Cruising Close To Home
Always the photographer, Jim made the most of this terrific
view of Long Island Head Light. It’s one of several lighthouse
photo ops in the Boston Harbor Islands.
Unless you’ve chosen to visit on one of those few stellar
New England weekends that seem to draw all the local
boaters out, you’ll have the place nearly to yourself. By
nightfall, we did. From our vantage point on the aft deck
of Dauntless, cocktail in hand, delighting in the view of the
Boston skyline at sunset and the rare sense of isolation
this location offers, it occurred to us that even if we never
set foot ashore, this anchorage would be about as good as
it gets. If you want to wow some out-of-town summer
guests, this is the place to bring them. Enjoy the view as
the sun sinks on the horizon, and you can easily return to
the city, tie up, and make a 9 p.m. dinner reservation.
Early the next morning we launched the dinghy,
and, as was often the case throughout the summer, we
found that the ethanol gremlins were doing their thing
with the outboard. So I decided to row us to shore.
(Having not made it to the gym in the past few months,
it was a welcome workout.) We pulled up on a beach
seemingly untouched by other sea-glass hunters. Bring a
backpack for your haul, plenty of water, and a couple of
sandwiches with you, as there are no concessions or
water on the island, but plenty of places to picnic. And
be sure to wear appropriate shoes for walking; some of
the shoreline can be rocky. You’ll end up spending longer
than you might expect here, so start out early.
It was the promise of “hiking trails that pass by marsh,
a pond, and coastal forests”—the description of the
natural beauty of the place—that caught our initial
interest. Walking is something we’ve taken to doing
wherever we are, and Peddocks Island in particular
seemed to offer ample opportunity. The trails are well
marked but not overused. Walking the coastline at the
south end, it’s evident that few people pass this way; it
has that unmistakable untouched look to it. Aside from
the abundance of sea glass, keep your eyes open for other
treasures that may have found their way ashore, such as
shells and colorful lobster buoys to add to your collection.
EXPLORING FORT ANDREWS
To the north end of the island, working up to an 80-
foot elevation, are the remains of the Fort Andrews post,
hidden in trees and overgrowth. Walking through a ghost
town is the best way to describe it. You’ll find yourself
whispering, contemplating the many decades of history
this encampment represents. Most of the 26 Victorian red
brick buildings that make up the tree-lined street—a post
Dottie wanders the desolate Main Street at the abandoned
Fort Andrews compound on Peddocks Island.
hospital, bakery, NCO quarters—remain surprisingly
complete, enough to exhibit their fine detail and superior
craftsmanship, though all have been abandoned for more
than 50 years. You’ll also see decaying telephone poles,
their wires gone and their blue glass insulators no doubt
having found their way into local antiques shops long
ago. You can’t enter any of the buildings due to asbestos
contamination, but you can peek inside some of the
windows that haven’t been completely boarded over.
Looking in, it was apparent that any fixtures of value
had been picked over by scavengers, as well.
The fort itself lies up a steep dirt road. It’s more
of a gun battery than a fort, but well worth the walk.
This is as close to a movie set as you’ll find outside
of Hollywood. You can pick up a self-guided tour
pamphlet at the island’s ranger station, located in the
guardhouse near the public ferry dock a short distance