mmersion in a city steeped in history
As soon as you arrive in Boston, you get the feeling you are somewhere altogether different, not really in Europe, but not totally in the USA either. But there in the capital of Massachusetts, founded in the 17th century by English Puritan settlers, you will discover the fascinating origins of the USA.
It was there that Georges Washington led the War of Independence which earned the city its nickname as the ‘cradle of liberty'. Its streets saw the birth of some of the founding fathers of US democracy, such as John Adams, second President of the United States, and leading light Benjamin Franklin.
To get a real feel for the city's illustrious architecture and design, make your way to the heart of the West End, where you will find The Boxer. This boutique hotel, full of character is located in a pretty flatiron building built in 1904 by Charles Bulfinch, known as the father of American architecture. Your elegant room has impeccable contemporary style with designer furniture and clean lines, contrasting with the hotel's turn-of-the-century facade.
The Boxer Hotel
107 Merrimac Street
Boston, MA 02114
United States of America
+1 617 624 0202
A memorable introductory tour of the city
Head to Park Street subway station, close to the start of a historic itinerary called the Freedom Trail. A red line marked out on the ground takes you to magnificent buildings, for the most part closely connected with the American Revolution. Look up at the wooden bell tower of Old South Meeting House. This former church and now museum was a meeting point prior to the Boston Tea Party.
But now, it is time for lunch. And you will get to Quincy Market – the city's historic market hall – at just the right time to grab a delicious clam chowder or lobster roll, two of the region's specialities.
It is then back on the trail at the intersection of Washington and State Streets. This is where you will find the Old State House, the city's oldest public building still standing today. Looking at its balcony, a shiver will run down your spine; it was there that the United States' Declaration of Independence was read out on 18 July 1776, marking the beginning of US democracy.
139 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116
United States of America
+1 617 357 8300
Dining in the New England of yesteryear
In the early evening, make the Green Dragon Tavern your port of call. From this venerable institution, Paul Revere, hero of the War of Independence set out on his legendary ride to warn the inhabitants of Lexington of the approach of British troops in 1775. The walls of the place still tell the tale today.
In this noble residence built in 1654, you can enjoy traditional dishes and seafood from the area, such as the delicious clam chowder, a local speciality whose ingredients include cream and potatoes. This smooth and creamy soup is often garnished with croutons which add their own crunch to the festival of textures.
Green Dragon Tavern
11 Marshall Street
Boston, MA 02108
United States of America
+1 617 367 0055
In the footsteps of Doctor Quinn
Start your second day in Boston with a hearty all-American breakfast in your hotel. Those with a good appetite will fall for the crab cake served with a poached egg dusted with paprika. After this early-morning treat, take a walk across huge Boston Common park on your way to Beacon Hill.
As you stroll along its lanes, you will soon fall under the charm of this 19th-century district, reminiscent of parts of London. Saunter among the old brown- and red-brick terraced houses of Acorn Street, Cedar Lane and Mount Vernon Street. With their cobbled streets, carefully tended gardens and gas lights, this neighbourhood will transport you back in time. It is not hard to imagine Doctor Quinn, the character in the TV series of the same name, plying her trade in this corner of Boston where she grew up in the days of the fledgling USA.
A pleasant surprise awaits you at the top of the hill: the golden dome of the superb State House, seat of the state of Massachusetts government, rising high into the sky. This architectural masterpiece served as the model for the construction of capitol buildings throughout the land. In front of the entrance, spare a minute to look at the statue of Horace Mann, credited as the father of the US educational system.
For lunch today, may we suggest the Paramount bar? This comfortable bistro-style restaurant makes it a point of honour to serve generous dishes and burgers, such as the quinoa and black bean burger with lashings of guacamole. Hungry gourmets will be thrilled!
Boston, MA 02114
Massachusetts State House
24 Beacon St
Boston, MA 02133
Paramount Beacon Hill
44 Charles Street
Boston MA 02114
+1 617 720 1152
Historical re-enactment at the water's edge
After lunch, go down to the water's edge at Charles River for a bit of time out. At the end of Arlington Street, a footbridge takes you over to this esplanade much-loved by Bostonians. Settle on its lawns and watch the sailboats and rowing boats glide through the waters. An instant pick-me-up!
Later in the afternoon, explore the city's history at the Boston Tea Party Museum, an interactive museum located close by the port. You first watch a show put on by an enthusiastic cast of actors recreating through theatre the famous revolt by Boston merchants against the British. This event saw the city's inhabitants, outraged by new taxes imposed by the powers that be, board ships carrying chests of tea from England and throw them into the sea to express their anger. In all, 342 chests of tea still lie at the bottom of Boston Harbour.
As part of your guided tour, you board the Eleanor, a replica of one of the Tea Party ships from the 1770s. You then take part in a film re-enacting the first battle between the Continental Army and the British. A revolutionary experience!
To round off your day, take a seat at a wooden picnic table at the Barking Crab on the waterfront. Cooled by the breeze coming in off the ocean, select the locals' dish of choice: a crab sandwich with celery and mayonnaise. It is a real treat!
Boston Tea Party Museum
306 Congress St
Boston, MA 02210
+1 617 338 1773
Harvard opens its hallowed doors
To make your trip to Boston truly unforgettable, a tour of Harvard University is a must on your third day. This prestigious seat of learning is the oldest university in the US and is located in the neighbouring city of Cambridge. As you leave Harvard subway station, students invite you to take a free tour of this venerable institution founded in 1636.
As you enter the campus, have your photo taken in front of the statue of its generous benefactor, John Harvard. The heart of the campus is a grassy area known as the Yard; its red-brick, Neo-gothic buildings housing student accommodation, look like they have come straight off the pages of a Harry Potter novel. The art museums houses eclectic collections acquired by the University over the centuries. There, paintings by Romantic artist Géricault rub shoulders with finely carved works of art from ancient Persia and sketches by French painter Gustave Courbet. Next door, the Museum of Natural History is a fascinating showcase of curiosities. Marvel at the Glass Flowers created by German craftsmen in the 19th century before exploring the animal gallery with its impressive collection of dinosaur bones.
Université de Harvard
Cambridge, MA 02138
+1 617 495 1573
From George Washington to the Beat Generation
Take a walk down the streets bordering the campus and a yellow, wooden house comes into view. This is Longfellow House where General Washington had his headquarters during the Siege of Boston. Inside, its richly decorated period furnishings take you back to the time of the founding fathers.
And there is more to Cambridge than just its university as its trendy restaurants and bars testify. The Friendly Toast will lure you in to taste its southern cuisine in a psychedelic flea-market sort of setting. You probably will not be able to resist its lobster served with a butter brioche and a poached egg, another example of fine local fare.
If you decide to stay around after dark, head to the Beat Hotel, close to Harvard Square. In the basement of this chic, bohemian joint, the jazz vibe of the Beat Generation of the 1950s is still going strong. Your historic interlude in Boston draws to a close there, sipping a glass of craft wine and listening to great jazz classics.
105 Brattle St
Cambridge, MA 02138,
+1 617 876 4491
The Friendly Toast Cambridge
1 Kendall Square b3101
Cambridge, MA 02139
+1 617 621 1200
13 Brattle St
Cambridge, MA 02138
+1 617 499 0001