View from Fan Pier
View from Fan Pier
"November 26, 1898... Nearly 200 passengers walked the gangway onto the steamboat docked right here at India Wharf. The boat was a ferry bound for Maine. Her name was the Portland. Seven o'clock in the evening, the Portland pulls away from the dock here. A small wind begins to blow..."

From Chapter 11, Portland Gale, Boston Harborwalk Audio Tour provided by the City of Boston

Long wharf
Long wharf

History spilled into my ear from headphones as I walked along India Wharf, plugged into the Harborwalk audio tour. The audio tour is offered free of charge on the Harborwalk website. About an hour long, the tour takes in a bit over a mile of waterfront walking starting in Columbus Park in the North End (across the street from Quincy Market), and ends in front of the Moakley Courthouse on Fan Pier. Interesting and entertaining stories of shipwrecks, whales, pivoting bridges, lobsters and mermen are told by longtime Bostonians.


I look forward to two other walking tours, Fort Point Channel, also on the Harborwalk website, and the Public Garden audio tour downloadable from the City of Boston website. This segment of the Harborwalk traces the water's edge following the length of one pier and then the next, eventually crossing Fort Point Channel via a rusty swinging truss bridge, to continue along Fan Pier.

Beyond the end of the audio tour, I continued walking south with the harbor to my left and to my right a sea of glass buildings, some complete and many under construction, skeletons exposed. A defunct restaurant still solemnly sits empty at the end of pier four but most of this part of the city feels and looks new, modern and high tech. My turning point was on the deck of the Institute of Contemporary Art, walking only a small portion of the forty seven miles of the Boston Harborwalk.

Boston Harbor Walk

  • Date: March 23, 2014
  • Distance: 4.5 miles
  • Weather: Cloudy; 38 degrees
  • Fee: None
  • Pets: No
  • What I liked about this walk: Free audio tour, history, harbor, cityscapes, museums, shopping, food, comfortable walking by myself
  • What I didn't like about this walk: Can be very crowded in good weather