Boston is one of my favorite places of all time – and I’m not just saying that because I have lived here all my life! It’s full of history and culture, has gorgeous weather, is super walkable, mixes green space with waterfront with parks and city life all in one, has excellent restaurants, and is just a beautiful place to call home.
One of the best places to see all of the splendor, appeal, and style of Boston is from Boston Harbor. In June the Boston Harbor Association hosted us members on their free ‘working port cruise’ which went through Boston Harbor, Chelsea Creek, and the Lower Mystic River. We learned all about up and coming industry, property and real estate development, and environmental preservation from local advocates and key stakeholders in Boston.
A view of the Tobin Bridge from the Inner Habor:
The skyline views of Boston from the Inner Harbor are some of my favorite vantage points of the city:
The Coast Guard patrol flew over head which was pretty cool.
The Coast Guard has a base in the North End, right in the Harbor, that supports all Coast Guard stations and personnel in New England, New York, and northern New Jersey.
It just so happened that on the day of this tour the first of three tall ships visiting Boston this summer was docked in the Charlestown Navy Yard. This is the Spanish Navy’s Juan Sebastian De Elcano ship – it is a four-masted ship, a topsail schooner, and is the third largest Tall Ship in the world. The ship serves as the official training vessel for the Spanish Navy.
We saw plenty of really cool ships and sailing vessels while we were out on the water. I love the style of these boats, they are so classic.
As we headed down into Chelsea Creek a representative of the Chelsea Creek Action Group narrated with information about what the group is doing to turn the creek into a thriving, environmentally friendly, and economically prosperous waterway. This group of residents has worked tirelessly on community clean ups, creating more green spaces, and fighting against pollution.
For decades, Chelsea Creek has been, and continues to be, the region’s energy corridor, with tankers bringing home heating oil, transportation fuel, and aircraft fuel to storage facilities along the waterway. Ships also bring road salt (see below on the right) which is used by more than 200 municipalities and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
In 2012 the Chelsea Street Bridge underwent a huge $125M renovation, replacing the previously unsafe bridge with this modern, 450 foot vertical lift bridge. It was amazing to see this bridge in action – it just lifts straight up when ships need to pass underneath!
There was a huge oil tanker unloading petroleum in the Global Revere Terminal on Chelsea River. This thing was massive!
In 2003 the Condor Street Urban Wild park in Chelsea was converted from an old industrial site to an urban wild with walking trails and green space.
From Chelsea Creek we turned around, sailed under the Tobin Bridge, and headed down the Mystic River.
On the Mystic River, there are several industrial work sites: Distrigas’ LNG terminal, Schnitzer Steel’s metals recycling facility, Massport’s Boston Autoport, and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Wind Technology Testing Center.
A massive GDF Suez tanker was unloading at the Distrigas’ LNG terminal, so our trip down the Mystic was cut short for security reasons.
The boat turned around and headed back into Boston Harbor.
Lovely view of the ICA from the Harbor:
The two hours on the tour went by super fast. We learned so much about local restoration projects, environmental preservation, burgeoning industry on the waterfront, and the investment in infrastructure going on in this area. The local representatives narrating the tour were invaluable. It was definitely one of the best tours I have been on in Boston and it’s not even open to the public. I kind of love that though, the event was attended by residents and locals who are invested in the Boston Harbor Association and being part of the community supporting these changes.
After the tour we got off the boat and walked around a bit in the Financial District on our way back to the train.
We stopped in the new Kane’s Donuts downtown location. What better way to end this adventure then with a delicious donut!