If it has been a while since you cruised from Boston, you likely won’t recognize
the area around the cruise terminal. During the past 15 years, the City of Boston
has transformed this former, highly industrial section of South Boston to a neighborhood
that also includes parks, restaurants, museums, hotels, office buildings, and residences.
This neighborhood, called the Innovation District, is where traditional New England
maritime industry and modern conveniences coexist—and it is continuing to grow.
Although the main tourist sites of Boston are accessible by shore excursion or public
transportation, some cruise passengers might prefer to stay close to the terminal.
For example, embarking passengers may wish to use their limited time to see a little
of Boston, or cruisers for whom Boston is a port of call may wish to do something
different and be back onboard in time for lunch. Below are some areas you might want
to check out while you are in town.
Black Falcon Cruise Terminal: One of the highlights of the Innovation District is
just steps from your cruise ship. Boston’s Black Falcon Cruise Terminal, also known
as Cruiseport Boston, was built as a warehouse during World War I and has also served
as a U.S. Army base. The terminal underwent an $11 million refurbishment in 2010
that included both cosmetic and functional upgrades. Still, it retains many historic
touches, such as the original walls as well as ocean liner photos, travel posters,
and a scale model of the luxury liner Rex.
Harpoon Brewery: The Harpoon Breweryopened in 1986 and was the first in Massachusetts
to receive a brewing permit in 25 years. Still located on its original site, Harpoon
Brewery offers guided tours, a visitor center, and a retail store. (Note that you
will not be able to bring liquid refreshments onto your ship, but you can still pick
up popular T-shirts and caps.) The Harpoon Brewery is located approximately a one-half
mile walk from the cruise terminal.
The bridge on Summer Street: This bridge across the channel adjacent to the cruise
terminal has a pedestrian walkway that offers a great vantage point from which to
photograph your ship. When leaving the terminal, turn left, make a right at the Boston
Design Center, and turn left on Drydock Avenue. Cut through Marine Industrial Park
and the bridge is just ahead to your left on Summer Street. Keep to the left side
of the bridge for better views, as well as for your safety. The far side of the bridge
is a half-mile walk from the cruise terminal, or one mile round trip.
Castle Island: For those with a little more time—at least three hours to spare—a
visit to Castle Island and Fort Independence may be of interest. The first fort on
Castle Island was built in 1634; the current one was completed in 1851. Guided tours
are available through the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
The area is accessible by foot or by taxi.
Liberty Wharf: Hungry? Want to enjoy authentic Boston seafood and a spectacular view
of the harbor? Then, a visit to Liberty Wharf may be in order. A growing number of
restaurants are located here—and many are frequented by locals, as well. Expect lunch
to take two hours (there may be a wait) and leave at least another hour for the taxi
rides to and from the terminal.
Seaport World Trade Center and Boston Harborwalk: Located approximately one mile
from the cruise terminal is the vibrant Seaport District. Part of the Boston Harborwalk
comes through here and is a great spot for people- and boat-watching. The Seaport
World Trade Center was built in 1913 as the Commonwealth Pier; a centennial exhibit
is planned for the summer months. The best mode of transit from the cruise terminal
is taxi—and leave at least three to four hours to see this area.
No matter where your explorations take you, be sure to allow sufficient time to return
to the ship at least an hour before its scheduled departure. Be certain to bring
a watch/cellular phone, a neighborhood map (that you’ve printed before leaving home),
and—to get back on your ship—a photo identification card and your ship’s boarding
pass (that you received during check-in). Comfortable walking shoes and sun protection
are also advised. And take notes, even in your mind, as the Innovation District is
developing rapidly enough so that there will be even more to see on a later visit.
This article was originally published by the author on Examiner.com on May 30, 2013.