2-3 years without travel has left me hungry for travel and planning. With a day and a half allotted for Boston before my teammate and myself were to head over to Rhode Island for a Volleyball tournament, we made the most of it and made a plan of attack to cover as much as we could of Boston in less than 48 hours. The vibe of the city reminded me of a mix between Manhattan and Toronto but cleaner and quieter with a great mix of city and nature.
Our first stop was Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum – 11AM-5PM – $20USD. The garden was closed but with the weather being so nice out, the sun hit perfectly inside the courtyard. This museum consists of European, Asian, and American art throughout multiple floors with different artistic motifs per area/room you enter. There are windows in every room that overlooks the inner courtyard from a different view and when the sun comes out, it gives the courtyard beautiful light and shadows especially with the lines from the glass and steel roof.
We walked over to Boston Public Library with minor stops in between admiring the buildings and art we saw along the way.
Labour day weekend is also a rush of students moving into campus so loads of families and moving trucks unloading everywhere we went since this is a College/University town.
The Boston Public Library – Copley Branch – Central Branch – M-TH 9AM-8PM, F-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 11AM-5PM – is a beautiful space. It is free to go in and explore. The courtyard was also a beautiful space for many to study. You have a mix of the modern and marble motifs. The main entrance brings you into the modern scape mainly of concrete with skylights that illuminate the upper level which is the Children’s portion of the library. If you walk inside and walk towards the left side, you will get to dark wood doors that will lead you to the courtyard. Once you go past the courtyard, you are welcomed to the Courtyard Tea room or you continue moving onward towards a marbled area – This is the grand stair case welcomed by lions on pedestals. You can go up either side of the stairs and it leads to 3 main rooms – The main one is the study hall – Bates Hall. It is stunning however people do use this hall to study so please be respectful in terms of taking photos. There are many sections featuring different looks and subject matter for their books.
Each room is delicate in it’s own way but very different from the previous.
When you exit the main entrance you only have to walk a few steps to find the Boston Marathon Finish Line on the street in front.
Feeling famished at this point, we walked around the corner of the Library and got our fixing of seafood on a roll at Luke’s Lobster Back Bay – 11AM-8PM. We got the Trio special – 2 oz. crab, shrimp and lobster – $27USD.
With our bellies full, we continued to walk towards Beacon Hill neighbourhood to see the row houses on Beacon St and the narrow stone road of Acorn St. To get to this neighbourhood, we had to cut through the Public Garden which is a lovely area of town with a small bridge and weeping willow trees near the pond. You will also find the famous bronzed ducklings statues here.
Upon returning from viewing Acorn St, we walk through the Boston Common – there is a carousel in there.
I’m all about the lesser known spots in cities which brought me to this quirky Book store – Brattle Book Shop – M-Sa 9AM-530PM. It has a giant yellow pencil that highlights the name of the bookstore but what makes this place a little more unique than the very few book stores left is that it also owns the lot beside the building where it is I guess an extension of their bookstore but outdoors and uncovered. It’s a charming to see that there were actually many people looking through the book selection.
Not too far from Brattle Book Shop is another quirky often overlooked spots – the Bronzed Bricks in Winthrop Lane – between Otis & Arch – There are roughly 100 bronzed bricks telling the story of the city’s past and present.
What I loved about visiting Boston most was seeing the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Weaving through Boston’s downtown, it is 1.5 miles (2.4KM) long and it incorporates green space within a concrete jungle in which is section is a different themed. It also offers free WIFI.
After Brattle Book Shop, we walk down to the Chinatown Park but also of course to the Chinatown Gate where we were welcomed by kids playing on the colourful playground and the seniors grouped around the tables playing games. Lanterns above shrouded in old photos of historical photos of Boston Chinatown made the experience that much more warming.
A trip to Boston Chinatown isn’t complete without paying our respects and visiting the Reggie Memorial Park named after a legend within the 9-Man Volleyball community.
Continuing with our itinerary for the day, we started to walk towards the more touristy area. First stop was to glance at the Steaming Kettle that now sits above a Starbucks in Government Center. It is a homage to the Oriental Teashop from 1875 and engraved on the outside shows how much could actually fit in that kettle. It can hold two hundred and twenty seven gallons, two quarts, one pint, and three gills of liquid. This kettle was used as a promotional contest for the Oriental Teashop company.
Around the corner, you see the courthouse and walk down the stairs to find yourself at Faneuil Hall Marketplace 10AM-9PM & Quincy Market M-Sa 10AM-9PM & Su Noon-6PM. Shopping and food with some live performances depending on weather and time of day.
Across the street behind Quincy, we took a moment at the Armenian Heritage Park which has a labyrinth maze. This is a part of the Rose Kennedy Greenway with little cubbies of green space scattered through the city. The Boston Public Market M-Sa 8AM-9PM, Su 10AM-9PM is also nearby if the food options weren’t enough at Faneuil Hall and Quincy.
I feel like it’s an appropriate place to visit when in Boston – Mike’s Pastry Su-Th 8AM-10PM; F-Sa 8AM-11PM. Known for their cannoli’s and Lobster Tails. We did just that.
My friend had recommended we try the OG of pizzas in Boston – Regina Pizzeria 11AM-9PM so we ordered a full pie to go. While we were waiting for our pizza to be made, we walked nearby to see the Skinny House.
Once our pizza was ready, we grabbed it and went downhill towards Langone Park area where we ate our pizzas while taking in the sunset. It was actually quite the perfect day. 28,000 steps but definitely well worth it.
We had a half day in Boston before boarding our Amtrak train to Rhode Island. We were originally going to use this day as a buffer if we didn’t complete what we had planned the day before but since we blasted through everything, we had wanted to do the day before, we added on a bit more.
We stayed in an Airbnb in East Boston so our first stop was to South Station (our Amtrak train was departing from here) to drop off our luggage for the day – it is $10USD/per for the day. You will need to go outside left of the tracks to drop it off in the office.
After dropping off our bags, our other teammate Namdol joined us for the day.
A short walk from South Station is Post Office Square. From the outside, it gave off Bryant Park vibes of Manhattan. A plant covered pergola, a little café, a fountain and a quiet green space. It also offers free WIFI.
A friend had mentioned to get a good view over the water would be at the Converse Flagship Store. There is a slightly raised area where you can overlook the waters. It is just across from where we watched the sunset the night before.
With barely any wind, we walked along the Langone Park area by the waterfront as well as Commercial Street to take us to Christopher Columbus Park and Long Wharf.
A 19 minute walk took us through more Rose Kennedy Greenway spaces and over the bridge to Fan Pier Park / Courthouse Docks. It was probably my favourite view of the city and water come together. A quick stop to Trader Joe’s is a must! (The Unsulfurated & Unsweetened Dried Mangoes are the best).
The last spot before heading back was The Lawn on D. It is an outdoor event space in the Waterfront District. There were no events happening while we were there but we were able to go in and hang out in the space. They have circular swings (which I believe light up at night), corn hole and a bunch of outdoor seating as well as a tented area where drinks and food can be purchased.
We hung out there for a bit to just relax before walking back to South Station and hopping on our train to Rhode Island for the Volleyball tournament. But before we boarded our train, we made one last stop at Tatte Café where I picked up the seasonal Beet Latte and the Short Rib Grilled Cheese (it is absolutely amazing!)
All in all, Boston is a great place to visit especially if you like to walk around and explore all the mixes of architecture.