World’s End in Hingham

In just a few weeks, the majority of us will only be able to visit the Boston Harbor Islands that are connected to the mainland. When regular ferry service ends after Columbus Day, those of us without private means to get to the islands will need to turn our focus back to the islands that are accessible from the mainland by foot or by car. This is not entirely bad news. These peninsula areas: Deer Island, Nut Island in Quincy, Webb Memorial Park in Weymouth, and World’s End in Hingham— are spectacular.

I found myself driving through Hingham on a recent weekend afternoon, and decided to check out World’s End, a Trustees of the Reservations property I had heard about, but had never visited. I thoroughly enjoyed the rolling hills, the beautiful carriage roads through fields and meadows, and the drop-dead gorgeous views of the Harbor Islands and the Boston skyline in the distance. I found myself blown away at this treasure of a resource, and immediately wanted to know more about it.

How was this land preserved? Why does it look this way? How did it not get developed over the years? Luckily for me, I have a copy of Christopher Klein’s Discovering the Boston Harbor Islands at home (I am now thinking that I might need to keep a copy in my car’s glove box). Upon reading the section on World’s End, I learned that this land has a fascinating history and was threatened with a wide range of development schemes over the years. In the 1880s, Hingham landowner John R. Brewer hired Frederick Law Olmsted to prepare the land to be subdivided into a residential community. Olmsted created a charming set of curvilinear roads that lead to nowhere— because the 163 subplots were never built upon. This left the land available for another land development idea: to build the United Nations headquarters on this site. This odd plan thankfully never happened, due to a last-minute gift from John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who offered up a plum (and free) site on the east side of Manhattan.  After spending the better part of a gorgeous early fall afternoon at World’s End, I am thrilled that history was on our side this time.

While I think you all need to plan a trip to World’s End immediately, I have another suggestion. Head out for one last jaunt to Spectacle and Georges Island before they close up for the season. World’s End will be waiting for you when we are all stuck on land again. (I hear it’s a great place to go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, but let’s enjoy those pretty leaves first!) For more information about World’s End and the other Boston Harbor Islands—those accessible by boat AND car—pick up a copy of Discovering the Boston Harbor Islands today.

OR, you can enter our twitter contest!  With just a quick tweet, you win a copy of Discovering the Boston Harbor Islands along with two ferry vouchers so you can enjoy end-of-season events such as the Second Annual Summer Shack Chowder Cook Off, the 7th Annual Boston Harbor Islands Regatta, or an island escape of your own design. Use Discovering the Boston Harbor Islands to help plan your adventure, whether it’s tracking down the park’s colony of breeding seals or hiking along scenic trails as the leaves begin to change color.

Here’s How to Enter: Follow us on twitter @unionparkpress and tweet: “I want to Discover the Boston Harbor Islands with @unionparkpress!” Please be sure to include @unionparkpress in your tweet or we won’t see it! We will randomly select a winner and announce it on Twitter at noon on Wednesday, September 21st.

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