As we near Tupelo Point, let's stop at the stone circle to our
right and get a view of the topiary garden over at the Hunnewell
estate. The Hunnewell family owned the land Wellesley College
now occupies, and the amazing topiary garden is the oldest in
Back on the path, you'll see sheep
laurel, the low-growing evergreen shrub on the right. It's
in the same family as rhododendrons and azaleas.
It's sometimes used medicinally in extremely small amounts,
because any more would be toxic. In fact, the plant gets its
name from sheep that nibbled on its leaves and fell sick or
Now we've come to the end of the path, to Tupelo Point proper.
No visit to this spot is complete without mentioning the black
tupelo, which has grown here since the class of 1896 planted
a tupelo for their class tree. The original tree now has many
offspring. The tupelo's fruits are eaten, especially in winter,
by over 30 species of birds, including pheasant, wild turkey,
and ruffed grouse.
Wellesley legend has it that if a student walks around the lake
three times with the same young man, and passes Tupelo Point
each time, he must propose or be thrown in the lake. The famous
senior hoop-rolling contest begins here as well. If you stand
at the end of the path facing the lake, you can see the rock
that Hillary Rodham sat on for her yearbook photo, and across
the cove is the President's house. To your left are some gray
birches, recognizable by the black triangles below the branches
on their white trunks. They are a water-loving species, with
branches dangling into the water and erosion-resistant roots.
Well, this brings us to the end of our winter nature walk. I
hope you enjoyed seeing Wellesley's abundant wildlife in a season
usually thought to be devoid of life. Enjoy the rest of your