Lonely Planet review
On the tranquil lagoon of the Public Garden you will find the slow-going swan boats, which seem out of place in today’s fast-paced city setting, because they are. The story of the swan boats goes back to 1877, when Robert Paget developed a catamaran with a paddlewheel that was propelled by pedal. Inspired by the opera Lohengrin, in which a heroic knight rides across a river in a swan-drawn boat, Paget designed a graceful swan to hide the boat captain. While today’s swan boats are larger than the 1877 original, they still utilize the same technology and they are still managed by Paget’s descendents. A relic of Boston’s bygone days, the swan boats present an image of serenity and contentment.