Boston,  Travel

Boston: Week 2

Massachusetts State House
from Boston Commons

The first week in Boston I set out to prove I could still live in the city. The second week I convinced myself I could.

Of course it helps that this city has a small town vibe, which means it is easy to navigate and I can walk nearly anywhere I want to go. For places that are a bit too far to walk, the mass transit system is comfortable, reliable, and convenient. In fact, I am now a proud owner of a CharlieCard and feel like native.

I could easily wax on and on about this city (and perhaps I will in future posts), but for today, here are the highlights of this past week:

Standing in Harvard Yard
with my tour guide

Hahvahd Tour: This one-hour tour (closer to ninety minutes the day I took it) is well worth the $10.00 price tag (if you book online – $12.00 if purchased onsite). The tour is given by current Harvard students, who offer the perfect balance of serious history as well as fun facts.

For example – did you know that each freshman receives a binder listing all the previous residents of their dorm room? Fascinating! Theodore Roosevelt’s room is still used today, as well as Matt Damon and Mark Zuckerberg.

Harvard prevents anyone from entering its buildings, dorms or library other than faculty and students, so the tour is limited to walking the campus and observing higher education from afar.

 

Blue sail is my son
on the Charles River


Sailing on the Charles River: well… not really. My son and his friend sailed on the river, and I tagged along to take photos.

Boston weather is funny. Most mornings are cloudy with a threat of rain. However, by noon the clouds part, the sun reveals itself, and not a drop of rain falls from the sky.

On the day of the sail, however, the partly cloudy morning skies gave way to about a half hour of solid rainfall. The boys remained on the boat, and I managed to find some shelter near the dock. The storm didn’t last long and the rest of the day was sunny if not a little muggy.

 

The North End: While Bostonians do not refer to this area as Little Italy, that is in fact the focus. SO many restaurants – SO many pastry and cannoli shops – and not enough time to sample them all. A girl can dream though…

Just a few of the Italian specialty desserts

I made the mistake of going on a weekend, which meant traversing the narrow sidewalks with throngs of people, but I still thoroughly enjoyed myself and plan to return several more times before I leave the city.

The weather was picture perfect, however, and I love how the restaurants open the front windows to encourage dining al fresco.

While I did not eat a meal (this time), I couldn’t resist taking home a few Italian treats from Mike’s Pastry Shop: ricotta cannoli, espresso cannoli, sfogliatelle (my husband’s favorite), and a lobster tail (new to me… I’m assuming it is a Boston specialty).

 

One of my feathered friends…

Faneuil Hall / Quincy Market: I am not much of a shopper, but I’ve heard so much about this area of Boston that I had to see it for myself.

My original plan was to take the free one-hour tour of Quincy Market that details the history,  architecture and politics of the area. However, I was having too much fun just meandering around the streets that I decided to explore on my own and leave the history for another day.

I researched the dining spots ahead of time and decided when in Boston… so treated myself to a cup of clam chowder from Boston Chowda. It was, in fact, delicious!

While I was in the area, I took some time to venture down Harbor Walk to the Long Wharf. The day could not have been more perfect: cool temps, bright sun, and a slight breeze. The ships were fun to watch, and I bonded with a few seagulls.

 

Crew team practicing on the Charles River

Charles River Sunset Cruise: I debated about taking this excursion (after all… I can walk across Longfellow Bridge anytime and see the city skyline)… but since today was the last cruise of the season, I decided to splurge $18.00 and treat myself. It was well-worth the money.

The cruise is about 70 minutes long and travels from the beginning of the Charles River to Harvard and back again.

While the 5:30 sail time was a bit too early to experience a true sunset… the views were lovely.

 

Lots of “traffic” on the Charles River

The highlight for me, however, was the opportunity to see several college crew teams practice their skills. I know we saw Radcliffe and MIT for sure. And I learned that you can tell which team is which by looking at the oar!

An eventful week, wouldn’t you say?

This week I plan to visit two museums, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Isabella Gardner Museum, as well as the Boston Public Library. I am most excited to have high tea at the library’s courtyard restaurant on Friday afternoon.

Time is passing quickly, but leisurely. I’ve decided spending a month in a new location is the perfect way to travel.

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