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A Day Trip to Georges Island

So, the weekend before this past one, at the suggestion of katie_m, she and jenlev and I took the ferry out to Georges Island in Boston Harbor. This was a lot of fun, and one of those things that I've always sort of meant to do (i.e. go out to the harbor islands) but hadn't ever gotten around to doing. Georges mostly consists of Fort Warren, which is interesting to walk around especially if you have a map that guides you through various points of interest and explains them. There and back on the ferry is only $12 (and you could actually stop at multiple islands, if you wanted to), and is a nice half-hour ride.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Harbor_Islands_National_Recreation_Area
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Island
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Warren_%28Massachusetts%29




Here we have a nice shot from up on the walls of the fort, looking down at the interior courtyard parade-ground, with the mainland just visible in the background -- the tip of Hull to the left, and Peddock's Island to the right. (The day was really perfect for being out there -- maybe a little chilly, what with the constant wind, and my having forgotten to bring a jacket of any kind.)



Here, looking in the other direction, is the city of Boston.



More scenic views from the top of the fort walls: Boston Light (at right), and Great Brewster island to the left.





You can go into a lot of very open-to-the-elements and weathered interiors in the fort, and strain your imagination trying to picture what the rooms would have been like when people were actually occupying them. Here, a few interior rooms and a fireplace with a really serious-looking crack in the wall above it.

While in that particular room, we noticed there was a swallow darting in and out of the open windows. (The entire fort was just teeming with swallows.) And then we noticed that the reason the swallow was darting in and out was because... she had a nest in there!





(If you click on these pics, you can go to a larger version, and then click again for the full-size version. My camera isn't that great, but you can see the swallow on the nest pretty well in the full-size versions.)

On our walk around the fort, we later came upon another room that had a swallow's nest inside; sadly, I didn't think to take any pics of that one.



Some of the interiors that you could wander through were really dark and kind of scary -- and in many cases, the floors were rough, too. I guess it didn't help that we were going into these rooms after being outside in REALLY BRIGHT sunlight; after a while, your eyes did adjust. But there were some parts that it looked like you could *go* into, that were just utterly pitch-dark, and... forget it. Next time, bring a flashlight.





This is a shot of a kind of interesting... corbelled chimney; several of the interior rooms seen above had them (I'm standing in the same spot at the shot taken just above, looking straight up), but they were just there in the middle of the ceiling, not over fireplaces or anything, which kind of makes you wonder what they were *for*...





The last stop on the self-guided tour was the powder magazine, which the guide called "gothic style" -- and I begged to differ. What the heck about it was supposed to be "gothic"? It was heavy stone and the roof was peaked, yeah, and it had some low, stout buttresses along the side. (Presumably, those, plus the thick stone retaining wall built around it, were intended to funnel a blast *upwards*, should they be so unlucky as to have it bow up.) But it just didn't look "gothic" at all; I'd really like to know what the brochure writer was thinking. That said, I didn't get a pic of the exterior (you can *just* about see the structure within the fort's walls in the main pic on this page:

http://home.comcast.net/~jay.schmidt/ft.warren/

So anyway -- we decide to take a look inside the powder magazine, and as we're going in, there's a bunch of young people standing around the doorway packing up a lot of photo equipment. Seems like an odd place for a photo-shoot, but what the heck, I think -- until we go in the door, at which point we are greeted by this sight:



Which was really a giant "...Quoi?" moment. This whole thing was made out of rounded-square cylinders of translucent plastic of varying sizes. There was no signage to tell you the title or purpose or... anything really. "Hey, it's... Art." was about the most you could say. (Actually, the best reaction was a couple who came in after us, remarking, "I don't think this is part of the original...".)

The reason for situating it inside the powder magazine soon became clearer, once you walked to the BACK of the powder magazine's interior and looked back towards the door:







(Sorry for the fuzziness. Using the flash would have made for crisper photos, but without the flash I felt like it conveyed better what the actual experience of the thing was, with the quality of light and all.)

Still, it was utterly mysterious, until we got home and Katie managed to find out what it was:

http://www.icaboston.org/exhibitions/exhibit/harbor-islands/

Specifically, this one, apparently entitled "Voromuro":

http://www.icaboston.org/exhibitions/exhibit/harbor-islands/office-da/

And this guy? Was on the ferry ride out with us.

http://www.icaboston.org/exhibitions/exhibit/harbor-islands/pujol/

I think he got on at Spectacle Island, our first stop. And he came right back and stood at the back corner of the top deck, which is where the three of us were sitting. And it was really strange, because what these pics don't really show you is that in addition to wearing this all-white-and-off-white outfit of sort of period-looking cut, and the white knitted skull-cap... all of his skin had white make-up all over it; and his hair (what you could see under the cap) did, too. And we were all kind of eyeing each other, thinking, "....WTF?" (and making SG-1 "One False Step" jokes very, very quietly). I mean, first, I was thinking, "... some kind of religious thing?" And then I noticed the make-up (which was on his hands and feet, too), and then I noticed it was on his hair, so yeah, I started thinking ".... performance artist?" It didn't help that he was completely in that *zone* the whole time, too -- standing in the very back corner, staring out at the water. I never even really got a look at his face.

And, look! One of the artists appears to have built a yurt on Lovells Island:

http://www.icaboston.org/exhibitions/exhibit/harbor-islands/schuleit/

Hey, ICA! *Signage*! Look into it!



I'll leave you with one last shot, which is of a sailboat anchored just off the island that was flying a funky flag. (Click through to the largest resolution for a closer look at the flag, which had blue stars on white, and verticle red and white stripes.)




Coming soon: I sure hope you like tall ships! Because I got a bunch of 'em...

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
vampyrusgirl
Jul. 2nd, 2007 09:34 pm (UTC)
I LOVE the Harbor Isalnds!! It's a day trip that feels like a total vacation! We're planning a camping trip there this summer - I shall post with details once I pick a date, and you are more than wlecome to join!
jenlev
Jul. 2nd, 2007 10:04 pm (UTC)
you took such wonderful photos. and those swallows were so cool.

what a wonderful day with you two. ::::smooch::::

ps. heh, one false step. hee!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )