Enjoy fly-fishing, hiking, nature in…Greater Boston

Wouldn’t it be nice to live close to nature so you can head out for an adventure on a whim? Enjoy the almost meditative yet exciting experience of fly-fishing; the beauty of hiking deep into the woods and up a summit until you feel you’re on top of the world? Oh, to live in Montana. Or Colorado.

Or Greater Boston. Those outdoor delights are all right down the road from us. This spring, consider unplugging and take yourself and the kids on some real-life adventures — no trip mapping required.

Let’s start with fly-fishing. It sounds like something you’d head off to a roaring river in Montana to learn. But there are plenty of great spots outside of Boston, and now, thanks to Orvis, a free way to get into the sport.

Both Orvis Retail Store locations — in Dedham and Peabody — are offering free learn-to-fly-fish classes this spring and summer. There are two levels to the classes. The first, held in the store and outside, teaches the basics of fly-fishing and casting, and prepares students to take it on. The second class brings students to the water for a real catch-and-release experience.

According to Cynthia Harkness, fishing manager at the Dedham Orvis Retail Store, fly-fishing is “simple, accessible and a great family activity.”

The free classes, she said, first help get new fishermen familiar with the rod, reel, line and actions. The second class puts it all into action.

Around our area, Harkness said, there are plenty of beautiful, fishable spots. One of her favorites is Houghton Pond, near the Blue Hills. Stocked with rainbow trout, and sometimes a great place to catch the rare tiger trout, it’s a spot where you can fish from the shore or, with waders, get into the water and experience fly-fishing that way.

“We are lucky here in Massachusetts because there are plenty of stocked lakes, rivers and ponds,” she said, giving credit to the state fisheries department for its good work. Harkness loves fishing with her two sons all over the state, including down on the Cape, where there are many spots. Simply go to the Massachusetts Fisheries website, she said, enter your location, and it will direct you to current great fly-fishing spots.

“I can head out 10 minutes from Dedham and be in trout-filled waters,” she said. Some of her other favorite spots are in western Massachusetts, at Kettle Pond on Cape Cod and along the shoreline of the Cape.

To register for the Orvis classes (all ages are welcome; those younger than 16 must have an adult with them), simply go to orvis.com/ff101.

“I have yet to see a kid (or adult) with a fish on the end of the line who isn’t thrilled,” Harkness said. “Seeing that rod bend, it’s so exciting, whether you are 8 or 80.”

Then there is the entire world of hiking and exploring nature that lies just outside of Boston at the Blue Hills. Boston-area folks know the name, but many have yet to experience all it has to offer.

“I meet people from Canton who have never been up there,”…

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