I love going to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and marveling at the paintings of the Impressionist Masters. My brother inherited all of my mother’s artistic abilities, so I have always wondered what it felt like to be able to create or replicate something beautiful. When we were invited to a friend’s milestone birthday party at The Paint Bar in Newton, my only question was whether or not alcohol would be served. That’s the only way I could survive an evening of painting lessons.
When my family relocated to Massachusetts for a few months I had lots of ideas of things we would see… the Freedom Trail and Salem were at the top of the list. Nowhere on my list was the town of Fall River- or its naval ship exhibit, Battleship Cove. My husband, a history geek and retired military, talked about visiting (a lot) so I planned a day for us.
The World’s Largest Naval Ship Exhibit
At Battleship Cove you can explore four ships, practically from top to bottom.
- Battleship, the USS Massachusetts, built in Quincy, Massachusetts
- Destroyer, the USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., also built in Quincy, Massachusetts
- Balao-class Submarine, the USS Lionfish
- Tarantul I class corvette, the Hiddensee, built near St. Petersburg and commissioned by the East German People’s Navy
- The bow of the USS Fall River, at the entrance of Battleship Cove
Walking through these ships is a bit intimidating. It also gives you a very tiny idea of how our seamen live; how isolated they must feel- especially on something as small and enclosed as a submarine. Even the USS Massachusetts, a floating city if there ever was one, had to feel small and impersonal after an extended period of time.
Now the USS Massachusetts is a floating museum complete with a restaurant/snack bar area, a Memorial Room, a Crewmember’s Exhibit, a Women’s Veteran’s Exhibit,and much more. We wandered through the Officers’ Mess, the kitchens, the Main Galley, the Machine Shop… but the ship was so large, its hallways a maze, I’m not sure we saw everything.
I wasn’t sure I would even be able to enter the submarine- I’ve never experienced claustrophobia before, but walking into such cramped spaces threatened to bring it on. I couldn’t imagine living in such tight quarters, underwater no less! It gave me a new respect for the men who sailed this “invisible” ship.
In addition to the ships you’ll also see a PT Boat exhibit hall, a mechanized landing craft, a Japanese motorboat (for suicide missions), a Cobra attack helicopter, a Huey helicopter, an anti-sub helicopter and a T-28 trainer plane and a very beautiful 9/11 memorial.
Just under an hour from Boston, Battleship Cove is an interesting- and educational- day trip.. A really cool feature is that organized youth groups can actually stay overnight on the ships- they are even assigned shipboard duties and learn handy naval techniques, like knot tying.
Stay at an Infamous Inn in Fall River
Planning to overnight in Fall River? You might want to consider staying at the Lizzie Borden House, now a B&B. Afternoon tours are available if you don’t want to take the chance.
Photos by Jody Halsted
Jody Halsted calls the Midwest home,
and loves to share tales from her family’s
travels at her site Family Rambling.
I found myself on a recent Friday afternoon with no urgent reason to return to work after an appointment. What I did find was a Groupon burning a hole in my pocket for admission to Tower Hill Botantic Garden in Boylston, Massachusetts. Since this was only about a half hour away from where I was, and since it was gorgeous weather outside, I decided to start my weekend early by going on a stroll with my camera through the grounds instead of returning to a cooped up cubicle.
Boylston is located next to Worcester in Central Massachusetts. It is a beautiful town with lovely homes in a quiet setting. Tower Hill was easy to get to and I found a very impressive complex containing the visitor’s center, gift shop, café, classrooms and indoor greenhouses used in the winter for orange and lemon trees as well as tropical plants. Surrounding this facility were a variety of gardens arranged to display plants and flowers in specific settings.
I have been visiting Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) since one of my courses in college was held there. I became ever so familiar with the special exhibit gallery, one of the country’s most extensive collections of Asian Art, the playful light of one of the largest Monet collections outside of France and the meager cafeteria. Over time, my visits occurred only when a special exhibit rolled through town – something the MFA has always done a great job with. They have a knack for putting together collections of art in a way that would attract people who otherwise would never consider visiting an art museum – such as Dangerous Curves – The Art of The Guitar. So when I heard that the MFA was building a brand new wing to house some of their North, South and Central American Art pieces, I got pretty excited. I knew the original museum inside and out. This would be like gaining a whole new museum while still being able to stop in and say hello to some favorite collections.