Our second trip to Boston was pretty relaxed, since we had recently visited. Read about our first trip here. It was filled with the perfect mix of wedding activities and tourist activities. I flew up a day before Alex on Thursday to celebrate Hilary at her bachelorette party. It was a low-key affair at her house with many of her friends. All of my college roommates from my last two years of college were there and we had a great time cooking for the party and catching up. It was the first time we had all been together for almost four years, so we had a lot of catching up to do! Here are some photos from Thursday night!
After waking up Friday, I went for a run from Cambridge down to the Charles River. Since we had recently visited, I actually knew where I was going and felt like a local. The weather was perfect and it was a great start to my day. One of my favorite things to do when visiting new cities is go running. I love people-watching as I run and getting a feel for a town by running through different areas. The Charles River is beautiful-I wish I could run there more often!
When I finished running, I picked up Alex at the metro stop and we went back to Hilary and Mike’s apartment for lunch with several of my friends from college that were also in town for the wedding. Mike had picked up their favorite lobster rolls from Kelly’s Roast Beef. This time, Alex and I were prepared and ordered individual lobster rolls so we did not have to share. These were prepared cold with celery and mayonnaise. We enjoyed them and again wondered why we cannot get lobster rolls back home in Florida!
We then checked into our hotel at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Boston Garden. We booked this hotel because it was close to the wedding venue, at the Museum of Science. The hotel rooms seemed recently remodeled and were clean and updated. My favorite feature were the blackout blinds. I slept like a baby the whole weekend! It was easily walkable to many destinations, and there were cabs readily available to take us anywhere we did not want to walk. The hotel was also located near a CVS, so we were able to stock up on drinks and forgotten necessities. It is also near a Dunkin’ Donuts and a bar/restaurant, Harp, which we unfortunately never had the pleasure of visiting.
After checking in, Alex and I decided to walk to the Museum of Science and use the free entrance tickets that Hilary and Mike had given to guests. The museum was quite large and we spent several hours walking around visiting the different exhibits, many of which were interactive. We particularly enjoyed the thermal imaging display and got a kick out of which parts of us were warmer and colder. I must also note the human birth exhibit. It was quite detailed and was a bit traumatizing even for me! We thought it was hilarious when we saw three girls who must have been about 6 years old intently watching a video of human birth. I imagine they had lots of questions for their moms afterwards!
After a full day at the museum, we went back to the hotel to change before going back to the North End to Beneventos for pizza and pasta. We really liked the North End on our last trip, and wanted to spend more time there and eat at another restaurant in the area. We had initially planned on eating at Regina Pizzeria based on the recommendation of a friend living in Boston, but when we arrived, the line wrapped around the block and we were too hungry to wait. We asked a person walking along the street who looked like a local where he liked to go for pizza and he suggested Beneventos. I know asking a stranger might sound crazy, but this tactic usually leads to great hidden gems! Alex and I ordered the Vodka Classic brick oven pizza and pesto pasta. The pizza was perfectly crispy and the ingredients tasted very fresh. The pesto sauce in the pasta was more cream-based than oil-based which we both loved. We enjoyed our meal while sitting at the bar with wine because the bar was close to the brick oven so we enjoyed watching the staff make the pizzas. I would definitely come here if you are looking for great Italian in Boston!
After dinner, we met up with the other wedding guests for a welcome cocktail hour at Tommy Doyle’s in Kendall Square in Cambridge. We sat on the patio and drank vodka waters and draft craft beers while catching up with college friends in the beautiful evening weather!
The next morning, Alex and I planned to get up early enough to make sure we had enough time to do the Freedom Trail. We started with a walk downtown to grab lunch and a beer at Union Oyster House. Alex got fish and chips and I had the fish sandwich. The food was enjoyable and reminiscent of English pubs, but the highlight was the decor and history in the restaurant. The Union Oyster House has been open since 1826 and is the oldest restaurant in Boston and the oldest restaurant in continuous operation in the country. Many important Revolutionary figures ate there and JFK had a special booth named after him upstairs. Another fun fact about the restaurant is that the toothpick was first used there! Inside the restaurant are many old photographs and decor, so we walked around for a bit after we finished eating. One of my favorite things was a room with 3D artwork of each site on the Freedom Trail. It got us even more excited for the day’s activity!
We left Union Oyster House and walked to the Boston Common so that we could follow the Freedom Trail from start to finish. Before I talk about our experience, let me say that we wished we would have done this on our June trip. In June, the weather was cool and breezy, and by July, it was already hot and humid. Additionally, it seems that tourists had not yet overtaken the city in June, but by July they were out in full force. I would recommend going to Boston and doing the Freedom Trail earlier in the season because I think it took us a lot longer than it would have without all the tourists.
We went into the Visitor Center at the Boston Common, where we were able to find maps and information about the Freedom Trail. If you are interested in an organized tour, you can book a tour for $11 for an adult and $9 for a student. We opted to do a self-guided tour and downloaded an app for the trail that we could read as we walked the trail. The sites are as follows, starting at the Boston Common and finishing at the USS Constitution (each is linked to The Freedom Trail Foundation webpage, which provides information and history on each of the sites, so you can use this page instead of downloading an app if you would like!):
- Boston Common
- Massachusetts State House
- Park Street Church
- Granary Burying Ground
- King’s Chapel
- King’s Chapel Burying Ground
- Benjamin Franklin Statue & Boston Latin School
- Old Corner Book Store
- Old South Meeting House
- Old State House
- Site of Boston Massacre
- Faneuil Hall
- Paul Revere House
- Old North Church
- Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
- Bunker Hill Monument
- USS Constitution
We were quite hot and tired by the end of the Trail. It is only 2.5 miles, but in the humidity, we were beat by the end. We decided to take a cab back to the hotel so we would have more time to cool off and rest before the wedding!
Hilary and Mike were married at the Museum of Science. It was a beautiful venue and the ceremony was set up outside. After the ceremony, we enjoyed cocktails and a raw bar filled with incredible fresh New England seafood. The reception was tented near the ceremony area and featured a great band and Wolfgang Puck catering. If you are getting married in the Boston area, it was a wonderful wedding site!
After the wedding, everyone met at the Art Bar at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, which was where many of the guests were staying. The bar has quite an extensive menu of classic and signature cocktails. The bar itself has a modern feel and I have to give them props for handling a huge group of people who had already been drinking at a wedding. That cannot have been easy! We also enjoyed a delicious brunch the next morning at the Royal Sonesta.
After checking out of our hotel, Alex and I headed to the Harpoon brewery. One of our favorite activities in new cities is to go to a local craft brewery tour and enjoy the local beers. When we arrived, the tours were booked until the later afternoon, so we purchased the first available time, and walked over to Legal Harborside for a drink while waiting for our tour. We ate on the first floor, which features a casual restaurant and in-house fish market. We sat at bar seating overlooking the patio with views of the HarborWalk, the Boston Fish Pier (the oldest working fish pier in the USA), and the downtown skyline. We ordered John Dalys (an Arnold Palmer with vodka), which were our wedding drink, and chatted about the weekend. I wish we would have been hungry because the fresh seafood looked delicious and many of the restaurants seemed to be having leisurely Sunday brunches with friends. I did not realize that Legal Seafoods operates many locations, so check this link to find one near you!
Finally, we went back to Harpoon brewery for our tour. The Harpoon tour was hands-down one of our favorite brewery tours. The guide was knowledgeable and funny and taught us a lot about the brewing process. He allowed us to taste beer as it went through the brewing process to see how it tastes at different stages. At the end of the tour, the guide explained all of the beers on tap and we had a half hour to sample as many beers as we wanted (and could). Alex and I managed to try all 12. There were several favorites on tap, like the Harpoon IPA and the UFO White, as well as various seasonal beers. My favorite was the 100 Barrel Series. The story behind this is a few years ago, some Harpoon employees started an annual company homebrew competition. Any employee could brew a beer, and the winning beer was chosen at the annual company outing at the brewery in Vermont and is offered as a 100 Barrel Series offering. When we visited, the White IPA was on tap and I loved it. I searched every liquor store in town to find it when we got back to Florida. Eventually, I called the brewery, got the name of the regional Harpoon distributor, and called him to find out when White IPA was coming to Florida. He was extremely helpful and I was ultimately able to find it while vacationing in Tampa. In any case, I think Harpoon is a great brewery with fantastic beers and wonderful people. If you aren’t a Harpoon fan, I recommend getting what you can at your local liquor store and going to Boston for a visit to the brewery. You can thank me later!
After leaving the tour, we took a bus and the T to the airport. Our flight was delayed, so I got one last Dunkin Donuts while we waited. I am a huge Dunkin’ fan (I HATE Krispy Kreme) and being in a city that has a Dunkin’ on almost every corner made me very happy!
Unfortunately, our flight delay caused us to miss our connection, so we had to spend the night in Baltimore. The bright side was that one of my best friends lives in DC, so she and her boyfriend drove to Baltimore to meet us for drinks at Max’s Taphouse. It was a great surprise ending to the trip and we had a great time catching up in a new city! I don’t have any other Baltimore recommendations since we only spent a few hours there, but if we ever get back there, I will be sure to post about it! Max’s Taphouse was a very cool bar. They claim to have Maryland’s largest selection of local and imported beer with “140 rotating drafts, 5 Hand-Pumped Cask Ales, and a world-spanning collection of approximately 1200 bottled beers in stock”. In 2011, it was featured as one of America’s 100 best new beer bars in Draft Magazine. I had a hard time choosing beers, so we ended up getting flights so we could taste more beers. The bar is huge and the beer speaks for itself. If you like beer and you are in Baltimore, Max’s is a must!
Kelly’s Roast Beef: Several locations, including 35 Revere Beach Pkwy, Medford, Massachusetts
Benevento’s: 111 Salem St, Boston, Massachusetts 02113
Union Oyster House: 41 Union Street, Boston, Massachusetts
Legal Harborside: 270 Northern Avenue, Liberty Wharf, Boston, Massachusetts 02210
Dunkin’ Donuts: On your nearest corner!
Museum of Science: 1 Science Park, Boston, Massachusetts 02114
Freedom Trail: Start at the Boston Common and get information at the Visitor Center at 139 Tremont Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02111
Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites Boston Garden: 280 Friend Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02114
Royal Sonesta: 40 Edwin Land Boulevard, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02142
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