Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Savin Hill to Southie to the North End

So on Monday I drove over to Malibu Beach in Savin Hill to start off there. I had dropped my bike off on E. 1st at Lee Playground in South Boston and then had to park on the opposite side from where I started. After a daring crossing of Morrissey Blvd, I headed up the road, stopping for water at the Savin Hill Yacht Club. I kept walking towards a small park that turned out to be a Vietnam Vets Memorial where a few people were cleaning up. And continued towards UMass-Boston where I knew there would be a trail. Turns out the trail is the beginning of what's known as the Harborwalk, a paved pathway that runs along the coast of Boston and which it seems I will be using for my urban portion of the trek. Or at least until I finish Deer Island (yuck). Anyway, I took the path around the campus, past the JFK Library and onto Old Harbor Park, a quaint stretch of coastline where there were tons of stones with information on them about the harbor area and the history of how it came to be how it is now. I continued on past sprawling Columbus Park and onto Carson Beach, a well-maintained and relatively clean spread of beach. Carson turns into the L and M Street Beaches but I avoided most of those as the Harborwalk continued around Pleasure Bay out to Head Island, a gorgeous walk that provides a great view of the city and the water, the latter because you're practically in it! The path from Head Island eventually reaches Castle Island, the home of a revolutionary fort that became a key American seizure towards better fighting the war. I didn't go inside but I remembered having gone there with my father when I was very young. After stopping for ice cream at Sullivan's, a delicious and wicked cheap hamburger joint at the entrance to Castle Island, I strolled down Day Blvd. past a huge shipping yard which I was definitely not allowed into and back to my bike. All in all, a gorgeous day, lots of beach, and a relatively easy walk.

Yesterday's trip though was not as fun. My feet had been a little sore from work and the walk itself was just kind of boring. Starting from Lee Playground in Southie again, I walked through what is known as the Economic Development Industrial Corporation. The Harborwalk actually continues along much of this area, but the numerous piers and docks and wharves got old quickly. After passing the FleetBoston Pavilion and making it around the stinky Fish Pier, I got to the World Trade Center. Some guys were working on a section of the wall there and had a truck full of tools and other construction sundries so I asked them for some duct tape to patch up my feet.
"Yah feet?" the guy asked in a thick accent. "How long ya been walkin'?"
"Not too far, I came from Southie," I replied. I then told him about my Coastal Plan. He chuckled a bit.
"You'll sober up quick." He was shitting on my parade but oddly enough it gave me a second wind to have someone not believe in me.
I continued on around the wharves, swung by the Aquarium and saw the sea lions who apparently swim upside down if you weren't aware. I was barred from an active construction site and even more obviously from the US Coast Guard Station but was pleased to get back to my bike at Langone Park, just adjacent to the Charlestown Bridge. My sort of boring day was improved by my buddy Tom who lives in the North End on Salem St and provided me with some red meat and episodes of Beavis and Butthead. The bike ride back was a strain on my legs as my tires were low on air but the urban riding was definitely a lot of fun. I felt like a messenger with my backpack and disregard for traffic lights.
So that was my two days in Boston. I still have to do Charlestown, Chelsea, and Eastie and then Winthrop/Deer Island but that's not for another two weeks. I'm going to Japan tomorrow (!!!) so posts will resume in June.

See you on the coast!

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