Grape Island

Last Sunday, my Mom and I took the ferry out to the Boston Harbor Islands. It was a perfect day – sunny, light breeze – and the ferry was packed with couples and families weighed down by coolers, beach chairs, and canvas tote bags. Lesson 1: Get there early. We arrived at the Long Warf dock 20 minutes before the ferry’s scheduled departure and were the last two people allowed on the boat.

For $10 you get a roundtrip to George’s Island. From there you can take smaller boats to the other islands. On Sunday, only one other island was open to the public: Grape Island. Luckily, Grape was number 1 on Mom’s “islands to visit” list.

george's island picnics:

Lesson 2: Pack a lunch. We didn’t have coolers, but I stashed an ice pack in my bag for our sandwiches and juice boxes. Saturday night I stayed home and made goat cheese popovers, in two sizes. This is my idea of a perfect Saturday night. I am lame. 

Mom accidentally sat on the popovers on the boat to Grape Island. I knew I had a zillion more at home, so I didn’t get mad.

Grape Island has no made-made structures, except for a little grape arbor, and a couple of “privies”. The island vegetation was almost exclusively berry bushes (blackberry, raspberry, gooseberry, bayberry), aspens, and staghorn sumac.

Lesson 3: Go to Grape Island in mid-July, not mid-June if you want to eat berries.  

We followed the grassy paths on the island and then walked around the shoreline.

George’s Island was crowded with picnickers and family barbeques. Grape Island was much quieter. We wandered off the paths and didn’t run into anyone until we treked back to the boat dock.

Lesson #4: Get in line *early* for the ferry back to Boston. We waited in line for a half hour and didn’t make it on the boat, so we had to wait another 45 minutes in line for the next ferry.

A pleasant and inexpensive way to spend a summer day. Even your Mom will be impressed.

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