His­tory buffs and is­land hop­pers alike will find there’s no short­age of places to ex­plore by land and sea in this city.

Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE -

Bos­ton might be Amer­ica’s big­gest small town, but with so many har­bor­side at­trac­tions, it has plenty for boaters.

It may be steeped in his­tory, but Bos­ton is al­ways evolv­ing, es­pe­cially along the wa­ter­front. That’s one rea­son lo­cal boaters say they’ll never tire of their home­port. “There’s no need to go any­where else,” says John Blanken, who’s been ply­ing these wa­ters since he was a kid, first on sail­boats, then on power cruis­ers, in­clud­ing the 48 Sabre he just bought. “I of­ten en­ter­tain aboard and I like to take my guests on boat tours of the area. Ev­ery­body loves that. I take pic­tures on these cruises, and friends al­ways want shots with the city sky­line in the back­ground. I or­dered a gyro for the Sabre just to help me get bet­ter pho­tos.”

It’s tough to get a bad shot here in Amer­ica’s big­gest small town. And rest as­sured your In­sta­gram feed will have depth and va­ri­ety af­ter cruis­ing one of the old­est cities in the coun­try. But what if you’re on a tight sched­ule and can tie up only for a week­end? How do you make the most of your time in Bos­ton? Ac­cord­ing to Blanken and oth­ers who’ve been cruis­ing here for decades, a good plan is to do the in­ner har­bor one day and shoot out to the Bos­ton Har­bor Is­lands the next.

“Get a slip for the night and try to see it all,” says Blanken of the in­ner har­bor, which spans from the Charles River to the Mys­tic River, with a lot of de­vel­oped wa­ter­front in be­tween. Lo­cals en­cour­age vis­i­tors to re­serve a slip near the ac­tion (at Com­mer­cial Wharf in the North End or his­toric Long Wharf, for in­stance) so they can be a short walk or bike ride away from the city’s high-traf­fic at­trac­tions—places like Fa­neuil Hall, Quincy Mar­ket and the Free­dom Trail. Yep, these could be the same land­marks that some skip­pers toured on a high school field trip years ago, but even if you did Bos­ton as a kid, you’ll find new things to­day—the Rose Fitzger­ald Kennedy Green­way park­land, for in­stance, which ex­tends from the North End to Chi­na­town, con­nect­ing a rel­a­tively new fron­tier of glass and steel con­struc­tion known as the Sea­port Dis­trict to down­town.

Near the Sea­port Dis­trict there’s dock­age and moor­ing fields for tran­sient boats, but pre­pare for a lively stay in this busy har­bor. Wakes from pass­ing traf­fic, which can in­clude ev­ery­thing from pas­sen­ger fer­ries and tour boats to tall ships, keep float­ing docks mov­ing and can make for a bouncy dinghy ride, but the har­bor qui­ets down at night.That’s when the ac­tion picks up in the streets as food­ies go in search of great din­ing and beer nerds troll cob­ble­stone streets for lo­cal craft brew.

The next morn­ing, be­fore head­ing out to the is­lands,

con­sider a run through the locks and up the Charles River. “The best time of year to cruise there is Septem­ber,” says Blanken. “Tem­per­a­tures in the har­bor cool down, but it re­mains warm in the river.” A lot of lo­cal boaters like to have lunch while un­der­way, since lighter boat traf­fic on the Charles makes for eas­ier driv­ing, giv­ing the skip­per a chance to re­lax a bit at the wheel. Near the mouth of the river, pas­sen­gers can take in Bos­ton to port and Cam­bridge to star­board, pho­tograph­ing land­marks like the Citgo sign near Fen­way Park and the cam­pus of the Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy.

Thanks to the area’s 35-plus col­leges, Bos­ton has a rep­u­ta­tion for hit­ting the books first, goof­ing off sec­ond. But boaters know the city’s play­ful side. Ken An­drews, 71, has been cruis­ing here since he was 9 years old. He and his wife, Pa­tri­cia, live in Mar­ble­head, but they keep their boat in Bos­ton Har­bor. “We’ll stay aboard for days or weeks at a time,” he says. “There’s al­ways some­thing to do.”

The An­drews make reg­u­lar runs to the Bos­ton Har­bor Is­lands and en­cour­age vis­i­tors to do the same, as the 34 is­lands that make up this Na­tional Park are close to the city yet feel like get­aways. His fa­vorites? “Ge­orges, which is about seven miles from down­town Bos­ton, is near the top of the list,” he says. “It’s the most fa­mous of them all, since it’s the site of the Civil War-era Fort War­ren.” But if he had to pick just one of these is­lands to visit, An­drews would choose Ped­docks. At 184 acres, it’s the largest is­land in the har­bor and boasts the long­est shore­line. It has an in­ter­est­ing his­tory, too. It’s home to the now-de­funct Fort An­drews—ac­tive in har­bor de­fense from 1904 to the end of World War II—and was also used for filming scenes in Martin Scors­ese’s movie Shut­ter Is­land. “From here, you also get great views of Bos­ton Har­bor,” says An­drews, which could in­clude glimpses of the 496-foot-tall Cus­tom House Tower and Kennedy Li­brary. That’s as picture per­fect as it gets.

By Jeanne Craig

1. The USS Con­sti­tu­tion in Charlestown. 2. Tie up and take public trans­porta­tion to Fen­way Park. 3. The Old State House is one stop along the Free­dom Trail. 4. Fresh chowda and a lo­cal beer. 5. One of the Bos­ton Har­bor Is­lands.

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