Boston Offers Summer Activities, Tourism
Freedom Trail, Public Garden and historic boston offer summer fun
Harvard is in Cambridge, not Boston. But try telling that to Grandpa Bob back in Cuddlefish Creek, Mississippi.
You can't. Never mind the fact that Cambridge is equipped with its own historical landmarks, theaters and neighborhoods.
An anthology of tales about eight-hour organic chemistry labs, lunches in the Pit with preteen punks and idle afternoons lingering over coffee and croissants at Au Bon Pain does not a complete Harvard Summer School Extension student make.
There's no excuse for leaving Harvard without ever setting foot in one of the oldest and most fascinating metropolises in America.
Fleeting images of skyscrapers, the townhouses of Back Bay and the Boston side of the Charles River on your cab ride from Logan Airport simply won't do.
On your first trip into Boston, don't be afraid to play tourist. The first thing tourists hit--especially those who are also history buffs--is the Freedom Trail.
The trail, a red line painted side-walks or laid in brick throughout the city, will lead you on a three-to four-hour tour of the city's most prominent historical landmarks as well as Boston's traditional Italian neighborhood, the North End.
You can reach the trail by rail. The Boston subway system, par of Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) and called the T, is the oldest in the nation.
And its four lines (red, green, blue and orange) will take you everywhere you need to go for just 85 cents a ride.
From Harvard Square, take the Red line inbound and get off at Park Street. There you will find Boston Common, a 48-acre green oasis of fountains, monuments, relaxed Bostonians and other tourists.
Bought by the city in 1634 as pasture land for cows, goats and sheep--and later used as a military training ground--the Common is the oldest public park in the nation.
At the Boston Common Visitor Kiosk ask for a guide to the Freedom Trail and let the red line (not to be confused with the subway line) take care of the rest.
Along the trail, must sees for history buffs include: the State House; the Granary Burying Ground, final resting place of not only Samuel Adams and John Hancock but also of your childhood friend, Mother Goose and Old North Church, of Longfellow fame.
Perhaps the most lively and frequently visited spot along the trail is Faneuil Hall marketplace, where you'll find jugglers, magicians and street musicians entertaining crowds in front of a variety of restaurants and shops.
Enter the pillared Quincy Market building and your nose will be assaulted by a million appetizing odors--fresh lobster, pot pies, egg rolls, empanadas, pizza, fudge brownies and more.
The food court houses more than 20 stalls from which even the most finicky tourist can chose a tasty meals.
The Market was named for Josiah Quincy, the mayor who in 1823 designated the site for the public sale of produce and fruit.
In the mood for a little shopping? Flanking Quincy Market are pricey gift and craft shops as well as such traditional favorites as Victoria's Secret, The Sharper Image, Banana Republic and The Gap. Don't forget to visit the seven-story Limited.
If you're a theater fan on a tight budget, stop by the Bostix kiosk, where you can get half-price tickets to may plays at Boston area theaters on the day of the performance.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace is easily accessible by T as well. Take the T to Government center on the Green Line and walk past one of the few architectural monstrosities in Boston--the antiorganic upside down concrete City Hall--to this festive shopping and eating complex.
Back on the Freedom Trail, you'll move on to Haymarket, Boston's open air produce and fish market. There vendors sell their in-season fruits and vegetables at wonderfully low prices.
The Trail will then lead you to the North End, Boston's version of Little Italy, home of bakeries and Italian Restaurants of varying quality and authenticity.
Several yuppie-chic restaurants have opened to cater to the new residents who have moved into some of the neighborhood's buildings.
Afterwards, cross the Charles River to the predominantly Irish Charlestown and Bunker Hill Monument, a 220-foot obelisk that commemorates one of the first battles of the Revolutionary War.
Can't get enough of trail tours? The Black heritage Trail begins at the Shaw-54th Regiment Memorial in Boston common.
This monument honors the first regiment of black volunteers from the north to fight in the Civil war, as well as their colonel, Harvard College graduate Robert Gould Shaw (played by Matthew Broderick in Hollywood's portrayal, "Glory.")
The Harborwalk is a blue painted line that will take you from the Old State House to museums and landmarks along the Boston waterfront including the Children's Museum, the New England Aquarium (T: Aquarium, on the Blue Line) and the Boston Tea Party Ship.
Or you can float around for a relaxing ride on Boston's famous Swan boats which inhabit the landscaped ponds of the French-inspired Public Garden next to the English-style Common. (T: Copley, Green Line).
Walk along Newbury Street and watch the beautiful people cruise past dress shops and gourmet restaurants in their BMW convertibles. And remember to check out the funky dresses and shirts at Betsey Johnson's.
At Copley, you'll find the grand department stores Saks, Lord and Taylor and Nieman Marcus.
While you're at Copley Square, take a minute to visit the tall building. The John Hancock Tower reflects the older buildings around it. The tallest building in Boston, it has a sightseeing deck and museum on its top floor.
If you're more into bargain basements and blue light specials, take the Red Line to Downtown Crossing and visit Filene's Basement, the mother of all bargain basements.
There, you will make your way through mile-long racks of designer clothes, all priced to please.
For the artistically inclined, the Museum of fine Arts (MFA) at the Museum T stop on the Green Line houses a comprehensive assortment of international art.
The museum boasts an impressive collection of impressionist paintings, including 35 works by Claude Monet. To save money, be sure to stop by Wednesdays from 4 to 9:45 p.m., when admission is free.
On your way to the MFA, take an interesting detour at the world headquarter of the First Church of Christ Scientist (T: Symphony, Green Line). The nineteenth century Mother Church is to the Christian Scientists what St. Peter's in Rome is to Catholics.
And though not as massive as St. Peter's, this church seats a huge congregation and boasts a thunderous organ and requires an elevator to reach its chapel.
Walk beside the church and catch a breathtaking glimpse of an immense reflecting pool. Also try to visit the "Mapparium," a huge glass globe you can walk inside.
Another favorite tourist spot is Chinatown (T: Orange Line to Chinatown). A good time to visit the area is on a bright, i.e. sage, weekend afternoon when you can enjoy dim sum in one of the numerous Chinese restaurants, and avoid much of the crime that has plagued the area in the past.
The list of things to see and do in Boston goes on and on. Catch a Red Sox game at historic Fenway Park, feature in the movie Field of Dreams (T: Kenmore, Green Line).
Watch an Omnimax film at the Museum of Science (T: science park, Green Line). Or make a visit to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library (T: JFK/UMass, Red Line).
But whatever you do, don't forget to send Grandpa Bob a postcard.