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Cunningham Pond | Elizabeth’s Gift

What is it you want? Liz Thomas had once asked of her dogs, and she listened to the answer. Then she asked a town the same question and gave us more than we knew we wanted. Which is why, when you pull into the parking lot of the Lawrence K. Marshall and Harold B. Thomas Recreation Area and flash your resident sticker, you have two choices: a broad, sandy beach off to the right, punctuated by a Nantucket-style cottage, or a smaller, rougher beach straight ahead. It’s more boisterous at the second place, and chances are one of these beachgoers will shake all over you at least once.

“I’ve been a selectman here for 15 years,” Liz Thomas says. “The town does surveys to see what people like and don’t like about the town. And Cunningham Pond is among the things they like most.” She reaches down to scratch Sheilah’s ears: “I was at the beach one day, talking to a grownup, and I felt something tapping my knee. I looked down.” Her eyes fill with tears. “It was this tiny little kid. He looked up at me, and he said, ‘Thank you.'”

Annie Graves is a frequent contributor to Yankee. In summer she can often be found swimming at Cunningham Pond, thankful for Elizabeth Marshall Thomas’s gift.

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Updated Monday, June 30th, 2014

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4 Responses to Cunningham Pond | Elizabeth’s Gift

  1. Kay Harkins July 1, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

    Are there actually wilds in Cambridge Mass?

  2. marty July 6, 2014 at 8:58 am #

    Unfortunately the donation did not include a clause to address removal of dog feces left by the many inconsiderate dog owners who abuse this wonderful gift.

  3. Yankee fan August 9, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

    Great story! I never knew Liz Thomas, selectman, was the same woman who wrote those books and gifted the town our little beach. This is why I love Yankee. I always learn something new, and the writing always makes it fun! Thanks, Annie!

  4. Joyce Cunningham August 24, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    I loved this story! Ever since reading it, I have tried looking up the history of the Cunningham Pond but can’t seem to find much information on it. Who was it named after? I would love to take a trip and see it in person.
    It sounds lovely and interesting with both the dog beach and the people beach. Definitely, a place after my own heart. How generous of Liz Thomas to have donated it to residents and pets alike.

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