This article appeared in the Boston Business Journal on August 2, 2018.
Outdoors & Travel – EXECUTIVE PURSUITS
BOSTON’S WATERBORN ARMADA WOWS THE TOURISTS
by Carol Kent
(Marblehead, MA) The Boston area is #1 with many attractions – everything from museums to universities. Now this year we have a new accolade to add to the luster by being rated Best US Vacation Destination by US News and World Report.
So, I set out to revisit the charms of our city with a particular focus on the waterfront and waterways.
I started by taking the Salem Ferry into Boston – a dream come true run by Boston Harbor Cruises. Arrive at Long Wharf, and you are in history.
Arriving just in time to meet the WWII replica amphibian at the NE Aquarium, Boston Duck Tours have established their place in narrative history on land and sea with fascinating 80-minute tours.
Can you believe I had never taken a Duck Tour since they started in 1994? Seems one discovers your own backyard later in life when you entertain visitors.
As I always say to my charter clients, “It’s about the crew not the boat.”
How true it was. Bobby Oar was our “ducky” narrator, possessing the right accent, humor and historical knowledge visitors want to absorb.
He spoke about our black history during the Underground Railroad period, PRIDE day celebrations, architectural gems, the King’s Chapel Burying Ground, the oldest cemetery in the city laden with historic figures…and much more.
A California father with his twin teens, was born in western MA and never had been to Boston. Now living on the west coast “I have to come back with my wife and spend more time here!” He was also thrilled that the girls were encouraged to take the helm on the Charles.
Heading back to the harbor, we passed the Museum of Science, a must revisit. Juxtaposed in front of the oldest American restaurant, the Union Oyster House, we passed the haunting 6 towers of the New England Holocaust Memorial representing 6 million Jews who died in 6 extermination camps.
Passing Boston’s Public Garden, America’s first botanical garden of 1837, the draw there is the Swan boats which are still privately owned since 1877.
The Duck Tours are for the water touch. The Hop On/ Hop Off trolleys are another fabulous facility making sure you can visit attractions on your own timetable.
Bobby Oar commented on his most memorable comment from a visitor, “When an Indian couple commented on his tour as being the best reward for their 14-hour flight”.
Boston is a walkable surprise. But, when your feet get tired, hop on a boat. There are so many ways to get around on the water.
For $3.00 each way, take the water taxi from Long Wharf to Charlestown Navy Yard and visit the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned US Naval Ship.
Water taxis offer “on demand service” from Rowes Wharf or Long Wharf and connect you with the best of Boston clubs, restaurants historic sites and ethnic foods, museums and the Logan Airport to name a few of the 26 ports.
Public sails on Tall Ships, dinner cruises and small day charter boats offer the best overview of harbor and the islands. Every night the USS Constitution sets off the cannon at sunset (year-round) – so plan your evening well.
The Boston Harbor Islands National Sate Park services can connect you with some of the best of the 32 islands.
In East Boston, Watershed ICA is a brand-new attraction opening this summer season. A ferry from the Institute of Contemporary Art to East Boston will run from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. The Institute of Contemporary Arts is turning a condemned industrial space into an artistic showpiece.
The starting point for most of the marine attractions is mere yards from one of Boston’s most famous attractions, Faneuil Hall where George Washington made a famous speech on the nations’ first birthday in 1777.
If you are like me, go rediscover Boston. If you are new to the Boston area, I hope I have enlightened you on the gems that await. Be a visitor and see why we are Number 1.
Carol Kent (Carol Kent Yacht Charters) is an award winning international charter yacht broker who began her charter business 30 years ago in Boston.She still finds the Boston skyline and harbor and islands to be the very best!