Boston is a great getaway city if you live nearby, like I do, in New York. In May I went with a friend because he was running in the “Run to Remember” half marathon, which honors first responders. It was also the month of my birthday, and we were going to celebrate at a nice restaurant, and spend a pleasant three day weekend. Boston is fun for a quick trip because there are many sites to see and keep you busy, it is historic which offers plenty of opportunities to learn, and it is clean and accessible. Prices in general are rather high, but we economized by travelling there by bus, staying at an AirBnb and curtailing how many restaurants we went to.
The Boston Common – Established since 1634, it is the oldest city park in the United States. A lovely place to stroll through when the weather is nice, it has large grassy green areas, fountains, ponds, and pleasant park seating throughout. The visitors center is located on the Tremont street side of the park.
We stopped here in the early evening after touring Beacon Hill and peeking into the famous Cheers location on Beacon street. It was nice to sit down on a park bench and watch everyone strolling along by. Even as the evening sky darkened, it felt safe in the park. A guitarist was still playing a few tunes across the way. Couples embraced. The park is not so large that it wasn’t crossed easily in about half an hour that evening, as we made our way back to the downtown area where we would catch the “T”, or subway, at Downtown Crossing back to our AirBnb.
The Charles River Esplanade – Another of Boston’s big green spaces, the Esplanade is located along the Charles River in the Back Bay area of Boston. It was created in the early 20th century after that area was filled in with land to make the river more level with the city and less of a liability. There are paths to walk or jog along, grassy areas for picnics and waterfront area where sunbathers stretch out. The Esplanade Association maintains the park. Events and more information on the park, you can go to their website at Esplanade.org
This was just a short detour on our visit to Beacon Hill, a short walk and a few minutes on a park bench looking out at the river and people sunbathing nearby. Still, a very nice park whether for a short breather from city touring, or to spend the day.
Beacon Hill – A protected historic district, Beacon Hill gets its name from the beacon that used to be located on top of the hill to announce invasions to the city. It was home to many famous Americans, including Robert Frost, Sylvia Plath and Louisa May Alcott. Charles Street has antique shops and local restaurants. Acorn street, Boston’s narrowest street, is located here. As it has become the most photographed street in Boston if not the country, please be respectful to residents there and take photos quickly and quietly, if you can find a spot in the crowds.
Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market – Faneuil Hall is named after Peter Faneuil, who after an inheritance became one of the wealthiest merchants of his time in the late 18th century. It was his idea to propose that a central market be built, as one did not exist at the time in Boston. The city’s government accepted the proposal. In 1826, the Quincy Market building, along with the South and North Market buildings alongside, were built to accommodate the overcrowded Faneuil Hall market. The three buildings of Quincy Market is where most of the shops and restaurants are located today. It was named after Mayor Josiah Quincy, in honor of his contributions.
There are so many shops inside and outside Quincy Market, as well as restaurants and a wide variety of food stalls! If you want to get some souvenirs of your trip to Boston, this is the place to go. There are literally dozens of souvenir shops, my favorite being “Best of Boston”. There are name brand shops and even a Cheers themed restaurant. Anything from Mexican food to lobster rolls can be purchased to go from within the market stalls, and there are plenty of dining options in and around the market, from pubs to the spicy Wagamama chain.
75 Chestnut – A charming, cozy restaurant nestled in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, it was perfect for my birthday dinner during this trip. It would also be a great place for a date night or family outing. Once in the restaurant, we were settle in at our table along with complementary cheese and crackers we picked up at the front available to all guests. I enjoyed their grilled pork chop with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables, something I also noticed many other people in the restaurant ordering. My friend ordered the Nantucket seafood stew which he also enjoyed. A classy and intimate spot for dinner with top notch food and service that I highly recommend.
Most Memorable Moment
Before we went to dinner at 75 Chestnut, we spent about half an hour walking around Beacon Hill. The row houses, with salmon-red colored bricks, white and black wood shutters, flowers in the windows and red doors with bright brass knockers, are charming and worth millions. The signature color of the bricks seems to be “the” red color in New England, you see men and women wearing khakis or baseball caps the color of that signature red from Nantucket to Cape Cod. The cobble-stoned pavement is made of small rounded stones, smooth with a century of wear. The ground is warbled with the years. I was fascinated to come across Acorn street, which apparently is one of the most photographed streets in Boston. It was hard to catch a moment when you had the street to yourself to take a shot. I wanted just as much to take pictures of the cobble stoned ground, imagining what it must have been like a hundred years ago when the paved street was new and carriages wheeled glided over them. It represents Boston well – it captures both its deeply historic American heritage blended seamlessly into the wealth that now resides there.