If you have never been to the Swan Boats in Boston you must add it to you bucket list. The Swan Boats are in the Boston Public Gardens which is a tranquil little oasis nestled in the middle of the city. I have been taking rides on these old wooden boats since I was a child, as my mother had since she was a child. I don’t believe there are any other swan boats other than those located in Boston, but I could be wrong.
The Public Gardens were built next to Boston Common in 1837. While Boston Common is a lovely park, in my opinion it is nothing compared to the Public Gardens. While the two parks are next to each other, I never walk through the Common unless cutting through, however I do walk around the Public Garden multiple times a year. In 1877 a catamaran type boat with a foot paddle was created and a swan was built to hide the operator and the Swan Boats were born. They have been run by the same family since the creation and were designated a Boston landmark in 2011.
Recently I was having lunch with a friend from out of town that mentioned she hoped to some day really see Boston. I asked if she had an hour or two for me to kidnap her and bring her to one of my favorite spots in the city. We zipped into Beacon Hill and with a couple of circles around the Public Gardens, found a parking spot. As if Beacon Hill isn’t beautiful enough as is, when you step through the old black wrought iron gates into the Public Garden you are taken to a different world. While you can still hear the hustle and bustle of the city, you forget it’s there.
You walk along the paved paths lined by many different varieties of trees, which I have always taken for granted not realizing what a treat this is for someone that doesn’t live in the area. Depending on the time of year you are treated by amazing beds of tulips, roses, and many other beautiful flowers.
I would say the flowers have gotten a little better over the years. Well, at least cameras have as well as my outfits!
Then in the middle of this wonderful park is the little man made pond graced with the old wooden boats peddled by a swan. Well, a person sitting in a swan.
After you pay the whopping $4.50 for a ticket, you will embark on your tranquil ride around the pond. At one end of the pond you will be paddled around a little island and if you have ever read Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, you will know that this is the island Mr. and Mrs. Mallard decided to make their nest.
No matter which part of the pond you are on there is never a shortage of ducks ready to greet you.
You are no longer permitted to feed the ducks, but when I was a child there were vendors selling little brown bags of peanuts for feeding the ducks. You can see a little bag in my hand in the next photo. You can also see the boats appear to be the same boats used today except they were covered with canopies.
The next time you are in Boston, make a point to take a stroll through this beautiful spot and take a ride on the swans 🦢