After a year-plus of social distancing and stay-at-home lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, getting out to Boston’s waterfront and the Harbor Islands National and State Park will be more appealing than ever for the summer of 2021—and from new sections of Harborwalk to enhanced ferry service and access, a wonderful day on the water awaits visitors.
Friday-Saturday-Sunday ferry service resumes to Spectacle Islands this Friday, May 21. Trips to Georges Island and 7-day-a-week service returns June 25. That’s up from just five days a week of service last summer to Spectacle only. Tickets for Friday service to the Islands will be 50 percent off through June 25.
Making the Harbor Islands more accessible than ever, Boston Harbor City Cruises will offer discounted ferry tickets for $4 for a family of up to four people for families participating in EBT or SNAP programs. Public libraries across the state and all Boston Public Library branches will also offer two for the price of one passes on ferries.
“Now that more and more of us are fully vaccinated and emerging from our stay-at-home, work-from-home way of living and the days are getting warmer, we know there will be enormous pent-up demand from Boston residents and visitors to enjoy all that the waterfront and Harbor Islands have to offer,’’ said Kathy Abbott, president and CEO of Boston Harbor Now, the non-profit advocacy group committed to creating a more equitable and accessible Harbor and the official non-profit partner of Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park and the Boston Harborwalk.
Since the summer of 2019, three important new sections have been added to the Harborwalk, the 43-mile-long, nearly continuous linear park that stretches from the Neponset River in Dorchester to Constitution Beach in East Boston via Charlestown, the North End, Downtown, South Boston and Dorchester:
•Pier 4 in South Boston
•Pier 6 in Charlestown
•Langone and Puppulo Park in North End
•Middle Passage Marker at Long Wharf
•Clippership Wharf in East Boston
“Having these new sections of the Harborwalk completed makes the harbor even more accessible and inviting to visitors. We’re now down to a final few sections to accomplish the goal of creating an unbroken, 43-mile-long park that fully connects Boston’s waterfront neighborhoods to the harbor and to each other,” said Mike Manning, Chair of the Friends of the Boston Harborwalk.
For private boat owners, 68 mooring spots, which can be reserved through the Dockwa smartphone app, are now available at Georges, Peddocks, and Spectacle Islands. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation is now seeking bidders to add an additional 49 moorings at Peddocks Island, potentially as soon as this summer. A pier realignment at Peddocks Island last summer will double capacity for future ferries bringing visitors to and from the island. Visitors will find tents installed at Spectacle and Georges Islands to offer protection from weather and sun. Plans for a new permanent visitor pavilion at Georges Island took a big step forward in March when the Boston City Council approved $125,000 in Community Preservation Act funding towards the pavilion. This spring, the Department of Conservation and Recreation also announced a $50,000 Partnership Match contribution toward the construction and project management of the facility through the DCR Partnership Matching Funds Program