Why I Love Boston: Olmsted’s Ghost

I am reminded of what I love best about Boston every morning, while walking my dog Bonnie down to Leverett Pond. We weave through the woods and up the hill to Ward’s Pond, and it is peaceful there, with a sense of the solitude so treasured by those of us who grew up in the country.

To be fortunate enough to live down the hill from the historic Frederick Law Olmsted house is a constant reminder that 150 years ago the founder of landscape architecture had the foresight to recognize that livability was the future of the American city.

He made my Boston the best of all. Because of him I have the simple pleasures of Lilac Sunday in May or a winterberry bush in December at the Arnold Arboretum. I enjoy runs through Franklin Park, multicultural summer weekends at Jamaica Pond, walks to Fenway Park along the Riverway. And I have my Muddy River mornings with Bonnie. The footprints of Olmsted’s genius can be found across the country, of course, in many of my favorite places: Central Park, the U.S. Capitol grounds, the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, and Groton School, less than an hour northwest of the city. I spent the first 18 years of my life on those Groton grounds, and the past 25 on the Emerald Necklace here in Boston, a life Olmsted has made well spent.

Hall of Fame baseball writer and Groton native Peter Gammons has written for Sports Illustrated and the Boston Globe, but is perhaps best known for his 20 years on air at ESPN. He is currently an analyst on NESN and MLB network, and writes for mlb.com.