms | Nov 20, 2016

As the leaves begin to fall and winter slowly presses in upon us, it is important to think towards warmer times and the return of spring. We here at the Esplanade Association are already looking forward to spring and planning on how to celebrate spring and enhance esplanade-goers experience. Over the last few weeks, the EA horticulture staff along with the help of several volunteer groups have been digging, fertilizing, and planting roughly 42,000 flower bulbs throughout the Charles River Esplanade. Among the thousands of flower bulbs are different species of Tulips, Daffodils, Crocuses, Muscari, snow drop, spring beauty and many more! Depending on what type of flower, a hole is dug anywhere from 2 to 8 inches down (typically the depth is about twice the height of the flower bulb). Between 7 and 15 bulbs are then placed at the bottom of the hole, sprinkled with fertilizer, and then covered with soil. Sometimes multiple layers of flower bulbs are planted in a hole with a layer of larger ones at the bottom and smaller ones sitting on top.

These bulbs have been planted in patches and waves throughout the esplanade including in front of the Hatch Shell, along shorelines and bridges, and near exercise courses and scattered across open spaces. Different flower species will bloom at different times. Some flowers such as Crocus and snowdrop are early spring bloomers and can be seen from late January to early March. Others such as Scilla and Daffodils can be seen in the esplanade starting in March and April. Then we have planted some late bloomers such as our Tulips and Lilac. So when the snow finally starts to melt, be sure to head down to the esplanade to enjoy the vibrant waves of purples, golds, whites, and reds when spring comes.

Regatta Ready | Oct 14, 2016

On Wednesday, October 5, the Esplanade Association hosted 35 volunteers from Pierce Atwood for a corporate volunteer day. The spent the day working in the upper park area near the Esplanade outdoor exercise course. This worksite is one of the most popular gathering places for viewing the upcoming Head of the Charles Regatta. Unfortunately, it is also one of the areas in the park most plagued by invasive species, especially False Indigo bush. Volunteers cleared nearly a quarter mile of the shoreline of these dense invasive plants, ensuring that park spectators will have a clear view of the regatta come the event.

The Head of the Charles, is the world’s largest two-day regatta.  This year the event will be taking place on October 22 and 23, 2016. The regatta welcomes top crew teams from all over the world who come to compete on the Charles River.

Thank you to Pierce Atwood for clearing the view for the tens of thousands of spectators expected to flock to the shores of the Charles for the race. As you finalize your regatta viewing plans, consider watching from the banks of the Esplanade!

esplanade association fall

5 Tips For Photographing Fall Foliage | Oct 4, 2016

It’s hard to believe that it’s already October! Mid-late October may be the prime time for leaf peeping in Boston, but you can still see some beautiful fall foliage right now.

The Charles River Esplanade, with over 1,700 trees, is the perfect location to capture the leaves changing colors. Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or a complete beginner, Popular Photography has provided some easy tips to help you take better fall foliage photos.

5 Tips for Better Fall Foliage Photos

EA Moondance

A Magical Evening to Benefit the Park | Sept 28, 2016

The Esplanade Association hosted our annual Moondance Gala fundraiser on Saturday, September 24. It was truly an amazing evening for the park, as well as a fantastic celebration for the Esplanade Association as we celebrated 15 years of making life better on the Esplanade.

The Moondance Gala is our organization’s largest fundraiser and is so vital to supporting the work that we do in the park.  This year, thanks to our supporters, we raised over $900,000 for the Esplanade!

We were so grateful to be surrounded by friends, long-time advocates and new supporters – all committed to caring for and improving the Charles River Esplanade.  We would like to extend a special thanks to this year’s Moondance Co-Chairs, Lori and Matthew Sidman as well as all who served on the Moondance Gala committee.

The theme of this year’s Moondance Gala was Back to Our Roots.  To carry this theme into the park, the plants and trees used to decorate the tents this year will be planted in the Esplanade following the event. With the tents looking out onto the park, the amazing decor, and the fantastic group of supporters, it was truly an unforgettable night.

While paying tribute to the Esplanade Association’s founding friends, Executive Director, Tani Marinovich quoted President Teddy Roosevelt:

“We are not building this country of ours for a day. It is to last through the ages.  Any generation fit to do its work must work for the future, for the people of the future, as well as for itself.”

This year proceeds from the evening will help to fund new initiatives including the restoration of the historic Lotta Fountain, the introduction of a Wayfinding Signage System, the development of a long term maintenance and succession plan for the park’s over 1,700 trees, and the beginning of the process to restore the Lee Pool area.

The support of our sponsors, in-kind donors, members of the Event Committee, Board of Directors, and guests – will ensure that the Esplanade continues to enrich the community and all of our lives for generations to come.  We thank all of our supporters for joining us in making life better on the Esplanade.

Esplanade Eats | Sept 14, 2016

One of the best things about the Esplanade is that while the park feels secluded and peaceful, it is only a short stroll from Boston’s bustling neighborhoods. This makes it easy to pick up lunch at a nearby restaurant and enjoy it in the park!

One of my favorite local places is Pressed, a quick-serve health food spot in Beacon Hill. Its location on Charles Street makes stopping in on your way to the Esplanade a breeze. Pressed serves cold-pressed juices, superfood shakes, homemade paletas (popsicles), and healthy lunch items.

On a hot day, there is no better way to cool off than with a superfood shake – my favorite one, simply called “Calm”, is a perfect blend of house-made chai, banana, coconut, almond milk, almond butter, dates, and hemp protein.

Another popular menu item at Pressed is the superfood sushi, a delicious combination of sweet potato, avocado, cucumber, burdock and yacon roots, seasonal pickled vegetables, black rice, and a miso-ginger dipping sauce.

Pressed is designed with the on-the-go health foodie in mind. The space is small, but inviting. Limited seating encourages patrons to grab their food and drinks and explore the neighborhood. This design, coupled with its accessible location, makes Pressed the perfect place to stock up for a healthy picnic on the Esplanade!

Next time you’re in the neighborhood, or on the Esplanade, give Pressed a try. It is located at 120 Charles Street.

esplanade association annual report

Participate in August Tree Check Month | Aug 6, 2016

By Esplanade Association

Asian Longhorned Beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis, ALB adults continue to be active in Massachusetts in August. In fact, the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has called August Tree Check Month, as it is a prime time to find ALB adult beetles and report any insects or signs of infestation.