If you are venturing out to Boston and are searching for things to do, you will most certainly find the Freedom Trail and Faneuil Hall Marketplace high on any recommendation list. As a local, this past year, I have been expanding my personal horizons and traveling to — let’s call them — “B-list” tourist attractions. For example, a few months ago, I took the subway to East Boston to see the Madonna Queen of the Universe Shrine (more here), which is ginormous, but also relatively unknown. When looking for things to do during a Boston “staycation,” I was elated to see another such “B-list” attraction located just outside of the city.
Have you heard of the Quincy Quarries? Quincy is a city located just south of Boston (but also a part of the greater Boston area) and a quarry is a type of open-air mine in which stone is excavated from the ground. The Quincy Quarries are special, as they are totally bedecked in spray-paint graffiti.
According to Atlas Obscura, the Quincy Quarries was first opened in 1825 and was used for active mining until 1963. Once the site was closed for business, the quarries slowly flooded and became a spot for swimmers and cliff jumpers — which was incredibly dangerous and became fatal! The quarries were eventually closed to the public and the deep pits were replaced with earth as a part of a project in the early 2000s. Now, the park is open to the public and bursting with amateur art.
The entrance to the Quincy Quarries is a sneak preview into the main attraction. A small parking lot surrounded by woods gives way to a colorful rocky entrance. The path is paved and every inch of it is covered in bright spray-paint lettering. Initials, pseudo-intellectual quotes, profanities, cartoons, and “Black Lives Matter” markings are stained into the path and stones.
After walking down the path a short distance, the land opens up to reveal a large open space — et voilà, the quarry!
It is larger than life! It were as if we had stumbled upon ancient ruins. Honestly, it felt like visiting a new-age Chichen Itza. The stones flank a wide green space and the graffiti touches even the seemingly unreachably high sections of the rocks. From the grass, people look like little toy figures on the high stony peaks. Although it was the middle of the day, it is evident from the litter on the ground and smell in the air that the quarry is not only a hub for city art, but also a place for drinking and smoking weed.
After climbing atop one rock, via an easily accessible path, we looked past the trees and saw the city of Boston sitting on the horizon. Shrouded in bushy foliage, the site is totally obscured even from the neighboring areas, which truly makes the Quincy Quarries a hidden gem.
We only stayed for a short while, but the trip out of town was certainly worth it!
If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path or quirky Boston excursion, I would definitely recommend traveling down to the Quincy Quarries!