Everywhere you look, there’s a photo waiting to happen. Consider this photo by Flickr user Aypho of one of Boston’s famous “T Stations.” Just a mundane train station, right? Not this time – the photographer’s subtle use of lighting at dusk, the colorful lines of the railway and platform edge and the blurred car in the background all convey a striking sense of movement to the image. It’s almost as if the viewer was riding along on a speeding train, being whisked away to some unknown destination off in the distance.
Take one guess where this photo was shot. Even if you’ve never been there, it’s not too difficult to tell. If you said America, you’re really warm. If you were even more accurate and said BOSTON, you’re right on the money! Maybe the towering blue Hancock building gave it away? Or was it the dark clouds that somehow loom over the city every fall and spring?
Though this photo, which comes to us in high definition from Patrick Powers, doesn’t show it, Beantown is celebrating the end of spring and the beginning of summer. And you know what that means: baseball, the Red Sox, Fenway — and lots of ’em! I was just there last weekend, and while the weather looked like this when I arrived, it was a bright and hot 75 degrees when I left. Ah…. Boston…
Though it seems a world away from the paradise I live in now, Boston was my home for three great, memorable years, and continues to hold a special place in my heart. Often regarded as America’s true college city, “Beantown” (named because of the city’s influx of baked beans during the “triangular trade” when molasses was plentiful) is alive and kicking. Where else in the States is finance, literature, sports, and education so vibrant? No where. Kick it in Boston in the dead of winter or the height of summer – any time, freezing sleet or blazing sun, this city is packed with awesome history, sights, and sounds.
By bus/train – Boston is essentially the hub of New England, so that means nearly every bus or train line will at least make a pit stop in South Station. There are now cheap $20 one-way bus fares to and from New York City where the motor coach is complete with movies and wi-fi. Expect trains to take the same amount of time (if not more), but twice the price. (I found my last train journey to Boston six months ago to be quite miserable, so would advise taking the bus instead)
By plane – Hooray for Virgin America (my new favorite continental airline)! There are plenty of flights to Boston through this awesomely comfortable, low-cost carrier, or there are tons of flights to Boston on United.
Where to stay:
A most comfortable and surprisingly affordable option in the North End (or Little Italy), one of Boston’s gastronomy centers, is La Capella Suites. There are three nicely decorated suites available on the 4th and 5th floors of this 70 year-old chapel (thus, its name). Rooms start at just $100 in the winter or $140 in the summer. The city’s best Italian restaurants and nightclubs are just steps away.
The cool 19th century townhouse Encore is the other great option in Boston’s gay-friendly South End. There are four guest rooms that are comparably priced with La Capella.
Both of these accommodations are on T-lines, and close to the center of town.
What to see:
Faneuil Hall – Clam chowder, lobster bisque, Urban Outfitter, the Freedom Trail, Duck and historical tours… Also known as Quincy Market, Faneuil has it all. It’s just as popular among Bostonians as it is tourists.
The Freedom Trail & the Boston Common – There is no other place in the United States where you can learn about America’s Revolution. The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile red-brick walking trail that leads you to 16 nationally significant historic sites, every one an authentic American treasure. Take a stroll along the Trail on your own using a handy online map, or have a native Bostonian guide you and tell you the dramatic story of America’s freedom from Britain.
Newbury Street – If you didn’t get your fill of shopping at Quincy Market, browse the hip boutiques along Newbury Street in the Back Bay, the quintessential Bostonian neighborhood. You can protect your pocket by sidling up to one of its many sidewalk cafés and people-watch your day way.
A BoSox game at Fenway Park – Don’t be daunted by the ridiculously steep ticket prices. If there’s one thing you must experience in Boston, it’s a Red Sox game. There is something totally electric about being in Fenway Park. Where else in the world is there so much baseball history in a single team and a single ballpark? Babe’s curse has been reversed, but the Green Monster and Pesky Pole live on. Even if you’re not a sports fan, you will be a Red Sox fan once you set foot on Yawkey Way.