Open the Map and find the tiny state of Massachusetts with its recognizable cape on the northeastern seaboard of the United States. You will see its capitol city, Boston. I have been there numerous times throughout my life since my paternal grandparents lived just west of the city. I recently got to experience it on my own during a two week study program at Harvard. It reinforced why Boston is bountiful for residents and tourists alike.
Puritan colonists from England settled Boston in 1630. It is one of America’s oldest cities and played a major role in our country’s history and quest for independence. It is a magnet for tourists around the globe as well as students who come to study at Boston’s numerous prestigious universities like Harvard, M.I.T. and Tufts.
The best time to visit Boston is in summer because of the mild temperatures and the ease of walking the city. But spring and fall can be glorious with budding trees or changing leaves. My family has always preferred staying at hotels near The Commons like the Taj or Four Seasons but there are numerous wonderful hotels throughout the city. Driving can be stressful because of the heavy traffic and one way streets, so if you don’t want to rent a car, just don your comfy shoes or Uber. The sights are all close to each other. You can get an overview of the city on one of the Duck Boat Tours or the Open Top Bus Tour. A trip to Legal Seafood for a bowl of their famous clam chowder is a must. We also popped in the Bull and Finch Pub, a.k.a. Cheers, made famous by the television series. It’s touristy but fun for fans to visit.
Most visitors to Boston are eager to walk the Freedom Trail. It is a 2.5 mile walk which tells the story of our nation’s founding. It starts in the Boston Commons and ends at the Bunker Hill monument (which is really on Breed’s Hill). Special markers along the walk point out 16 places of historical significance.
Other areas to visit and explore are beautiful Beacon Hill with its stately historic homes and gas street lights, The Commons with the renowned Swan Boats, and the Wharf. If you enjoy shopping, stroll down Newberry Street where Chanel, Burberry and other high end brands abound. Or try the upscale Copley Center Mall full of fine retailers and a Neiman Marcus and Barneys. You should not miss touring the USS Constitution and the site of the Boston Tea Party. The Granary Graveyard is interesting as it is the resting place of some of our Founding Fathers like Samuel Adams and John Hancock.
A stroll along the Charles River by Storrow Drive to the Hatch Shell where the Boston Pops play on the Fourth of July is shady and scenic. You will usually see rowers on the river. Do not miss Fenway Park, Paul Revere’s House and the Old North Church (one if by land, two if by sea).
Two museums I recommend are the JFK Library and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The latter was the home of reclusive millionaire Isabella Gardner who collected art from Europe her entire life. It is on display at her magnificent Italian mansion, built in 1898, modeled after a Venice palazzo. It is also the site of the longest unsolved art heist. In 1980, robbers dressed as policemen tied up the guards and stole 13 works of art worth a total of $500 million. Rembrandt’s only depiction of water, The Storm on the Sea of Galilee from 1633, was the most important work that was stolen. The empty frames still hang on the wall. The museum is definitely a change of pace from Revolutionary War history since you can view a stained-glass window from the 1200’s AD in the middle of Boston.
Visiting Boston evokes feelings of patriotism and connections with our ancestors who helped form our great country. It’s rich with history and provides lots to see and do. So Open the Map! Plan a visit to one of America’s great cities and connect with its Founding Fathers.