Boston- the Freedom Trail
Our first official day in Boston- see here for how we got here, what we planned, and what traveling looks like right now.
After such a long day of travel, we let everyone sleep in a bit. With so many things currently closed, the only things we were really able to do were seeing all of the outside sites so there was really no hurry to be anywhere. Once we were all up and dressed, we started out to see the Public Gardens and Boston Commons- America's oldest public park, established in 1634. We explored for a bit then stopped for lunch at The Earl of Sandwich right in the Commons- again, not much was open so all of the places on my list of must-try weren't very helpful. This turned out to be great, the kids had fresh pizza and their salads, soups, and sandwiches were really good. After lunch we walked through the public gardens which were beautiful- so green with everything in bloom. The kids loved watching the ducks in the pond and even though it was a very hot day (90!), there was plenty of shade. We saw the Make Way for Ducklings statue and then headed back up to the State House to begin the Freedom Trail.
The Freedom Trail officially begins in the Commons at the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial which commemorates the first all-black volunteer regiment in the Civil War. Unfortunately it is currently being restored so we couldn't actually see it but there is a photo on the website.
Next is the State House, with the beautiful gold dome. It was sadly closed (like all the sites on the trail) so we could only view the outside. We continued on to the Park Street Church, just a block away. The entire trail is 2.5 miles and most of the sites are within a few hundred feet of each other. It was pretty hot this day and not being able to ever go inside made it a little tough, but we packed plenty of water and made the best of it! We did end up saving the last part, Bunker Hill and the USS Constitution for the evening since they are across the river and we took a rest during the hottest part of the day. The trail is marked all along the way by a red brick line which is really fun for the kids to follow (and helpful for everyone!). Luckily, the last few sites before Bunker Hill took us right back near our hotel.
After cooling off and resting it was almost time for dinner. Once again, most of the places I'd seen recommended were closed but since we were right by Little Italy, we decided to try La Famiglia Giorgios, and it was a winner! They were offering takeout only and it was very easy to order over the phone and bring back to our hotel for a feast! Right before I picked up the dinner, I passed a little Italian bakery, Bova's. There were cases filled with every type of pastry imaginable so I selected a small sample for everyone to share plus a couple of drinks for dinner. We had the best dinner which revived us for the last part of the trail.
We headed across the river, following the red brick trail. The path takes you right through Charlestown which is a beautiful area! Gorgeous homes and little park areas, and before you know it you are looking at Bunker Hill! People were gathered here for sunset picnics (socially distanced!). After we looked around, we got back on the path (you backtrack a little) towards the USS Constitution. It's a really nice walk, back through Charlestown. Even though the boat and museum were closed, we were able to get pretty close to the boat. There are also great views of the harbor and downtown from here!
Before crossing back over the bridge, we rewarded our efforts with some delicious ice cream from Emack and Bolio's! They had some really fun flavors and also a delicious root beer float with a micro-brewed root beer!
That pretty much wrapped up our day!
Tomorrow-Visiting Cambridge and Harvard
Like many of you, we had several trips and plans for this spring and summer that have been cancelled due to Covid. However, there was one trip we left booked (which we had planned way back in the winter), watching reports carefully to see if it would still be possible- and it was! We ended up traveling to Boston and Nantucket for just about a week and it was wonderful despite all the changes.
Before I describe what we did, I want to preface by saying that by no means is this a recommendation for anyone to go book a trip right now- please use your judgement and carefully look to see what the status of covid is in your own area as well as the area you might travel to and of course your own personal risk factors. For us, we were in constant communication with relatives we had in the area as well as the homeowner of the place we were renting to make sure everything would be as safe as possible. We also knew that nearly everything we would be doing would be outside. While we had a great time in both places, this was by no means an ideal visit of either place just because there are still so many restrictions in place.
We originally planned this trip where we would fly into Boston, stay a few days, then take the ferry to Nantucket and fly back to Denver from there. However, Covid messed up those plans big time, completely deleting our Nantucket flight and so we had to rework the whole trip. There are a few different ways to get to Nantucket- you can go by high-speed, passenger ferry (about an hour), take your car on a ferry (about 2 hours and must be booked WAY ahead- this was no longer an option for us at this point), or you can fly into Nantucket- either from Boston or straight in/out (though that was no longer an option either for us this time).
Ultimately, we ended up flying into Boston, renting a car there (car rentals on Nantucket are $150/day+!), and driving down to the ferry. We then parked the car while we took the passenger ferry and once in Nantucket we just used either the island shuttle or taxis. I've been thinking through how we might do this next time, assuming things are back to normal so I may add a summary of those thoughts at the end of this post! Let's get on to the trip!
In Boston, we stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Downtown/North Station. The location was perfect and the room was huge! The hotel was hardly occupied and masks were required at all times outside of your room. The lobby was enormous with several tables that came in handy for us later for enjoying some takeout. We were pretty hungry after a long day of travel- one inconvenience is that most of the airports we were at had very little open for food and there is no food service on the airline, though we did receive bottles of water and a snack (United).
AB Burgers was right outside our hotel and offered patio dining and takeout so we grabbed a table. It was delicious, with an amazing sunset view of the Zakim Bridge. After dinner, it was almost 10 local time so we headed to bed at the hotel. Next day, the Freedom Trail!