Once upon a time, you could enjoy a quick getaway from Boston by water. In 1899, you could catch a steamer from Lincoln Wharf and sail to coastal destinations for a day or longer. (This photo courtesy of Boston Landmarks Commission image collection, Collection 5210.004, City of Boston Archives.)
Here's another look from above. (This photo courtesy of Boston Landmarks Commission image collection, Collection 5210.004, City of Boston Archives.)
Here's an illustration of the Steamboat Massachusetts, one of the vessels that once served this route. Circa 1820, it ran "... from Boston to Beverly touching each way at Nahant, Marblehead and Salem for passenger and light freight." (That was according to the book, "Some Account of Steam Navigation in New England" by Francis Boardman Crowninshield Bradlee.)
Wouldn't it be nice ...
If mass transit in Boston included lots of waterborne options in season.
I couldn't find how long the trip took, back then, but it certainly must have been a more pleasant voyage than we would have today on mass transit. Today, you would have to make your way to North Station to catch the Newburyport line and then connect with a bus to reach Nahant. Google estimates an hour and a quarter. I think that would be under the most perfect conditions. And, that's on a weekday. Weekends would be another matter.
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Words: Penny Cherubino
Photography: Photo credits as noted and used under this creative commons license.