Home after 10 days in Boston and I already miss the place. The trip was part tourism and part family, but I have to say that it was one of the best city visits I have ever done. Here, in no particular order, are the first five of the ten best things about Boston for me:
Boston is steeped in history - it is the birthplace of the American Revolution and they are very proud of this. I visited everything I could - a lot was familiar to me from reading about this period of American history. But to be under the balcony where the Declaration of Independence was read, to be at the graveside of Paul Revere, walk through Fanueil Hall, and see the USS Constitution - brings it all a lot closer and to life.
History is big business in Boston. There are so many museums to see and tours to take. Everywhere you go you are reminded of the Revolution - just like in Dublin for the 1916 commemorations. While it is in your face a lot, it is never tacky and cheap. Kudos too to the very knowledgeable tour guides that we met.
The big highlight of the end of our holiday was to go and see the Boston Red Sox take on the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park (Red Sox won 5-4). With a good, but not complete, knowledge of the game - I was able to follow along. The game was spoiled a bit by a 1.5 hour stoppage for rain, but I loved every minute of it. The hero of the Red Sox fans was clearly David Ortiz ("Big Papi") who delivered with a home run (the first one I have ever been present at). I had never heard of him before, he didn't look very fleet of foot but I did discover that he is 40 years old. #
And we had beer and hot dogs too!
Boston is one of the friendliest places I have ever visited. Several times on the street while we were looking at our maps, people would come up to us an ask us if we needed any help. Restaurant staff, bar staff, museum staff - they could not do enough for you. Much friendlier than other US cities I have visited.
Craft beer is popular here. I have no idea about how many different breweries there are in America, but Boston bars, restaurants, and shops seem to have a lot of them. We visited the Harpoon brewery and enjoyed the story of how beer is developed and brewed. Sam Adams was my lager of choice whenever I ordered a pint, but I certainly enjoyed all the others I tried.
We ate out most of the time. While this is expensive, we tried many different types of restaurant and loved them all. On our second last night we decided to try the Latin Quarter in South Boston. This looked like a mistake until we came across a pub called The Haven - for the first time ever I had Haggis (it was OK), and a deep fried Mars Bar (it was fantastic!).
Only one complaint - the 200-300% mark up on a bottle of wine.