Castle Island (U.B.C. – Day 21)


Today was a gorgeous day here in eastern Massachusetts, sunny and although the temperature reached the high 60s by late afternoon, for the start and running of most of the marathon, it was in the mid-50s to low 60s; perfect running weather for the Boston Marathon.

Because the majority of roads around us close at 8:30 am and stay that way until late afternoon, I decided to get out of dodge and scheduled a playdate with The Boy and a friend of his from nursery school whose mother just happens to be a great friend of mine, as well. We decided to go biking with the boys at Castle Island in South Boston.

Castle Island is home to Fort Independence and Pleasure Bay, and Carson Beach is located close by, as well. Castle Island is the oldest continuously fortified site in North America, boasting a military presence continuously from 1634 through World War II. The site was once a half mile offshore and accessible only by bridge, but in the 1930s landfill was put in and the site was connected to the mainland. The current Fort Independence was commissioned to active duty in 1851 and is the eighth fortification to occupy Castle Island.

Castle Island is a great place for walking, running, biking, rollerblading, fishing, watching the planes take off and land at Logan Airport, sunbathing, or hanging out at the beach. There’s a take-out only restaurant, Sullivan’s, a kid’s playground, and there are also public restrooms available. To those coming from afar by car, there is the added bonus of free parking.  The views of the city are amazing, postcard perfect even for those of us who are photographically challenged.


Since I first discovered Castle Island shortly after college in the early 1990s, I have been enthralled with everything about it, but most of all I love the Sugar Bowl. The Sugar Bowl is formed by a crescent-shaped path that stretches a little way out into Boston Harbor and creates Pleasure Bay and its beach.


No matter how I get around the Sugar Bowl, I love it. It’s a refuge from city life, a narrow pathway over the ocean, really nothing more than a bunch of rocks made into a walkway and fenced in to give the illusion of safety. Because of its location, you can close your eyes and almost feel as if you are standing on the water.

I was born on an island off the north coast of Massachusetts, and I’ve been drawn to water forever. The ocean is a retreat for me, a safe haven, no matter what the weather. I lose myself in the rhythmic rush and pull of the waves as they break on the shore. The spray hitting my face is much needed oxygen when I’m struggling to breathe under the weight of life. I love nothing more than watching the ocean during a storm; I am entranced by her elemental power and fury, and being in her presence cleanses my soul and my mind.

Today we took the boys riding around the fort, then down Day Boulevard to the Sugar Bowl and around Pleasure Bay back to the fort. We stopped for a short time at the playground so the kids could play on the swings, then again for an attempt at photographs when we got to Head Island, which is just about the halfway point in the Sugar Bowl. We ate lunch at Sullivan’s, then rode some more to work up an appetite for ice-cream. The boys horsed around, playing duck-duck-goose and chasing one another. We sat on the grass in front of the fort watching them, kites flying in the background.  My friend and I had the opportunity to talk a little, always a wonderful thing and such a treat when you have young children.


All in all, a great day at one of the greatest gems in the Boston area. If you’re visiting Boston, or even if you live here and have never been to Castle Island, it’s worth the trek. You’ll be drawn in by its magic and I guarantee you’ll return whenever possible.


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