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Newton’s Cold Spring Park is dog friendly park in Newton MA and one of my favorite places for a dog hike and off-leash play near Boston. The 67 acres include wooded trails and meadows, perfect for both cross-country skiing and shady summer walks. It’s a favorite place for bird watching, a friendly game of tennis, and for joggers who can use the exercise equipment on the lifecourse trail. But the reason I love Cold Spring is, of course, the off-leash dog park!
Cold Spring has a long and varied history: over the years, parts of it have been the site of a public swamp, the Cochituate Aqueduct, a skating pond, a movie studio, the city dump, and the setting for a mystery novel¹. In 2009, it became the first off-leash, dog friendly park in Newton MA.
I start getting excited as soon as we drive into the Beacon Street entrance. We turn left, pass the playing fields, and park just before the cul de sac. Right there, where the road ends and the trail begins, is where I usually first find some canine camaraderie! The dog park — or Off-Leash Area (OLA), as Newton likes to call it — must be a pretty popular destination within Cold Spring, because there;s a map to it right at the trailhead,
Tails wagging, it’s tempting to start running around like crazy right then and there, but us dogs dutifully stay on leash along the trails. When we pass the southern baseball field and into the gate of the partially fenced field, that’s when the party really begins!
Now, note that I say it is partially fenced. So if you are the adventurous, independent-minded kind of dog who considers your frustrated human’s plea of “Come here right now!” to be a mere suggestion for you to consider at your leisure…well then, your human might want to think twice before letting you off leash. But if you’re a dog who comes when called, you’ve just earned yourself some freedom in a huge doggie playground! And if you are, like me, the kind of dog who usually comes when called unless there is a ball with which to play a cut-throat game of keep-a-way, then your human better have some darn-good treats to convince you to throw the game in your human’s favor.
No matter the time of day, there always at least a few dogs here, especially in nice weather. In the morning, we usually see dogs accompanied by professional dog walkers, work-at-home parents, retirees, or college students. The regulars start arriving in the afternoon, and they keep the field clean and supplied with chairs, water bowls, and water for all the dogs.
My mum always says that what really makes a dog park a great dog park is the people, and the folks we’ve met here have been just lovely. I remember a college kid who told us her hopes to be a veterinarian who would volunteer at night to care for the pets of the homeless. We met a hilarious group of dog walkers who had mum laughing so hard she dropped her bag of treats — to the delight of us dogs! Then I stole a ball and no one could catch me…until one of those dog walkers did a full head-on dive to tackle me in the bushes!
We also met an old-looking young man with one of those stressful, downtown jobs who comes to Cold Spring whenever possible just so he can talk to people who don’t have stressful, downtown jobs. And we met a fascinating gentleman, a retired music scholar, writer, and lover of Dante whose seemingly endless knowledge about all things good and beautiful kept us spellbound.
And so it is only natural that we met this gentleman at Cold Spring Park, strolling under late-summer leaves past flower-filled meadows and wetlands dappled with sparkling sunlight. Isn’t that why we love walking in the woods? Isn’t that why you got a dog? Do be reminded of all things good and beautiful? In the middle of a busy Boston suburb, Cold Spring offers a place for dogs to frolic and friends to meet, talk, or exercise. But when you come to visit, for whatever reason, take a moment here to be spellbound, remembering all things good and beautiful.
Please note that dogs must wear an off-leash medallion, which can be purchased at the Newton City Clerks Office, 1000 Commonwealth Avenue, 1st Floor, Newton, MA 02459. Be sure to bring proof of your dog license, a current rabies certificate, and fee ($50/dog for residents, $100/dog for non-residents) Questions? Call 617-796-1200).
The main parking lot is off of Beacon Street in Newton Highlands, between Beethoven Avenue and Walnut Street, across from the Newton Cemetery. (coordinates: 42.3311, -71.2132)
The park is also accessible from these neighborhood streets:
Plymouth Road (between Kingston Rd and Cochituate Rd) (42.3238, -71.2150) Follow the
Dunklee Street (off of Walnut Street) This entrance is the best choice for those with limited mobility. (42.3254, -71.2111)
From the MBTA Newton Highlands Station: head north on Walnut Street for about a quarter mile; turn left on Dunklee Street and follow it to the end, about another quarter mile. The dog park will be a little bit further on your left.
Wanna know more about Cold Spring Park in Newton Highlands, Massachusetts? Check out these links!
Rules and other information about Newton’s Off-Leash Recreation Program: http://www.newtonma.gov/civicax/filebank/documents/29826
An interesting and entertainingly written article on the history of Cold Spring Park: http://www.newtonconservators.org/14coldspring.htm
A rambling essay that describes the park and its flora: http://www.newtonconservators.org/14coldspring.htm
A record of bird sightings: http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspot/L633151
¹Michael Clarke, “Mysteries of Cold Spring Park,” Newton Conservators, Newton Conservators, Inc., http://www.newtonconservators.org/cold_spring_mysteries.pdf (accessed 5 February 2015)
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