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Boston, America’s “Pearl” – walkers’ paradise,

Boston, America’s “Pearl” – walkers’ paradise,

Sep 27th, 2007, 10:20 PM
  #1  
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Boston, America’s “Pearl” – walkers’ paradise,

Hi everyone, have made a start on writing up our wonderful sojourn in Boston, whilst reading volcanogirl’s TR at the same time (think we were visiting at the same time, too) highly recommended for lots of details of activities, (which we didn’t do http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...1&tid=35070761


Our preference is shank’s pony – strolling arm-in-arm at a relaxed pace, soaking up the atmosphere and the vibe, and stopping often on a shady bench or outdoor cafe. Our studio condo on Marvellous Marlborough Street allowed us to explore so many different areas on foot, and at our lazy pace, we covered an amazing amount of miles without feeling tired, with lots of opportunities to chat with locals and fellow-strollers. We got to know our ‘neighbour’ across the road this way, who was often manicuring his brownstone entry front garden even tho muttering “All be gone in a month when it freezes.” We compared notes on the hardiness of impatiens and geraniums

I had reams of researched history and attractions, both from Fodors and its forums (once again many thanks!) and other sites plus my local library. In the interests of packing light (one small backpack doubling as cabin bag and one small wheelie-suitcase each for our total six week trip), were all left at home. Our search for a compact guide focussing on Boston only, was finally achieved with the back-pocket-friendly DK’s Eyewitness Travel Boston, complete with maps, walks, history, cut-aways and floor-plans:
Dorling-Kindersley Ltd., London, 2001 (revised 2007). Highly recommended.

Review of our studio lodging in Marlborough Street, situated about half-way between Hereford and Massachusetts Av cross-streets is in a separate thread,
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...1&tid=35001376

And details of our planning this section of our great trip in another thread started in May 07 http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...1&tid=35001376



Gosh, can you tell I’m an ex-office administrator? Cross-referencing was my god, lol – and it’s so ingrained it won’t wash out!

And following the same rule, always encapsulate the essence of a report in the opening paragraphs, so nobody has to plough through the lot to get the ‘end result’.

So here’s the ‘end result’ – a wonderful, enchanting four days of exploring, on foot, the Boston Public Gardens, Boston Common, Back Bay and South End, North End and Waterfront, Old Boston, Beacon Hill, parts of the Freedom Trail, the esplanade on the Charles River, Cambridge and Harvard, the T system with Charlie, and last but not least, the wonderful private gardens and floral decorations that bejewel this great city. A pearl with a golden patina of history, buffed by modernity and enhanced by its friendly, helpful and generous inhabitants.

What we didn’t do: no shopping, no malls, no boutiques, no bars, no night clubs, no interior of museums, no Duck Tour, no Trolley Tour, no Charles River cruise (finished for the season, ;(), no dining experience worthy of comment (Steve’s Greek and American Cuisine on Newbury Street would only get panned), no guided excursions; no Quincy Market/F’anel Hall, no stadium thingy (think it’s Fenway?), no entertainment shows.

Makes me wonder why I’m TRing, it’s all so sedate, lol!

But there is a special affinity between Australia and Boston, the ‘hub’ of the Independence movement against overlord Britain, the successful result of which terminated the transportation of British convicts to their American colony.

And resulted in the British establishing a new convict settlement in Australia in 1788.

So, go Boston! You rule!

Aussies would not be who they are today without your invaluable input.

Next: Day One

I’ve bheen to Haaavhaad Jackie
FurryTiles is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 06:09 AM
  #2  
 
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So glad you loved our city and that you had a great trip. Thanks for posting.
bennnie is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 07:04 AM
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Wonderful report on a wonderful city!
cmcfong is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 08:13 AM
  #4  
TKT
 
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Now I could travel with you, THAT is how a city is enjoyed, on foot, slowly soaking everything in. If you come again, add Charlestown to your stroll.
TKT is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 08:27 AM
  #5  
 
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more more !
sometimes people have such a short amount of time and cram so much in, they miss the beauty of just strollin' in Bahston - glad you enjoyed that part of it - I was lucky enough to enjoy a few weeks in Australia seven years ago and loved your side of the world too !
escargot is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 08:29 AM
  #6  
dmlove
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strolling arm-in-arm at a relaxed pace, soaking up the atmosphere and the vibe, and stopping often on a shady bench or outdoor cafe.

The best way to enjoy a city!
 
Sep 28th, 2007, 09:46 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2007
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Welcome back, FurryTiles - we may have passed each other on the street. Glad you had such a wonderful time; we loved the Boston vibe as well.
volcanogirl is offline  
Sep 30th, 2007, 12:59 AM
  #8  
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Thanks so much to all for your kind and encouraging comments

All our strollin’ was accomplished in very comfortable, well worn-in footwear that had served recent apprenticeship in Beijing and the many forest tracks in Sweden’s countryside ...

Her: Ezywalkin sandals ‘Bernice” with leather-lining
-OR- Grosby Free Steps lace-ups, ‘Palma’ model in beige suede.

Him: Colorado’s “sole-energy comfort” model #1091522 in leather with velco straps.

(Note: A Her should always have two choices to maintain equilibrium, a Him needs only one to save on having to make decisions whilst on holiday).

We had started our travel day very early to catch a BA 7am three-hour flight to Heathrow, and 2 hour stop-over to change terminals for our onward BA seven-hour flight to Logan. Our check-in luggage was booked through to our end destination, and we waved it bye-bye with trepidation, as the negative reports on BA/BAA ‘lost luggage’ had reached a media crescendo just prior to our departing Oz. We had prepared by packing all irreplaceables in our in-cabin backpacks (including spare underwear) so even if we joined the statistics of lost luggage, it would not spoil our Boston holiday. Heathrow had relaxed some of its stringent security procedures, and the one-bag-rule no longer applied.

Arrived in Boston at 1pm, to a hot, humid and steamy afternoon.

The formalities at Logan through Immigration and Customs (Border Security) was relatively speedy and friendly, even though we had marked food (coffee) and staying on a farm on the entry documents.

And our check-in luggage arrived – both, mind you, and neatly snuggled next to each other – complete with their glittery pink ribbons to add to the happy reunion.

We were outside the international terminal looking for a taxi within one hour of arrival! Taxis nowhere in sight ... the taxi stand is ‘hidden’ around the corner to the left of the international terminal’s exits. But once found, the line moved quickly with the help of two airport staff, and we arrived at our Marlborough Street studio by 2:30pm – taxi charge, U$26. (You were spot on with your estimated timing, escargot

After settling in, we strolled our beautiful, tree-lined street to familiarise ourselves, marvelling that this entire Back Bay area is reclaimed swampland. Bought breakfast/food supplies at our local grocery/liquor store, the Marlboro Market, almost directly opposite our studio but on Massachusetts Avenue. The shop is bigger and more comprehensive than its exterior indicates, with another level in the basement and a huge backroom with beer supplies.

Where I found DH in deep debate with a local on the merits of various US brews, so successful that he already had a six-pack under each armpit and in serious discussion about a third!

Beer is the male global language


Next: Day Two – from Marlborough to the Boston Public Garden, Boston Common, Beacon Hill, Newbury Street and Commonwealth Avenue.


FurryTiles is offline  
Sep 30th, 2007, 05:25 AM
  #9  
 
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But..but...what beer did Mr. FT like best ???

and then....and then.....
escargot is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 02:58 PM
  #10  
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I just asked, without any preamble ... his reply
"I didn't really like any of them"
doesn't really equate with the fact they were ALL empty before departure, LOL

.... and then, and then ....

Day Two follows below

Cheers,
Jackie
FurryTiles is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 04:40 PM
  #11  
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Our jetlag worked in our favour, waking refreshed before the dawn, enjoying a leisurely breakfast in the pimple and out on the street in the early morning light before 7:30am. We walked the length of an awakening Marlborough street in the buttery light of the old-fashioned street lamps, eastwards toward Arlington and the Public Garden.

As we checked our guide book to see how we would saunter and continue to the Common, a park maintenance man approached to offer assistance, and gave details of the new plantings and main features; he was a veteran garden caretaker of over fifteen years and obviously so proud of every leaf, bud and bloom.

We explored the beautiful Garden with its tranquil lagoon, crossed the quirky bridge and over Charles Street into the Common, the dew still fresh on the grass. After exploring this green and tranquil haven, we passed the curiously ugly Frog Pond to exit through the Beacon Street gate with its relief sculpture of Boston’s founding fathers, and took Spruce Street into the old delights of Beacon Hill.

This is a charming up-n-down area, with equally charming street names such as Acorn, Walnut, Cedar and Chestnut. The least charming – but most highly prized real estate – we found to be Louisburg Square, quite dark and foreboding and in sharp contrast to the warmth of the other streets. Quite by accident, we found a house Robert Frost had lived in on Mt. Vernon Street, and “a road less travelled” immediately came to mind.

We returned to Beacon Street and re-entered the Gardens, saying hi to the duckling statues and watching two stately swans dive like synchronised swimmers, with their bums slowly rotating as they searched for underwater morsels.

We strolled the “top-end” of Newbury Street, but after a stretch of its upmarket restaurants and sophisticated clothing boutiques and admiring the stained-glass windows of the Church of the Covenant, we turned into Clarendon and on to the ‘Champs-Elysees’ of Boston, Commonwealth Avenue, with it’s amazing central gardens interspersed with sculptures and statues, stretching perfectly straight and serene all the way to Mass. Av.

We admired all the statues of great gentlemen, perched high on pedestals or horses or rocks – and then came to a triptych of three most admirable American ladies. But what struck me immediately was these statues were at ground level, two of the sculptures almost supine over writing desks, and only one accorded upright stature (Mrs. Adams) with arms solidly crossed over chest. But still at ground level and life-size, as opposed to the blown-up proportions of the gentlemen. A quite unintentional but almost tangible demonstration of our patriarchal society.

At the memorial to the firefighters of the June 1972 tragedy, with its poignant brass coat and helmet slung over the wall, hung a wreath of bright red and white fresh carnations. With no donor mention, no words. But it brought a lump to my throat, and we spent a few moments in silence in remembrance of the world-changing WTC tragedy and all the tens of thousands of lives lost in the subsequent retribution.

We later strolled the wonderful esplanade along the Charles River, accessing from the Massachusetts Bridge, watching the sailing boats practice their turns, a rowing eight speed along and of course, the delightful ducks. Lots of joggers and fellow walkers, but all serene and peaceful, the blast of vehicles from Storrow Drive but a memory.

Like a cupcake with sprinkles, Boston is liberally dotted with both restful benches and cafes – and all our walking (no timetable) was interspersed with many relaxing stops.
And, of course, hundreds of photos.

Next: Day Three – venturing the T with Charlie, Financial District, the Waterfront and North End.
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Oct 1st, 2007, 04:53 PM
  #12  
kealalani
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The Comm Ave stroll can get quite emotional! Fantabulous report. You really seem to "get" Boston!!!
 
Oct 1st, 2007, 06:37 PM
  #13  
 
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Just how Boston should be enjoyed - slowly and thoughfully -
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