4 States, 2 Provinces, 2 Countries = one fantastic road trip! Destination: Boston.
So much to Boston – where to start? I had spent a night in Bean-town a few years ago on a business trip and knew I wanted to come back. So vibrant, so clean and the food – downright amazing! When I found the New England Color Run on the web, I knew it was the perfect excuse to make a weekend road trip to Boston! I also knew that I wanted to stay on the Boston Waterfront – right in the heart of town – everything we needed in walking distance. The night at the InterContinental was perfect – everything I was looking for the weekend – central location, superb room and great service.
Starving after the Color Run, we quickly checked into the hotel and hit the streets. The Granary Tavern on Milk Street was the answer. Built into a building dating back to 1816, I was surprised that the tavern had only recently opened for business. With one table left on the patio – how could we resist checking it out. The service was excellent and the food….let’s just say, if this Mahi Mahi sandwich doesn’t have you coming back for more, well – I guess you missed out! The combination of the fish and the sweet mango salsa melted in my mouth. The flavours took me back to lunches by the beach in Jamaica! It was that good.
Steeped in American history, a walk around Boston is a history lesson from the American revolution. While history is not my forte, it was interesting to walk the Freedom Trail, and see the sites of significance from this turbulent times. We did not take a tour, but in retrospect, a tour would have really made the history come alive. We passed many tour guides, dressed in period costumes, bringing the American Revolution to life.
A little background: in 1630, English Puritan colonists founded Boston, which quickly became a critical centre in New England. The last half of the 18th century was a period of political upheaval leading to the The American Revolution. Erupting in Boston, the patriots fought back against the British, eventually forcing the British to retreat. “No taxation without representation” was the slogan from the 1750s and 1760s. The colonists believed that the British Parliament no longer directly represented them, and any laws passed that would tax the colonists (ie: the Sugar Act and the Stamp Act) were therefore illegal under the 1689 Bill of Rights.
The Boston Tea Party was a political protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston, a town in the British colony of Massachusetts, against the British government and the monopolistic East India Company that controlled all the tea imported into the colonies. On December 16, 1773, after officials in Boston refused to return three shiploads of taxed tea to Britain, a group of colonists boarded the ships and destroyed the tea by throwing it into Boston Harbor. The incident remains an iconic event of American history, and other political protests often refer to it. The Boston Tea Party Museum, right behind the InterContinental, will immerse you in the history.
Every step tells a story as much of the revolutionary past has been preserved and celebrated along the Freedom Trail – a 2.5 mile route that takes you to 16 historically significant sites, including Faneuil Hall, the site of the Boston Massacre and many more. Follow the brick trail and let the history unfold.
The North End – culturally alive and vibrant, this one-square-mile waterfront community is known for its fine dining, amazing cafes, delicious gelato, and colorful personalities. Loaded with history, the North End is well worth the visit. Little Italy is a delight to the senses – the colour, the flavours, the ambiance – even a festival every weekend in the summer, a bonus for local and tourist alike. The vibrancy of the area makes the North End such a pleasure to visit and dine. Dinner at Gennaro’s MANGIAmerica did not disappoint. MANGIAmerica celebrates food, paying homage to the mantra that the food experience is “simple, satisfying and pieno d’amore (full of love)”. If you can, make a reservation for a table by the window, soak up the atmosphere of the North End charm – you won’t be disappointed.
For after dinner cocktails or a night on the town, check out Lola Travels for a cocktail review – a Boston native, she offers some spectacular selections and local insight on the nightlife.
More to see and do:
To be honest, I wasn’t interested in going into the aquarium – the long lines, super excited kids and let’s face it, I had already been to a number of aquariums in my lifetime. Why go again? I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I visited Boston aquarium – the long spiral walkway up and around the Giant Ocean Tank somehow made the crowds seem less intrusive as everyone worked their way through the various tanks. The shark tank, Myrtle the turtle and the penguins were amongst my favourites. Great for the kids – check out their schedule for special events and feeding times.
If your feet are getting tired, there are plenty of options for getting around town. Relaxing in a coffee shop, we saw countless segway tours go by. They are becoming quite the fixture in cities around the world (while I have yet to try a segway tour, I saw my first segway roll by in Paris in 2007 – now they are everywhere!). With more time, we also considered a bike tour – UrbanAdventours seemed to be a popular choice. Perhaps on the next visit.
So much to see and do in Boston. A weekend really isn’t enough!
History Links (by no means comprehensive, but an introduction to Boston History):