Its winters might be brutal, but few places on earth come alive like the city of Boston in the summer. History, culture, cuisine and baseball all come out of hibernation in the spring and thrive in the warm New England air. A three hour direct flight and you are there.
Get On the Trail
In terms of getting around, Boston might be the most navigable big city in the country. Roll your luggage through Logan International Airport down to the "T" station and after a quick $2 ride into downtown, you are off and running. Start on the Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile path of side-by-side red bricks snaking its way through dozens of sites integral to the Declaration of Independence and subsequent
American Revolution. Many of the Trail's small buildings now cohabitate with glass and steel skyscrapers; the juxtaposition boggles the mind. The Trail commences at Boston Common, the central park of the city, and quickly arrives at the Old State House, site of the Boston Massacre. Down the path lays Faneuil Hall, where Samuel Adams once inflamed colonist's revolutionary passions with
his oratory. Today it and its neighbor, Quincy Market, draw millions of visitors to its shops, markets and restaurants. Further on you will pass Paul Revere's House and the Old North Church where the infamous lanterns were hung to warn of British advance. The bricks cross over the Charles River and end at the top of Bunker Hill, the deadliest battle of the Revolution. Depending on your pace, could do the trail in a couple of hours or a couple of days. If you are not into walking, board a Boston "DUCK" Tour, an amphibious WWII-style vehicle which first motors you around the city and then plunges into the Boston Harbor for short cruise.
Sleep and Eat History
The Omni Parker House hotel sits right on the Freedom Trail. The oldest continuously operating hotel in the county, the infamous Boston Cream Pie originated in its kitchens as did the term "Scrod," a Boston term for catch of the day. Its restaurant also employed Malcolm X and Ho Chi Min and was site of JFK's proposal to Jacqueline. The lobby and restaurant preserve pure 19th century opulence while the rooms are updated luxury, a result of a recent $30 million renovation.
As we were drawn to the Parker House as the oldest hotel in the nation, we also had to check out The Union Oyster House (also on the Freedom Trail), the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the U.S. Former regulars included Daniel Webster and JFK frequently enjoyed Sunday brunch there. The clam chowder was so creamy, so buttery, so laden with clams, we got two bites into it and had to flag the waitress down for another bowl. Also of note, the spectacular lobster roll—basically a hot dog bun overflowing with a divine lobster salad.
Varsity, eat your heart out.
No where does America's Pastime mean more than in Boston. After 86 tortuous years of losing by their beloved Red Sox, the city now swaggers with two World Championships in past seasons. Throughout the town men, women and infants proudly don Red Sox gear from head to toe. Fittingly the Boston Museum of Science presents its "Baseball as America" exhibit. Over 500 artifacts from the Baseball Hall of Fame traveled from Cooperstown to Beantown for the summer. But clearly the main attraction remains Fenway Park, Major League Baseball's oldest stadium (yet another of Boston's "oldest continually operating" distinctions). Fans have heard the crack of the bat since 1912 and Fenway remarkably maintains much of the old aura of an early 20th century baseball park. Outside, a carnival-like atmosphere engulfs you: people arrive hours before the game, essentially tailgating without cars. Throngs crowd neighborhood bars, spilling out into the street. The smell of grilling polish sausages, onions and peppers waft along the breeze and there is an indescribable wide-eyed joy on every face. Attending a Major League Baseball game anywhere can certainly be a thrill; at Fenway, it's more akin to a religious experience.
Inside Fenway, it's like stepping back into a time machine. Entering through ancient portals, you come into the belly of the stadium with crammed, dimly-lit, low ceiling concourses. The rank and file jam through the nar row passageways until you find your field entrance and go toward the light. The next sensation—the one when you emerge from the darkness and first glimpse the playing field simply takes your breath away. The perfect green grass, the hallowed diamond, the Green Monster in left field...this is baseball in its purest form.
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