Sunday, 5 June 2011
GUIDE TO: BOSTON
The first thing you notice about Boston is the classic streets that are full of calm character. Looking somewhere between old British pubs and homes in the suburbs everything here blends in with a welcome, 'make yourself at home' vibe. From the shops to the restaurants everything is unique, holding it's own, but still nothing imposes or stands out more then the general feel of the city itself that remains distinctively traditional, individual and real.
This Irish green city is blue collar in it's hard-working nature. You can tell this from the status of their colleges to the characteristics of their sports teams and locals and the iron on the Charlestown bridge, but still the aforementioned calm of this place makes it a great place to relax. This work-hard, play-hard city makes the most of everything. Bars are your best bet for an enjoyable evening and from the hometown favourites to the traditional Irish joints every place has it's own character and distinction from the way their made up to the regulars that inhabit it. The 'Beantown' and 'Bull & Finch' pubs are must drinks. A pub crawl is perfect in this city because it's best to see as much of it as you can.
Or you could go 'where everybody knows your name' and visit some classic television history with the legendary 'Cheers' bar. A popular tourist destination for photo's of the sign and door outside, the interior is different to the show (a typical Hollywood hallmark of having the set inconveniently located miles away elsewhere (what happens when somebody storms out the bar?)) but still a great place to go inside. From nice memorabilia to a great atmosphere, coupled with show like decor, this decorated show is channelled in all the favourite ambiance of this place. Plus with great food and drink, 'Cheers' doubles up as a nice sports bar. So why not catch a Celtics and Sox game while chowing down on a 'Frasier Panini'? Just don't expect to see Norm...you'll feel just as welcome though.
Speaking of sports, with legendary, vintage and still great Baseball and Basketball teams, nothing beats Boston...except the Lakers (sometimes). If your up to bat make sure you pick up a cap with a red 'B' on it and watch the legendary Red Sox show why they really are a powerhouse. At the coliseum of Boston, Fenway Park you'll visit one of the greatest, epic arenas for sports, from the fans to the stands...and you thought Yankee Stadium was impressive.
Still if you'd rather hit the court you have to visit the Garden (OK, the legendary Boston Garden is now rubble but the TD Bank Garden still stands up. There is no basketball team more synonymous with the NBA then the storied sensation that is the Boston Celtics. With legends going from the floor to the rafters like Bill Russell and Larry Bird this Garden blooms with lasting sport legacy. Even today with great players and future Hall of Famers like last years Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and sole survivor Rajon Rondo your still in for a classic night. When it comes to the spirit of sport you have to believe in Boston.
Now if you haven't filled your boots enough on the foot-longed, super sizes of the concessions at the sporting stomping grounds then why not get a little more romantic in some of the best restaurants in the city? From the Moo cow 'Mooo Restaurant' for serious steak to the vegetarian, vegan, Vietnamese 'Grass Hopper' restaurant for people who like their cows alive. Or if your looking for love, or just a great night out why don't you hit the town and it's many clubs and night-spots for a real, alive nightlife from the 'Mojitos Latin Lounge' to the self-dubbed 'Greatest Bar' (go see and judge for yourself).
Then you better hit up some of the best, home-like, welcoming hotel and hostels (from 'The Charles Street Inn' to the hostel on 'Friend Street') for a great nights sleep because your going to need it for the full day of stuff to do ahead of you. So the following day you better get a good breakfast down you and a hearty recommendation is the delightful 'Dempsey's' (just outside the city limits on 438 Broadway, Everett, MA). A traditional greasy spoon full of flavour. Get ready to make the most important meal of the day the best one from the griddle plate to the fond, friendly staff and locals.
Now it's time to go see about those sites. Beantown has it all from the front of the incredibly grandiose Christian Science Church to the beautiful Back Bay with it's sublime serenity and beautiful ships off the classic Charles River. Plus the popular Boston Common and Copley Square areas to the magnificent Massachusetts State House and the sublime Symphony Hall will have you singing their praises. Boston is a traditionally bold, historical town, so why not take a walk through history...literally.
The red brick lined 'Freedom Trail' (with the popular Faneuil Hall stop) is an incredible walk to take and will take you on the road of Boston and American culture and history. Just make sure you take it all in and don't get lost. One of the cities most heartfelt and meaningful bits of history is the memorial to colonel Robert Shaw and the first all black infantry in Civil War. A must for any historians or younger people who would have been educated about this in history lessons and the classic Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington picture 'Glory'.
Or one of the most prestigious pieces of New England history is the legendary Harvard University, so why not take a tour round the college campus? Or if your more of a shopper then a sightseer Boston has it all from the malls to the old favourite Newbury Street district (both featuring an impressive Macy's and Niketown). Newbury Street is also another great road for bars, restaurants and the perfect evening. Before and past this street-even if you don't take the freedom trail-this city has a lot of great walks. From taking in the natural beauty, to the impressive architecture (you must see the Public Library or the John F. Kennedy Library and the John Hancock Tower) and from film locations for fantastic films set in this city (from 'The Town' to 'The Departed'), you have to see these places of this city before you leave. With green parks and great, traditional streets (originally meant for Horse & Carriage, and you can still catch one or two of them if your lucky) to boot, your shoes better be made for strolling.
With all these great sights to see, if you don't have the time to view them all you do get the chance to catch a glorious glimpse of them at the top of the Prudential Tower. For a few bills you can go up and see an incredible, inspiring view of beautiful Boston and for a few dollars more you could go up another level for a drink or meal while you take in the sensational city. Or you could even go further ashore and take in the view from the Boston Harbour as the river runs to another real view of the city.
Even Boston's South Station makes for a great snap-site and Logan Airport makes for a great place to shop and eat but by the time you get there you won't want to leave this town as you won't be done with Boston. Not only is this city one of the most dynamic and different destinations in America (if not the world) it's also one of the most welcoming and easy going. Proud but not imposing everything and everyone fits in here...and you will too. So much that this home, familiar feeling city may make you want to lay a foundation. Still for now a holiday will do for one of the greatest vacations you'll ever take. So make sure you take a trip and if your first or not pay a visit again and again.TIM DAVID HARVEY.