Saturday, September 25, 2010

In My Footsteps: Trip 72: Weymouth, Mass.

In My Footsteps
Christopher Setterlund

Trip 72:  Weymouth, Mass.
August 26, 2010

            Sitting at the top of the South Shore and sporting a spectacular view of Boston, the city of Weymouth is a great destination all its own.  Whether you like the natural beauty or historic significance there is something for everyone here.  Named for a coastal town in England, the connection to the sea is apparent as soon as you enter Weymouth.  There are stretches of amazing beaches on the north side facing Boston to the northwest and Hull to the northeast.
Webb Memorial State Park
            Ironically Weymouth was one of the first settlements in the New World by the English in 1622.  The original colony called Wessagusset failed within a year and the original inhabitants were forced out by the Massachusett tribe of Native Americans.  They fled to Maine where they were taken back to England by fishermen who came every summer.  It would not be until 1630 that another colony was attempted, this one succeeded.
View of Boston from Great Hill Park
            There are two tremendous parks where the views of the surrounding area will take your breath away.  The first is Webb Memorial State Park located on River Street at the northern most tip of Weymouth.  There is a nice green strip of land that juts out into Hingham Bay and is perfect for walking.  I found another area though that piqued my interest a little more.  There is a small hill called ‘Mary’s Point’ which gives a great view.  The path leading up to the top, maybe thirty to forty feet high, winds around until you reach a set of benches at the ‘summit.’  The views of Hingham and Hough’s Neck in Quincy are well worth the short walk.
            The other park in Weymouth with an amazing view is Great Hill Park which is only a mile or so away from Webb Memorial Park.  There are two entrances, Bradley Road which is a nice easy ride, and there is Baylee Drive, a rough ride with chunked pavement.  This of course was the route I chose.  Despite the fact that I drove up the wrong road the view of the Boston skyline was perhaps the best I have ever seen.  I enjoyed just standing at the top of the green hill and staring off toward the bustling city, I might have stayed all day if not for the fact that I had many other sites to see.
Abigail Adams Birthplace
            Unknown to me before arriving in Weymouth was the fact that it was the birthplace of Abigail Adams, wife of President John Adams and mother of President John Quincy Adams.  The house where she was born in 1744 still stands on Norton Street.  There was not a place to park in front of the house so I ended up parking in a cemetery located just behind the house and walking through it to get to the house.  On the premises there is also a marker showing where a time capsule was buried in 1976 to be opened in 2076.  I doubt that I will be there to see it, but I’d be interested in knowing what is in it.  Only a short walk away from the Abigail Adams House is the small but very pretty Abigail Adams Village Green.  There is also a state park bearing her name along Bridge Street.
            The next spot I visited today is nothing more than some trees and scrub brush, it was what used to be there that was why I stopped at the intersection of Middle Street and Washington Street.  Here where only trees and brush stand was the site of the original Weymouth Town Hall.  It was built in 1852 but burned to the ground in 1914.  There were no remnants of the old building, or anything that would give you a clue as to what stood there but for the sign post nearby.  It was also near the spot of the old Town Hall where the last major Indian attack during King Philip’s War took place.  This attack, on April 19, 1676, was as close as King Philip’s forces got to the city of Boston.  It made me wonder after seeing these historic markers how many people that drive through that intersection everyday have no idea how important it is.
Weymouth Great Pond
            The final spot I visited was the Weymouth Great Pond on Randolph Street.  Located in the southern part of Weymouth this pond serves as the main source of drinking water for the town.  Randolph Street which runs close by the pond used to be called the ‘Bay Trail’ and was one of the most important in the region long ago.  The pond is easy to reach from trails along the road.  I found an amazing spot on the north side of the pond which was filled with large rocks.  The pond was calm and that combined with the rocks in the water gave this area the feel and look of someplace in Northern Canada rather than Massachusetts.
            Amazing views and awesome historic sites, this is only a small part of what the town of Weymouth has to offer.  The view of Boston from Great Hill was simply spectacular, it was not what I expected and that made it even more special.  The connection throughout the town to Abigail Adams is a reminder of just how much history has occurred in this region.  There is even history on what looks like just another street corner like Washington and Middle where the old Town Hall once stood.  There is so much to see in Weymouth, something for everyone.  Have fun and happy traveling!

   My first book, In My Footsteps: A Cape Cod Travel Guide, is now available at,, and, in stores everywhere!  Follow me on Twitter!

DirectionsWebb Memorial State Park:  From Rt. 3A heading north take a right at Neck St.  Turn right at River St. which becomes Back River St.  Follow it to the park.
            Great Hill Park:  From Rt. 3A heading north take a right at Lovell St.  Follow Lovell St. which becomes Bradley Rd., this leads you up to the top of Great Hill. 
            Abigail Adams House:  From Rt. 3A heading north turn left at North Street.  Follow it for about a mile, turn right at intersection with Norton St.  The house in on the right immediately after.  Parking is tough and it may be better to park in cemetery behind the house.

            Weymouth, Ma. - Official Town Site
            Webb Memorial State Park - Mass DCR

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