So I told you recently about visiting Boston with Norwegian. Oh, we completely fell in love with Boston. My friend Erica visited a while back and I was surprised when she said she liked it more than New York. Having visited, I can totally see why. It has a small town vibe and everything is really accessible by foot. We walked and walked for hours, shopping, sightseeing and photographing, and really could have done with staying a few more days.
We wandered south from our T stop in the centre of Boston and down through the pretty cobbled streets to the Beacon Hill area, oohing and ahhing at all the pretty houses as we walked. The main shopping street, Charles Street, is fabulous, full of independent stores, coffee shops and boutiques.
After this, we headed to Back Bay, mentally moving in to all the lovely brownstones (check out the twinkly lights on their tree):
Back Bay is also home to some fantastic shopping. Lovely Newbury Street is a fabulous place to wander. Many of the shops are high end but there are some pretty boutiques as well as well known high street brands. Copley Place, on Huntington Avenue, is a fabulous shopping mall, stacked with amazing shops from the very high end like Chanel and Armani, to the more familiar Gap and J Crew. From here, you can wander straight through to the Prudential Centre, where there’s more amazing shops (also a huge Eataly, which wasn’t quite open when we arrived). We loved Sugarfina (I’ve never seen a shop like it – posh sweeties in beautiful packaging), Kate Spade, the huge Sephora of my dreams and many more. Poor old Mr E.
The afternoon was dedicated to exploring the more northerly end of Boston. First, we had an appointment at The Langham for a delicious afternoon tea. The Langham is utterly beautiful, with exquisite service, and our tea was elegant, delicate and absolutely wonderful. We highly recommend it if you’re visiting Boston -it’s a proper treat.
After this, we wandered to Quincy Market – also called Faneuil Hall Marketplace just near the waterfront, which is a really fun place to explore, with shops, restaurants and cafés, street performers and musicians. There’s also Boston Public Market, a great indoor food market (sadly we were already full up from our afternoon tea, but there’s loads of tasting opportunities, including a wonderful selection of local wines), and we were lucky enough to visit on the day of the Haymarket, the weekend outdoor market, bursting with fresh produce.
In the evening we headed back down to Boston’s pretty South End area as we had reservations at the iconic Metropolis, open on Tremont Street since 1995. The restaurant is small and buzzy with great bistro food and fabulous cocktails (although we’d already spotted a Bethel Heights 2014 Willamette Valley Pinot Gris on the wine list, so we had to divert from our original cocktail plan). We feasted on delicious salads of goats’ cheese and figs with togarashi spiced peaches and frisée in a citrussy dressing, and then a rich braised lamb shank with tomato haricot verts, Maine grain grits and garlic yoghurt. Utterly gorgeous and what a fabulous way to round off a day.
For our final day in Boston, we were up bright at early at the Harbour to join Boston Harbor Cruises on a whale watching trip. Although it was bright and sunny, it was bitterly cold and the catamaran whizzes out to the whales at speeds of up to 35 knots so it gets pretty breezy! We sailed to Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary and saw loads of whales, pirouetting and wheeling right up out of the water, feeding and slapping the water with their fins. I can’t wholeheartedly recommend this trip to you if you’re likely to feel sick (I did), but the staff will always warn you in advance if it’s likely to be rough and will happily move you onto a different day. Still, feeling a bit chilly and a bit sick at times was totally worth it to see these incredible creatures up so close.
After a quick lunch at the delightful Chart House on Long Wharf at the harbor (I highly recommend the fried Boston Scrod sandwich), we were back in our trusty Hertz hire care and on the road down the coast towards Cape Cod. Next up: Falmouth, Plymouth, and gorgeous Martha’s Vineyard.
Where to stay:
We stayed at the Fairfield Inn and Suites, which is just the other side of the Charles River in Cambridge, where you’ll find Harvard and MIT. If you’re a bit adventurous, it’s a fab place to locate yourself. It’s just by the T (the MBTA, Boston’s transport system) too, so you can hop on and whizz straight into central Boston. The Fairfield is a new, modern hotel and our funky room had loads of sockets and USB points (SO important when you’re travelling with tech!), an enormous, comfy bed, white granite surfaces and tasteful grey and silver decor, plus a bathroom with a huge walk in glass walled shower and Paul Mitchell toiletries too.
If you’d rather be more central, Loews hotel Boston is located in Back Bay (good one if you’re travelling with kids as they provide loads of kid and teen services like activity books, babysitting, DVDs, GameBoys, kids menus and activities, cribs, roll away beds, etc).
The Fairmont Copley Plaza is also centrally located in Boston’s historic Back Bay area, near Boston Public Library and the Freedom Trail, AND they have Catie, their gorgeous resident black Labrador!
The Westin Copley Place is also in Back Bay area and is another good one if you’re travelling with your family. They have a family package, which includes things like a ‘kids under 12 eat free with the purchase of an adult meal’ deal, second room discounts, etc.
The Marriott in the Prudential centre is SUCH a great base for shopping and sightseeing, plus it has an indoor swimming pool!
The Godfrey Hotel is a really cool hotel in a good location (5 minute walk from Boston Common Park) and fairly new, as is The Envoy Hotel, a unique hotel with an electronic pool in the lobby, located on the river close to the tea party ships.
Huge thanks to Natalie at Norwegian for all her hard work. Click here for all the information you need about travelling to Boston with Norwegian, and for more information on visiting Massachusetts, click on massholiday.co.uk.