Cheap thrills

By ELLEE DEAN  |  June 14, 2006
Block Island
Boston, free (a State House tour might cost you a Mitt Romney sighting.)
Here’s a taste: Arnold Arboretum, Boston Athenaeum, Boston Public Library, Bunker Hill Monument, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, Museum of Afro-American History, the Holocaust Memorial, State House tours, Symphony Hall tours, the USS Constitution, MFA Wednesdays after 4 pm, the new ICA construction site, Julie Opie’s Suzanne Walking and Julian Walking installation on the Northern Avenue Bridge, Weeks Foot Bridge, Emmanuel Church, Trinity Church, free concerts at the Hatch Shell, free concerts at City Hall Plaza, Shakespeare on the Common (The Taming of the Shrew), Life is Good Watermelon Festival, North End weekend feasts, Old North Church, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, Haymarket, Waterfront Performing Arts Series, Boston Open Studios, Pleasure Bay, Jamaica Pond, and the Phoenix.

Across the river: the List Visual Arts Center, the Semitic Museum, Mt. Auburn Cemetery, the Harvard Museum of Natural History Sundays, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology Sundays, Arthur M. Sackler Museum Saturdays, Fogg Art Museum Saturdays, Busch-Reisinger Museum Saturdays, Memorial Drive Sundays ( it’s closed), Charles River Banks, and the Cambridge River Festival.
Boston, MA

Green Animals Topiary Garden, $10 (Tripping in this garden will cost you your white rabbit, Alice.)
On this seven-acre, late-19th-century Portsmouth estate, loom 80 pieces of topiary, carved from California privet, yew, and English boxwood. The Green Animals Topiary garden is the oldest of its kind. See a giraffe, a camel, a unicorn, and contemporary free-form-geometric carvings. Tour an herb garden, a vegetable garden, a gourd garden, a damask-rose garden, a fish pond, and a pet cemetery. The whole thing feels like a Salvador Dalí painting, or, perhaps, the psychedelic “Pink Elephants on Parade” trip from Dumbo we’ve all forgotten about. Look for Green Animals’ former gardener, George Mendonca, in Errol Morris’s documentary Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control.
Green Animals Topiary Gardens | Cory’s Lane, Portsmouth, RI | 401.847.1000

Jamestown and Newport Ferry, $15 (an errant ferry could cost you your sailboat.) 
Fifteen dollars buys you access to Rhode Island’s Jamestown and Newport shores via ferry — and ticket-holders knock a dollar off the admission fees at Rose Island, Fort Adams, and the Museum of Yachting. Deal aside, the ferry ticket buys you a sweet ride to the Rose Island Light Station, the Fort Adams listening tunnels, Jamestown shops and galleries, and Newport Bowens Wharf dining. Here’s the catch: the ferry runs on a stop-and-go schedule, meaning it doesn’t stop unless it sees you. Ferry information recommends raising the yellow flag at Rose Island, and, at Fort Adams — get this — waving your arms. Order a brew on the boat, enjoy panoramic views of Narragansett Bay, and try not to fall overboard.
Jamestown and Newport Ferry | 401.423.9900

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