One of my favourite things to do is meander the streets of a new place and let my footsteps do the thinking for me. I found that everything I wanted to do was within easy walking distance from the Marriott in Copley Place making Boston one of the easiest places to explore and so meandering around in the spring sunshine was not a problem.
Shopping on Newbury Street, stopping to have a coffee at one of the many al fresco cafes, soaking in the atmosphere. While my husband attended the conference, I explored Boston. I fell in love with the Boston Public Gardens. I spent hours wandering around the lush, green park, sitting on one of the many benches by the beautiful white bridge spanning the lake, watching the swan boats glide by and soaking in all the vibrant colours of the pretty flowers in the flower beds and admiring the sculptures.
The gardens also pay tribute to Make Way for Ducklings, a children’s book about a pair of mallard ducks that decide to raise their family in the Boston Public Garden. There is a metal sculpture of the mother duck and her eight ducklings which are so life like and cute! It was fun watching the little kids sit on the ducks and pretend they were horses!
Boston is associated with the famous Boston Tea Party and the Freedom Trail, so M and I decided to stop by a couple of the monuments on the trail. Park Street Church with its 217 foot steeple was one of the many sights I remember seeing when walking on this tour, as well as the oldest house in downtown Boston, the Paul Revere House.
Walking on from the Paul Revere house, the street leading to the Old North Church, said to be the oldest church in Boston was flanked with lush green trees. The steeple is said to be the tallest steeple in Boston, and the church is the oldest church building. The clock tower, the interior high box pews and brass chandeliers within the church are all original and there is a lovely shop in the back where one can buy Boston memorabilia.
Moving on to Charlestown Navy Yard where the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship in the world is afloat, and where workers are preserving the majestic ship, preserving a piece of history.
Our brief historic tour ended at Fanueil Hall, the original home to merchants, fishermen and produce sellers, a lovely old building easily identified by the grasshopper weather vane on its top. This is a cobblestoned area which has an array of shops, restaurants, street comedians, entertainers and the famous Quincy Market. The perfect location to end the tour and grab a spot of lunch from one of the gazillion places to eat at. We were completely spoilt for choice here! Quincy Market is a huge hall with stalls and stalls of food – you really do need to figure out what you are in the mood for otherwise your taste buds will get confused and want to try it all. Being attracted to the grilled cheese section, we had to try one of their bacon grilled cheese and indulge in the hot, gooey cheesy treat while sitting on the steps of Quincy Market, watching the world go by.
I could compare the atmosphere to Covent Garden in London – the live music, cafes with tables on the cobbled streets, lovely flower beds everywhere – there is a wonderful, calm and relaxed vibe about this area. It is just so – happy.
It was also in Quincy Market where my curiosity over Boston Baked Beans was aroused. There is so much memorabilia surrounding this type of baked bean, which is made with a tonne of molasses, which were abundant in Boston’s historic days giving it the nickname Beantown. Sadly, there are very few places now where Boston Baked Beans can be eaten, other than from a can.
Being from Kenya, I had to pay homage to the finish line of the Boston Marathon, which is in beautiful Copley Square surrounded by the Boston Public Library, a cathedral, some hotels in well preserved rustic buildings and a busy organic farmers Market. I am tempted to buy some cheese and would love to indulge in some of the fresh produce but alas, I am staying in a hotel so cannot buy any of the beautiful products. Also at the finish line is the metal sculpture of the Hare and the Tortoise, from the famous Aesop’s fable, in honour of the marathon runners.
One of the highlights of being in New England is the ability to go whale watching at various places. We chose to get onto a tour going out to Stellwagen Bank, which is a good hour’s boat ride away from the Boston Harbour. The ride out was freezing cold, and luckily we had bought some rather overpriced sweatshirts from the savvy vendors at the harbour who somehow get away with charging outrageous prices – because cold and desperate people will pay a price to get warm! M and I thought we were being clever and staking out a perfect viewing spot at the top of the boat while everyone else indulged in the warmth. We froze only to be shoved aside once the boat slowed down at Stellwagen Bank. Oomph that was not very nice!
Anyway, manners aside we managed to see quite a few whales. Sadly they did not dive out of the water as my vivid imagination had hoped they would, but they did flip their tails out and blow water out. Such glorious and graceful creatures.
Our final night in Boston took us to the Ivy League side of Boston, Harvard’s Museum of Science which had been closed down for the grand finale of the INTA conference. The dinner was set out in various places along the museum, and it was really awesome to eat dinner amongst the exhibits and then to wander the halls of the museum, looking at all the exhibits and ending the night on the dancefloor with a large dinosaur looking over us!