I suppose I should start this post with the disclaimer that I am not much of a city girl. Sure, I have traveled to several cities and can find something to appreciate about each city, however usually after a day I am ready to escape from the city and find somewhere far far away from lots of people and concrete. However, I have to say that I really like Boston. It is definitely my favorite city that I have visited in the states. It is even a city that I would possibly consider living in (that is a really BIG deal for me to say). What is it that I like about Boston? There are a few things including the city is clean, the air smells fresh and clean, Boston has an abundance of history dating back to the 1600s and the city has preserved some of that history, public transportation is easy to navigate, people are not in a rush, there is so much to see and do, Massachusetts Bay is right there and most importantly even though it is a big city, you are not constantly surrounded by crowds of people. Oh, it also reminds me of Europe. It has the charm of old architecture instead of sky scrapers. On the downside, the weather is pretty similar to what it is at home; sunny and warm one moment then cold and rainy the next. Or at least that is what we have experienced thus far.
We found a place to stay on Airbnb.com in the sleepy seaside village of Winthrop. We are staying in a gorgeous house with a sweet owner from Albania. We have our own room and private bathroom and the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on. It is not too far from the subway (better known as the “T”) which takes you into Boston in less than 15 minutes. The drive here was surprisingly easy up until the last 5 miles. Michal and I always get lost at the very end and it results in a few incredibly tense and unpleasant moments. I think we ended up driving through several tunnels that would have been unnecessary if we hadn’t misread the GPS. Then again, a trip would not be a trip in our book if we did not get lost at least once.
Since arriving, we have spent the majority of our time in Boston. Last night we wandered around the North End of Boston which is well known for several authentic Italian Restaurants. We then meandered over to the Faneuil Hall Marketplace. This marketplace is full of several restaurants, little shops and name brand stores. There is also beautiful architecture on display inside the main building. The picture here is a view looking in to the top floor from outside.
This morning we headed back into the Boston for a tour of The Freedom Trail. Boston is full of history and The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile walking trail that leads you past several historical sites. To follow the Freedom Trail is quite simple as there is a red line painted on the sidewalk to depict the trail. I am personally a fan of walking tours because I am a little bit of a history nerd and love to hear the stories behind the sights. I booked a walking tour with The Freedom Trail Foundation, a not-for-profit group that donates a portion of ticket sales to preserving the trail. Tickets were $11 each and well worth the money spent. A costumed tour guide (ours was Isaiah Thomas who was the newspaper printer and publisher of The Massachusetts Spy Newspaper from 1770-1775) took us on a 90 minute tour of a portion of the Freedom Trail while informing us of history that took place right where we were literally standing.
A highlight of the tour was seeing the Old State House where the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed in 1776! We also learned that on the bicentennial celebration, Queen Elizabeth was present for the reading of the Declaration of Independence (it is read from the Old State House every July 4th) and she was also presented a check for the amount of money the tea that was dumped into the sea during the Boston Tea Party would have been worth. Rumor has it she never cashed this check and it is now in a museum in England. Another tidbit we learned on our tour is that Samuel Adams actually had a brewery that he inherited, but he was not very successful running it and within a year it no longer existed. We learned that at the Beantown Pub you can have a cold glass of Sam Adams while actually looking out at a cold Sam Adams (he is buried in the Old Granary Burying Group right across the street). Furthermore, rumor has it that Sam Adams was not a very attractive man. The man whose face represents the Samuel Adams beer is actually that of Paul Revere. We learned a lot of other fun facts about Boston, but it would take too long to post. Our tour guide was awesome; very knowledgable with a great sense of humor. I highly recommend this tour to anyone visiting Boston!
While we were on the tour, it went from being sunny and warm to pouring rain and freezing cold.
We decided to take the opportunity to get out of the rain with a visit to The Samuel Adam’s Brewery. We went on an hour long free tour through the brewery that included tasting various grains, seeing the hops they use from Barvaria, looking at the barrels of beer and observing the brewing process as it was happening. Oh, yeah and the best part, lots of samples at the end and a free souvenir glass. And the fun didn’t stop there. We boarded a party trolley (literally a trolley with a disco ball, music blasting – Sweet Caroline, of course and an enthusiastic driver) that took us to Doyles. Doyles is a soon to be 130-year-old pub that was the first account Samuel Adams (the beer company) ever opened. And if you went to Doyles you got to keep some fancy beer glass designed by people with PhDs instead of paying $8.50 for it in the gift shop. As the trolley driver stated “Why spend $8.50 for a glass when you can go to Doyle’s, rent the beer and keep the glass! Needless to say between the history tour and the visit to the brewery, Samuel Adams was a prominent theme of my day.
After the brewery, we spent time wandering through Copley Square, took a break in Barnes and Noble then wandered to Beacon Street. We wrapped up the evening on Hanover Street in the North End with delicious Italian food at a restaurant called Dolce Vita. The owner spotted us outside checking out the menu, opened the door and ushered us in stating in a thick accent “You look hungry. Let me feed you. You want something not on the menu, I’ll make it. You will not go hungry” We entered into a lively restaurant with delicious homemade pasta and even an accordion player serenading the patrons with Italian songs. The food I had there was quite possibly the best Italian food I have ever tasted.
That pretty much sums up our time in Boston thus far. Needless to say, I’m exhausted and ready to call it a night. Tomorrow is going to be a big day!! I am beyond excited to be going to the 100th Opening Day at Fenway Park! Go Red Sox!