Castle Island, Despite Being Castle-less, is Still Amazing

Filed in Things To Do by on March 20, 2010 0 Comments

For a moment today, I was determined to swim in Dorchester Bay.

After a long bike ride from Allston in the seventy-degree heat, the bay was absolutely alluring, glistening in the late afternoon sun. Short, deep blue waves rippled toward the shore and, my T-shirt soaked through in back with sweat, I was tempted to take a refreshing plunge.

Luckily, common sense got the better of me. It will be a few months before the water will have warmed to a tolerable level; even in summer, the ocean stays chilly. Plus the bay is uncomfortably close to the airport. And an industrial park. And Dorchester. Given the kind of runoff in the bay, I’m amazed no one has ever climbed from the water with extra limbs sprouting from their foreheads.

Still, the bay is one of my favorite places in the city. Though the beaches aren’t appealing—except on the hottest summer days, or after midnight bike rides—the scenery is incredible. The city skyline looms in the distance, and small islands lie scattered just off the coast. The bay is also home to Fort Independence.

fort independence

Fort Independence, with the bay to the left, and the open sea to the right (Image courtesy of Google Maps)

Built in the early 1800s on the magically named Castle Island, the fort offers tours for the curious, and serves as a unique backdrop for picnickers. I mean, how many places have such intriguing names? Castle Island.

I remember a few years back when the participants of a midnight bike ride I attended were debating where to trek. Ideas were tossed out, debated, and ultimately shot down. Until a murmur broke out—Castle Island. Those of us who hadn’t been there before were immediately enthralled. Castle Island? Are there castles? And dragons? And how can we bike to an island?

Despite dozens of trips back, I am still delighted by the site of the fort seemingly floating out in the bay.  Riding there today gave me the same feeling, and, as always, I can’t wait to go back.

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