God be with us as he was with our fathers
I have hinted at a few experiences within Boston that I have enjoyed, such as my visit to the JFK Presidential Museum and the tour of Fenway Park on its 100th anniversary, so it is time to look back on my trip to Boston back in 2012.
Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States and North America, and the history of the city is what drew me to visit. The motto, which is the title of this post, comes from its Puritan and religious past. Flying from Toronto, I flew with Porter Airlines and the flight took about an hour which was convenient. You fly right into Logan International Airport and can easily take public transit to wherever you need to go.
When you are there, you have to check out the oldest city park in the US, Boston Common. While not as large as Central Park in New York or High Park in Toronto, it is still a neat place to walk around and take in the city. Like other parks, there are statues, one commemorating George Washington, along with a large pond where you can ride along in a swan boat and see the park closer to the ground. But, some of the more uncommon sites are the graveyards on site that look like they go back to the founding of the city.
On the north side of the park, you find a place where everyone knows your name. Sadly, the interior does not match what was shown on the show Cheers, but apparently there was another pub in the city that replicated the stage and interior of the bar that you could visit.
A tip I got before arriving in Boston was to check out the Freedom Trail. It is a walking tour that takes you through the city and explores the historical buildings and people that were involved in the Revolutionary War in the late 18th century.
The tour leader and support staff are dressed up in period costumes and they talk like they did back in the late 1700s. They ask you where you have come from and relate it back to the period. It is a very cool experience. You get to see the Massachusetts State House (second image) – that is real gold, by the way on the dome – burial sites of America’s most famous revolutionaries, old and new City Hall, Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, and a lot of old buildings. This is a great way to explore the city on foot without getting lost. This tour gave me my bearings so I was able to travel the city the rest of the time I was there without much issue or getting lost.
Like a lot of other cities, including Toronto, there was a period where Boston built elevated highways to travel through the city. As a part of the “Big Dig” project, the expressways were buried under the city which then opened up space throughout the city. One of these public spaces includes the Rose M. Kennedy Greenway. The Greenway cuts through the city where most of the elevated highway travelled through. It is a great way to walk and see the city in a way that did not existed decades ago.
If Toronto ever acted with urgency and found a way to tear down the Gardiner Expressway, having something like this Greenway in its place would be great for the city.
Boston is also known for some of the world’s best universities – MIT and Harvard. Not knowing when of if I would ever be back, I decided to check out both campuses and see what they are all about. First MIT.
And then Harvard. Both are easy to get to with public transit. Both campuses are sprawling so you can walk around for hours, if you have the right footwear and proper motivation. The only regret I have is I did not sneak into a class and see what world-class education looks like. I was lucky to be educated at several great places but making the claim I went to Harvard and MIT would be fun to say.
Boston is known for its harbour. It was a busy port, site of the Boston Tea Party, and home of one of America’s oldest ships, the USS Constitution. I took some time to take a harbour tour which offered a great view of the city from the water, and then I took some time to explore the downtown core and the architecture. In some spots near the water you can see remnants of old harbours and bridges, and there are some great places to stop and have a meal or a pint. It was while I was walking around that I visited Harpoon Brewery to try some local craft beer. I also had some great lobster rolls and fish and chips at another nearby pub.
One of the other great things about downtown are the food trucks. While I was there food trucks were everywhere. They would also congregate in public squares to feed the lunchtime crowd from nearby buildings and there was a ton of variety to be found.
On my last morning before flying back to Toronto, I strolled across Commonwealth Avenue. There are a number of historic neighbourhoods and homes in the area. What I enjoyed most was the walk in the middle of the street in the park and seeing statues, sitting down to look at the homes nearby, and people watching with a coffee in hand.
And, just like that, my trip to Boston ended and I was back in Toronto before I realized it.
Have you visited Boston before? If you have or would like to, please share your experience and places you want to visit below in the comments.