I have several places I call home; whether it's a place I've spent half my life in, several years or months, I can't help the connections I've built with a city or country that shaped who I became. Boston is one of four places in the U.S. that I call home and is most notable to me as it helped shape me academically and furthered my love for city living.
Last month, I spent 36 hours in the city catching up with friends, taking in the sights, and introducing my travel partner (a willing born a bred New Yorker) to the wonders of New England.
New England architectural beauty is rampant in Boston. It's one of few places that preserves its old time feel yet still manages to keep things a bit modern (the T trolley is not one of these things, but I digress). From the North to South End, Chestnut Hill and even to Cambridge across the Charles River, red brick buildings and cobble stone streets are staple to Boston's authenticity.
As an adopted New Yorker, a passion for eating out and trying new cuisines has been instilled in me from the time I caught my first whiff of halal "street meat" downtown. Although New York is known as the land of culinary riches with cuisines of every culture, don't sleep on Boston's offerings of both ethnic meals and local classics. The North End district, famously known for its endless Italian bread shops and restaurants, is also the home of Italian bakeries with pastries so good people will line up outside for.
If there's one thing Bostonians have it's passion and the fierce divide between Pro-Mike's Pastry or Pro-Modern Pastry fans was evident when several locals told us (some more politely and jokingly than others) that one was better than the other. Living in Boston when I did, I only ate from Mike's and continued the tradition with my most recent visit, however I plan to give Modern a try to see if I will have as passionate of a response. Verdict to come.
We had more pastry love at Blackbird Doughnuts in the South End after a Sunday Jazz Brunch at The Beehive. You would think that our hearts would have given out on us after our indulgent weekend but, as Boston is one of the most walkable cities in America, our 20,000+ steps per day helped to burn a few calories.
Boston Travel Tips
- When you enlist a travel buddy for your adventures, be sure to bring someone as (or even more) open and willing as you. Especially someone who's willing to walk everywhere.
- Wear comfortable shoes - in Boston you'll surely walk a ton once you realize how easy it is to get from one part of town to another with just an hour's walk.
- Go Italian, eat authentic in the North End.
- Get a Charlie Card - to save money on single trips and passes, purchase a Charlie Card at a major station and/or Charlie Card vendor.
- Use AirBnB - hotel prices in Boston are absolutely absurd. Especially during baseball season. Find a hidden gem and live like a local for cheap via AirBnB.
- Soak in the fact that you will probably never be around this many academic intellectuals again - the Boston area is the home of about 35 colleges and universities including Harvard and MIT.
- Get off the beaten path and visit local hotspots like Jamaica Plain, Davis Square, and Central Square which offer their own collections of local restaurants, culture and famous music venues.
- Pretend house-hunt in the Boston suburb of Brookline and take in the architectural wonderland while keeping an eye out for Tom Brady and Giselle.
- Go before it gets cold. This place gets really cold. Really, really cold.
My reunion with the city of Boston was short and sweet yet just the right amount of time to leave me yearning for more (...pastries, obviously). If you're looking for a long weekend adventure or even a place to spend 36 hours, satisfy your travel itch with a trip to Boston. It may not be the biggest city, but it has some of the biggest heart and passion you'll ever see.