A Fresh Perspective at the Fresh Pond Reservation

This weekend, Noah joined me on what turned out to be one of my favorite runs in a long time — until it wasn’t.

I first read about the Fresh Pond Reservation while living in Philly; naturally, when Noah and I made the decision to move to Boston, I immediately started researching different pathways on which I would eventually run. When reading about Cambridge, Fresh Pond seemed to be a popular destination. But of course, once we got here, I was slow to adapt. We live to close to a running path that leads into the Back Bay of Boston, and as the road more traveled, that’s primarily where I’ve run.

In truth, I didn’t decide to run to Fresh Pond because I wanted to check out the reservoir. Rather, a friend recommended a sandwich shop nearby called Dave’s Fresh Pasta. I heard they had great prepared dishes, and if we’re being completely honest, I did it for the food.

The route to Fresh Pond starts out like a lot of my other runs — by heading toward Harvard. Instead of continuing along the river (which is a beautiful option as well), we followed the Fresh Pond Parkway. (Don’t worry, mom; there’s a sizable sidewalk that runs along it, so it’s not nearly as treacherous as it sounds.)

Actually, I was surprised to find that this was a fairly residential area, with lots of other runners, walkers and bikers, and some really nice properties and homes. It made this part of the run a lot more interesting than I anticipated. Before I knew it, we arrived at the perimeter of Fresh Pond.

Entering the reservation is fairly simple. Follow the signs and all the people with cute dogs as you meander through the woods until you come to an obvious clearing. Like many reservoir trails, you’ll come out onto a clean, wide, well-groomed pathway. From there, just run.


After about eight days of heat, Saturday brought with it a gorgeous morning. Compared to the previous week, the air was much less oppressive, and the breeze off of the water was absolutely to die for. I could have done laps there all day.

A few of the other cool sightings: a nine-hole public golf course, which seemed to draw a nice crowd.


And lily ponds. Lots and lots of little watering holes for puppies, since the reservoir is off limits.


No detail is too big or small for the city of Cambridge. Of course they’d provide a picturesque pond with lily pads for people and their pets.

To contrast this ideal experience, the final push — a mile or so pathway from Fresh Pond to the sandwich shop in Davis Square — absolutely sucked. That’s both the beauty and the beast-like part of running. It’s not always sunshine and roses.

To get from the reservoir to Davis Square, Noah and I had to leave the cool and the serenity of the water and take a main commercial road. The heat seemed to radiate off of the concrete and cars. All of the calm I felt while circling Fresh Pond was gone. A wave of dehydration took over, making the remainder of our 5.5 mile run an utter slog.

Of course, we eventually made it. Once at Dave’s we picked up giant bottles of water, lots of fresh pasta, salads, sandwiches, hummus, artichoke pesto (which I’d use that evening to make delicious homemade clams) and more water. Legs tired, bellies full, wallets (aka shorts pockets) empty, we took the T home.

How about you? When’s the last time you took a run (or did a workout) that was awesome, awesome, awesome — until it totally wasn’t? 


One thought on “A Fresh Perspective at the Fresh Pond Reservation

  1. Stacy, these are all my old stomping grounds. Fresh Pond – I grew up right around there. Davis Square is funky town now, used to be a bit run down and it’s Somerville, not Cambridge! Anyway it’s wonderful to see you taking all of these sights in and your view. Love it.

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