The fourth weekend in August NoVA Travelers hosted a two-day Beantown tour, focused on the history and cultural attractions of Boston.
We flew to Boston on Saturday morning and made our way to our fabulous hotel - the Nine Zero. The hotel is literally on the path of the Freedom Trail so we had easy access to all the historic attractions we planned to visit.
Benjamin Franklin Statue/Boston Latin School, Old Corner Book Store, Old South Meeting House, Old State House, Site of the Boston Massacre, and Faneuil Hall. Leilani served as our trip photographer, snapping photos along the way. She's posted many of them on facebook, so if you happen to be a member there, just friend me (http://www.facebook.com/jenniparks) and I'll point you to the Boston album. It was really fascinating to see the old burial grounds especially with many of the nations prominent political figures interred. It's always interesting to see how young so many people died due to diseases that spread like wildfire yet how long some people managed to live before passing (some lived to be upward of 85+ even back then).
We had lobster for lunch in the Faneuil Hall area at Paddy'O's. For about $13 we each had a full 1.5 lobster, fries, and slaw. Very tasty and I highly recommend it for cheap eats. We also had some sort of crab cheese dip that was pretty good too.
With our bellies full of seafood goodness we continued on the Freedom trail. There was a LOT of walking on this day. We covered almost 5 miles in total. The rest of the stops included the Paul Revere House (which we toured), The Old North Church (very beautiful courtyard to rest in), Copp's Hill Burying Ground (more interesting gravesites) and the USS Constitution
(free tours but the lines were so long we just admired from the dock.)
We were going to walk back downtown, stopping for dinner the North End (Boston's Little Italy) but our feet commanded us to hail a cab instead. We had the cabbie drop us off at the very famous Mike's Pastry (300 Hanover St) and joined the crowds in picking out some delicious pastries to take back to our hotel (much safer and more delicious than picking up a stranger to take back to one's hotel!). You know when you get within a quarter mile radius of Mike's because most people can be seen carrying the distinct white pastry boxes tied with string. We weren't actually too hungry after prematurely snacking on some of our pastry stash so we rearranged our dinner plans and decided to pick up something after walking back to the hotel to relax for a while. Interesting side note- on the walk back we came across a performance troupe called the Afrobats that our travel meetup had just run into 3 weeks before in Central Park in NYC. I just smiled and told them we were groupies following them from city to city.
After we returned to the hotel we found to our good fortune that the hotel temporarily misplaced my bag I had left with them that morning in storage. They were so apologetic when they found it and hour later (turns out someone had put the bag in the manager's office for safe keeping) that they not only sent up a bottle of wine to our room but treated members to a full multicourse dinner with wine at the elegant restaurant upstairs at no charge to the group. The food was TO DIE FOR. One of the sides ordered by a member - the garlic cheese mashed potatoes- was sinfully rich and delicious and especially fantastic. We were so full we had to order our desserts to be delivered to our hotel room later.
Sunday morning we enjoyed breakfast at the hotel before making our way to the public commons and gardens just down the street. The landscaping was beautiful, the swan boats (of course we treated ourselves to a ride) were fun, and we smiled wistfully as we saw not one but at least two different couples taking their wedding pictures on the grounds. I love weddings and happy endings. I was very happy to snap more pictures for my pigeons and brides album (I try to find a pigeon and bride on every trip I take, so far I've had generally good luck with this. People are in love all over the world and birds are plentiful).
We stopped for some lemon ice and to take pictures of the Capitol building before walking up the famed Beacon Hill. The houses are charming and sophisticated with colonial charm and many a well known citizen has lived atop Beacon Hill (most recently John Kerry).
On the other side of the hill we found ourselves at a cheap eats taco shop that was muy bueno and then it was up and over the hill again to stroll down Newberry street- Boston's equivalent of NYC's 5th Avenue. We admired the window dressings, stopped into a lovely hat shop to play dress up and then unwittingly found ourselves in the middle of a protest parade that was marching by. We just happened to be going in the same direction you see, yet I am sure many assumed we were 'with' the protestors as we walked among them.
Back at the hotel, we checked out, gave away the bottle of wine we'd been given the night before (can't take it as a carry-on and we made a young couple very happy with the gift) and with a bit of sadness said goodbye to Boston as we headed to the airport for our flight home.