I had heard a couple of times that, on an upcoming weekend, the ferries to Georges Island would be free. There was a chance to see Fort Warren, wander about, start ticking items off that endless Boston to-do list. The boats depart from Long Wharf. Where exactly is that?

down into the tank

I consulted the MBTA Trip Planner. Oh. My, Gracious. There is a boat that goes from Lewis Wharf in Eastie directly to Long Wharf, in the words of the late and much beloved Bill Staines, making a passage that is straight and true. The boat takes about ten minutes and costs half of what a ticket does on the T? It’s closer to my house than Maverick Station?

I have water transportation in my own backyard?

Best Laid Plans

Missed the 10:00 boat by seconds as I was busy downloading the mTicket app. No using my Charlie card here.


I puttered around for twenty minutes, caught the next one and before quarter to eleven I was on Long Wharf. All free tickets to Georges Island, though, had been claimed. Bad weather is no deterrent to Bostonians. The Aquarium seemed like a reasonable alternative.

I remembered the great tank with its spiral ramp in the center of the building. In fact, last time I was there, I let a pencil fall in and suffered the acute embarrassment of finding a staff member and telling them I had endangered their fish. Today there are signs everywhere reminding visitors to keep their hands, phones, jewelry, toys, gloves, laser pointers, or any other loose item back from the edges of enclosures.

seal ready for a close-up

It was a mob scene, noisy with kids, full of couples, and quite a few singles like me. What better thing to do on a damp Sunday than go to the Aquarium? I visited with the penguins, wound up and down the walkway around the tank, and went out to check on the seals and sea lions. All were well.

But I was getting a bit peckish and I didn’t want to have to wait for a table at Legal Seafoods. I remember when Legal was a little fishmonger in Inman Square in Cambridge. Excellent fresh seafood, a handful of seats, a limited menu. Now it’s a giant company with outposts all over the place. And prices to match. But fish and chips were on my mind and Legal was right across the street.

Getting My Bearings

Headed back to Long Wharf afterwards only to discover that on Sundays there are no ferries between 12:15 and 3:15.

Downtown Boston—colonial Boston—is the kind of compact space one adores in parts of Paris and most of Rome. Everything is just a short walk away. Even the T stations where the Red and Green, Blue and Orange lines intersect are within spitting distance of each other. The Customs Tower is constantly in view.

I walked into a Faneuil Hall Market full of tourists, shoppers, and buskers, and out the other side, a block away from the Old State House. Heck. I just joined so a visit would be free, and the museum would soak up a bit of time. On the main level, the exhibition focused on the history leading up to the War for Independence. On the upper floor, an exhibition about petitions, and how they functioned in the first couple hundred years of our history, occupied the space. There were several visitors and lots of little children with so many questions. Did I ask so many questions when visiting historic sites? I doubt it. I was probably a dull child.

Home Again, Home Again

Customs House Tower

The walk back to Long Wharf North seemed even shorter.

I detoured through the Sephora store. Every now and again I wonder about the merits of makeup, but my aged face copes with cosmetics quite differently than my younger face did. Besides, it looks like Sephora knows its market, and its market clearly has no interest in my demographic.

There was a guitarist singing a Bill Withers’ tune on one side of Atlantic Avenue. A fellow played pan pipes and a wooden flute on the other side.

The Rookie, for that is the name of the boat, left promptly at 3:15 and I was home around 3:30. A ferry in my own backyard that runs me to the center of historic Boston in ten minutes? I mean, how great is that?