In and around Boston

I have not seen a city so aesthetically and culturally appealing as Boston. (Perhaps the only city that comes close is San Francisco, yet, given my rather brief acquaintance with the West Coast competitor, I cannot be convinced the comparison is fair.) All we saw in Boston was lovely, authentic, and organic to the overall vibe of the place. Vast parks and miniature squares; broad avenues and tight back-streets; sky-kissing high-risers and squat apartment buildings; churches and cathedrals; belfries and bridges; shops and boutiques; statues and obelisks; flowers and light posts; all of that and heaps of other pleasures await you in Boston.

The historic charm of Northeast with its red-brick facades, elegant ironwork, and cobbled walkways are not clustered in one large historic district, as in Philadelphia or New York, but rather dominate most of Boston. We could not help but notice how whole the entire city presented itself, and how recognizable and unique it was at every turn. So, let me finally demonstrate what I have so utterly praised.

We began the exploration of Boston by finding the parking garage that I had previously selected online for its convenient location to start off our on-foot excursion.  As we ascended up to the ground level, we found ourselves inside the Prudential Center Mall, practically adjoining the Prudential Tower, where I was able to glance at the city blocks in all directions, and—despite the stained glasses—take a few aerial shots.

Out of the tower and then back through the mall, we exited on the street and proceeded to Copley Square, passing by the New Old South Church and Hancock Tower on the way.

From the square we turned North and entered the famous Newbury Street, one of the major shopping destinations in New England.

Notice how even in the shopping district there are still plenty of fine temples and other architectural masterpieces.

We then headed East, towards the ever-crowded Boston Common, a large recreational area located in the very heart of the city. With several decent-size ponds and hundreds of leafy trees and ornamental bushes, the Common is by far the most popular afternoon destination in Boston on a hot summer day.

Flocks of tourists, teenagers, and occasional gapers are attracted by the most diverse characters collected here as for an exhibition.

To avoid scaring off the peaceful passes-by, a bit to the side there is a shallow pond designated specifically for the noisy ones.

Looping back West out of the park, we walked up the Beacon Hill, to Chestnut Street, and around the narrow Louisburg Square . The respectable neighborhood, enclosed in files of somewhat austere-looking red-brick twins, certainly serves as homes for the wealthier townspeople.

Before reaching the banks of Charles River, we squeezed ourselves through the tiny Acorn Street (supposedly, one of the most photographed streets in America), and onto Mount Vernon Street.

We had a quick bite by the appeasing river front and made our to the pedestrian overpass that took us on the other side of Storrow Drive.

Revere Street then took us through a chain of empty alleys, until we decided to turn North to find ourselves on Cambridge Street.

We soon took a left on Staniford Street that would take us all the way to Charlestown Bridge and to other side of the river.

After getting off the bridge we strolled along the docks and hurried past the USS Constitution ship as the intense sun rays started bothering us in that shadeless harbor.

We crossed under the Tobin Memorial Bridge and had a long roundabout walk back to Charlestown Bridge via Bunker Hill Memorial Park and City Square. Although the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston is cozy and great for walking, it was not so catchy and did not make good pictures.

Having crossed Charlestown Bridge back, we went on to roam about in the Eastern part of town. Elbowing through the crowded Italian district, with its hundreds of restaurants and cafes and a couple of pretty chapels, we merged Richmond Street and followed it to Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, yet another excellent recreational area with pleasant vegetation and various street entertainers.

From the park down we first took Surface Road and then diverged West onto Broad Street, pass by the Post Office Square and Norman Leventhal Park.

A block or two later, we proceeded South, thus approaching the business district, which manifested itself by the high-risers dominating the skyline.

By the time we were coming down to the Chinatown area, the taller building yielded to the more graceful historic houses, and were again moving Northeast, following Washington Street.

We cut through a couple of tiny squares and a few remarkable memorials, and hiked towards the City Hall to see the cute golden kettle hung by a Starbucks Cafe.

Tired from the five-hour walk, we hurried down Tremont Street, stopping for a short while by the Common to feed our little fidget; and then made for the parking garage in a quick pace going westward on Boylston Street.

All stops included, it took us roughly six hours to cover a good chunk of downtown Boston. Below is the scan of the map that I had compiled before our trip trying to pick the best sights of Boston we would be able to get to. If anyone would like a large copy of that map, please let me know.

One thought on “In and around Boston

  1. Pingback: Across Massachusetts | life 2.0

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