I just returned yesterday from a fun weekend in Boston with one of my best friends from undergrad. We were only in Boston for about 2.5 days, but we managed to hit most of the sights and had so much fun reliving the college glory days!
Here was what we did!
I live in northern California and Emma lives in southern, so we flew out of San Francisco and LA respectively. My parents were kind enough to drive me to and from the airport and to babysit Captain (my sweet Canadian Eskimo dog/son) for the weekend. A little known fact about me - I actually LOVE flights, of any length. I never bring work on planes and use flight time solely however I want to. On the way to Boston, I listened to a LOT of podcasts and read a bit of a book. On the way back, I read the entire rest of the book (~400 pages?) and was a Sodoku fiend.
My flight arrived first, and our hotel had a free airport shuttle that picked me up. For anyone staying in Boston for a short time, I highly recommend the Doubletree Hilton in Chelsea - it had great rates and probably the most comfortable beds I've ever slept in at a hotel. It doesn't have views and it isn't really close to downtown, so if those things are important to you, go a different route. However, we knew we wanted to spend very little time in the hotel itself, so we were okay with taking public transit into the city and not being overly close to all the action. This past weekend was also the playoffs at Fenway Stadium AND the Boston marathon, so staying closer to downtown would have not been good for my bank account.
I had a few hours to kill before Emma arrived, so I grabbed dinner with a friend from Connecticut and strolled around the Boston Commons for a bit. I truly believe that you get vibes from different places, and Boston's vibe is VERY good. I loved it from the second I stepped foot on the brick streets. It has a very small-town feel, and I'm a major history nut so I loved all the Revolutionary period buildings.
Saturday morning, Emma and I got up early and found a super cute café for breakfast and some caffeine called Tatte Bakery. They have locations in Boston and Washington DC, and they had the best apple turnover I've ever had. The interior of the cafe felt like Paris (I'm making a wild assumption here, as I've never been to Paris, but this is how I imagine Paris).
Then, we hit Beacon Hill for some beautiful photos. Beacon Hill is one of the more affluent neighborhoods of Boston, just northwest of the Boston Commons and Public Garden, and every house is an 1800s brick beauty. Emma & I took a photography walking tour so we could get some of the best shots with insight from a local tour guide who's been working in the Bostonian tourism industry for decades. We got some beautiful pictures, but the real bonus was in getting an in-depth verbal history of Beacon Hill and some of its residents. I loved how many autumn vibes were happening in these photos!
That tour lasted longer than we thought it would, so we raced to our afternoon tour, which was the classic Boston history and highlights tour along the Freedom trail. We saw all kinds of historical things - the Boston Massacre site, the Old State House, the oldest commercial building in Boston (now a very busy Chipotle), Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market (my personal favorite), and King's Chapel and graveyard, where John Hancock and Paul Revere are buried. This is the tour that we took, and I highly recommend it! It was a bit on the longer side - about three hours - but we really did hit everything, and our tour guide Janet had some excellent recommendations for restaurants, things the tour didn't cover, and activities for later on.
After being on our feet for so long, we decided to go grab some dinner before getting into more sightseeing. We decided on a restaurant in North End - or Little Italy, as it's affectionately known - called Riccardo's Restaurante. Our waiter essentially decided on our meal for us and he made the right choice.
After dinner and some excellent cocktails, we headed to Paul Revere's house and the Old North church. At this point, I had a few blisters, so we decided to sit down again at the Sam Adams taproom near Faneuil Hall to grab a couple of beers before calling it quits for the evening. The taproom was great for people-watching, and had a pretty extensive variety of on-tap options. I should also mention that we lucked out big time on weather - it was in the low 60s all weekend, it never rained, and was sunny almost the entire time. Heaven.
Sunday morning, we woke up early to try to get some photos on a street in Beacon Hill that was packed when we were there yesterday - Acorn Street. It is the most photographed street in Boston, and while it was cute, Emma and I agreed that there are tons of other comparable streets that weren't nearly as packed. I didn't end up loving any of the pictures we took there, so here's one of me on a random stoop instead.
Then, we grabbed breakfast from another cute bakery, and headed to Fenway Park. The playoff game wasn't until 4pm, so we had some time, but we wanted to get our photos in before the rest of the crowds got there and started tailgating. Fenway isn't far outside out of downtown, but we got unlimited day passes for the transit system so that my blistered feet weren't dying and we could go to Harvard too.
We went to Harvard afterwards, quoted Gilmore Girls the whole time, and visited a couple of local bookshops nearby. We also met the CUTEST chocolate lab puppy named Bailey outside of the law school building. I fell in love.
After Harvard, we took the T (nickname for the Boston subway) back into downtown and headed to Quincy Market again for some shopping and food. We both picked up some souvenirs for family members and some commemorative crewnecks for ourselves.
Then we headed to a late lunch at State Street Provisions, which was a delicious American-style restaurant on the corner
of the long wharf with a fantastic view of the old Customs House tower.
After our lunch, we headed out on the pier to touch the Atlantic. After Emma almost fell in, we turned around and went to Back Bay - one of the neighborhoods our tours didn't cover. We wandered around there in shops for a bit and then headed back to the hotel to hang out and get to bed early. Our flights left at 7:30 and 8:00am Monday morning, so we were up EARLY to get to the airport on time.
All in all, it was an absolutely excellent few days and I fell in love with Boston. This is the first trip I've ever taken to the east coast, much less New England, and I could see myself living in Boston someday (NOT AN ANNOUNCEMENT, just an observation!). I can't wait until my next adventure, or the next time I return to Boston.
Until next week.