I wanted to go away just for two days this past fall and Boston, with its beautiful harbor and many kosher restaurants, made for an excellent choice. I also loved the combination of nature and the rich history of the city.
Boston Duck Tour
The Duck Tour is a great place to start. They offer a guided tour of both land and water – you’ll learn all there is to know about Boston, and then some. And, riding a bus into the water (you heard me correctly. The bus is driven into the water) is an experience hard to forget.
Duck boats were actually conceived during WWII. They were used by the military as a convenient mode of transport that wouldn’t need to dock. Now the Ducks are used as a fun way to explore and get to know the city.
The tours leave from three popular tourist sites: the Science Museum, the Prudential Center and the New England Aquarium. There are also discounts available for those attractions bought in conjunction with the Duck Tour tickets and you get a reduced parking rate. We left from the Prudential Center.
The conDUCKtors narrate the 80-minute tour, 60 minutes on land and 20 minutes of riding the beautiful Charles River. Some of the famous landmarks seen on the tour are the golden-domed State House, Bunker Hill Monument, Boston Common, Copley Square, the Big Dig, Boston Public Library, The Prudential Tower and, of course, the magnificent Boston and Cambridge Skyline seen from the Charles River.
The Duck Tour is the absolute best way to see Boston and get a real feeling for the history while having fun at the same time.
Prudential Center-Skywalk Observatory
The Skywalk Observatory is located on the 50th floor of the Prudential Shopping Center in Boston. I hadn’t expected the Observatory to be all that interesting, but I was pleasantly surprised. Since Boston is a beautiful city with the Charles River running alongside it and mountains completing the pretty picture from afar, the Skywalk Observatory, with its 360-degree views of Boston, was very enjoyable.
In addition to audio guides available in a variety of languages with explanations of the view, history and culture of Boston, there are interactive displays and informative displays with information relating to the fascinating history and culture in Boston.
Harbor Walk and the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway
The Harbor Walk starts at the Atlantic Wharf across the street from the Tea Party Ship and Museum and continues alongside the beautiful harbor. The walkway passes through the Rowe’s Wharf, the New England Aquarium, Christopher Columbus Park, Sergeant’s Wharf and ends by Battery Wharf.
Our hotel was right by the harbor, so we were able to do the Harbor Walk at night enjoying the fresh air and the sights of the docked boats and the twinkling lights of the building.
During the day there are a lot of activities in the area. There is the Tea Party Ship and Museum and inexpensive Hubway bike rentals which can be picked up and dropped off in various stations all over the city. There are also ferries and water taxis, parks and the New England Aquarium along the Harbor walk.
After strolling along the Harbor walk, we crossed over the Christopher Columbus Park to the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, a series of parks which center on Atlantic Avenue.
We entered the Greenway right near the carousel. We continued to the beautiful Ring Fountain and then through Mother’s Walk. The Harbor Fog Fountain area with its foggy fountain caught us by surprise as we were sprayed with mist. We exited the Greenway by the Fort Point Channel Park although it actually continues to Dewey Square Park and then to the China Town Park.
I was amazed at how each section of the park has its own original character and is extremely well maintained. I kept thinking that the parks would end, but there were more and more areas to see.
Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum
Before we walked in I was sure we would be there for not more than a half hour. I was really taken by surprise. The guides were all dressed in clothing from the period prior to the Revolution and reenacted the meetings and the actual throwing of the tea into the sea. Everything was presented so interestingly, you wouldn’t know you were learning history.
Each visitor on the tour was given an identity of one of the men who took part in the Boston Tea Party and some personal details about him. After meeting to discuss the major tax issues, we headed out to the ship to dump the tea from the authentically restored ship into the sea.
We continued on to the museum (no photos allowed) where you can view the only surviving tea chest from the Boston Tea Party, a 3D holographic exhibit and an award winning multi-sensory film that takes you from then until we became our own independent country.
Boston Public Garden
The Boston Public Garden is a formal garden located across the street from the Boston Common. The garden is beautifully kept by caring citizens through the Friends of the Public Garden Association. The garden is the first public botanical garden in America and dates back to 1838. It is masterfully designed with trees planted from countries all around the world. The trees have tags with their names on them along with relevant information about its growth and history.
There is a majestic statue of George Washington on a horse at the Arlington Street entrance. The Duckling Sculpture at the corner of Beacon and Charles is extremely popular. The statue is based on Robert McCloskey’s 1941 bestseller Make Way for Ducklings, the bronze figures represent Mrs. Mallard and her eight ducklings.
From early April to late September the original Swan boats are open for visitors to enjoy. The Swan boats were first designed in 1877 and have been gliding along the lagoon ever since. The boat moves along at two miles an hour, circles the island and goes under the bridge. A trip on the Swan Boat adds excitement to a visit to the beautiful garden.
We visited in the fall and did not see many flowers. Even so, the garden was a beautiful well-kept area to stroll through. It was obvious how much prettier it would be in the spring or summer.
The Boston Common
The 50-acre Boston Common is the oldest park in America, dating back to 1634. The pentagon-shaped park borders on Tremont, Park, Beacon, Charles, and Boylston Streets. The Common has witnessed many historical events and protests through the years. The historic 2.5 mile Freedom Trail starts from the Common.
In addition to the large grassy fields, there are tennis courts, an exciting Tadpole Playground, a carousel and a Frog Pond in which children can splash. In the winter the Frog Pond becomes a skating rink. Originally, there were three ponds in the common. The Frog Pond is the only one left.
The Common is located just across the street from the more formal Boston Public Gardens and can be enjoyed at the same time.