I was driving my daughter to dance class yesterday when I heard the news on the radio. It felt like a blow to the gut. I went to college in Boston; I have spent many Patriots’ Days in the city, celebrating for and with the marathoners. It is one of my favorite spring rites of passage in New England. But yesterday I was here. And I could not help the tears.
I have read so many posts about the heroes and focusing on the good out of the bad. And I truly don’t feel I can add much to that but I can tell you the ten reasons you should go to Boston. Visit this incredibly historic, charming city. Take it in, breathe the air and walk on the cobblestones.
1. Boston is home to Fenway Park.
I grew up in a Red Sox house. For my 10th birthday we went to Fenway Park and watched the Red Sox clinch the American League pennant. We cheered the crazy climbing Pesky’s Pole. And I got hit in the head by a vendor tossing an ice cream sandwich, true story. Even if you don’t go to a game, which I highly recommend, take a tour of Fenway Park. It is truly part of Americana. One of my favorite memories of Boston is the smell of the sausage and onions being sold from the carts outside Fenway on game day.
2. Boston is home to the North End.
When I was a kid getting from Quincy Market to the North End was a little sketchy. You had to cross under a tunnel filled with people who lived there. Now they have put the highway under the city (perhaps you’ve heard of this little project called the Big Dig). Go, wander the North End. Take one of Michelle Topor’s Food Tours. It reminds me of New Haven when I was younger and all of the Italian specialty stores were still open. We love Maria’s Pastry Shoppe (eat a homemade cannoli, buy some torrone) and we love Fiore. We had lunch at Fiore not too long ago and the risotto was out of this world. Seriously. Take cash if you go to Maria’s.
3. Boston is home to the Freedom Trail.
Yes, one of my favorite ways to spend a sunny day in Boston. Following the trail through the city, from historic landmark to historic landmark. I grew up with my mother reading me Longfellow’s “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.” And so walking the Freedom Trail you see the Old North Church, Paul Revere’s House and his statue. You also get to the USS Constitution, the Beacon Hill Monument and the Boston Common.
4. Boston has the Common.
Maybe your town has a green, but here in Pennsylvania that seems pretty rare. Boston has the Boston Common. A huge green park with all kinds of things to do. Last year we took Addie to take her picture with the Make Way for Ducklings statues. We went on a swan boat ride. We watched a summer concert at the bandstand.
5. Newbury Street
Newbury Street is New England’s answer to Rodeo Drive. I don’t know, Bostonians would probably be offended by that. It has a little bit of the Boston, Yankee and a little bit designer. Eight blocks of shopping, dining and beautiful architecture. The Nike store has seats from the old Boston Garden in a second floor landing where you can sit and watch the action.
6. Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall
Quincy Market is one of America’s oldest market places. Faneuil Hall is one of the original buildings. It was built in 1742. It was also, quite famously, the location of the Boston Massacre. When I was a child there was actually still an open-air market, Hay Market, which took place between Quincy Market (of which Faneuil Hall is part). It is very small now and takes place behind Quincy Market now. Quincy Market is now a combination of shops and dining. There are lots of street entertainers. And during the summer there is a carousel where there used to be highway. Shop, eat at Durgin Park and then have ice cream from Sprinkles.
7. The Aquarium, Children’s Museum and Museum of Science
You can’t go to Boston with kids and not do one of these. We did the aquarium last summer. We had a blast with my four year old. It has been renovated since I was a child and now there is much more to see and do. Addie loved the touch tank and the seals. Mom and grandma loved the look on her face when she was watching the clown fish. The Children’s Museum is simply the best. Yes, I love Please Touch. Boston’s is better, bigger. The Museum of Science is an incredible day for older kids. Hands on science at almost every exhibit. You can’t go wrong with any of them. You just can’t do them all in one day.
8. Head of the Charles Regatta
If you want to ever visit preppy paradise you should visit Boston during Head of the Charles weekend. A huge rowing event. Everyone who is everyone in the world of rowing is there. And so are the alums, the parents and the prep school kids who conveniently have spring break. It’s an amazing event; a great party and you’ll probably learn something. In all honesty, rowing is an intense sport and if nothing else you will come away with a completely newfound respect for the athletes who participate.
9. John F. Kennedy Library
We have been here on multiple occasions. It’s an amazing collection of American artifacts. Including Kennedy’s desk. Now that I am older I think I can appreciate it more. For people my parent’s age I think it is like a pilgrimage. People, who are old enough to remember when Kennedy was assassinated, who have seen the change and turmoil that followed.
10. Boston Harbor Islands
These islands are a 20-minute ferry ride from Boston. They are a great place for a picnic, for kids to run around, watch wildlife and visit the historic sites. I had never visited the islands until I was in college and I can’t wait to take my own two children. You can take guided tours or visit on your own. But these are worth some time.
I am sure that I could go on. There are so many reasons to love this city. This city needs us to wrap our arms around it. And one of the ways you can support the city is to visit. Spend your dollars, stay, and play. Enjoy this incredibly vibrant city. I am physically in Pennsylvania but my heart is in this city where I have spent so many wonderful days and nights. Love Boston, visit Boston.