Wanderlust in Boston!

IMG_1470By Chantel Elder

My husband needed to be in Boston right after the holidays for work … so naturally I decided to tag along. Lucky for me, we were able to take off two weeks and make it a vacation in between his meetings.

Boston is known for so many things; the Red Sox, Boston Cream pies, Fancy colleges and oh it was a key location during the American Revolution, but here’s my take on the city.

The Vibe

Basically almost 75 percent of Boston is under the age of 45 so it is a pretty young and quick-paced city. I was there in the winter, and my vision of men in black pea coats was right on. The number of colleges in Boston and Cambridge make up an eclectic mix of students from musicians and artists to techies and intellectuals. Because the city has such a high population of young people the singles scene is promising too. Aside from students, Boston also has its fair share of tourists and working professionals so blending in is easy to do for a visitor.

 Must Pack Attire in the Winter

  • Hat (that covers your ears! seriously) here is my favorite look!
  • Boots with tread (Dr. Martens were adorable and on everyone)
  • A Scarf
  • Smart gloves/finger on off gloves (you have to be able to operate your phone in the cold – who knew?!)
  • Black jacket – very warm  (I saw hardly any other color)

Most people walk or take the metro to work/school so being warm in the cold weather is essential.

Pet Friendly

IMG_2125Sacramento is really pet friendly, so that is always my standard and while Boston didn’t seem to cater to four legged friends it didn’t seem to exclude them. I stayed in the North End (basically little Italy) and there always seemed to be plenty of people walking their dogs.

A Place to Lay Your Head

I am a big fan of AirBnB while traveling. Sometimes you can find screamin’ deals on an entire house or apartment instead of just a room. Often times an Airbnb host is more flexible on check in/out times too, unlike a hotel.

A few of the more unique hotels in the city are:

  • Charlesmark Hotel & Lounge (655 Boylston Street) – Located in the Back Bay neighborhood. Near amazing shopping on Newberry Street, this hotel is a modern European boutique hotel that used to be a private residence. There are only 40 rooms so you feel special to the staff and the lounge is amazing!
  • Intercontinental Boston (510 Atlantic Avenue) – Located on the waterfront at the base of the financial district, this place is pretty plush and perfectly located near the convention center, North End, China town and the Boston Tea Party Museum to name a few. They also have a spa to unwind and treat yourself if you have had a rough day of sight seeing. If you want to be centrally located and treated like royalty this is your place. (Also a jog on the waterfront at any time of year is stunning.)

Hungry/Thirsty

IMG_1703Where do I begin? Lobster! (AKA Laaaahb-staaah)

Eat that as much as you can and oysters too – Yum! These are just a few of the places I can vouch for … (Most of them have amazing wine and beer selections too.)

  • Neptune Oyster This place will blow your mind. I have a girlfriend that works for the California Restaurant Association who recommended it from her travels. She said in a text “My single biggest regret on this planet was not getting the lobster roll.  Get it.” So I did. And then my mind was blown. It is amazing, and I could write a whole article on this meal. Just go there and eat it and if your mind wanders to the Lobster Spaghettini that is the Monday Special that is a solid mind blowing decision as well. Basically everything there is legit. Keep in mind it is tiny and you can expect a long wait at peak meal times. So leave your name and number and then go to a bar and they will call you…maybe up to two hours later. But it’s worth it I promise.
  • Giacomo’s Ristorante – So the story goes Rachel Ray went to this place and ate a meal, loved it and said it was the best Italian food in the North End for the price. People (locals and tourists alike) line up in the freezing cold around the block EVERY night in any season and wait up to two hours sometimes. The key is to go right at 4:30 when they open or at 9pm to get inside within a half hour. Why do people do this? Because it IS good and two people can eat for about $50!
  • Bova’s Bakery – Open 24 hours, a true Italian bakery. In my opinion the best time to go is at 1am after barhopping and get a croissant calzone. I also prefer the buffalo chicken one. They only sell these from 1am-7am – just for the bar crowd.
  • Veggie Planet – This is for the veg-heads. Sometimes I pretend to be real healthy and I eat at places that only offer vegetarian and vegan options and this place is great for that. Good people watching too! It’s located between MIT and Harvard in Cambridge.
  • Kashmir – At some point we got sick of Italian food (I can’t believe that happened?!) and we went for some Indian. Newberry Street has tons of options and this was a great one!
  • Tip Tap RoomTons of beers to choose from and lots of yummy food! They are known for their tips, I got the beef and wasn’t disappointed.
  • Goody Glovers – This place is tiny and so friendly. The bartender deserves a nod in the awesome direction – My friend left his credit card at the bar and the bartender remembered where we said we were going next and walked down in the freezing cold to give it to him. Best bartender ever.

Funtivities

IMG_2229My style of sightseeing is to just get lost in a city. My husband’s is to check out the historical sites.

So when he wasn’t working he guided me around and I saw stuff my parents would expect me to see. When I was by myself I took pictures of ducks on ice for 20 minutes, ate cupcakes at random shops, bar hopped, talked to random travelers and antiqued. Despite not usually being much for tourist spots Boston had some that I really enjoyed and that were FREE! Here are some highlights to check out…

  • Freedom Trail – This hits many of the historical sites in the city – 16 in total.  The city has done a great job of providing plaques so one can take a self-guided tour.  If you don’t have a history buff as a husband like I do, you can also take a guided one.  I am not really one for touristy stuff but I enjoyed this as you can stop in shops and get a feel for much of the city while walking around.
  • Fenway Park – It’s the oldest Major League Baseball Park in the Nation!  I went, I saw and then I checked out a concert right behind the park at …
  • The House of Blues – I always go see live music in a new city.  It is sometimes how my husband I even plan our vacations – around a concert.  We saw The Mighty Mighty Bosstones! (How touristy and late 90’s of us!)
  • Newbury Street – This is 8 blocks of shops nestled in adorable buildings.  I started to go a little nuts and had to stop myself.  I bought a pair of shoes before I had been in Boston for 24 hours.  I have a shoe problem. Go here for the designer and name brand spots.
  • In-jean-ius – I bought an amazing pair of designer jeans for half off at this place one day when I was wondering by myself in the North End.  They fitted me and told me what to look for when it comes to the perfect pair of pants. This information is gold.

Safe travels!

 

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