Boston wasn't just my first trip to Massachusetts; it was my first trip to New England proper (New York City so does not count as New England). I've heard a lot of good things about it--history, great food, and fantastic fall colors--and I was excited to see if the stories were true.
So, first up--where we stayed. We stayed at the Seaport Boston and had an amazing stay there. The hotel is "service inclusive", meaning you don't leave tips. This took a while for us to get used to, but in the end, I think it was a really great system. The walls had great soundproofing (so says my dad--I can't really tell!), and each room had a doorbell. If you wanted privacy, you pushed the "privacy" button by the door, and the light around the doorbell turned red, so housekeeping knew not to knock. How ingenious is that?
The hotel had a library, DVD and Xboxes you could borrow, a gym, three eating options, and a pillow library.
nd there were five more options.....
We had a great view of Boston Harbor, too. The hotel has a concierge and a cab stand out front, so it was really easy for us to get into Boston proper, but there was also a T station nearby, if you wanted to try that option. It's really close to Logan airport--about a five minute ride.
Our main reason for picking the Seaport was that it was close to the Westin, where the auditions were being held, but it turned out to be a great decision. I highly recommend it.
Boston is an incredibly historic city, as everyone knows, and about 7 hours of daylight wasn't enough to see all of it, sadly. But we did enjoy visiting the Old North Church, the Revere Mall (where one can take the shot that opens this entry--that's the Old North Church behind a statue of Paul Revere), Faneuil Hall, and Quincy Marketplace. The Old North Church is actually still a working church, and donations are required to tour it.
Revere Mall was actually my favorite place in the city. It's really a beautiful place to stop and hear the city bustle around you, and the fountain near the Old North Church is beautiful. There's also a St. Francis Garden (at an Episcopal church? Whatever), a chocolate and tea shop (historic chocolate and regular chocolate. YUM), a printing shop (Colonial printing demonstrations are held there), and a regular gift shop.
The Freedom trail is sort of easy to follow. I say "sort of", because it's also kind of easy to lose in big places, and it's convoluted. Basically, following the red bricks and you'll be OK--or not. Like I said, it's confusing, especially if you're picking it up mid trail. But there are apps and maps for it, that I just didn't use.
Faneuil Hall is also open for tours, and the marketplace is insanely popular for just about everyone. There are places to eat and places to shop. My favorite was the Make Way for Ducklings Store, probably THE cutest kids/middle readers/ YA readers store I've ever seen.
Food: Yes, we have to talk about food. Food in Boston is really good, folks. On Saturday, we ate at Legal Seafood Long Wharf, and it met our expectations, and then surpassed them.
Can we talk about Boston Creme Pie for a second, guys? Whatever you've had before, trust me. It's not the real deal. The real deal is found only in Boston. And it is Magically Delicious.
On Sunday, we had lunch at Cantina Italiana, on Hanover Street in the North End, where we were seduced by lamb shank, risotto, and gnocchi and seafood platters (and a waiter who looked like Stanley Tucci in Big Night.)
We had a great, restorative cup of hot chocolate at the Ghirardelli's Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop. The cafe style seating, with wrought-iron chairs and marble topped tables and counters on the second floor was a great place to take a break, sketch, and people watch via the windows that overlooked the marketplace.
Cheers in Faneuil Hall was our stop for dinner. I know. You're probably thinking, TOURIST MUCH? But we really enjoyed it, and the food was good!
And no, no one knew our names....but that's OK!
We had Breakfast on Monday (our last day) at the hotel, and it was enjoyable. I mean, it wasn't the BEST BREAKFAST EVER, but it was good and we liked it. Breakfast at hotels is basically....breakfast at hotels. For lunch, we ate at the Legal Test Kitchen location at Logan, where you could get lobsters packaged to go....which sort of unnerved me. Live lobsters in the cargo hold? That can't be fun for them. And how long are they good for, anyway? Is there a live lobster expiration date?
The city is walkable, but beware the uneven pavement and cobblestones--I tripped a few times. We never had a problem finding cabs, which was good. Neither Dad or I wanted to try the T, so I can't report back on that.
It was a quick trip, but a good one--the food alone made it worth it! If I went back I'd probably want to explore Beacon Hill and the Back Bay, and visit the art museums, which we didn't get to do (I'm a museum nut). But this was a good introduction to the city.