Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Things to See & Do in Boston

Now that it’s getting cold, I’m thinking about an icy drink in a frozen glass.  At least, that’s what we had when we bundled up in the cold at the Frost Ice Bar in Boston’s Faneuil Hall Marketplace.  Kept at a cozy 32 degrees, guests are given heavy parkas and gloves to enjoy their time in the frozen hangout (boots can also be rented for an extra fee.)  Everything inside is made of ice, or really really cold plexiglass, and even the drinks, served in molded-ice “glasses,” are even a little frozen.  It was fun, in a why are we paying to be frozen but we’re on vacation why not kind of way.

Frost Ice Bar, Boston
If you’re going to Boston, here’s a few other stops to make in the city.

Eat, shop, and people watch at Faneuil Hall Marketplace.  I guess every city has it’s little tourist-y square and this is the one for Boston, complete with street performers who cajole you to give them a couple dollars to do magic tricks or dance.  But, as the tourist, you got to stop by.  Visit the market, especially if you love options for foodstands.  Down both sides of the market they’ve got everything from seafood, pizzas, pastas, to endless options for clam chowder.  (I've even worked on a recipe inspired by the made-for-you macaroni and cheese stand - Everybody's Favorite Mac & Cheese.)
Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Do the college tour.
Harvard Gates
Stop by Harvard for lunch.  Lunch trucks and a mini-farmers market line up on one of the squares at lunch time.  We enjoyed wraps, noodle dishes, hydrogen blasted ice cream, and cheesecake pops.

Go to MIT Science Museum.  This is a very cool science space. It’s MIT – what would you expect?  When we were there, an exhibit about gaming was on the entry level with various stations depicting how a video game is developed.  Two of my kids are in a magnet program at school and one of the courses is on programming and gaming.  Careful stepping here, this vacation trip could get really close to being school-related.  There were also exhibits on the evolution of robots, holograms, and kinetic machines.  I know – doesn’t sound like “vacation,” but really – it was fun.  And for $10/adult and $5 for kids, it's pretty reasonable as far as family-friendly stops go.

The college campuses =also turned out to be the city with three ice cream stops - Lizzy's, Churn, and Christina's (you can read more in this post on our ice cream tour.) 

Take a historic walking tour.  We all know Boston from American history class – Tea Party, the midnight ride of Paul Revere, abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, Underground Railroad.  There’s a multitude of options focused on various stories of history and interests. We took the Black Heritage walking tour, which started at the monument to the 54th Regiment, the Black regiment depicted in the movie, Glory.  The tour went past various houses which once were old churches, segregated and integrated schools, Underground Railroad stops, and meeting places during the abolition movement.
54th Regiment Memorial and recruiting sign

Visit the Old North Church.  You really cannot go to Boston and say “one if by land and two if by sea” if you passed American history class, so go to the church where the lanterns (there were two) were hung to signal that the British were coming.  Inside, the pews are still divided in boxes.  According to the tour guide, parishioners back in the day had to pay for a box so that they would have a pew in church, then they would decorate their box in whatever manner they would like – cushions, wallpaper and such reasonable decorations for a church.  In the balcony were the cheap seats, often paid for by the box owners so that their house staff could also attend church and have a seat. The tour guide said that is no longer the practice, although the boxes remain.

Old North Church - steeple and box pews
And of course, take time to walk around the city. Enjoy the the city hills and the beautiful parks, the old and new.  Let us know your favorite sites in the city.

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