I’m embarrassed to say how much time has passed since the Brit and I visited Boston. It’s true that after I came home I dove head-first into a pile of work and have only recently re-emerged. But honestly, how hard is it to write up a travelogue of one of the coolest cities in America? Because that’s what it is – one of the most beautiful, charming, and fun cities in the country. It’s definitely near the top of my list. Thanks to the elephantine memory of AR, here follows a quick summary.
AR and I flew into Logan Airport Wednesday night – one plane coming from London, one plane coming from DC – the planes descending uncomfortably close to the harbor before land came up to meet the wheels at the last possible moment. Boston’s skyline is beautiful at sunset. A quick taxi ride brought us to our hotel – the InterContinental Hotel in the Financial District. It was beautiful, if a bit overpriced, but the service was good and we were on the top floor with a great view of the city. The hotel bar – unimaginatively named the Rum Bar – had the best fish tacos I’ve ever had and delicious champagne cocktails, and it was a great setting to catch our breath and catch up with each other.
Thursday we had breakfast at a little diner across the street from the hotel – Scali’s – where the true locals went for tasty, slightly greasy breakfast food. We walked down the street toward the harbor and chose a tourist bus that would take us around the city. Our first stop was Charlestown where the beautiful and impressive USS Constitution sits in splendor. It was spectacular. We followed that with a tour of the Maritime Museum and then walked up to the Bunker Hill monument, a miniature version of the Washington Monument in DC.
We decided to walk down the narrow and charming, old-world style streets of Charlestown, across the Charlestown Bridge and caught the bus near North Station. We rode round the Boston Common, all green grass and leafy trees and colorful flowers, and got off for lunch at the Cheers Bar. After clam chowder, potato skins and Boston beer, we caught the bus to Cambridge to tour Harvard (coached by our bus driver to pronounce it Hah-vahd) and the surrounding city center. The term was just beginning and the energy of the students was exciting though a little exhausting. After a quick walk, we made our way back across the Charles River and poked around Newbury Street before catching the bus back to the hotel and a much-needed rest.
Dinnertime found us wandering through Quincy Market – a bit touristy perhaps, but we were after-all tourists – and we stopped for a drink at the Mexican-themed Mija, where the young man sitting next to us was determined to try every kind of tequila on the menu. We then ended up – I’m sorry to report – eating at Bertucci’s around the corner. In our defense, it was late, our feet hurt, and the food was really good! We had a quick nightcap back at Mija and then called it a night.
Friday was another gorgeous day. We started out with a repeat breakfast at Scali’s and then made our way to the water for a cruise around the Boston Harbor. We had lunch at the Barking Crab and watched as an twelve-year-old boy learned how to tear apart and eat a lobster that was almost as big as he was. I could have used his help with my own adventures eating crustaceans. We then explored Quincy Market a bit more before heading over to Little Italy to see the Old North Church and Paul Revere’s house. We had dinner at Anthem in Quincy Market – perfect for people watching – and then stopped for a beer at The Littlest Bar where I attempted to explain baseball to AR.
Saturday we had the most delicious breakfast at Pasta Beach and then caught the train to the Sam Adams Brewery for a tour. This was so much fun, due in part to the fact that we spent more time in the tasting room than we spent on the tour, and AR was in heaven experiencing all the different types of beer that England doesn’t import. We spent some time poking around the shops on Newbury Street and had lunch at Charley’s, all dark wood paneling and chandeliers.
The most amazing rain storm I’ve ever experienced rolled in over the city as we shopped and, true to East Coast form, there wasn’t a cab to be had. So we walked through the flooded streets, the flooded parks and the flooded Chinatown trying to get home. We looked like two drowned rats and it was straight into a hot tub for me. By dinnertime, the rain had cleared enough for us to venture out. We went back to Little Italy and had the most delicious Italian dinner at Ristorante Limoncello next to Paul Revere’s house. The waiter was an old Italian guy who rattled off the specials of the night to every table in a loud, monotone voice – a five minute ordeal! – and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. The food was perfect and the wine was good. It was a quiet, peaceful night – just what we needed.
Sunday found Boston completely battened down due to Hurricane Irene – the whole city was closed. My walk through the floodwaters on Saturday left me with a bad head cold, and poor AR had to deal with one unhappy sick girl for the day. We ate a delicious breakfast in the hotel before a rumor that Macy’s was open led us out into the storm via taxi. Alas, it was untrue and we were left at the mercy of the wind for the walk back to the hotel since all the cabs had wisely turned in. We spent the afternoon watching The Lincoln Lawyer with Matthew McConaughey, and we ate lunch and dinner in the hotel since nothing else was open – the hotel must have made a ton of money that day off all the people stuck there because of the storm!
Monday brought back clear skies and perfect temperatures. We had Starbucks and finally visited Macy’s, and then had lunch at McCormick and Schmick’s in Quincy Market. We spent hours at the New England Aquarium, looking at all sorts of fishy things. We saw sea lions being trained and penguins being fed and this huge turtle circling the center tank. We had one last beer at an open-air beer shack on the harbor, and then had to head back to the airport – much too soon.
It’s always fun to find a city where you feel you could belong. The people were down-to-earth, sarcastic, and open. The architecture was fantastic – a mix of the old and modern. The food and shops are great. There is just so much to do. I can definitely imagine living there for a time, and I cannot wait to go back for another visit.