Boston’s Calf Island: Buggy But Beautiful

Calf Island in Boston HarborIf you know me, you know that I have an extreme dislike of mosquitoes. Okay, no one really enjoys these insects, but I’d go so far as to say that I live in fear. As I’ve gotten older I seem to have developed an allergy to the whiny little suckers: What once were merely annoying bites now balloon into unbearably itchy purple spots the size of silver dollars. As a result, I freak out every time I hear the signature buzz—especially if it’s in my bedroom in the middle of the night.

So you can imagine my distress when Devin and I landed on Calf Island last weekend as part of a private trip with Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands. We’ve visited several other Harbor islands and never had the need for bug spray. Then again, most of those trips took place during sunny summer weather, not right after a fairly large rainstorm. In other words: mosquito heaven. Ready the Benadryl!

Despite the buggy atmosphere, Calf Island was pretty enjoyable. One of the more distant Harbor islands, it offers a great view of both Boston Light and Graves Light, as well as of the city skyline.

birds on calf island

Birds on one of the island’s rocky outcroppings.

view of Boston Light from Calf Island

A view of Boston Light from Calf Island.

Like other less-traveled islands, it has a definite Lost vibe, particularly the overgrown, jungle-like interior.

jungle in Calf Island

The jungle interior: Just add Smoke Monster!

illegal camp on Boston Harbor's Calf Island

Creepy illegal campsite on Calf Island.

Calf Island’s main attractions are the remains of a 1902 summer home belonging to Benjamin P. Cheney and his wife, silent movie actress Julia Arthur.

foundation of Julia Arthur house on Boston's Calf Island

What remains: the stone foundation of Julia Arthur’s summer home.

view of Brewster Island from Calf Island

View from the foundation—I think that’s Brewster Island in the distance.

chimney on Calf Island

Remains of the chimney. A second chimney was destroyed by vandals in the 1990s.

All that’s left of the house are pieces of the stone foundation and one of the brick chimneys, but it’s enough to imagine the layout of this stately home. I can only hope that summers on Calf Island were less buggy back then!

broken dock on Calf Island

Part of a broken dock.

crab claw on Calf Island

Lots of shells, crab parts, stones, and feathers on the island.

view of Brewster island from Calf Island

Another view from Calf Island.

Like many of the Boston Harbor Islands, Calf Island is only accessible by private watercraft.

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One thought on “Boston’s Calf Island: Buggy But Beautiful

  1. Pingback: A Sidetrip to Watkins Glen, NY | Have Baggage, Will Travel

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