Boston’s Freedom Trail

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As a history nerd, one of my absolute favorite parts of Boston – and the first thing I did after ditching my bags at the condo I was staying at – was walking the Freedom Trail. Established in the 1950s, the Freedom Trail winds 2.5 miles from the Boston Common to the Charlestown Navy Yard. It leads past 16 significant historical sites, places where crucial moments occurred during the American Revolution.

It is ridiculous how cool it was to be standing there, walking paths our forefathers walked and looking at the buildings where they gathered.

Boston Common

I spent a lot of time in America’s oldest park as the days wore on, but I first visited it as the starting point of the Freedom Trail.

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Massachusetts State House

I spotted this building from across the common and planned to walk over to check it out anyway, before realizing that it was the next stop! Isn’t the dome just gorgeous?!

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Park Street Church

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Granary Burial Ground

I started my walk around 5 p.m., so most places – including these burying grounds – were already closed for the day.

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King’s Chapel

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King’s Chapel Burying Ground

Benjamin Franklin Statue & Boston Latin School

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Old Corner Bookstore

Now a Chipotle.

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Old South Meeting House

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Old State House

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Site of Boston Massacre

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Faneuil Hall

I ducked in here to grab postcards for my family – it seemed to be mostly gimmicky touristy shops but still fun to check out! Quincy Hall is right behind and is a great spot to grab food. (Yes this photo is of the back of the building. I didn’t know!)

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Paul Revere House

I somehow didn’t get a picture, but here’s his statue!

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Old North Church

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Copp’s Hill Burying Ground

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Bunker Hill Monument

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USS Constitution

I didn’t go this far because I was meeting someone for dinner, but the ship was closed for restoration anyway. Besides, I think it’s best to leave some things unseen so there’s a reason to return!

If you want to visit the Freedom Trail, this site is a fantastic resource. I’ve heard people advise to allow 3-4 hours to do the whole thing, but it took me 3 and a half without being able to duck into any of the museums!  If you’re like me and stop to read every plaque, this could easily take half a day or more.

Happy travels!

Visiting Cambridge

I’ll be honest: When I started planning my trip to Boston, Cambridge wasn’t very high on my priority list. It looked far away from everything else and truthfully, I was just hoping to spend all of my time exploring Boston proper. But I crammed in more than I expected in my first three days and so ended up with a morning completely free before my bus trip back to New York.

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It turns out Cambridge isn’t all that far from Charlestown, where I was staying – Boston is much smaller than New York, geographically, and I never quite got used to it! It was a pleasant 20 minute ride on the bus or train, but felt as though it was a world away.

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Cambridge is mainly universities (Harvard and MIT) as well as Harvard Square, which is where I did most of my exploring. Honestly, half a day was plenty of time to get a feel for the town. I poked through the shops at Harvard Square, roamed the campus (they offer free tours but I opted to explore on my own) and then headed back to Boston after about two hours.

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When I was younger I had big dreams of going to Harvard, so it was fun to see the campus and live vicariously for a bit. Plus, what girl in the mid-2000s didn’t want to be Rory Gilmore in the Ivy Leagues?!

IMG_4742 IMG_4741 IMG_4740If you’re interested in visiting Cambridge, the Red Line on the T serves Harvard Square, and several bus routes cut through as well!

A Red Sox game at Fenway Park

Fact that could get me eaten alive here in NYC: I’m a Red Sox fan. My grandfather is from Boston, so we kids were raised to cheer for the Sox and (perhaps more importantly) against the Yankees. So when I went to Boston, I knew that hitting up a game at Fenway Park was a priority – I even chose my travel dates to correspond with some home games against the Orioles.

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I knew that Fenway would be cool. It’s the oldest ballpark in America, having opened in 1912. (I watched the centennial celebration 3 years ago and might have been super emotional about it). Honestly though, I was blown away. Though it’s obviously been renovated over the years, Fenway truly retains a vintage feel. I may as well have been at a game back in the early years.

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Other favorite things about the park: Part of the ticketed area is outside, so the bars and shops on that street are ticket-holders only. My seat (grandstand 8!) was in the shade. SAM ADAMS SUMMER ALE ON TAP.

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Things that could have been better: the Red Sox. Seriously terrible this season. Guess I’ll just have to go back and see them win sometime!

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Boston from above: Visiting the Prudential Tower

One of the first things I knew I wanted to do when I started planning my trip to Boston was head to the Skywalk Observatory at the Prudential Center. I think heading to the top of the tallest building is a great way to get a lay of the land in the new city, plus it provides great photo opportunities 😉

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I was originally planning to visit after a Red Sox game, but the weather was grim and most of the observatory was closed for a private event. I came back the next day, when the weather was perfect and the entire Skywalk was open.

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The observatory wraps all the way around the tower, letting you look out at Boston from every angle. It’s also home to the Dreams of Freedom museum, an exhibition celebrating immigration’s role in Boston’s history. I learned so much about the city’s history I didn’t know (something I thought impossible after walking the entire Freedom Trail!) plus it made me feel like I really got my money’s worth – although the views alone were more than enough!

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I highly recommend visiting the Skywalk Observatory if you’re ever in Boston. There’s also a lounge two stories up where you can grab a meal or just a drink. The ticket kiosk can be tricky to find (or maybe that’s just me!) it’s inside the Shops at Prudential Center (basically a shopping mall) on the ground floor near the escalators that go down into the basement. Alternatively, you can just take the elevator to the 50th floor and buy your tickets there! It might just be the New Yorker in me, but I thought the ticket prices were basically a steal. Don’t forget to check before your visit to make sure the whole space is open!

What’s your favorite place in the world to get great views?

My week in Instagrams: Boston edition

I’m back from what turned out to be an incredibly rejuvenating four days in Boston, Massachusetts! While I sort out my thoughts and edit the 200+ photos I took over the coming days, here are the Instagrams I posted while I was gone – they turned out to form a great overview of my trip.

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As soon as I stepped out of the South Station bus terminal, I knew I would fall in love with Boston. The blue skies and perfect weather (which lasted my entire stay) certainly helped, but I suspect this city would have charmed me regardless.

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On day 1 I walked the entirety of the Freedom Trail, and then some (let’s just say if I spot a waterfront I will go out of my way to explore it). This shot is from the Charlestown Bridge during golden hour, and it makes me want to jump in a sailboat and forget all my worries!

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On day 2 I finally achieved a lifelong bucket-list item: A Red Sox game in Fenway Park! I’m a Red Sox fan, but any baseball fan would appreciate the oldest park in America – it opened in 1912 and retains much of that vintage feel.

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Another golden hour shot because Boston is just so photogenic! I was basically obsessed with the weather, the architecture and taking photos throughout my stay.

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On day 3 I finally made my way to the top of the Prudential Tower! I’m so thankful for better weather than my visit to the World Trade Center a few weeks ago – I could see all of Boston and then some.

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Finally on day 4 before hopping back on the Megabus, I ventured out to Cambridge to visit Harvard University. It was pretty cool to explore the campus and the surrounding area – just being there made me feel a little bit smarter!

I’ll be posting more in-depth content on my Boston trip over the coming weeks, but in the meantime you can follow me on Instagram here!