A bit of an institution
Boston is full of monuments to the American revolution. Imagine the scene when Paul Revere fled the town and rode through the night to pass the message down the line: “the British are coming”. If you’re a Brit abroad, the tale incites… mixed feelings. But to engage with Boston you need to hear its revolutionary stories. The Freedom Trail tells the city’s story on a 2.5-mile-long walking route.
Pass by stout Trinity church flanked by glassy-eyed skyscrapers and Boston library, with its bottle-green lampshades within and tranquil leafy courtyard outside. Stretch out the trail with trips down photogenic alleyways and picnics on Boston Common.
For history in the making, America’s oldest city is right next to Harvard University, where students stoop from lofty lectures to take you on walking tours. Enjoy the campuses and hallowed halls whilst you listen to cheering dropouts-done-good stories designed to make visitors feel better.
Stay at: Omni Parker House is an historic hotel on the Freedom Trail that opened in 1855. Order the Boston Cream Pie while you’re here – a custardy, chocolatey cake for which the hotel bar is famous.
Hunker down with a hot dog in the stands on game day at Fenway Park, where Bostonians take baseball very seriously.
Bostonians live on the water. Start your trip by taking the ferry from the airport to the centre. White sailboats are strung out across the waterways of the Mystic and Charles river as sailing fanatics ply the waves. To go out to sea and return intact, take a whale-watching cruise or simply stand on the bank and enjoy the vying rowing boats from Harvard striking out on the Charles river.
The United States’ first ever public park is also one of the most beautiful. Boston Common has instantly recognisable features – swan-shaped pedalos wheel across the frog pond and statues stand in the dappled shade. If you stray out of the park you’ll find Beacon Hill, one of the most photogenic areas of the city. The narrow cobbled streets are lit by glowing gas lamps and the wealthy homeowners put up with photographers crouching under their wrought iron fire escapes all year around.
Stay at: Taj Boston – looking out over Boston Common, the Taj is a grand dame of the Boston hotel scene. Live like old money and enjoy afternoon tea in The French Room.
Keen sailors flock to Boston’s waterways. Working the winches not for you? Head to the lagoon on Boston Common instead for a steadier voyage on a swan boat.
Cha and chowder
Boston is known for its seafood, whether you’re hankering for a warm chowder or ice-cold oysters from a seafront bar. For lunch by the slice, Little Italy serves traditional Italian American food with flair. Take a seat and try to blend in with family life played out in very local eateries. Try Pizzeria Regina, often voted top of the pizza pie places in town. Chinatown brings Asian flavours to Boston’s South End – sample Dim Sum from the trolley at China Pearl.
Tourists flock to the communal tables of Faneuil hall for street food in a historic setting, or you can hunker down with a hot dog in the stands on game day at Fenway Park, where Bostonians take baseball very seriously. In the afternoon, instead of the Tea Party museum, go for a real high tea in Boston Library’s courtyard restaurant.
Stay at: The Godfrey – this luxury boutique hotel sets its rooms within striking architecture and has had a recent restaurant update on its ground floor.