I finally made it to Boston! I’d been dreaming of a Boston adventure for years, envisioning a trip during the fall so I could experience the colorful foliage in the northeast. The trip didn’t turn out this way, but it was so much better!

Mom wanted to go to Boston so she could attend a chef’s conference. I wasn’t sure how this was going to go, as the conference was in the middle of February! Boston, in the middle of February?!? What were they thinking? Would we be prevented from arriving because of snow? Would it be so cold I couldn’t do that walking tour of Boston that I had been anticipating all those years? I had to take steps to avoid these risks!

First things first, we had to get there. I determined that driving would be too stressful. Flying wasn’t ideal, either, as we could be faced with a winter weather flight delay. This left us with the best option through process of elimination: Amtrak. This was definitely the right decision. After one bump in the road when our first train was canceled, it was smooth sailing…errr…railing. Even the cancellation of our reserved train went in our favor, as we were able to board an earlier train and reach Boston two hours prior to our anticipated arrival.

We made it to the Westin in Boston, talked to Mom’s fellow chefs, and sat in the lobby bar with a glass of wine, chowda, and yummy fries. During the conference, we attended informative sessions about sausage-making, Vietnamese food, and traditional New England fare. (This planted the seed for a Vietnam foodie trip…sometime in the future…)

Freedom Trail...follow the red bricks

While Mom was in the trade show, I walked the Freedom Trail with my friend, Ken, who lives in Boston. Boston is alive in history of the beginning of this great country. Walking the Freedom Trail is like walking Independence Mall in Philadelphia; many passionate patriots walked these same streets and alleys. Starting in Boston Common (which used to be a common pasture for the inhabitants’ livestock), we headed past the Granary Burying Ground, where Sam Adams, John Hancock, and those slain in the Boston Massacre are interred. Following the red brick trail, we viewed the Old State House where many community meetings took place, including one that ended in a lot of British tea being thrown into the bay. Our jaunt ended at the Old North Church, where the “one if by land, two if by sea” phrase got its start. Oh, in case you forgot (I did), the sexton hung two lanterns while Paul Revere was on his infamous ride.

I rendezvoused with mom, and we ate at the Union Oyster House, the “oldest restaurant in continuous service in the U.S.” (open since 1826). We walked across the  “big dig” parks, and headed to the authentic Italian neighborhood in the North End for a cappuccino and a canoli, as well as some treats to take home to the family.

Old State House and site of the Boston Massacre

You know how you always have this “a-ha, I didn’t expect that” moment whenever you visit someplace new?  Here’s my “a-ha” moment for this trip: finding the site of the Boston Massacre, where 5 civilians were killed in 1770 by British troops. I searched high and low on the Freedom Trail for this spot, asking vendors and even a park ranger about it. Even the advice of the kind park ranger couldn’t help me find it. Then….a-ha….it appears on an island in the middle of the road! Now, I didn’t come all this way for nothing, so we braved the cars going to and fro to stand on the spot, which is commemorated by a small plaque embedded in the ground.  Just gave me chills, thinking of all the people that fought, and died even without fighting, to gain and preserve our freedom.

Simple marker at the site of the Boston Massacre

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7 Comments on Boston…at last!

  1. Mary says:

    Thanks for the tips on where to get Vietnamese food in Boston. I will definitely be back for a visit, and will keep this in mind. Last time I had great Vietnamese food was with a friend in Clearwater, FL. Hopefully, I have the opportunity to travel to Vietnam to try it “at the source”. I’m intrigued by the French influences from when it was a colony, and all the fresh vegetables contributing their unique flavors.

  2. If you do go to Boston for a Vietnamese food run, be sure to take the Red Line to JFK/UMASS then head up to Dorchester Avenue. Dot Ave between JFK/UMASS and Field’s Corner is the heart of Boston’s Vietnamese community. This ‘umami mile’ is full of Vietnamese grocers and restaurants. You’ll find more than one thing to tickle your tastebuds.

    Congrats on finding the Massacre site!

  3. Mary says:

    @J.L. Thx for the info regarding the site of the massacre. It was quite moving to stand in that place and contemplate what occurred there.

  4. Mary says:

    @Faegirl I think the park ranger was in the usual gray/green. It was in the visitor’s center. After talking with him, I thought the marker was going to be easy to find. It took lots of searching, but I didn’t give up.

  5. J. L. Bell says:

    Interestingly, the site of the Massacre has shifted with the needs of the traffic flow. Which is to say, that traffic island and the cobblestones on it have moved over the years. But the Massacre was a big event, with people killed and wounded at several places across King Street. So the traffic island is a good place to stand and contemplate the conflict, especially since venturing into Boston streets can give one the sense of possible death.

  6. Faegirl says:

    Do you know which Park Ranger you asked? Or what colored pants they were wearing? 🙂 Just trying to figure out what went on

  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kate McCulley. Kate McCulley said: Glad you enjoyed our food! RT @WomensJourneys: Boston – city of history, yummy food, and a-ha moments http://bit.ly/cNODrQ #travel #boston […]

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