Rich in the history of America's fight for emancipation from Birtish rule, Boston attracts tourists (and locals!) who are eager to visit the sites that mark the formation of our nation.
by Harris on June 18, 2000
Boston's best Brew Pub, Brew Moon has several locations, but I most often dine in the theater district, where the service is horrible and the wait long due to the pre-theater crowd.
If you can overlook these inconveniences, the food is
good American fare, and the beer complements it quite well.
If you are not sure what beer to order, try the Lunar Sampler; beer drinking
has never been so out of this world.
An upscale Asian restaurant in a pleasant, modern setting, Ma Soba
serves traditional Asian dishes with a flair. But the best thing on the menu may very well
be the sushi, which is fresh and beautifully prepared.
Another notable item is the beef and banana roll appetizer; sounds like a crazy combination, but it's delicious.
An upscale Asian restaurant in a pleasant setting, Ma Soba serves traditional Asian dishes with a flair. But the best thing on the menu may very well be the sushi, which is fresh and beautifully prepared. Another notable item is the beef and banana roll appetizer; sounds like a crazy combination, but it's delicious.
In a colorful setting overlooking the Public Garden, Biba serves
unexpected combinations of flavor. One of the priciest and tastiest
restaurants in Boston, it may very well be worth the hole it will leave in your wallet--especially for the pomegranate pizza.
Dinner is also served in the downstairs bar area, a pleasant place to stop in for a drink and an appetizer, if you can't afford a full meal.
by Harris on June 21, 2000
Sonsie feels like a little piece of New York City's Soho dropped down in Boston. In other words, it features faux Parisian cafe decor and beautiful people sipping cosmopolitans. But Sonsie has the additional bonus of featuring fantastic food, with a menu that changes periodically to offer some pretty original dishes. The Mee Krob is one staple of the menu that I highly recommend, but last time I visited I had the Rigatoni with Basil Chicken and Vegetable Ratatoille--one of the best things I''ve ever eaten in Boston.
The only place to eat for ksoher travelers in down town Boston is the aptly named dairy restaurant Milk Street Cafe, located in the financial district. Milk Street offers an especially pleasant setting in summer when it sets up its dairy stand, we well as a deli cart, in Post Office Square to cater to the lunchtime business crowd. With excellent sandwiches and the pretty square with its dramatic fountain to relax in, it's the perfect setting for an al fresco luncheon. The nearby cafeteria-like restaurant serves lunch year round and attracts many kosher diners to its Sunday Brunch.
This tiny pizza restaurant is an outgrowth of the famous Olives of Charlestown. Located on one of the prettiest and quaintest streets in Boston, Figs features gourmet pizzas as well as pastas and salads. The pizzas are truly unique creations and,as their motto says, never trust a round pizza. Due to its few tables, Figs gets terribly crowded at peak dining times, so call ahead.
My fiance, a true ice-cream lover, called this ice cream festival his version of heaven. Even for me, who has been known to favor frozen yogurt over the real stuff, the Scooper Bowl turned out to be more fun than I've ever had in one afternoon. For only five dollars (the proceeds go to charity), you enter a tent where you are promptly handed a plastic spoon; be sure not to lose it. You'll need it to sample the many ice cream flavors doled out by New England ice cream producers from their stands. Yes, it is really all you can eat, and you will see many people walking around with towering stacks of the cups they have just emptied. Rumor has it that Ben and Jerry occasionally show up in person to serve their newest flavors. The Scooper Bowl is a three-day event held annually in June.
In the courtyards and alleyways of Beacon Hill (usually closed to the public), you will find a marvelous display of artwork for sale. Even if many of the pieces are beyond your budget, the Art Walk, held every year in June, is worth the walk. Many of the paintings, sculptures and photographs displayed are inspiring and the setting itself sets them off beautifully.
Site of the first American victory of the Revolution, North Bridge is a great day trip from Boston itself. Signposts with audio provide you with information about this important historic event, and you might even spot an occasional redcoat leading a tour.
The Freedom Trail is the best and most well-known of several activities in Boston that allow you to travel back in time. This 2.5 mile, carefully marked red-brick path leads participants to 16 commemorative sites, including the Granary Burying Ground, which contains the graves of some of our country's founders, such as Samuel Adams and John Hancock; teh city's North End, home of Paul Revere and the Old North Church where he hung his famous lanterns to indicate 'two if by sea'; and the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, where American and British troops met in a bloody battle of blunders, which began when they mistook Breed's Hill for Bunker Hill.
Beginning at the African Meeting House, a house of worship-cum-assembly hall that now functions as a museum of African heritage, the trail takes you from the North Slope of Beacon Hill on a 1.6 mile hike past several pre-Civil War sites that mark the history of free African-Americans in Massachusetts.
In a city known for its many colonial churches, the Vilna Shul stands as one of the few remaining places of Jewish worship. Built in 1919 by an Orthodox community of immigrant Jews from Vilna, Lithuania, the synagogue was shut down in 1985 when the congregation dwindled to a single member. Since then, it has been undergoing a slow, but extensive restoration process. Tours are currently available to the public on Sundays (except in winter) between 1 and 3 p.m. The Vilna Center for Jewish Heritage, which is responsible for the preservation, plans to reopen teh shul as a cultural center and museum. Despite the fact that most of ths shul is rundown and still under re-construction, it is well worth a visit. The brick exterior would blend in with the surrounding homes of blueblood Beacon Hill, if it were not for the colorful stained glass start of David and Hebrew lettering above the main door. Inside the sanctuary, which combines the architecture of a medieval European synagogue with that of a New England meeting house, visitors will find several artifacts of Jewish-American culture, such as an ornate ark with carved lions as well as the symbolic American eagle, a striking chandelier containing a Star of David, and a central bimah.
When the Freedom Trail takes you to bustling Quincy Market, be sure not to miss the New England Holocaust Memorial. It is a sobering source of reflection and remembrance amidst the liveliness of the marketplace and its pubs. Dedicated in 1995 under the auspices of a group of Holocaust survivors living in the Boston area, the six glass columns extend 54 feet into the sky, each one named for one of the major Nazi death camps. The towers also represent the sheer number of Jews killed, with a total of six million numbers linking the glass walls to signify teh tattoos used to identify inmates of the cmaps. As you walk through the base of these towers, smoke rises from the grates below your feet. Factual information about this great tragedy is engraved on the granite paths, and quotes by Holocaust survivors such as Primo Levi are also inscribed on the glass panels. The effect of the memorial is quite powerful and moving.
Boston's most famous shopping institution, Filene's would be just another department store if it were not for its downstairs sanctum for the bargain-hungry, Filene's Basement. If you have a small budget and a lot of patience, you can sift through the clothes and housewares here to find some real steals. Then, if you tire of bargain-hunting and want a more pleasant environment, head upstairs to the department store itself.
Stylish Newbury Street is ideal for window-shopping at trendy, designer stores and expensive art galleries. You can buy almost anything here, if you have the budget. This beautiful street also has many places to dine al fresco in the warm weather and plenty of people-watching to insure that dining is a fun experience.
The green oasis of Boston Common is a great place to picnic, or just relax on a nice day. You can find ice skating in winter, a wading pool in summer, seasonal performances and fairs, and monuments all year round. One of the notable monuments is dedicated to those who perished in the Boston Massacre.
One of the most idyllic (and romantic) spots in Boston (and perhaps even the world), the Public Garden is the perfect place to stop and smell the flowers, pause in the shade of a willow tree, or, to better enjoy the setting, hop on one of the swan boat rides that have made the garden a favorite spot for tourists and their cameras.
Just another typical mall, Copley contains many high-end retailers like Tiffany's and some old standbys like the Gap and J.Crew. It also features a movie theater and several restaurants.
Considered one of the best-run art museums in the country, the MFA has an impressive colleciton, as well as a tranquil Japanese Garden. The walls above the main staircase feature murals by John Singer Sargent, a painter known for his portrayals of famous and wealthy Bostonians. The MFA also holds a number of special exhibits that are unrivaled, such as last year's Sargent exhibit and the upcoming exhibition of Van Gogh's portraits.
Less overwhelming, but as impressive as the MFA, the collection is housed in the art patron's Italian-style villa. The central, indoor garden may be one of the most beautiful and romantic locations in the world. Unfortunately, Gardner's collection was burglarized a few years back, and the thieves have yet to be apprehended; in place of the missing Rembrandts and a Vermeer, emtpy frames hang on the walls, a ghostlike reminder that you have just stepped into the scene of a crime. Even without these works though, the collection of paintings is worth viewing, particularly for their setting.
The Boston Pops will provide the perfect musical interlude for your trip. Their lively renditions of many musical standards make a visit to Symphony Hall one of the most worthwhile cultural experiences in Boston. The night I heard the Pops play, they were celebrating the All-Star Game, which was held that year in Fenway Park, so almost every song had a baseball theme. There's nothing like going to the Symphony to hear 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame!'
Small and dark, Silvertone is one of the few bars in Boston that I actually enjoy frequenting. Amidst Irish pubs and sports bar, it's a bit of a diamond in the rough. Though it's hard to get a table, there's usually enough room to make standing pleasantly bearable.
If you haven't studied it in American literature, you'll probably remember it from Dead Poet's Society: I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately. The woods that Henry David Thoreau went to and wrote about in Walden, or Life in the Woods were located at Walden Pond, and visitors can still escape from modern life with a visit there. The pond itself features swimming and a beach area, as well as a trail for hiking. The hiking is fairly easy and it will take you to the actual site of Thoreau's house, which is now a monument of sorts. Across the street from the pond, you will find a replica of the house and a statue of Thoreau.
It's more than just a market, even if it goes by that name. Quincy Market is a shopping and dining mecca for Boston tourists, with an extensive food court as well as a number of touristy seafood restaurants and Irish pubs. Vendors with carts offer souvenirs and other wares. And retail shops like the Gap and Abercrombie will make you feel as if you never left your local mall. Despite its reputation as a tourist trap, Quincy Market can actually be quite a pleasant outdoor spot to walk around or just sit and watch all the activity, especially the talented street performers who are ubiquitous. The market is also the site of Old Faneuil Hall, the meeting place of colonists and bastion of free speech from the revolution to present times. The half-price ticket booth for Boston theater is also located here.
A trip to Boston and environs can often feel like a college tour. The many colleges and universities attract a large student population to the city. But if there is one school to visit while you are here, it's definitely Harvard. A tour of the Harvard campus will take you to many historic sites and beautiful buildings. In exploring the university, be sure to include the Fogg and Sackler Museums which are open to the public. The best thing about visiting Harvard, however, is the always lively Harvard Square. Although it's become quite gentrified in the past few years (supposedly due to an influx of tourists), you'll find good, inexpensive restaurants, a number of independent bookstores, and some other interesting shops.
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