City breaks, North America, Tours

Boston in the north-eastern US state of Massachusetts is a wonderful destination a major city with a small town feel. This is a wonderfully warm and friendly place with a fascinating history. A world-renowned seat of learning and the birthplace of the American Revolution, the city is a mix of modern metropolis and old world charm. In addition to this the great food and warm hospitality of the Boston people make you feel right at home.

Freedom City

Boston was pivotal in the initial stages of the American Revolutionary war and there is a city trail which takes you to 16 places across the city which had important roles in the events. The Freedom trail starts on Boston Common and ends at the Bunker Hill Monument. There are maps available from tourist information or most hotel lobbies and there is a red line and plaques in the pavement to mark the route through the historic landmarks of the city. Much more than an historic trail, the walk takes you through the Boston of today and fully exploring all you see on the route can take all day, though to simply walk the trail will take around 90 minutes. It’s a great way to find your way around on the first day of your trip.

  • Where: Start at Boston Common South at the Visitor Information Point almost opposite West Street on Tremont
  • Open: 24 hours a day 365 days of the year (Some destinations on the tour will only be open 10-4 Tuesday to Saturday) The walk is always open at each stage.
  • Cost: The Trail is free but some sites along the way may charge an entrance or advice donation of a few dollars. Guides for the tour can be booked at an extra cost from the Freedom Trail Foundation.
  • Website: thefreedomtrail.org

Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

After years of speculation and restoration, the Boston Tea Party ships finally opened to visitors at the reconstructed Griffin Wharf in 2012. A new museum also opened on the dockside. Visitors can go aboard the fully rigged Eleanor and Beaver to experience life on an 18th century ship. The museum and ships together with interactive exhibits and re-enactments as well as the chance for would be rebels to throw tea into the harbour, cover all aspects of the Tea Party  and the events that followed it.

  • Where: 306 Congress Street, Boston MA 02210
  • Open: 10-4 daily
  • Cost: Adult $25, Child(4-12) $15, Infant (Under 4) Free, Seniors/Students/Military $22 (Discounts available online)
  • Website: bostonteapartyship.com

Harvard

Across the Charles River from downtown Boston and the Back Bay area is Cambridge, home to the oldest university in the United States. No less than 8 presidents have graduated from Harvard and its 10 schools have also generated countless Nobel and Pulitzer Prize Winners. You can take a free tour of the University or visit one of the 5 excellent museums around Harvard Square including the Natural History Museum which houses the world-famous Blaschka Glass Flowers, a collection of 3000 amazing glass models of flowers, plants and fruits. There is also the Peabody Museum of Architecture and Ethnology, the Semitic Museum, The Longfellow House, HQ of George Washington during the 1776 siege and Harvard’s Art  Museums. A real day to activate the grey cells and soak in the academic atmosphere which has enveloped this neighbourhood for nearly 400 years.

  • Where: Tours start from Harvard Yard, 2 Kirkland Street, Boston 02138. All museums are easily reached from here.
  • Open: Daily 10-4 except Christmas and New Year
  • Cost: Tours are free as are some museums but others cost no more than $12 per adult. Many are free for under 18’s
  • Website: harvardsquare.com

Eating and Drinking

Boston is an absolute mecca for seafood. Its lobster, clam chowder and oysters are absolute must tries and are available all over the city. One of the best places to start to sample the cuisines of Boston is in the wonderful Fanueil Marketplace with its restaurants shops and bars, and in particular the covered walk through food court of Quincy Market at the heart of this district. The market colonade has 20 restaurants and 40 food stalls covering a world of cuisine. In Fanuiel Marketplace is also a replica of the Cheers Bar, from the famous TV show. Rather than stopping here Head for the intersection of beacon Street and Brimmer street north of the city Public Gardens and visit the original Bull and Finch pub that inspired the series and where you can buy food, drink and souvenirs inspired by the show. Another great location to eat and see more of the city is the Top of The Hub restaurant in Boylston Street in the Back Bay area of the city. Situated 52 floors above Boston, the restaurant serves fabulous local food and has great views right across the city. The last must  see foodie site in Boston is Haymarket where every Friday and Saturday of the year there is a fabulous open air market selling fresh fruit and veg at fabulous prices. Wandering through the stalls is an absolute delight and nearby in an adjacent buidling you can find fish, spices and other great buys. For other great places to eat in the city, and there are hundreds, see the city official website.