Interview by Michael Morgan
Farley Sullivan loves nature – and people – and this is manifested in a variety of ways. The Milton resident spent a week in July helping the residents of Ludlow, VT and the Black River area recover from catastrophic flooding that occurred throughout much of the state. After watching news accounts, Farley “called around” and found a group of Vermont women – the Black River Action Team – and set about trying to help flood victims try to recover and rebuild. “It was devastating. The town got water from three sides…like a tidal wave.” One day she was helping clean out a resident’s basement, the next, she said, “I helped an older woman put most of the contents of her home in the garbage…so sad.” And then she returned to Milton and planned a hike back in the Blue Hills the same day.
Her investment in the Blue Hills began three years ago during the pandemic, when she was selling the house she had owned for several years in Brookline and “doing some research” while preparing to move to Milton. “During the pandemic, a lot of people increased their outdoor activity.” While she “always understood the value of the environment and nature,” upon moving, Farley realized “the treasure of having so much natural acreage outside my front door.” She increased the limited number of pre-move hikes she had made in the Blue Hills and found herself making the acquaintance of fellow hikers, some of whom were members of the Friends of the Blue Hills. “I really fell in love with the Blue Hills and the people involved. The Friends volunteers are so inspiring.” Contact with Executive Director Judy Lehrer Jacobs led to subsequent involvement as a member of the Friends of the Blue Hills’ Skyline Society, a group of generous people who have remembered the Friends in their Will or let the Friends know that they intend to include the Friends when they update or create a Will. Below, here is more about the life of this friend of the Reservation – a story that may be described as (no groans!): Farley Amazing.
How did you become a member of the Skyline Society?
Around the time of the 2020 elections, I was traveling to Detroit to be an election monitor. I knew the political climate. There was the pandemic, election chaos and gun violence in the country and it occurred to me that I could get killed at any time. Any of us could. I realized then that I should get myself a will. I mean, you can’t take it with you. I do not have any heirs but I was interested in the environment and in putting some environmental groups in my will. Judy is such a great spokesperson for the Blue Hills, so I though I’d better get involved (which led to her joining the Skyline Society). I want to make sure we have this Reservation here for people in the future.
What is your favorite spot in the Blue Hills?
My favorite hike is over by Hancock and Buck Hill. I love going when it gets closer to sunset. Something about (the area) then is just magical.
What else do you like to do in the Blue Hills?
I’m here in every season, in every kind of weather. I like to take photographs (she contributed a photo of a hawk to this year’s Free Photograph Contest). And the Blue Hills are my training ground too. I’m training here now for a five-day hike in the (New Hampshire) Presidential Range, a fundraiser for Climate Hike. It’s about 35 miles but much of it is vertical. And we stay in AMC huts at night.
If the Blue Hills were not protected and preserved, how different might your life be?
Milton would not be as appealing. I love the resources we have in the Blue Hills and the habitat here for wildlife. I do not have an emotional connection to Milton (itself). My connection is to the Blue Hills.
What would you suggest that a first-time visitor see and do at the Reservation?
I’d suggest the Skyline Trail. It’s just so cool to start in Quincy, walk through the woods and getting glimpses (of open space) the whole way, then stopping in Canton. Getting out of the dense forest and having a major American city in view.
What do you do when you are not in the Blue Hills?
I’m in the jewelry business, fine jewelry – early American silver. By day I am dressed formally, but after work I’m in my trucker hat and boots – and back here in the Blue Hills.