Boston Journals

Boston: On the Tourist Trail and Off the Beaten Path

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A travel journal to Boston by gorboduc

The new Zakom Bridge Photo, Boston, Massachusetts More Photos
Quote: There's a reason that many of the students who have gone to school in Boston choose to stay once they've graduated--Boston combines a managable size with a fascinating history and a fun cosmopolitan vibe. Read on to learn which of the big sights to see, and to find some hidden gems.

Boston: On the Tourist Trail and Off the Beaten Path

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Overview

The new Zakom Bridge Photo, Boston, Massachusetts
Quote:
For sheer bustle and life, check out Harvard Square. It's filled with street performers (Tracy Chapman used to sing here), resturants, shops, and all kinds of people. While you're there, grab a juicy burger and creamy frappe (that's a milkshake to most people) at Bartley's Burger Cottage, home away from home for generations of Harvard students. Historic Fanueil Hall and Quincy Market have a similarly lively feel, but are more touristy than Harvard, and less funkily Bohemian. They are, however, but a stone's throw from tasty pizza, cannoli, espresso, and gelati in the Italian North End neighborhood. Want to see people who are almost certainly cooler and more fabulous that you? (At least the...Read More

Omni Parker House

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Hotel

Quote:
Located smack dab in the middle of everything, near Boston Common and Beacon Hill and situated along the Freedom Trail, the Parker House is the dean of Boston hotels. It was built in 1856 and is supposedly the oldest continuously operated hotel in America. The Parker House has recently been refurbished, so the richly panelled Victorian common areas gleam like new. The rooms, too, have been recently redone, but they retain some old building quirkiness, especially in the bathrooms, which have old fashioned double taps in the sink, and a Pullman car sort of feel to them. The rooms are tastefully decorated in a cherry wood-gold damask-burgandy drapes kind of way. Some of the corner rooms ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 18, 2003

Omni Parker House
60 School Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02108
(617) 227-8600

Bartley's Burger Cottage

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Restaurant | "Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage"

Quote:
Don't get me wrong--I like fruits and veggies as much as anybody. I'm even a sucker for alfalfa sprouts and Boca Burgers. But sometimes you just need the genuine article--a big juicy hamburger, with fries fresh from the fryolator and a thick creamy milkshake to wash it all down--something where the only green thing on the plate is the pickle. If you're in Boston and one of those carniverous fits strikes you, head for Harvard Square, home of the venerable Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage. Bartley's has been turning out tasty burgers for 40 years now, and it still packs in hordes of hungry Harvard students. Shoulder your way into the dim and invariably crowded dining room and grab a seat at...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 19, 2003

Bartley's Burger Cottage
1246 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
+1 617 354 6559

King Fung Garden

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Restaurant

Quote:
Boston's Chinatown isn't large, and it doesn't have the consistently high-quality food you can find in San Francisco or Toronto Chinatown, but if you look you can find places that serve Chinese food that's both good and cheap--King Fung Garden is one of those places. Don't be put off by the divey exterior. Yes, the flourecent lighting, formica booths (remnants of a former life as a pizza parlor), and space heaters don't look so hot, but the peking duck is arguably the best in town. Call 24 hours in advance to order it, and you'll recieve a three course feast--duck breast and crispy mahogany-colored skin with pancakes, duck stirfry, and duck soup--that's ample enough to feed four, all for around ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 14, 2004

King Fung Garden
74 Kneeland St
Boston, Massachusetts 02111
+1 617 357 5262

Tapeo

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Restaurant

Quote:
Newbury Street is Boston's version of the Champs, only without the commodius broad sidewalks. Stroll along its upper end and see the Beautiful People in their Beautiful Cars buy Beautiful Luxury Goods at Armani and Chanel. Stroll along its lower end and see the funky students from the Berklee College of Music, hang out and buy clothes at punk emporium Alston Beat or the more domesticated Urban Outfitters. Someplace in the middle of these two extremes sits Tapeo, a Spanish restaurant/tapas bar, perfectly situated where these two groups eddy around one another--the funky folks on their way to Lush, the Beautiful folks on their way to Jasmine Sola. If it's warm out, put your name on the list for seat...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 19, 2004

Tapeo
266 Newbury St.
Boston, Massachusetts 02116
(617) 267-4799

The Blue Room

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Restaurant

Quote:
Okay, so it's not in Boston. For that matter, it's not really in Kendall Square, either, but the Blue Room serves a good enough brunch that it deserves mention in any listing of Boston restaurants. For $25 per person, (their website says $21 for adults, $12 for kids, but my check begs to differ), you get unlimited coffee or loose tea and unlimited trips to their buffet. This includes a rotating selection of cold salads (including a very nice Oriental noodle salad dressed with sesame oil and a pleasant French green lentil salad), grilled meats (good cumin-rubbed flank steak and spectacular orange-coriander marinated lamb), and a variety of other eclect...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 3, 2005

The Blue Room
1 Kendall Square
Boston, Massachusetts 02139
617-494-9034

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

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Attraction

Quote:
"Hey!" you think as you hop off the T at the Museum stop and catch your first glimpse of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, "It's a mini Metropolitan Museum of Art." This assessment actually isn't far off the mark. The MFA wasn't designed by Richard Morris Hunt, as was the Met, but it has a similarly imposing style (albeit with none of the Met's more baroque decorative flourishes). The MFA's collection, too, has many of the same strengths as the Met's--Classical and Egyptian art and American decorative arts and painting. Once you enter the building, however, you begin to see where the Met and the MFA differ. Unlike the Met's gigantic entry hall, the MFA's is built on a more modest, human sc...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 19, 2003

Museum of Fine Arts Boston
465 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115
(617) 267-9300

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

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Attraction | "Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum"

Quote:
It's a large but otherwise unassuming brown box from the outside, but once you get through the door--oh boy! Opening up before you like a cool emerald green jewel box is a courtyard garden, protected from the elements by a glass roof hovering three stories above. The shock of it takes your breath away, as does the beauty of the lovingly tended plants in the garden--they are changed out several times a year to create stunning seasonal displays. The Gardner Museum, its couryard, and the object d'art it contains are all the work of the eccentric 19th century socialite and art collector, Isabella Stuart Gardner. Mrs. Gardner was an avid traveller, and she searched throughout Europe to find the piece...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 18, 2003

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
280 The Fenway
Boston, Massachusetts 02115
(617) 566-1401