If you’re a history buff or foodie, a trip to Boston should be on your bucket list.
We are a family who likes to travel.
And when I say “we,” I mean The Husband, our three kids - D.J., Aaron and Brooke - and myself.
With the kids living in Miami, Austin and Dallas, time together is limited, so imagine our excitement on Christmas morning when our son Aaron gave the family a trip to Boston.
After comparing schedules, we found a few days that would work for all of us, and last weekend the five of us met in Boston for a trip we won’t soon forget.
It was our first time to visit the Massachusetts’ city and we were anxious to absorb its rich history.
Boston, after all, has played a leading role in U.S. history from its settlement by the Puritans to significant events like the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere’s famous ride, the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Boston Massacre.
Oh, and then there was the Great Molasses Flood, which we had never heard about until last weekend.
Boston is full of statues, tours and historical markers that will give you a ton of insight into the city’s storied history and you will want to visit as many as you can.
As we made our way back to Texas on Sunday, I posted pictures of our trip to my personal Facebook page and received several messages from friends and family planning a trip to the city, so I figured a story about our experience was in order.
GETTING AROUND BOSTON: One of the things that surprised us most is how easy it is to get around Boston.
We hopped in a taxi (no line) as soon as we exited the airport and arrived at our hotel (The Bostonian) in the heart of downtown in less than 10 minutes.
Don’t rent a car because finding a place to park would be a nightmare. Most of the historical sites are in walking distance, anyway, and Ubers are abundant.
SEEING THE SITES: The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile self-walking tour that will take you to 16 historic sites across the city.
It’s a great way to discover Boston, but super cold weather and a whole lot of snow forced us to alter our plans.
So instead of walking, we purchased two-day passes for the Old Town Trolley, a hop-on/hop-off system that takes you to all the sites.
The heated trolleys come around every 30 minutes and the guides are full of great information; it’s definitely worth the money.
You’ll also want to check out Fenway Park and Harvard University while you’re there, and if you want to visit a place where everybody knows your name, the Cheers Bar on Beacon Hill is a must.
Fans of the TV sitcom flock to the iconic bar that features a menu that pays homage to its favorite characters like Sam’s Starters, Ma Clavins Soups, Woody’s Garden Greens, Norm’s Sandwiches and Diane’s Entrees.
It was one of my favorite places to see, but be warned that when you leave, that happy little jingle will replay in your head for the rest of the day.
THE FOOD SCENE: Boston’s food scene is off the charts, and if you are seafood lovers like we are, you’ll be in foodie heaven.
There’s everything from fresh oysters, mussels and crab to lobster grilled cheese sandwiches and Boston’s famous clam chowder (pronounced chowda) at just about every bar, grill and fine dining establishment in the city.
On the final night of our trip, we had dinner at Row 34 and it was phenomenal.
You will also want to enjoy an Italian meal in the North End and Mamma Maria was amazing with offerings of house-made pastas and other mouthwatering seasonal fare.
Plan ahead and make reservations for the places you want to try because the restaurants are packed, especially on the weekends!
Make time for a little bar hopping because places like Bell in Hand Tavern (with claims that it’s the oldest bar in America) and the Union Oyster House are the perfect place to stop for a Bloody Mary, bowl of clam chowder or fresh oysters.
And don’t be afraid to engage the locals. They are friendly and full of interesting tidbits about Boston they are eager to share.
So that’s our trip in a nutshell!
There is so much more to this great city than I can possibly write about, so make plans to discover it for yourself.
If we could do one thing different, it would have been to visit the city when it’s a little warmer.
Boston gets freaking cold, so if you go this time of year, bring extra warm clothes and comfy walking shoes.