I’ve seen the World’s End, and not only is it nothing to fear, but also it is SPECTACULAR. Of course, I’m not talking about dooms day... I’m talking about World’s End in Hingham, MA, part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area!
At 11:30 am on a Tuesday, I was perusing the internet doing some blog research when I happened upon a group called Hike It Baby. I immediately thought, “These are my people!!” It’s a nonprofit dedicated to connecting families and getting kids outdoors through organized hikes. I searched the hike database and noticed a hike starting in 30 minutes at World’s End, 15 miles south of Boston. It’s about 30 minutes from my house, so I texted the organizer to say I’d be a tad late, threw together the diaper bag (forgetting a change of clothes for baby, which we’ll get to later), strapped Wike Baby into her car seat, and set off to Hingham.
This was my third time to World’s End. Any excuse would have brought me back, but meeting a group of hiking moms was better than any other reason! I was excited. I paid the $6 adult fee, got a map, and parked. In the parking lot, which I hear gets very full on weekends, I saw three moms with babies in carriers chatting. These were my new Hike It Baby friends! Their children ranged in ages from 3 months to 18 months. They were super friendly and welcoming, and we began our walk over the tidal marsh bridge and up Pine Hill on the Brewer Road path.
World’s End covers 251 acres and has a 4 mile gravel “carriage path” loop. There are also footpaths you can explore and a rocky coastline to walk—with tons of stones smoothed by time, perfect for rock skipping and throwing. If you have a wike baby, I recommend bringing your baby-wearing carrier; I witnessed some moms with strollers finding it difficult to push through the thick gravel. After chatting and walking and looking at the wildflowers and birds, our Hike It Baby group stopped for an impromptu picnic, laying out blankets, freeing the babies of their carriers, and just enjoying the scenery and company.
Why do they call these paths “carriage paths”? Well, in the 1880’s, a wealthy businessman hired famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted to design a subdivision on the site. The homes were never built, but the roads still exist—perfect for the carriages of the 1880’s or for a jaunty walk today. Interestingly, the site was also a front-runner for the United Nations headquarters, which ultimately landed in New York City. Later, the site was considered for a nuclear power plant. Committed neighbors raised money to preserve it, and it was acquired in 1967 by The Trustees, who have been working since 1891 to protect special places in Massachusetts. Knowing the history made me feel good about paying $6 to enter!
World’s End is perfect for walking, picnicking, and cross country skiing. They will even let you ride your horse there! It’s a birding hotspot with 77 species of birds sighted in the past week according to ebird.org data collection. We saw my second oriole of the season there. I wish I had brought my binoculars! Currently, World’s End also has a special art exhibit as part of their Art & the Landscape initiative. It’s a really inspired labyrinth-like mirror structure by Jeppe Heine. You must spend some time checking it out.
My biggest question about this place was how it got its unique name. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that anyone knows! It does feel a bit remote on a Tuesday afternoon, like you’re at the edge of the world’s land, looking over the water. The BEST part of this park is the STUNNING view of the Boston skyline over the water. You can’t see it when you first arrive, but as you explore the natural landscape, you won’t be able to miss this skyline. You’ll soak it in and decide to take a million photos, none of which will do it justice.
We said goodbye to the Hike it Baby group, and I took another loop with one of the moms and our two little wike babies. I never regret a decision to get outside and go for a wike, and making the decision to drop everything and meet up with total strangers for a walk in this beautiful setting was no exception! I reflected on this as I drove home with Wike Baby asleep in her carseat in the back seat, wearing only a diaper. #momlife: it was after doing a blowout diaper change in the trunk of my car and having forgotten a change of clothes for her in my haste of getting out the door to meet these new fabulous folks… what a way to celebrate a great wike?!
This is a beautiful place to enjoy alone or take your out of town guests. If you visit on the weekend, check their twitter account to see if there is still parking!
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