| Long Wharf North |
Here's how we did it...
|Salem Ferry heading into Boston|
Taking the ferry into Boston starts your excursion all that sooner. There's no traffic, no stress, no parking issues. As soon as you walk down the gangway, your experience has begun. The ferry arrived in Boston at 9:55 AM, and we had enough time to run over to the playground next to Christopher Columbus Park for a few minutes before heading out to Spectacle Island.
|The inter-island ferry|
Board the Harbor Island Ferry to Spectacle Island. We were greeted on Spectacle by a park ranger who welcomed us ashore and gave us a self-guided tour brochure. We stopped into the visitor center and restrooms before beginning our trek up the large drumlin. Spectacle has an amazing history. In the 18th century, it was home to a maritime quarantine station, in the 19th century it held a horse rendering plant, and in the early 20th century it was converted into a garbage processing facility. In 1992, Spectacle's story took an unexpected turn when the Big Dig / Central Artery project used it as a landfill location, and the sediment excavated from Boston was brought out to Spectacle where it was built up into the island you can see today.
|Fife & Drum welcome |
We hopped on the inner-island ferry toward Georges Island. Georges is home to Fort Warren, which is a national historic landmark. Georges Island is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War this summer, so we were met by reenactors playing Fife and Drum, which set the mood for the day. As eager as we were to explore the fort, we were hungry, so our first stop on Georges was the Summer Shack snack bar. After lunch, we started into the Fort to explore.
|Fort Warren |
There are ranger-guided tours throughout the day, but we decided to explore independently and the kids ran in and out of the bastions, observation towers, batteries and casements. There were reenactors in costume playing music, and the kids
could try their hands at Civil War-era games.
The museum at Georges Island was very impressive, depicting the experiences of various people who were
stationed, or imprisoned, on Georges Island. One exhibit displayed six plates of food, showing what you would eat if you were at Fort Warren, and it varied drastically between enlisted, officers, or prisoners.
Time for the Harbor Island Ferry back to Long Wharf in Boston. By this point in the day there were sailboats
|Georges Island museum |
We arrived back in Boston in time to head over to the North End and grab some pizza (our Salem Ferry tickets were good for a 10% discount at several restaurants through Boston's Best Cruises' Cruise & Play program), and a quick stop at Modern Pastry for Canolli to eat on the Salem Ferry trip back.
We boarded the Salem Ferry to head back to Salem.We had walked for miles, ridden multiple ferries, and had a great day that took us from a modern-day engineering feat to a Civil War fort and back again. And we would all sleep well that night.
Salem Ferry, SalemFerry.com
Adult round trip: $19
Child/Senior round trip: $17
Harbor Island Ferry, BostonsBestCruises.com
Family 4-pack: $37
Boston Harbor Islands, BostonHarborIslands.org
Check out their "150 Free Things to Do," which includes everything from yoga to self-guided tours to fishing clinics.
Snack Bars on Spectacle and Georges: Summer Shack, SummerShackRestaurant.com
Many people bring picnics to enjoy on the beach. We brought our own snacks and water, but stopped for lunch.