Boston

Gearoid Mannion on 27 October 2017

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Boston had been on my ‘to-do’ list for many years and I eventually visited for a long weekend in mid-September. A beautiful time, it felt like late-summer with clear blue skies, mild temperatures - and not too crowded with those pesky tourists!

The great thing about Boston is that the historic city core is perfectly compact, enclosed as it is to the north and east by Charles River and the sea, so the main sights are literally within walking distance of each other. Even the trip in from Logan airport is just a short spin. Like many cities, you’ll pay more for a central hotel, but for convenience it’s worth it. No need for taxis, just walk everywhere, comfortable shoes please ladies!

Boston has been referred to as the ‘cradle of American history’. The Pilgrim Fathers landed near here way back in 1620 and established one of the first colonies in North America. Headstones right in the city centre date from the mid-late 1600’s and many of Boston’s historical sights are closely associated with the start of the American Revolution, including the famous Boston Tea Party of 1773. There’s so much more to see and the best way to do it all is to take ‘The Freedom Trail’, a two-mile walking tour starting at beautiful Boston Common, taking you to all the key locations. It’s an easy stroll, interrupted by coffee or lunch obviously!

To see more, buy a ‘Go Boston’ card which includes the famous Boston Duck Tour, a WW11 amphibious vehicle which goes from land into the river for part of the journey. It’s a really great way to see the city - our duck boat captain was hilarious and full of information about Boston. I even got to drive the thing!! T’was great quack. These and other tours all depart from the harbour area which is a great place to hang out, have lunch, visit the Aquarium, enjoy the street entertainment and a spot of people-watching.

The food in Boston is amazing, particularly the seafood. Near the harbour you’ll find Boston Public Market, Faneuil Hall Marketplace and Quincy Market where there’s an eye-watering array of stalls - one more delicious in its offerings than the next. Nearby at James Hook & Co you can enjoy his famous 'Lobstah Roll' and New England 'Clam Chowdah' …...all fresh outta the 'lobstah' pots!

Just beyond the Waterfront you’ll find beautiful old buildings and great restaurants in the buzzing Italian quarter in the North End. I recommend Strega’s Italian on Hannover Street – you’ll need to pre-book. Another great spot is Union Oyster House (estb. 1826), America’s oldest restaurant, housed in a building dating back to pre-Revolutionary days.

From the harbour area you can take a 45 mins Harbour Cruise visiting historic Charlestown Navy Yard & Museum, Bunker Hill Monument, the site of the Boston Tea Party, and the Old North Church. If you have more time you can take a ferry to Provincetown Cape Cod and maybe travel onwards to the islands of Nantucket & Martha’s Vineyard. But why leave Boston? Whatever you choose, getting out on the sea in beautiful weather is a great way to get a different vantage of this beautiful city.

Elsewhere in the city centre you’ll find Friendship Arch in Chinatown, upmarket Beacon Hill, TV’s Cheers Bar, Fenway Park (baseball) and big-brand stores on up-market Newbury Street in the more modern Back Bay area of the city. Nearby is charming old Charles Street with historic and colourful shopfronts, independently owned businesses, antique stores, bakeries, vintage clothing and more. In South Boston check out the famous old ‘South Street Diner’, open 24/7, great food, pure Boston.

Take time to stroll the lovely 'Rose Kennedy Greenway', Boston's newest public park which meanders downtown from the Waterfront. In 2007, after 15 long years of ‘the Big Dig’ it replaced the ugly old elevated Interstate93 which had slashed through the heart of the city for 50 years. The Greenway stretches for a mile & a half like a narrow ribbon of mini-parks hosting a variety of attractions, events, and art exhibits.

Meanwhile across the Charles River you can visit Cambridge and world famous 'Hahvard' University - established nearly 400 years ago its the oldest institution of higher education in the United States; “.......making people smahta since 1636....” #BostonForAllSeasons https://vimeo.com/171471522

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