This Valentine’s day tale isn’t about a boy. I have only ever loved one man, who I have been in love with since eighteen. That is old news. No, this love story is about falling madly, and recklessly in love with a city. This is the account of how and why I fell for Boston.
I really didn’t expect such a grand, overwhelming response to Boston. Jay had a business trip, that preceded the Valentine’s season, so we thought we would make a small, romantic getaway out of it. Contrary to my normal disposition, little planning went into our venture. We have dear friends who now inhabit the much warmer (and humane) climate of Newport Beach, but grew up in the Boston area. So before we boarded the train, we picked their brains on what to do, see and experience. The combination of their expertise and the beauty, this big-small town eludes, left us in love. The well maintained, colonial architecture is stunning, the earth mindedness left it feeling like home and the excess bikers (even in below freezing temperatures) is reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest. Add to that that the people were exceptionally, over the top friendly and I never want to go home.
This is my kind of city (perhaps I will have to expand my September job search to include the greater Boston area). I do love New York, but Boston is way more my speed. Here is a summary of our highlights:
1. Take the train
Not only is the train a cheaper option, but it is way more leisurely than flying. During your four hour tour, Amtrak will wind you along the New England shorelines. If you time it just right, you sail past in time to watch the sun set over the iconic Rhode Island homes with their grand wrap around verandahs and dormer windows, which are nestled in clusters amongst the foliage that lines the waters of Greenwich Bay. Amtrak has wifi, so school or work is possible. But really, if you are anything like myself you will get almost nothing accomplished because the sights out your window are so much more captivating than your Columbia education can offer.
2. Stay at the Fairmont Copley Plaza
After eight years as a Fairmont Employee, we Jordan’s developed an intense brand loyalty. We love all their properties (and have visited over 20 of them). All though I no longer work there, this year alone we have still wrangled stays in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Victoria. The Fairmont Copley Plaza, held up to their Fairmont name in terms of service, location and overall quality of our stay. Jay’s extensive business travel has earned an abundance of travel rewards which often affords us some perks (like a free night this trip), and the Fairmont presidents club incentives never seem to disappoint. So thank you Fairmont Copley for welcoming us with fresh baked cookies and complimentary fitness gear in our room. We appreciate it.
3. Harvard Square
4. Harvard and MIT
Jay and I are big, unashamed nerds (shocking I know) and we love to tour colleges. We actually took an hour detour and paid an extra two tolls just to visit the Norte Dame campus on our road trip across the USA this past summer. So a visit to Boston would not be complete without an exploration of Harvard and MIT. Whether you love higher education or don’t it is worth it to explore, so just go. There are great eateries and a great college vibe. What more could you want?
5. Newbury Street
Newbury Street is a cute compliation of exquisite stores. This is any die hard shoppers mecca. It’s beautifully decorated windows and abundance of opulent goods would fill both my extremely fashionable mother in law and sister in law with unbridled excitement. The way we see it is that any shopping district that houses a Marimekko store it is all right in our books. We have cultivated such a soft sport for this Finnish designer’s bright colors and bold patterns (as our bathroom and kitchen can attest to). Our love affair started after being gifted a number of kitchen themed items for our wedding by a dear friend Gillian, and it has been all down hill from there.
6. Eat Everywhere
Most of our dining leads came by way of a couple of Canadian expats we cherish, who just happened to spend a few years in Boston while he undertook his graduate studies. We tackled the following list of establishments, and each gets our resounding endorsement. However, this is in no way a wholly encompassing listing of places to dine, because the foodie culture in Boston is rampant. So eat up (and bring your stretchy pants because it is all so good that you can’t miss a single spot)
For exceptional, gourmet burgers: Mr. Bartley’ s in Harvard Square (Veggies/Vegans you will love the Jimmy Fallon)
For Thai (and a great takeout or delivery option): Thai Basil in Copley Square
For a decadent, amazing treat: L.A. Burdick in Harvard Square
For the Juicers among us: Jugos in Copley Square
For the best Cannoli ever (and cupcakes, and cookies, and muffins… we ate a lot of sugar): Mike’s Pastry Shop in the North End
For a quick bite (think Chipotle with more options): Boloco in almost every neighborhood
7. Boston Public Garden
In the summer there are a slew of monuments to take in, as well as a freedom trail tour. However, in the winter they are all buried under feet upon feet of snow. I guess that just means we will need to return in the spring… and summer.. and fall… and next winter. Instead, what you will find in the park this time of year is a beautiful ice covered pond for skating, and a quiet winter retreat to walk through. It is gorgeous.
8. The North End and Old North Church
For the history buffs among you will love the Old North Church. Inside you will find a guide giving a lecture on Paul Revere and the history of the church. As honorary Americans Jay and I have a lot to brush up on, such as the imperial system, amazon prime and US history, so we scope out every chance we get to soak in a little more of the country we are calling home at the moment. An added bonus is that the church is in the heart of the North End, and surrounded on all sides by amazing Italian restaurants. As you walk the small, crooked cobbled streets you will breathe in the aroma of roast garlic and fresh, wood baked pizza dough. It is heavenly.