Sadly, I didn't find a restaurant or hotel I'd give a glowing recommendation for. Our hotel, the Boston Marriott Copley Place, was nice enough, but we really only stayed there because the conference I presented a paper at was actually in the hotel. The room we got was kind of cute:
But let's talk sights and sounds! After two visits to this fantastic city, I've got some favorites so I made a shortlist (leaving out things we liked but weren't enamoured with, like the Ghost Tour we took, the too-small Marimekko concept store in Cambridge, etc):
Institute of Contemporary Art
I am obsessive about visiting art galleries and museums and this gallery is one of our favorites! Situated on the waterfront in a super modern building, this gallery has the most inspiring and innovative exhibits, the sweetest gift shop and - yay! - ample parking. Plus, Thursday nights are free!
This time visiting the ICA, I was really taken by Sue Williams' intensely colourful abstracts:
|2 Greens With Sable, 2002 (image via)|
|The painting on this DVD cover is: Colour Pile, 2002 (image source)|
New England Aquarium
Honestly, not the best aquarium we've been to (we check every city we visit to see if there's a good one) but still pretty fun. There is a tank where you can touch a Ray (it doesn't feel like what you think it would feel like) and be sure to check out the 3D Imax; the shark film we saw was mesmerizing. I honestly feel conflicted about aquariums because I wouldn't enjoy being locked up, but this aquarium houses a lot of rescue animals and does extensive conservation and research. Plus, look at the friends we made:
The Gibson House
The strangest museum we've ever been to, this museum is a time capsule of a 19th century townhouse. The last Gibson to live in this house decided early on that the house should become a museum and didn't update anything. He lived with 19th century furnishings and technology until the 1950s, when he passed. The home is remarkable and, as you take the tour, think about how someone lived like that in the 50s! He also wore 19th century clothing in the 20th century and was a poet who wrote odes to his favorite people. An early hipster, perhaps?
If for nothing else, go for the amazing embossed wallpaper. So beautiful.
Boston Duck Tours
Oh my gosh, only the most fun ever. The Duck Tours use restored WWII-era amphibious crafts (DUKWs), decked out in crazy colours with equally nutty guides. We learned so much about the city and geeky Hubby was thrilled with the vehicle. If it sounds really nerdy and touristy, that's because it is, but I promise it is the most unique way to explore Boston.
Here was our DUCK:
Boston has some of the most beautiful architecture. I can't even pick a favorite neighbourhood. To start, see how the other half live by walking about prestigious Beacon Hill or Back Bay. Here are some photos I took in the Back Bay area. Swoon. I also like this activity because it is free (unless you pop into one of the posh stores, restaurants or coffee shops you'll find).
Shreeve Crump & Low:
Most everything in this jewellery store was out of my price range (but I did buy a gorgeous charm for my charm bracelet). Why did we visit? I like "firsts" and this company is the oldest jeweller in North America. I am such a magpie, so just ogling the wares was fun, but I also like a bit of "everyday" history. Sure, sites dedicated to monumental events are important, but this store represents a tiny bit of ordinary history and that is interesting to me. Plus, they are home to the gurgling cod.
Boston Public Garden:
Boston has a surprising number of parks, and many have historical significance. We like the Boston Public Garden because it is just so pretty (whereas Boston Common is supposedly less flowery). Apparently critics say this park is garish. As someone who hates gardening, I need to get my fill of flowers somewhere and this park did the trick. Sadly, I didn't take many photos of the flowery goodness because I was too focused on this hilarious couple obsessed with feeding the squirrels:
I know, I'm weird. I like to people watch.
Places I wish we had time to see: