Do you have trips you will always remember, the ones that changed you somehow? Mr A remembers my trip to Boston quite differently to me, for him it was the trip where I didn’t call for 3 days and he thought something terrible had happened to me. For me, it was my first long haul trip and a chance to immerse myself in living life like the locals as a friend and I camped on on the floor of another friend’s apartment. Our friend was living in the North End, a little Italy, doing city tours for foreign students, so we were given the most brilliant itinerary while in the city.
I love Boston, it will always be engrained on my mind. If, like me, you fancy New York, but find the idea a little overwhelming, Boston might be the city for you. It’s a laid back, fantastic modern city, packed with great bars, shopping, and restaurants, but it also has beautiful green spaces, sea and fascinating history. So many great days out are accessible by water, like Salem and whale watching. You can take a ferry to Cape Cod or a road trip into stunning New England.
Here are some of the things I loved…
The Skyline. It’s beautiful. I remember sitting on the roof of my friend’s apartment, jet lagged, but looking out in awe at the twinkling lights over the rooftops as I tasted a local Sam Adams beer.
Duck Tour. We took a duck tour which takes you all over Boston on land and water in a W.W.II style amphibious landing vehicle. You hear all about the history and landmarks, the golden-domed State House, Bunker Hill and the TD Banknorth Garden, Boston Common and Copley Square to the Big Dig, Government Center to fashionable Newbury Street, Quincy Market to the Prudential Tower. You then take to the water and finish on the Charles river with stunning views of the Boston and Cambridge Skylines.
Eating Italian. Our base in little Italy meant we spent lots of time stocking up in Italian delis for picnics – the white bean pate was incredible – and tasting Italian wines and eating in Italian restaurants.
The History. Boston which was founded by English Puritans in the 1600s, Boston is the place where the American Revolution erupted. New England fascinates me, and although it covers a later period in history, reading Little House on the Prairie set off my fascination with people making a new life in America. I remember driving past the Old State House and being thrilled by the mix of old historical buildings and modern sky scrapers. The size and scale of Boston blows your mind when you think how quickly it came into being. You can follow The Freedom Trail around the city to learn more.
Architecture. There’s something strangely familiar about New England architecture, with styles ranging from Georgian, Gothic and Post Medieval architecture. On Cape Cod I was fascinated by the houses and gardens, which are adapted from a style brought over by English colonists, the gardens felt incredibly English country garden.
Salem. I studied Arthur Miller’s The Crucible for GCSE English so it was incredible to make the short ferry trip to Salem to see the place where the infamous witch trials of 1692. There was a trial reenactment in the museum and lots of famous landmarks to spot.
Sculpture. One of my lingering memories is of sculptures dotted around the city. Boston is a creative city, One of the top attractions is the Institute of Contemporary Arts.
Brunch. American brunch is legendary, homefries, eggs any which way you want, pancakes with maple syrup, washed down with a Bloody Mary. Boston did it brilliantly, all over the city!
Whale Watching. I love the contrast of city and sea, within 30 minutes you can be out of the city on a catamaran watching whales. Just breathtaking.
Boston is the perfect gateway to more adventures…
Boston was also the perfect base for totally different New England experiences, via a boat trip to Cape Cod, and to Provincetown, a gay friendly town which also has lots of artists in residence. It was a brilliantly fun and colourful place to hang out, shop and have nights out by the stunning beach.
We also took a road trip to Vermont, which I remember as a never ending stretch of hillsides of green trees; Vermont is 73% forest. It was summer but we stayed in a ski resort and took the lift up into the mountains. We also found the home Bread and Puppet theatre, an amazing collective I had studied in my Drama degree. Their barn was full of giant props and puppets from their performances and we even saw a chipmonk. We also visited Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream factory – YUM!
So the reason I didn’t call for 3 days was because I couldn’t work out how to use the pay phones in Provincetown, and was too shy to ask for help. Mr A will never forgive me for this and I have learnt my lesson. Luckily mobile phones make all that stuff a breeze these days. I will have to take him and the kids one day, maybe then he would finally forgive me?