For my fiancé’s thirtieth birthday, I gifted him a trip to Boston. I had been a few times before when I was young, but not in my adult life. Now that he has adopted my dream of visiting all the states, this was the perfect gift as it was one of the closest states he hadn’t visited before. We generally enjoy taking public transportation for our trips, but even over a month out, Amtrak trains were very expensive. We went in October, which is peak season for Boston. It’s right before it gets too cold to enjoy exploring the city and also prime time for nearby Salem right around Halloween. It was a pleasurable drive up to New England as we were able to see all the beautiful foliage. Seeing the colors change from green to light green to yellow to light orange to auburn then red as you drive up the highway is something everyone should experience at least once.
We checked in at the Loews Hotel downtown. It was key for us to stay in the city, although hotels were on the expensive-side, rather than in the surrounding towns. We valeted our car at the hotel and didn’t take it out until we left at the end of the weekend. If you stay downtown, the city is very walkable and there is no need to look for parking. We mostly walked everywhere, only taking a few Lyfts.
Our first stop was Barcelona for lunch. This was a recommendation from a friend who went to Boston College. It ended up being our favorite restaurant the whole trip. It was a fun atmosphere and just what we were looking for. We ordered four different tapas to share so we were able to try a little bit of everything.
Next, we went on to explore some history. We went over to Paul Revere’s house. We waited longer in line to get in than the total amount of time that we spend in the house, but I would still recommend it for a quick stop. The admission cost was minimal (but it’s cash only) and it was amazing to think that you are standing right where Paul Revere lived hundreds of years before. The building is very unassuming and could be easily missed as it attached to other (now more modern) residential units. Inside there are only a few rooms to see. We learned some interesting facts about how to tell when flooring is from based on the type of nails in the floorboards. A few artifacts in the home were original to Paul Revere and his family. This included a sampler that hung on the wall, as well as a chair. It was pretty astounding that they were still intact.
After the house, we walked along Paul’s “midnight ride” route to the Old North Church. We bought tickets in advance for admission. It was very crowded as there was a singing group from Texas there at the same time. Without premium admission tickets, you can only see the first level. Yet, the lanterns for “one if by land, two if by sea” are not there anymore because unfortunately they have deteriorated over the years. What we found most unique about the church was the pews. Instead of in typical long rows, each section was its own segmented square.
We continued to walk around the city along the Freedom Trail and passed by other areas of historical significance. Then we found ourselves at the Tea Party Museum. Truth be told, this was my least favorite attraction. It was perfect for kids, but not so much for two adults, and the admission is pricey. We secured tickets online for this attraction as well ahead of time, but still had to wait in line when we arrived to be given tickets for an admission time. We were escorted into a meeting room where we were each handed a feather to show we were “on the right side” and also given a card stating our role at the meeting. Again, great for kids, but a bit corny for my taste. After we were escorted to the ship where we were able to “throw” the tea overboard (the tea was attached to the ship by rope). We were instructed to “storm the ship,” but to actually walk in an orderly fashion. The best part for me was seeing an actual tea crate from the time period once we were inside the museum section. This section was very state-of-the-art with talking paintings on the walls of revolutionary figures.
Having some spare time until our dinner reservation at Bistro du Midi, we stopped by Faneuil Hall Marketplace. I would have liked to spend even more time here. We checked out the Cheers bar. We had both seen the show before and recognized the characters. After we got back, we started watching the show as all eleven seasons can be found on Netflix! Seeing so many people walking around the market with small boxes that looked almost like take-out containers, we wondered where they came from. After reading the top of the boxes, they were from Mike’s Pastry, famous for their cannolis. We mapped our way there only to find that the line snaked around two city blocks. With no end in sight and no abundance of time, we ditched the line and instead found Blackbird Doughnuts, which we visited the next morning as it was close to our accommodations. What a great find it was! They even had dairy-free donuts. I opted for the vegan blueberry pie. There were options galore which were neatly displayed in a glass window to help with the difficult decision.
It was much warmer toward the end of our trip so we spent a good portion of the day exploring outside. We found ourselves enjoying a stroll and taking pictures throughout Boston Common. We walked around several other smaller nearby parks and wandered up to the Massachusetts State House and passed by some beautifully architected churches with large stained-glass windows. Before departing, we stopped for lunch at Bar Mezzana. It was a bit out of the area and in a new direction from everywhere else we had explored. They had good brunch and lunch options, then we headed back to find our car and were off. The perfect birthday weekend getaway (and another state off the list!).