Thursday, October 11, 2007

De Plane! De Plane!

This summer, we discovered Castle Island in South Boston. Remarkably, I have lived most of my 40 years in Massachusetts, but never visited this place until a few months ago. After talking to other suburban mamas, I realized I wasn't the only one who had overlooked this place.

From a historical standpoint, Castle Island is significant as the home of Fort Independence, an imposing granite fort built in the mid-1800's. We have yet to actually be there when tours are being held, but even walking around the Fort is interesting to little kids.

Besides Fort Independence, there are several things that my kids & I loved about our two trips to Castle Island.

First, there is the location. I have no hangups about driving in Boston, but the traffic and the expense of parking can make me less-than-anxious about returning. Fortunately, Castle Island is an easy drive up Route 93 (we live south of the city) to exit 15; signs point the way from there. The main road, William J Day Boulevard, runs alongside the beach and literally ends at the Castle Island parking lot. And, get this, the parking is free. Free!

One of the first things you may notice after parking is the low building at the far end of the lot. This is Sullivan's, a seasonal take-out restaurant that sells hamburgers, hot dogs, fries and other kid (and adult) favorites. It's cheap, greasy and crowded. . .in other words, perfect. There are outdoor tables or plenty of grass nearby for a picnic.

After eating (doesn't everyone eat first?), follow the path past the bath house to the playground.

The playground has two large play structures and swings for kids of varying ages. Park benches line the perimeter, so if you are lucky, you may actually be able to sit back and watch your kids play for a while.

Wait, what's that noise? Oh yeah, I didn't mention the aspect of Castle Island that made my son wild the first time we went. The planes. Planes from Logan zoom overhead every minute or so, and they are low and loud. My little guy channels this guy the entire time we are there, and I never get sick of it.

Besides the playground and the planes, there is the beach. When we visited in July, lifeguards in their chairs lined the beach all along the road leading to Castle Island. There were kids in the water everywhere we looked. On our last visit, it was hot, but the water had cooled significantly, so there were mostly just toes getting wet (one other thing is that it is windy here; pack accordingly. And your hair? Fuhgeddaboudit).

Walk along the beach a bit to the rocky part. Over here, my kids found the bodies of crabs, clams, mussels, and loads of shell fragments and cool rocks (bring a pail or deep pockets).

Although the warmth of summer is gone, Castle Island would still be a pretty great place to visit on a fall day. It bustles with dog walkers, moms with kids, runners and retirees---all out enjoying the neighborhood beach with the planes overhead.


pinks & Blues Girls said...

Looks and sounds like a great spot!

Jane, Pinks & Blues

Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck said...

I am almost crying for wanting to come home now. I lived a few blocks from there when I was little and it is my single favorite place on EARTH. We moved to the suburbs after I hit grade school, but since all my family was still in town, we went in all the time and Castle Island was my favorite place to go. And I ALWAYS hit Sully's when I am home for a weekend--hot dogs with ketchup and mustard and the BEST onion rings ever. WAAAAAAHHHHH, I wanna come home now. Enjoy it for me, please?

Pinks & Blues Girls said...

OK... you have inspired me to go on vacation!!!!
Love this post!!
- Audrey

Anna said...

Yes, that was one of a few favorite spots, when I lived in Concord, for getting out to the ocean!

Now we live on the coast of CT, near Mystic, so we don't have to travel to ocean, but I have to remember those magical places.

Love seeing other New England mamas in the blogsphere!