24 hours in: Boston

What can you do in this historic city if you have less than a day to pound the pavement?

Ok, so we didn’t plan to spend such a little amount of time in Boston on purpose. Nor am I a big fan of setting myself challenging tasks in general – watching commuters engage themselves in sudoku while simultaneously not letting the jerks and jams of the train ride hurtle me head-first into another armpit is challenging enough. In fact, my (our – I went with my better half) trip to Boston was more of a stop over en-route to Portland, Maine, so I have a reasonable excuse for the brevity of the visit.

These situations force one to prioritise. With guide books at the ready and the plane circling Boston Logan Airport waiting to land in fog (oh joy), we made an executive decision to limit our exploration to a tiny part of the city – North End. We’re both very much into good food, so visiting Little Italy was the natural choice. Having dumped our bags in the hotel, we travelled on the city’s tram/train system and disembarked at Haymarket station. With the impressive skyline of the city’s Government Center (pretty name…) to our right, we made our way to what turned out to be Hanover Street.

We were surrounded by amazing Italian restaurants at almost every turn, making Hanover Street ideal an hunting ground to scope out restaurants for later in the evening. However, what we really felt like was a lobster roll. I guess we were both dreaming of tucking into a lobster in Maine the next day and we got impatient…and we didn’t have to travel far to find one. Wedged between two cwahffee – couldn’t help myself – places (Polcari’s Coffee and the Boston Common Coffee Co.) on Soham Street, we ventured into what looked like a neighbourhood sushi restaurant. The staff were on first-name terms with their customers, and free food just for walking in made us feel like we’d stumbled upon a little goldmine.

The lobster roll was gone within a minute, I guess. Then continued our exploration of North End.

Further down Salem Street, we stumbled on Old North Church – the Christopher Wren-inspired church that played a central role in the American Revolution. The church was where Paul Revere told Robert Newman (the church sexton) to hang lanterns from the church steeple to warn of British troop movements. Think warning beacons of Gondor – very cool.

From gawping at a church, we soon found ourselves eating again. Located directly opposite the huge Abercrombie & Fitch store is Quincey Market (Faneuil Hall), an incredible food market and hall selling everything from seafood pasta to pizza bagels, sushi and Philadelphia steak sandwiches. Wandering through the marketplace feeling horribly full, it almost seems like the A&F store is located there as some sort of sick joke. We found the Cheers bar (not the real one, but a Cheers-theme bar), near the market and from there we decided to explore further before heading to the hotel to crash. That didn’t happen. We stayed out and ventured around the slightly less-nice-to-look-at standard city centre stuff for a couple of hours before heading back to Giacomo’s on Hanover Street for dinner. Now, we saw a queue outside Giacomo’s earlier in the day and assumed it was some sort of happy hour. No. There is a constant queue outside this place, and for very good reason. They only take cash, so no credit cwards (I did it again), you can’t make a reservation and you should NOT expect to be able to order a dessert…but the Italian food is stunning.

A calorie count matched only by our pedometre reading, and we couldn’t take it anymore. My dad was disappointed I didn’t have the energy to go to the real Cheers bar…but he’ll get over it, I’m sure.

Do you have any suggestions for 24-hours in Boston? If so, feel free to share them with us…

– RD, editor

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