The campus of Wellesley College will reopen to visitors starting Tuesday, Nov. 16. That’s the good news.
The bad news is those who thought they’d be resuming the most beautiful walk in town, the loop around Lake Waban, will be sorely disappointed. Earlier this year the Hunnewells informed the College and the Town that they will not be reopening their portion of the lake path to the public, according to the College. This closed section extends from the closed gate behind the President’s house and along the southern shoreline to the closed gate at Pond Road.
The College reminds visitors that there is no public access to campus buildings or restrooms. Building access is limited to members of the Wellesley College community and registered visitors on College business. All athletics facilities—indoor and outdoor, including the track, fields, and tennis courts—will remain closed to the public. Spectators are permitted for outdoor games.
Perhaps 1 clue that a campus reopening might be coming was that the Wellesley Turkey Trot course would be allowed to run through the college campus on Thanksgiving morning.
Wellesley College closed off campus to the public last March 31 as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, in an effort to keep students and staff safe. The College and Hunnewells at that time also closed off access to the path around Lake Waban, technically a Great Pond that state law appears to require public access to. The reality was that the campus and path were getting overrun with people seeking outdoor spaces, and many weren’t abiding by campus rules.
Residents who have long been used to wandering around campus and on the lake path have been frustrated by the continued lack of access, even while acknowledging the college is a private facility. Many took to social media and the comments section of our site to vent. The College maintained its priority was to keep students and staff safe, leading some in town to wonder if the campus would ever reopen to the public even as vaccinations rates rose and case numbers dwindled in the area.
Babson reopened its Wellesley campus to the public over the summer.
So, the hope now is that the public and college community will get along well, and that those of you with Hunnewell connections can convince them to change their minds on lake path access. After all, no one says that elementary school up for rebuilding over on Cameron Street couldn’t be renamed.
Wellesley College campus reopening guidelines including parking restrictions
From Wellesley College:
Wellesley College’s campus grounds are once again open to its neighbors.
The paths on Wellesley College property along Lake Waban are now open. However, earlier this year the Hunnewells informed the College and the Town that they will not be reopening their portion of the lake path to the public. This closed section extends from the closed gate behind the President’s house and along the southern shoreline to the closed gate at Pond Road. As a result, visitors will not be able to complete a loop of the lake and should adjust their walking plans accordingly.
Wellesley College requires all dogs to be leashed. Having dogs under voice control is not permitted.
There is no public access to campus buildings or restrooms.
Building access is limited only to members of the Wellesley College community and registered visitors on College business. Visitors and guests on College business must complete the visitor registration form prior to coming to campus and will receive details about parking and building access from their campus host.
All athletics facilities—indoor and outdoor, including the track, fields, and tennis courts—will remain closed to the public. Spectators are permitted for outdoor games.
Campus visitors may only park in the Distribution Center Lot #2. Because parking is limited, it is recommend that visitors walk to campus to the extent possible. Please review this map.
Cars without parking stickers that are parked in other areas, including at Cheever House by the Sudbury Aqueduct, Waban House, French House, the Wellesley College Club overflow lot, or the Nehoiden Golf Course along Dover Road, and cars in unauthorized spots along Rte. 16 and Rte. 135 may be subject to ticketing and towing by the College or by the Town of Wellesley.