Walking Along South Boston's Harborwalk To Castle Island
The Enjoyment of Walking
Walking is not only a good form of exercise, it is also good for the mind. As a writer, I absorb the details, and live in the moment. I enjoy everything that my senses share with me. When I get ready to go, I make sure I have what I need for the walk. I like to bring my music player, journal, and a camera, as well as something to drink. I dress suitably for the weather, and put on sunscreen when it's sunny. Bringing what I need for the walk makes it especially comfortable.
An Inspiration: My Walking Buddy
Who is my walking buddy? HawaiianOdysseus is. We don't live near each other; in fact, he lives on the other side of the country! But that doesn't stop us from sharing our experiences, and encouraging and motivating each other.
A few days ago, I read one of his many articles on walking, and this is what he said to me in the comment section. It really struck a chord, and it sums up how I feel: "For me, walking is a great adventure, literally and figuratively grounding us with Mother Earth and linking us with so much of its splendid history and the vast library of mankind's lore. As writers, we're like literary conductors of this information. It comes rushing up through our soles to our minds, filling us with a sensual feast and compelling us to share what we've learned with others. Writers are sensitive conduits--you'll pass other people that are fixated in getting from point A to point B and thus missing the lessons along the way. We have a compelling responsibility, therefore, to tell the story."
If you have not checked out his articles on walking, here (on the right side) are a few links for your reading pleasure. Read them, and you will feel as if you have walked with him, minus feeling out of breath!
Motivation to Walk On A Cloudy Day
H.O'.s "There Be Giants in Hilo", as well as the comments he made to me, got me in the mood to get outdoors. It had been over a week since I had gone on a decent walk (other than what I normally do on workdays, or while running errands), and I decided to take action before any excuses popped into my head. Yes, it was cloudy out. But really, does it have to be gorgeous out for me to enjoy being outside?! No! Actually, the benefit of going on a walk at that time was that I didn't have the sun shining in my eyes. Partway through the walk, the sun came out a little, revealing patches of strikingly blue skies, a sharp contrast to the gray and white.
Getting Ready For A Walk: What To Possibly Do And Bring
Sunblock (put on)
Have a snack before you go
Hat or visor to keep sun out of eyes
Bring a snack or picnic lunch
Notebook or journal
Dress appropriately for weather
Bring money to eat out
Bring a drink to keep you hydrated
Lap top, Notebook, or Tablet
Keep in mind locations that provide drinks
Do you like going on walks?
The Changes Of The Seasons
Every season looks different here in Boston. In late Autumn, all of Winter, and early Spring, you won't see many people on the beach at once. Those times of the year you will see the occasional person going for a stroll or a jog, or even walking their dog. In the "opening season", dogs are not allowed on the beach. When the weather starts to warm up, you see more people outdoors. When hot weather comes, the beaches are swarming with people of all ages, and cars fill every available parking spot along the Harbor. New Englanders like to take advantage of the hot weather, after enduring cold Winters.
Come Walk With Me
It is such a luxury to be so close to both a beach and a great place to walk. I may not live out in the country, but this is my personal paradise right now!
As I walk across the street to the Harborwalk, I reflect on the 9 months I have lived in Boston, and how much I have enjoyed getting to know my new city. I turn my music on, blocking out some of the traffic sounds during the first part of the trip. I observe the cars parked (parallel to the curb... my least favorite kind of parking), and smile at the thought of not having to worry about that.
I walk for 15 minutes before sitting down at one of my favorite places, right after the row of yacht clubs. There are several benches, a pretty star in the center of the concrete, and a rail that seagulls love to stand on- one on each post. I watch as one bird intimidates another out of his spot, prompting that one to chase the one next to him off. It's like Bird Dominoes! One of the birds has a number on him, so I figure he must be in a race. Go, bird!
After I have my fill of writing in my trusty journal and snapping photos, I get up and continue walking. Even though it isn't a sunny day, many people are on the beach. I see some dip their toes in the water, a few even going all of the way in, and the majority just relaxing. On particularly hot days, the beaches and every green spot surrounding it are full of people, relaxing and sunning themselves. Many people bring their own chairs, and make themselves at home.
Down the road, I arrive at Pleasure Bay. A beach wraps halfway around, and to the right is a narrow causeway (it looks like a bridge, with rocks along the side) that reaches around to meet Castle Island's beaches. Near this bay is one of many landscaped parks with a pavilion and benches, as well as a memorial of some kind, and a flag that rises high into the sky. Seeing a lot of older people there, I wonder if something is going on. It would be a great place for a social gathering, for sure! I also see an ice cream truck parked there, with a long line of people waiting to order, and part of me wishes I had brought some money with me.
Ice cream trucks bring back so many memories. When I was a kid, just hearing the musical melodies a truck made as it did its rounds through the neighborhood filled me with hope and excitement. Unfortunately, just because there was a conveniently close ice cream truck did not mean my parents had a bigger wallet, and many times we did not get what we most wanted at that moment. My best memories involving ice cream were when we went to Laurel Lake every Summer. After a cookout, exploring the woods, and swimming, we would often go out for a cold treat. Sweet satisfaction!
Over The CausewayClick thumbnail to view full-size
What Is A Causeway?
According to Wikipedia,
"A causeway is a road or railway route across a broad body of water or wetland raised up on an embankment. Some causeways may only be usable at low tide and the distinction between causeways and viaducts can become blurred when flood-relief culverts are incorporated in the structure; a causeway is however primarily supported on earth or stone, whereas a bridge or viaduct is mainly supported by free-standing columns or arches."
Over The Head Island Causeway
After passing the ice cream truck and the group of older people, I took a right turn to walk on the Head Island Causeway. Many people are walking over it, and a lone fisherman sits at the start of it, pole in hand. He's not fishing at the moment.
The causeway feels like a walking bridge, wide enough for many people to pass each other at the same time. The beginning of it is damaged, and it is sectioned off so that no one has an accident. There is enough space on the side that we can still get by without any trouble.
It is fascinating to think of what this must have looked like before the causeway was built. Castle Island is not an island anymore, since the strip of land connects it to the mainland.
Walking along, I see Pleasure Bay on the left, which is like a lagoon, closed in by the very structure I was walking on. To the right one of the Harbor Islands is visible, and I see watercraft passing by at various speeds. It is a windy day, gracefully moving the sailboats forward. It looks relaxing, and I wonder how it feels to be on it.
Further down, a couple of fisherman are on the rocks along the water, one on each side of the causeway. It's interesting to watch them, and I wonder how successful they will be that day. I have only ever gone fishing once in my life, when I was a kid. I don't even remember having a pole in my hands, I only remember that one of my acquaintances almost caught an eel. But I can imagine that under some circumstances, it could be relaxing and satisfying.
Halfway over the causeway is a large area with a big pavilion, and benches forming a circle, with a grassy area. It's a great place to relax and enjoy the panoramic views. I decide not to stop there this time.
Before I know it, I'm on the other side, on Castle Island. As I approach a row of benches, I watch a German Shepherd run into the water long enough to get soaked, and then walk out, shaking himself off before bouncing over to his owner (I presume). It must be nice to cool himself off like that. His thick fur must be uncomfortable in the heat. He reminds me of a large puppy we had when I was very little. I'm not sure if I actually remember him, or if what I recall is based on photos and the stories my father has told me about Max, but I know I adored the dog. I still have a photo of him, sprawled out on my dad's lap, with me on the side, a big smile on my face. Even as a puppy, he was large!
I sit down on a bench to compose myself. I finish drinking my Gatorade, write for a few minutes, and glance at the people on one of the many beaches. I have never been swimming around here. The sand isn't like in the tropics, but I'm sure it works "in a pinch".
At this point, I have been walking for 20 minutes since my last pause in the trip.
Walking HomeClick thumbnail to view full-size
Repeat In Reverse
My trip home was 35 minutes, and went by really fast. Even though I went the same way as I had come from, the scenery is interesting to see from a different angle.
I watch a bird perched on the rocks, take note of the fishermen (I think that one of the men caught a fish as he pulls his pole up, but then realize it was probably the lure), and enjoy the views of the Harbor Island and the city, as well as the beaches. I take a photo of the pavilion, and notice a tree hanging over the edge of the causeway. Before I start listening to my music again, I enjoy the sound of the little waves lapping on the shore.
With my music on, I quicken my pace. Partway home is where the yacht clubs are, and I always marvel at them. They are pretty buildings, nicely landscaped, and have so many boats there! It must feel very exclusive to be a part of one of those clubs, especially since yachts are so expensive.
I also notice the community center. It is a tremendously long building. Sitting right beside the L and M Street beaches, they are also used as a bathhouse and gym of sorts for those who pay a membership fee.
I am home before I know it. I enjoy the walk, but like the idea of getting home to make a late lunch, and enjoy a fresh cup of hot coffee.
I end the walk with a lot of ideas for articles to write, including inspiration for this very one I am writing now. Satisfied with a full 1 hour and 10 minutes of walking, I complete my exercise by walking up 14 flights of stairs.
Using My Senses During A Walk:
Sight: I see adults of all ages, kids, babies, dogs, fishermen, bicyclists, rollerbladers, dog walkers, sailboats, canoes, yachts, cruise ships, ocean liners, airplanes, airport in the distance, cars, Pleasure Bay, beaches, water, causeway, Harbor Islands, fishing piers, working docks, memorials and monuments, flags, ice cream truck, Sullivan's, Fort Independence, playground for kids, benches and pavilions, quaint apartment buildings, churches, tall buildings in the distance, yacht clubs, sea gulls, pigeons and ducks, squirrels, chipmunks, sea shells and creatures
Sound: I hear people chattering and laughing, dogs barking, feet pounding the pavement, cars and bikes going by, waves lapping on the shore, flags whipping in the wind, airplanes flying up above, boats cruising or sailing by, loud horns from a cruise ship, church bells ringing, music, wind blowing through the trees and buildings
Smell: I smell salty ocean air, flowers, perfume and suntan lotion of passersby, sunscreen on myself, food
Touch: I feel flowers as I gently touch them. Sand, the cold drink in my hand, the pages of my journal, my camera when I want to snap a few pictures, warm air touching my skin, rain misting me, the sun beating down on my skin, the chilled water as I dip my hands in the ocean, the gentle coastal breeze caressing my face
Taste: I taste the beverage I bring for hydration; Ice cream, if I stop to buy one; Food, if I bring a packed picnic lunch, or buy something at Castle Island's Sullivan's
Mind (This is not technically a sense, but I am treating it as such): I use my mind to reflect, observe, think, focus on what I write down on paper, brainstorm ideas for articles and content, solve problems, and enjoy my music
Castle Island's Sullivan's
I didn't go there this time, but it is a wonderful place to eat, right on Castle Island. Established in 1951, this place serves food fast. Anyone who lives around South Boston knows about it, and has probably spent many Summers going there! The lines can be very long, but they wait on customers quicker than I have ever seen at other establishments. I went there a few weeks ago, and was amazed at how fast the line moved forward. If you are ever in the area, check it out! The service is great, and the food is delicious.
There are quite a few tables outside of it, and lots of benches around the corner, along Fort Independence. Those seats provide shade and a decent view. But if you go there, watch out for the birds- they beg!
Sullivan's and Castle Island
- Sullivan's, Castle Island, South Boston, MA
Back in June of 1951, Dan Sullivan, Sr. opened the stand for the first time offering quality food at reasonable prices and for four generations our philosophy has remained the same.
- Castle Island (Massachusetts) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
History of Boston's Castle Island
- The Massachusetts Historical Society | Object of the Month