Tag Archives: Boston

Boston, Massachusetts – September 2015

I was full of excitement for my first trip to Boston in over ten years.  The first time I had visited was to see the Harvard campus with some friends, wave hello to “Cheers” and head home.  Now I was on my way to really exploring Boston for the Labor Day weekend.  My friend and I took the Megabus out of New York early on Saturday morning, and by Saturday afternoon we were checked into our AirBnb and on the “T” headed to Fenway Park!

Fenway Park – My friend had a friend who got us tickets in advance for the Philadephia Phillies vs. the Boston Red Sox on Saturday, September 5, 2015.  We got to Fenway Park a little late, being new to the “T”, and dragging our feet a bit as we wandered through the stadium, taking pictures outside, finding beer and pretzels to buy, finding our seats.  The game was already several innings into it, but we came just as the Phillies were beginning to score.  Then the Red Sox beat them solid.  The crowd roared.  There is nothing like seeing Red Sox fans in Boston, going to the game on the “T” dressed in Red Sox gear, their red baseball caps turned back, accents thick and energy high.  Seeing a game at Fenway Park has to be one of the best ways to kick off a trip to Boston.

img_1770

Fenway Park, Boston

Copley Square – It is centrally located in Boston’s Back Bay area, and is historic for many reasons.  A cultural center, many cultural institutions used to either originally be located there or still are, such as:  Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Natural History, New Old South Church, Boston Public Library, etc.  The Boston Marathon finishes at Copley Square, and it is now sadly known as the location of the Boston Marathon bombings that happened in April 2013.

I went there to also see Trinity Church which dominates the square, next to the towering, sleek, John Hancock high rise, offering a unique juxtaposition of historic and modern.

Trinity Church – Founded in 1733, the Trinity Church provides Episcopal services, but is open to the public and also provides many community programs and services.  I found the architecture a stunning example of Romanesque style, with its clay roof and heavy arches.  Inside all the murals were completed by American artists, and the stained glass windows were recently restored.  While I did not go inside, I would think this would be an amazing place to experience one of the choir concerts that are given by the several choirs that perform there.  For information on upcoming events, visit their website Trinitychurchboston.org

The Boston Common and the Swan Boats – The Boston Common is a large park that is pleasant to stroll through, but for this trip it is the memorable location of my first ride on the Swan Boats.  Swanboats.com

Bostonians used to row small boats on the public garden’s lagoon but that was changed in 1970 when Robert Paget decided to introduce a paddle boat which looked like it was being driven by a Swan that could be ridden on for a fee.  The idea was based on the romantic German opera Lohengrin, where a knight of the Grail crosses a river in a boat drawn by a Swan to defend the innocence of his heroine, Princess Elsa.  Soon, the fleet of Swan boats replaced the row boating on the lagoon, and the Paget family has been operating the fleet ever since.  For a small fee, I glided along the surface of the water around the lagoon in the Swan paddle boat.  I almost felt as if I were a swan myself gliding along.

The Boston Common is also the location of the start of the Freedom Trail.

The Freedom Trail – This has to be one of the best introductions to Boston one can take, and I’m so glad I did it on my first visit to Boston.  It is a 2.5 mile long walk through 16 locations that are significant to the history of Boston.  It winds through downtown, up through the North End (a nice place to stop and get something to eat, or an Italian pastry and coffee), crosses the Boston Harbor and ends in Bunker Hill.  Following are a few of my favorite spots, but you can also go to their website for a full description of each site and other information Thefreedomtrail.org or download a .pdf map map of the Freedom Trail.

(8) Old South Meeting House – site of the protest that started the Boston Tea Party in 1773.

(9) Old State House – built in 1773, the oldest building in Boston and site of the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.

(11) Faneuil Hall – “cradle of liberty”

(12) Paul Revere House

(13) Old North Church – Where Paul Revere spread the word that the British troops were on their way

John F. Kennedy Museum – Columbia Point, Boston, MA  02125     (617) 514-1600

The JFK library and museum sits on a 10 acre park on the Boston waterfront.  To get there take the T Red line to the JFK/UMASS stop.  There is a free shuttle from the subway stop to the JFK library and museum.  There is plenty to see here.  Theatres show films of the story of JFK’s family and rise in politics.  As you walk through the museum, the rooms recreate the world of JFK for you, as do the multimedia exhibits.  If you need refreshments, there’s a cafe but I enjoyed the bookstore, where I got a copy of John F. Kennedy’s book “A Nation of Immigrants”, and a DVD of Jacqueline Kennedy’s televised tour of the White House.

A large room with floor to ceiling windows looks out onto a lawn where they have tied down a boat that JFK and his family used to sail on.  As you gaze out over the water beyond the lawn, you can almost picture yourself a Kennedy running out to take a sail on their boat.

That was the last thing we did, on the morning that we were to later catch the bus back to New York.  Even with such a hectic schedule, I left Boston feeling like I had just gotten started getting to know the city.  There were neighborhoods I hadn’t even touched.  Still, some of the sightseeing was accomplished and I learned just a little bit more about American history and grew more appreciative of it.  Thankfully, I do not live too far away, so I am hopeful more exploration of Boston is still to come.

 

Boston, Massachusetts – May 2019

Faneuil Hall

Faneuil Hall, Boston

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.

Restaurants

75 Main – 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.