I have very fond memories of Boston with the last time I went here, now, almost eight years ago. I’m not sure what it was exactly. Perhaps it was the strong college town feel with big names like Havard, MIT, and Boston University located right in the centre, or perhaps the blend of confusing English-style streets that creates hidden pockets of culture to be discovered. Either way, I had another great time visiting all the different sights that Boston has to see, to make a bit of a change to all the attractions New York has.
Eight years ago, I remember taking a Duck Tour (that unfortunately don’t operate in winter), and only got to see the Cambridge side of the river when the bus was operating in boat mode. This time, I made an effort to get over to that side and walk around the campuses of both MIT and Havard. Both have amazing campuses, particularly all their buildings, and we made a special trip to visit the Gehry building, though beautiful on the outside, apparently had some flaws that the institute sued him for. Havard Square was fairly bustling when we arrived, particularly considering it was the holiday season, and in the middle of winter so I can only imagine the life it would have at the height of spring or autumn when the school is in full tilt.
Cambridge isn’t the only side with nice buildings, with the Boston skyline dominated by small high rises, all very different and interesting buildings. With everything from the super reflective mirror windows of the John Hancock tower (pictured above), to the Prudential Tower (pictured below), all of them really stand out when you’re by the water at night time. We paid for the Top of the Hub skywalk, in order to get the views of Boston from above, and complete with audio guide for adults and children, it was fairly great value.
Nearby to the Prudential Tower, was the Mary Baker Eddy Library, home to apparently the world’s only Mapperium, a three story glass sphere containing maps of the world. Though you pay about $US6 for a brief video, tour and admission, it’s definitely strange to stand inside it as it echoes everything almost perfectly. You can hear literally hear a whisper from across the room as the glass and spherical shape echoes it all around. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take photos, as the inside is a lot more spectacular than the photo shown below, taken from the area you end up waiting in.
One of the better free things to do in Boston is the State House tour, a free guided tour that operates fairly frequently in the building with the only gold leaf gilded domes. The public are welcome at attend, and it is still an active building with all the politicians required to meet, I think it was, at least twice a week. They have some amazing rooms, and plenty of history to talk about and I found it quite fascinating thinking about all the paintings, murals and statues all throughout.
One of my favourite places last time to visit was the bustling area of Quincy Market. Admittedly it caters for the tourist, but it just always seemed to have a busy atmosphere, and decorated with the Christmas lights really shines at night time. It’s also a place where you can grab small bites to eat from all of the different eateries, and indulge in the famous New England Clam Chowder (or Chowda! as a local) served in a sourdough bread bowl.
We were really lucky with the weather that we had, since the day we left it was snowing heavily and combined with the ferocious winds, was difficult to walk around without starting to feel the icy chill. Clear blue skies heralded over all of the hours we walked around, and even though it was cold and windy, having the sun out made a huge difference to us enjoying our time there. Check out the rest of the photos from the trip here.