I took a weekday off last week to accomplish #36 on the birthday list: try out a new beach. I decided to try Winthrop Beach in nearby Winthrop. I somehow ended up at an entirely different beach in East Boston. This chain of events reminded me that travelers must be open to the unexpected—even when traveling in your own backyard.
To get to Winthrop Beach, I had to take the subway and then catch a bus. At the subway stop before the one in which I needed to disembark, the driver mumbled something over the loudspeaker. I paid no mind, until the subway blew through the stop I was supposed to get off at. I thought to myself, are you serious?
Please note that I was completely unfamiliar with this subway line and area of Boston. I had only been to East Boston twice before in the past 14 years that I’ve lived here. So I got off the subway at the next stop, planning to backtrack a few stops. Then I saw a sign for a shuttle bus going back to the stop that we had blown by.
So I took the shuttle bus to the subway stop I had wanted (it is under serious renovation at the moment). I asked the bus driver where I could find a stop for the Winthrop bus, and she waved her hand in a direction and said, “Somewhere over there.”
I went “over there” and walked a ways down a residential street. At last I saw a sign chained to a lamp post. Board Winthrop bus here. PHEW.
I waited for about 10 minutes until the bus appeared. After about 15 minutes, the recorded voice announced the Winthrop Beach stop. I saw no beach. Just a bunch of buildings. So I asked the bus driver tentatively, “Is this where I get off for Winthrop Beach?”
“You want to go to the beach?”
“Yes, Winthrop Beach?”
“You want to go to the beach, beach?”
“You have to walk far to get to the beach here. I’ll take you up and around so you get closer. I’m not supposed to stop there, but I will for you.”
“Are you sure?? Ummm, OK. Thank you.”
So now I had no idea where she was taking me, and I had to worry that she would get fired for stopping where she shouldn’t.
Another 20 minutes went by and I saw an “Entering Boston” sign. Hmm, I thought. We are going in one big circle. A few minutes later, the driver told me that she would be dropping me off in a minute. I gathered my things and thanked her for her help. The bus left and I saw across the street a sign for Constitution Beach. What the!
Well, a beach is a beach, I thought. I hadn’t been to Constitution Beach in East Boston before, so it was all good. The beach was very small, but there weren’t many people there. And I was kind of psyched that the beach was across from the airport, so I could watch planes landing and taking off. Behind the beach, the subway roared by every few minutes.
I was in my element. I love hearing the sounds of the subway and of planes driving around. And I love the beach. An urban beach…what a concept! This combination is not for everyone; I’m sure most people would not want to hear planes and subways while lying on the beach. But it was perfect for me. I’ll go back to watch the planes sometime.