I admit it. I’m a tourist through and through even when visiting my “hometown” of Boston. I recently had the opportunity to go back home when I was on a New England and Canadian Maritimes cruise.
When Blogger Friend and I docked in Boston on a warm Saturday morning with bright blue skies we decided to go off on our own rather than booking a tour with the cruise line. I could do it easily since I was familiar with Boston but really anyone could do it. For those not familiar with a city they are going to, google top attractions in Boston (for example).
Rather than take a Trolley Tour of Boston as many passengers decided to do, we decided to visit the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. We walked out of the terminal and hopped into an awaiting taxi. Being a Saturday morning, traffic wasn’t that bad. It is about a $25 cab fare to the Library. I did try Uber but the driver was unfamiliar with the cruise port and didn’t know where to find it or us. Since taxis were already there, it was easy to get a ride in one.
The library is located on Columbia Point in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. You can get there by subway and shuttle bus but it was much easier and faster taking the cab directly there.
I was eight years old when President Kennedy was elected and being from the Boston area , JFK was one of “our own”. I remember my grandfather writing to the President as one Irish Catholic from Boston to another about what was happening in the country including the KKK, supporting the Freedom Fighters, the bombings, the killings that were in the south and urging him to do something about it. I remembered the glamor of Jacqueline Kennedy and her tour of the White House. Of course, being a child myself I remember their children and how exciting it was to have children in the White House.
Walking through the Presidential Library I was overwhelmed by some of the back stories, the memorabilia, the photographs, and the videos. To me it was particularly moving to listen to his inaugural address and how he brought our country together after what was then the closest presidential election ever. Listening to the address, those words hold true even more now than they did in 1961. We could all take a lesson from his speech.
If you are in Boston for a stop on a cruise or in to visit the city, take the time to go to the Presidential Library. I would give it about half a day. There is a little cafe that you can grab something small to eat.
Following our visit, I decided to take my friend to something iconic for us native Bostonians – pizza at Regina’s in the North End, the Italian section of Boston. We Ubered there and immediately jumped into the line that wound outside the building. After about 30 minutes we were able to get two seats at the bar. This restaurant has certainly changed from when I went there frequently while in college. It now has more booths, tables and younger waitresses. In my earlier time, the waitresses were old Italian women all wearing black dresses. There were changes in the almost 50 years from when I began eating there but the pizza was just as good as I remembered.
After filling up on pizza, we needed to walk it off and what was better than walking through the narrow windy streets of the North End. Of course we headed over to Hanover Street, one of the main thoroughfare of the North End, to purchase our pastries at Mike’s. If the line is too long there, try Modern, across the street and down a little. With a wide variety of cannoli, you can almost choose any flavor you want. I stayed with the original with mini chocolate chips.
From there we headed to the wharf area walking past the Old North Church and the Paul Revere house. So much history here in Boston. How could anyone be not know what to do or see – the problem is that there is just so much it is difficult to narrow down what you can do in one day.
We continued walking toward the harbor in fact, it was about a ten minute walk if you aren’t pokey or don’t stop and look around or go into the shops. Once at the harbor we found benches to sit on. It is so restful at the harbor looking out at the water, the boats and of course, people watching. Of course, eating our cannolis made it even better along with the delightful weather and blue sky.
When it was time to head back, we walked through the Marriott on the Waterfront and called another Uber and met him our front. A quick 7 minute ride back to the ship bringing with me my box of Italian pastry goodies from the bakery. I’ve certainly missed rum babas, pizzelles and assorted Italian cookies.
One of the places that I love to go in Boston, and didn’t on this trip, was to the Boston Public Gardens. There they have the famous Swan Boats giving you a ride around the pond in the Gardens. The island is the middle is where the duck family lived from the children’s classic book, “Make Way for Ducklings”. Walking around the Gardens, you will come across the Momma Duck and her eight ducklings. I could go on and on about what to see and do in Boston and perhaps I will in a future post.
For us it was a great day. In retrospect, I’m glad we did not do the Old Town Trolley as so many others did. Apparently the Boston roads were gridlocked and no one got off the trolleys fearing they couldn’t get back on. Those passengers did not have a good day. Don’t be afraid to go off on your own particularly when you are going away from some of the major tourist attractions or the downtown area.