What to do, What to see, What to eat in Boston, MA
Perhaps over the winter break you will be traveling. Perhaps you will be traveling to Boston, Massachusetts (woot, woot, Go Patriots!). If you are and you don’t have a clue of what to do or where to go, here are 5 activities to be considered and explored during your time in the ancestral home of our American heritage.
1. Clam Chowder: First things first: it is imperative that you eat clam chowder. If you are looking for a restaurant that is casual and not expensive, then go down to the Barking Crab on the waterfront. It is the type of eatery where you eat-under-a-canopy-on-worn-picnic-table while listening to live music. A very friendly place, what with all the beer going around, and the atmosphere is inviting with an outstanding view of the Boston skyline. My time there was delicious. The clam chowder was served in a take-away paper cup, no fancy bowls for this place, and it was creamy and the clams weren’t huge, but the perfect size. If you have ever eaten clam chowder then you know what can happen if you eat a too-big clam. You have to chew, and chew, and chew and the clam becomes this disgusting piece of seafood in your mouth. Gag. But that won’t happen at the Barking Crab. No, sir. They make it just right.
2. Duck Boats: As many of us have experienced during tourist season in San Fransisco, it can get a little crazy and annoying having visitors wandering about with no clue of where they are. So, just like SF, Boston has its own way of giving you the all-informative tour around the city and getting the tourists off the sidewalks: Duck Boats. No, they are not shaped like ducks (which is one point taken off), but are cars that can go from land to water. That’s right. Part of the tour involves a swan dive into the Charles River where you will learn more magnificent facts about the city and get some pretty sweet (and free!) snap-shots of the Boston skyline. And let’s not forget about the tour-guides. The tour-guides are really chatty and really embarrassing. Why? Because whatever they say into the mic travels to the ears of the innocent bystanders on the sidewalks. Even so, it is an amazing experience and it’s a simple, easy way to waste (in a good way) an hour or so.
3. Boston Public Gardens & Boston Commons: For a more peaceful, outdoorsy activity head to the Boston Public Gardens. A nice stroll through the neatly trimmed hedges and a gawk or two at the ducks exploring the grass will clear your mind of the bustling noise of the city that is all around you. I enjoyed my time of people watching and duck gawking, and my ears responded well to the few performances of violinists, guitarists, and (my absolute favorite part of the day) the occasional one-man band.
Head to the opposite end of the garden, cross over Charles Street and you will arrive in the Boston Commons, a large expanse of open grass for playing catch, picnicking and ice skating (only when it’s that time of year, which of course it was!). It is relaxing to take a break from jay-walking and listening to the beautiful language of the Boston population – by which I mean the colorful swear words – by leisurely walking through these parks. Just something to keep in mind.
4. Newbury Street & Quincy Market: It is always fun to go shopping in different places because you never know what you might find. You could potentially start the next trend! If you aren’t interested in shopping in a mall, both destinations are outdoors with the big name stores like Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Bang & Olufen, and more. Unique shops can also be found and explored such as a hemp store where every item is made of hemp, or a gourmet olive and skin care shop where the products are made primarily with olives from Italy. There are more street performers at Quincy Market and more touristy stalls, but both are lively and densely populated with knick-knacks and treats.
5. King’s Chapel Burying Ground: But perhaps you are one who likes to immerse yourself in the history of the destination. I know my mother is. On our way to Quincy Market, my mother pulled our entourage through a gate and we found ourselves in the eerie King’s Chapel Burying Ground. King’s Chapel is a working church, but beside it is a ye-olde cemetery with aged tombstones that can’t be read even if you washed the grime away. That’s how old it is. Governor John Winthrop and his son, both of whom were Governors of Connecticut, are buried here. If you like the dead, old, cobwebby history, then head to the graves. But be warned: a hand could jut out of the ground at any moment. Spooky…
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