Monday, January 12, 2015

Lake Quannapowitt

June 27, 2014 
My earliest memory is sitting in a stroller while my mom pushs me. She is chatting to her best friend, Joanne, who is also pushing a stroller. We are walking on a sidewalk that is hugging Lake Quannapowitt, two hundred and seventy-five acres of shallow water, which is the main attraction in my hometown of Wakefield, Massachusetts. This is my favorite place and every summer it is saturated with people walking, running, rollerblading, fishing, and tanning.

Originally called Reading Pond or South Reading Pond, the lake was renamed in 1847 in memory of James Quonophit, who was a member of the Pawtucket tribe, fighter in King Philip’s War, and signer of the 1686 deed selling land to European colonists. When the Boston and Maine Railroad arrived in 1845, the lake became an international exporter of ice. Although there is no trace of them today, icehouses lined the shore alongside boathouses and bathhouses. In 1949, garden clubs made the modern-day walking path when they stood as a floral arrangement to honor of veterans of World War II. For generations of Wakefieldians today, their earliest memory of Lake Quannapowitt is perhaps of Hill’s Boathouse and Dance Hall, where many romances blossomed.

Pictured here is the Quannapowitt Yacht Club, located at the end of Linda Road. Founded in 1884, it is the country’s oldest inland boat club. They offer sailing lessons for people of all ages.

Not only are sailors attracted to this lake but so are wind surfers, paddle boarders, canoers, and kayakers.

yatch club
How can this view of the Yacht Club not make you want to soak up the fresh air?

willard rd
The end of Willard Road is a popular spot for people to fish.

lq beach
Unfortunately, people can no longer swim in the lake. Lake Quannapowitt during the dog days of summer, circa 1975. Photo Credit:

current day
Current day. Quannapowitt Parkway

For young families, there are two playgrounds.

cc play
Pictured here is Col. Connelly Playground. It is right near the mmm mmm good Gingerbread Construction Company on Main Street. This playground is geared towards toddlers.

other play
The other playground is Spaulding Playground, on what else, Spaulding Street. When I was child this playground was comprised entirely of wood, but a few years back they renovated it. Unlike Col Connelly Playground, this playground is for all ages. Important to note:there is no fence encircling this playground.

Close to Spaulding Playground is the Bandstand, the biggest symbol of Wakefield and the unofficial marker of Downtown. An outline of the Bandstand graces the cover of every issue of the Wakefield Daily Item.

Passers-by can relive Wakefield’s past by strolling through the Old Burying Cemetery, which has gravestones that date back to the 1600’s.

james house
Just a short distance from the cemetery lies another old fashioned piece of history, Colonel James Hartshorne’s House. Built in 1681, it is Wakefield’s oldest home and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It has served as a private residence, tavern, and even a tenement for ice workers. Today, you can book this house for weddings, showers, and reunions.

As my idyllic pictures can show, Lake Quannapowitt is an absolutely gorgeous place to walk. It certainly has made growing up in Wakefield special. Every summer I make it a goal to walk the lake every single morning. For me, there is nothing more meditative, therapeutic, or motivating then starting my day by walking the lake. It allows me to clear my head, connect with myself, and feel revitalized.

Quannapowitt Yacht Club
26 Linda Road
Wakefield, MA 01880

Hartshorne House
41 Church Street
Wakefield, MA 01880

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