New England Vacation ~ Part 2 Boston

Today I’m going to recap the second part of our New England vacation.  If you missed Part 1, you can check that out here.

After enjoying 2 beautiful days in Cape, we packed up and headed into Boston.  The traffic was much better Sunday morning heading back in to the city.  The closer we got to Boston the heavier the traffic got, but nothing compared to what we experienced on Friday.  We returned our rental car to the airport and took a Lyft to our hotel.

While in Boston we stayed at the Hyatt Centric, Faneuil Hall.  Our room wasn’t ready so we checked our luggage and headed out to start seeing the city.  It was lunch time so we decided to eat at Union Oyster House since it was a short walk from our hotel.  It is the oldest, continuously running restaurant in the United States.  There is even a booth named after JFK because he ate there so often. The food was fine and we got to see a little piece of history, so we killed two birds with one stone. Next to Union Oyster House is Bell in Hand Tavern and it is the oldest tavern in the United States.

After we ate, we decided to start walking towards Boston Common and follow the Freedom Trail.  Now, I feel like I need to issue a full disclaimer.  We are not HUGE history buffs.  I know this is probably controversial.  I realize we should, as Americans, care greatly but it does not hold our interest. My point in telling you all of that is that we just hit some of the highlights as we walked along most of the Freedom Trail.  The first stop on the Freedom Trail we made was the site of the Boston Massacre and the Old State House.

While we were continuing to walk the Freedom Trail we came across this Starbucks.  This giant steaming tea kettle was manufactured in 1873 and had hung a lot since then but has found it’s permanent home here.


We next came across the Granary Burying Grounds.  This is Boston’s third oldest cemetery and was founded in 1660.  There are many people buried in Granary but the most famous are Samuel Adams, Paul Revere and John Hancock.  Adjacent to Granary is the Park Street Church.

Some other sites we saw were the Omni Parker House which is the oldest, continuously operating hotel in the United States.  They are the home of the Parker House Rolls and the Boston Cream Pie (that’s my kind of history).  Across the street from that is the Old City Hall which now is a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.  There were some people in period costumes reenacting something, but to be honest I’m not exactly sure what it was.

We finally made our way to Boston Common.  If you’ve never been there before the best way I can explain it would be Boston’s version of Central Park.  It’s not nearly as big, but that’s the best comparison I can think of.  There were all kinds of food trucks and street vendors.  By this time we were ready for a snack and grabbed this ice cream sandwich from the Cookie Monstah food truck.

Probably the neatest area of Boston Common was the lake with the Swan Boats.  You could take a ride on a boat that is shaped like a swan.  We were there on a Sunday so the park was very busy.

Right at the top of Boston Common is Beacon Hill and the Massachusetts State House.  It is a beautiful building.  The day we were there a protest against China Extradition was going on.  Beacon Hill is an area with beautiful private residence.  These buildings reminded me of what you see on TV.

When we left Boston Common we were in search of the original Cheers Bar.  I had been given a map at our hotel and did not pay a whole lot of attention but it turns out it wasn’t to scale.  It actually was a map for the trolley tours and had some caricatures and such.  Well it turned out to be a little bit more of a walk to get to Cheers than I had originally thought, but at least we had these beautiful homes to look at on the way.

Once we finally made it to Cheers we headed inside to the air conditioning to check it out.  And yes, before you ask, they did know our name! haha  We actually went in the upper level as it was a reproduction of the set bar.  We didn’t eat, but we were able to check it out and look at the souvenir shop.  This wasn’t necessarily on my must do list, but it turned out to be pretty neat.

After we made it back to our hotel and rested up a bit we hit the North End for the evening.  The North End is the Italian neighborhood in Boston.  Think Little Italy in New York or the Hill in St. Louis except this seemed even more authentic.  It had a great feel to this neighborhood.  You definitely felt like you were in the middle of the city here.

There are so many restaurants in this area, I can’t begin to guess how many.  I had done some research and had narrowed it down to two.  There was at least an hour wait at Giacomos and about 30 minutes at La Famiglia Giorgio’s.  We chose La Famiglia Giorgio’s because everyone was pretty hungry by this point.  The food was good but nothing out of this world.  My oldest claimed that it was the best red sauce he had ever had so he might disagree.  The service was very minimal.  They never asked us if we wanted anything to drink and brought water only.  With that being said, I would say most of our servers were that way at every restaurant on the trip.  Definitely none of them making small talk for sure!

KIDS portion of Chicken Parm
Tortellini with Red Sauce
Chicken Marsala
Chicken Milanese with a side of afredo pasta

After dinner we wanted to go to the pastry shops that are popular.  We went to both Mike’s and Modern Pastry so we could decide which one we liked best.  The biggest difference I noticed in the two places were the size of the cannoli (Mikes’ was much bigger) and the fact that Modern filled theirs as you ordered them instead of having them made up.  I can’t say that I thought one was way better than the other.  They were both good.

Day two in Boston was what my husband had been waiting for the whole trip.  The Fenway Tour.  We hoped on the subway and road it to Fenway.  We found it to be an easy and economical way to get around Boston.  I would definitely say that visiting Fenway was the highlight of our trip. (especially for the guys)  There is so much history in that place it probably deserves it’s own post.  Here are just a few pictures from the tour.

Our first view of Fenway
The view from the Green Monster….or as they say in Boston “Monstah”
View from the Pressbox
The Fenway Garden. They use what they harvest for dishes that chefs prepare for club level events. Any extra produce is donated locally.
Outfield view
The red seat marks the longest home run ever hit at Fenway measuring 502 feet. It was hit by Ted Williams on June 9, 1946.
View of the neighborhood from inside Fenway. In the background you can see the famed Citgo sign.
Banners commemorating all the Red Sox Championships outside of Fenway.

After the Fenway tour we took an Uber over to Harvard Square in Cambridge.  We grabbed some lunch at Pinocchio’s Pizza and Subs before we took the student led tour of Harvard.  One of the students recommended Pinocchio’s.  It was a true hole in the wall and we love places like that.  The pizza and subs were good and it was definitely the cheapest meal of our trip!

We really enjoyed the Harvard tour.  The campus is beautiful and just like everything else in the area, there is a lot of history there.  We only went inside one building but it reminded me of a Harry Potter movie.

Harvard or Harry Potter?
The gates of Harvard. Class of 2025 & 2030?
Harvard Square

After the Harvard tour we headed back to our hotel and went to check out Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market.  This whole area is really neat.  There are shops and restaurants (think a really good foodcourt on steroids)  inside the buildings and in a promenade area around the outside.  We just walked through and browsed and grabbed a snack.  I didn’t get a picture of the banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery but it was delicious.  The cookie pizza from Kilvert & Forbes Bakeshop was great as well.


That evening we went to our first Boston Red Sox game.  They were playing the Texas Rangers.  The atmosphere in and around the ballpark was very electric.  The Boston fans are serious about their baseball (and every other sport for that matter).  It was nice to have done the tour earlier in the day that way we knew what to look for.  The stadium is so old and historic yet they’ve done a good job adding modern touches.  My favorite part was in the bottom of the 8th inning when they play Sweet Caroline and the whole crowd sings along.  That was really cool.

To wrap up or final full day in Boston we decided to take the Old Town Trolley Tour.  Since we had covered parts of the tour on foot we didn’t get off at every stop.  It was nice to get an overview of the city.  I saw several areas that I would like to go back and spend more time in.  The Beacon Hill area had a lot of cute shops and restaurants I would like to explore.  We did get off at Copley Square and walk around and shop a little.  It was more of like an upscale mall.

We decided to get off at the Seaport area stop for lunch.  I wanted another Lobster Roll and Yankee Lobster Company was recommended.  It was great!  We also tried the Lobster Chowder and as you can see the chunks of lobster in it were huge!  The fish and chicken strips were good as well.

To round out the Trolley Tour we visited the USS Constitution Shipyard and TD Gardens where the Celtics and Bruins play.

Once we concluded the trolley tour we headed to another Red Sox vs. Rangers game.  While we enjoyed the first game, the second game was even better.  The guys headed down to the field and over by the Rangers dugout to watch them warm up.  Callahan was able to get a picture with Hunter Pence before the game.  Ironically, he ended up hitting a rare major league inside the park homerun later in the game.  While they were down there before the game, Tom made friends with an usher.  He asked him if the seats in his section usually fill up.  The usher told him to come back after the 3rd inning and if there were any open he would let us down there.  Well as it turns out that connection paid off.  There were quite a few seats open in that section so we moved down there.  We were literally 3 rows off the field and eventually Callahan ended up in the first row.  He waited all night to try to get a foul ball, but in the 8th inning he got lucky.  Mookie Wilson hit a home run over the green monster and somehow it bounced back in the park.  When it bounced back in, the outfielder kind of rolled it over toward our section and he was able to get it!  Talk about one happy kid!  What a way to end a fabulous vacation!

The view from our upgraded seats

Until next time New England!  We’ll be back!!!



You may also like