You'll find a whole new appreciation
for some of the U.S.'s most beautiful citiesif you take it
all in from offshore.
ONE OF THE GREATEST
pleasures of exploring is taking the
path less trod. Looking up from where I stand at the edge of
Boston's Seaport District, I can see Congress Street sweeping into
downtown Boston. A short drive away lay the gems of one of
America's most storied cities: the Park Street Church, Fenway Park,
Faneuil Hall, the greens of Boston Common. Fine news for anyone
with a car and a temperament for city gridlock, but Diana Estey
and I have no car. We do have a map, but it is a nautical chart,
which Estey has tucked neatly on the bow of her 17-foot sea
As we paddle out through the narrow confines of Fort Point Channel,
the broad expanse of Boston's inner harbor spreads before us, and a
faint breeze graces our cheeks. To our left rise the mirrored
towers of the Financial District. A seagull soars across the glass
walls of commerce.
"It's amazing how many people don't know Boston from the water,"
Estey says. "We'll take people out who have lived here their whole
lives and they're like," - her jaw drops in mock amazement. "It's
almost like the water isn't there."
Ah, but it is, and there is no better way to see a city than by
water. It invokes serenity and, better yet, a sneaky satisfaction,
as if you have just wormed through a hole in the fence and left the
rest of the world behind. There are practical benefits, too. No
stoplights, no garbage trucks parked in the slow lane, no one-way
streets running against you; in fact, no forced path at all.
Estey knows this. Assistant director of instruction and guiding for
Charles River Canoe & Kayak (www.ski-paddle.com
), her job is to
show off Boston by kayak; her expertise and enthusiasm are
precisely why I have come with her.