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Whale Watching, 8/31/05
While you are in Hull...
Drive the length of the peninsula to Windmill Point and Hull Gut, which separates the mainland from Peddocks Island. Spectacular views of Boston and the wind turbine with its 154-foot blades. There's a clam shack there for food, and a small, protected beach popular with Hull residents.
Hull Lifesaving Museum
Celebrates the U.S. Life-Saving Service, which rescued people from coastal shipwrecks until 1915. The museum contains boats and equipment used by Joshua James, who helped rescue more than 1,000 people after seeing his mother killed in a Hull Gut shipwreck. Take Nantasket Avenue past the beach and left along Boston Harbor to 1117 Nantasket Ave. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
From the museum, continue into Hull Village. Go to the Revolutionary War fort at the top of Telegraph Hill for a bit of history and drop-dead, spectacular views of Massachusetts Bay and Boston Harbor.
A natural delight
It's 4½ miles long and, at low tide, there are 40 yards of smooth, hard-packed sand to the water's edge.
Many things bring people to Hull, but Nantasket Beach has been the prime draw for more than 100 years.
On a hot summer weekend, 100,000 people will splash, swim, sunbathe, walk, jog or skate on the beach or the broad sidewalks above the sea wall.
The beach is split between the town and the state; 1½ miles at the south end are state-run and open to all. Town parking regulations effectively limit the rest of the beach to Hull residents and guests. The parking rules are enforced, and a day at the beach can be very expensive if you take a chance and wind up getting nailed by one of the cops, who actually walk a beat.
At Gun Rock, the beach's southernmost point, condo buildings, restaurants and beach shops occupy the former location of Paragon Park, an amusement park that was torn down in 1985.
Along Nantasket Avenue you'll find a couple of arcades, survivors from the amusement-park days. One of them still contains Skee-Ball machines, complemented by screaming electronic arcade games.
Another reminder of days past is the carousel saved from Paragon Park. A ride costs $1.75, and you don't have to be 5 years old to enjoy. The carousel stays open until 10 p.m.
Across the street, on the ocean side, is the Bernie King Pavilion, site of summertime concerts and a place to find shade on a hot days.
People watching is an activity unto itself at Nantasket, which attracts people from throughout the Boston area. You will see a wide variety of faces and hear a variety of languages.
At high tide, there is no beach at the south end of Nantasket; the water is right up to the sea wall. Try the north end: there is more parking and more room on the beach. If the surf is up, this is where the surfers gather.
Despite some rocky patches, it's one of New England's great beaches in a major metropolitan area.
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