Boston is a wonderful winter break. Pretty decorations adorn the red bricks of Beacon Hill and around the city, skaters spin, slip and slide in scarves and gloves to festive songs. The city’s favourite rink has to be the Frog Pond, right in the heart of the city’s oldest park. Join us and come ice skating at Boston Common Frog Pond.
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Boston Common isn’t just the city’s oldest park but the oldest public park in the whole United States of America. It was opened in 1634. There used to be cattle welcome here and kids would be invited down to play in the freshly cut grass. These days, it is a little more formal, and you probably shouldn’t bring your favourite heffer, but it is no less popular.
The Frog Pond in the middle of the greenery used to be an open pond but it was overhauled in the 1960s, with a rink added in the 1990s. The Frog Pond has a split personality. In summer it is home to a spray and splash pool, full of screaming, happy children. Then, when winter rolls around, it becomes a skating rink full of screaming, slipping adults. Isn’t it amazing how fearless the kids are and how panicked we are about ending up on our bottoms?
Arriving at the Frog Pond
We were running slightly late (as ever) and so stormed up to the ticket booth. The friendly guy behind the glass looked a little confused at our flushed faces and gushed apologies. Turns out, unlike London’s rinks, there is not a strict time policy here. People arrive when they arrive and leave when they are bored. It makes a big difference to the long lines for skates and entrance that you see in the UK.
Entrance is not automatically bundled with skate hire as many people in Massachusetts have their own. We booked two entrance tickets, two pairs of skates and a locker. That came to a total of $57. Can you believe I am just two inches shorter than the free entrance height limit!?
Skates & Lockers
It very quickly dawned on us that this is not the skating world we are used to. We asked the skate hire assistant for our sizes and she was a bit confused about why we were trying to hand her our warm, damp shoes. Turns out, everyone just leaves their shoes on the side of the rink. You don’t have to give them in…the more you know. I was a bit sad that I didn’t get the pretty white kind of skates but I don’t think I saw anyone in them so I guess they are not available. Instead, we both had thick, hockey-style boots. As a total amateur, I am sure it makes no difference but I do enjoy feeling slightly more delicate.
We popped our belongings into the locker. It was just big enough for our bags and shoes. Again, it seemed like most people just left their bits with their shoes or wore small bags onto the ice. Permanently convinced I am going to fall spectacularly, I don’t like to have things with me in case I smash everything to bits. Stupidly, we put our skates on before we came in here so it was a long walk in the blades and even further to pop to the loo. Note to self; Pee first, locker second, skates third!
Taking to the Ice
Every time we go skating I am excitedly thinking, “Boy, do we have skills”! Erm, no, no we don’t. The ice was a little rougher than we are used to. We have never skated on anything other than city rinks so any tiny hump or bump is bound to end in extreme wobbles. I think it slightly dented our confidence and we seemed so much worse than normal! Not that we are pros, but I am sure we are usually better than this. Skating is always fun, no matter how rubbish you are though, so we still had a wonderful time. We giggled and sang our way around the rink as the ice was slowly carved up by the skaters.
Everyone was called off the ice and the Zamboni began its sweeping turns. We thought that it meant the session was over. We took our skates off and got our bags out of the locker. Then we saw the same skaters rejoin the ice Everyone piled back on, this time going around in a clockwise direction. Neither of us had ever seen such a thing! Apart from the pathway-style rink in Moscow, every single rink we have ever been on goes anticlockwise. What a smart idea, meaning both ankles get used an equal amount. Well, by this point, we decided we were done and putting the skates back on felt like an awful lot of work. We waved goodbye to the rink and regretfully head out for more Boston sightseeing.
Final Thoughts on Skating at Boston Common Frog Pond
We have never been “Torvill and Dean eat your hearts out” good at skating but we always have such a nice time. It was so cool to skate in such an iconic location, surrounded by winter trees and backed by the beautiful Beacon Hill buildings. Boston has plenty of rinks but this is the one that you must choose if you are visiting the city. It would have been even cooler to come near to sunset, watching the tress light up with pretty warm white bulbs. Ah well, we will just have to come back.