I don’t hide the fact, and my accent is a dead giveaway particularly since I live in the South (hey, I consider Virginia the South) that I am originally from Boston – about 14 miles north of the city. You’ll hardly ever hear me pronouncing the letter “r”. It’s just the way it is.
I have had fond childhood memories of being dropped off in Revere at the Wonderland subway station (blue line) to ride the subway into Boston. It is super easy to ride the subway and to get around – you really do not need a car. I have always loved Boston and I really believe it is the best city in our country. More about that later.
We had an opportunity to go back “home” the weekend before Thanksgiving to visit some family members. Award flights were non-existent since it was the weekend before Thanksgiving so we decided to drive.
As I was close to requalifying for Hyatt Diamond this year we stayed just outside of the city in Medford. I received the Diamond status when Hyatt status matched to other hotels last December and they matched my Spire with Holiday Inn. I was very surprised that they did it but I will say that I have enjoyed the benefits of the Hyatt program. As they changed the qualifications for the following year, 2017 will be my last year as a Diamond member. The Medford Hyatt Place is about 5 miles north of Boston and you can see the skyline from your hotel window. Medford is also the home of Tufts University and where we lived as newlyweds.
We took the shuttle from the hotel to the Wellington subway station (orange line) and got off at Haymarket which put us within walking distance of the waterfront, the North End and Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market – exactly where we wanted to be.
We walked over to Faneuil Hall and the Quincy Market. Faneuil Hall has such a long history with the city. It had been a meeting place since the mid 1700’s and speeches by many of the early Boston patriots were made in this hall. Three indoor market places are in the location as well; North Market, Quincy Market and South Market. Most Bostonians call the entire area “Faneuil Hall”. Inside Quincy market are stalls of food vendors and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a lobster roll – the kind with mayo in a squared off hot dog roll with some lettuce. That. to me, is the traditional lobster roll though some places now sell it with melted butter in the hot dog roll. Blogger Hubby had a cup of clam chowder (or chowda as I would say it) and a gyro. In the center of the market are benches and table so you can find places to sit and eat. If this isn’t your thing, just before you get to Faneuil Hall there is the Union Oyster House and other great restaurants as well. Blogger Hubby’s favorite is Durgin Park, a favorite of President Kennedy. Communal eating is the style and waitresses back talking to you is the norm. Anyplace you go, you will get a delicious meal.
After eating lunch we walked toward the waterfront and admired the views. It’s always so restful watching boats on water. Along the waterfront there is a Marriott hotel and attached to the outside of the building are restrooms but….if you go inside and up the escalator, you’ll find warm, clean restrooms inside. This is my favorite hotel in Boston since it is on the waterfront and close to many things that I love.
We walked along the waterfront and turned into the North End which is the Italian section of Boston. I went to college and law school about 5 blocks away and would often come down to the North End for great pizza at Reginas where the waitresses are old, heavy, wear all black clothing and are somewhat rude – but it has such character and is an institution in Boston. We walked by the Old North Church (“listen my children and you shall hear, of the midnight ride of Paul Revere”), and Paul Revere’s home.
My absolute favorite part of the North End are the pastry shops on Hanover Street. There are two pastry shops of note – Mike’s and Modern. They are similar yet they are also different. Here is a link comparing the two. There were so many different fillings for the cannolis but I liked the traditional with the ricotta cream cheese filling with the mini chips on the ends. After eating my cannoli in the shop, I left wishing I had brought a box back to the hotel with me. The great news is that the Hyatt that we were staying in is within a couple of blocks of Modern’s shop in Medford.
Since we had driven that morning from Connecticut and had walked most of the day, we took the subway (locals call it the T) back to the Wellington station. When we got on the T, we called the hotel to have the shuttle head out to pick us up. Within 10 seconds of us walking out of the subway station, the shuttle arrived and took us back to the hotel.
There is so much more to Boston than what I have lightly treaded on. The Freedom Trail is a great start to seeing and learning about the early history of our country. You will go by Old Ironsides (USS Constitution, a ship that fought in the War of 1812), The Old Granary Burial Ground which is the final resting place for Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, the victims of the Boston Massacre, Mother Goose, the parents of Benjamin Franklin, Peter Faneuil and so many more. You’ll also go by Bunker Hill which looks like a miniature Washington Monument. The Old State House and the current State House are also on the tour. Did I tell you the route is about 2.5 miles – very doable and very educational particularly if you are a history buff. If your child is a scout, I believe there is a badge for walking the Freedom Trail.
Spring time you should head over to the Boston Public Gardens and take a ride on the Swan Boats. They operate from mid April till mid September. The boats are built on two pontoons with six bench seats on them and are propelled by the driver in the back peddling. It is a favorite tradition in Boston.
A favorite childrens book of Boston children is “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey and part of the story takes place at the lagoon in the Public Gardens where the Swan Boats operate. If you go there, look for the statues of Mrs. Mallard and her ducklings.
Of course, you can hop on the red line and head over to Harvard and walk around the square and university or go south and go to the Kennedy Presidential Library. We also have the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Science Museum. You can go to the top level of the Prudential Building and get a panoramic birds eye view of Boston. Don’t forget the famous Aquarium – the one in Baltimore is modeled after this one. If you are there in winter, go to the Boston Commons and ooh and aah at the all the Christmas lights. In the summer, take the T to Revere Beach. There is so much to do in this great city and because it is relatively flat, it is a great walking city.
If you are a sports fan, there is no better place to be in the summer than at Fenway Park particularly the the Red Sox are playing against the Yankees. Lots of strong support for the BoSox. Of course, the Patriots, Bruins and Celtics aren’t too bad either.
I truly am skimming the service when it comes to what you can do in Boston and hope that you find time to visit the city.