Over July 4th weekend, Selma’s sister came back to Boston for a visit. Because she really wanted to go to the beach, she got us ferry tickets to Spectacle Island, one of Boston’s Harbor Islands. Selma and I have been to Thompson Island (the island next to Spectacle island) before in our past life as resident assistants, but we’ve never actually been to any of the other islands. There are actually 34 harbor islands and each of them has a history dating back to the 1600’s and the Civil War. Spectacle Island in particular has a varied history that included farming, a quarantine hospital, a glue factory, resort hotels and a garbage dump. Awesome!
So we started off the morning with a ferry ride out to the harbor islands. Tickets are $15 roundtrip (or $11 if you’re a student) and allow you to island hop as much as you like. We made a brief stop at another island (Georges Island) but it didn’t seem like there was much going on. Or as another couple put it, “we thought it would be cooler.”
After an hour or so (we took the scenic route), we arrived at Spectacle Island. It’s named Spectacle Island because it used to look like a pair of spectacles from the sky. But that was before it became a landfill. It still sort of looks like it now though but not as much. You can also see from the picture below that it’s only a short 15 min ferry ride from Boston making a trip out here super convenient.
The island itself is pretty basic. It has a welcome center and a dock. That’s about it. But they do have plenty of trails for hiking and lots of space for activities.
One of the activities being free yoga! The yoga session actually lasts for 1.5 hours and they even provide you with a mat! We didn’t know that so we missed out. Selma was really sad about this.
It looked pretty intense though.
Instead, we found this picnic table overlooking the water and had ourselves a little mid-morning snack.
After snack time, we hiked on up to the top of one of the drumlins (hills). There were only two on the island, the north and the south. We hit up the north drumlin first because it offered the best views of Boston.
It was also very windy that day. I’m not sure if it’s always that windy but I didn’t mind because it kept us cool throughout the day.
These mounds actually increased by 36 acres during the time it was used as a land fill making it the highest point in the harbor. It was really scenic at the top with spectacular panoramic views of the city and other islands.
And if you look off in the distance, those dinosaur egg looking things are actually the waste treatment plant for all of Boston. Neat.
And this is a shot of the welcome center and the south drumlin.
And a sweet panoramic shot from the top.
Afterwards, we headed down for the DIY kite making session. I completely forgot to bring Optimus (my kite) so I was happy they offered this free alternative. The kite itself was already pre-assembled so all we had to do was decorate it.
Mine obviously included a bike and a cow courtesy of Selma.
However, because it was so windy, the paper kite didn’t hold up. Oh well. We then proceeded to lay out in the sun and relax with some Blue Moons for a few hours and ponder life.
After baking in the sun for a bit, we headed down to the beach because that was the whole reason we came here in the first place.
The coolest thing about this beach was the sea glass. Because this island used to be a garbage dump, there are tons of cool artifacts that line the entire beach. We mostly found pieces of old plates and cups but it was interesting to see all the stuff that gets washed ashore.
We also stepped into the water for a bit even though it was freezing.
And finally, as we were waiting for the ferry, Selma and her sister found hula hoops to entertain themselves while I dozed off for a bit.
They clearly enjoy their hula hoops.
Then it was finally time to head back to Boston.
When we got back, we were craving real food. In particular, we really wanted pizza so we hit up Otto’s in Coolidge Corner. We ordered the Roasted Chicken, Caramelized Pears & Fontina Cheese pizza and the Meatloaf, Mashed Potato & Herb pizza.
Oh. My. Gerd. They were both out of this world. Their topping combinations never ceases to amaze me.
If you are interested in getting away from the city for awhile, I would definitely suggest heading out to Spectacle Island for a day trip. The island is actually really pretty and the views are worth the trip alone. And if yoga is your thing, the class is free and looks pretty legit. Also remember to bring your student ID for discounted ferry tickets!
And with that, thanks for reading!