Old meets new in beautiful, historic Boston

Imagine a beautiful city steeped in historical venues alongside gleaming skyscrapers

HISTORIC - Boston holds plenty of attractions for those interested in key moments of American history.

Janice Dunlop

Imagine a beautiful city steeped in historical venues alongside gleaming skyscrapers and you would be visiting this beautiful New England city.

Boston lets you step back in time to the days of early America. Boston was established by the Puritans in 1630, and much of the city still reflects the original layout.

Here is my view of one of the most historical and treasured cities in the world.

Boston is an easy walking city with all the historical sites marked clearly and most are within walking distance to each other.

There are a number of companies that offer guided tours of the Freedom Trail. If a self-guided tour is your preference, start in Boston Common and follow a line of paint and red bricks that will guide you through the 16 historical sites many associated with the American Revolution.

Plaques and markers along the way will provide information on each site, however, for the history buffs a guidebook will provide more in-depth information. The Freedom Trail takes visitors to historical sites such as Granary Burying Ground which is the final resting place of patriots such as Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and the victims of the Boston Massacre.

Further on the trail you will visit sites including the First Public School, Old South Meeting House, where Bostonians waited to hear whether three ships would be turned back to England with their cargo of tea.

Along the trail you will visit the Old North Church where lanterns were hung to signal Paul Revere the British were setting out by boats and not by land.

Revere’s house is a must see. The house holds 17th and 18th century furnishings and artifacts.

In the heart of the city is Boston Public Gardens.

Explore the lagoon in the garden and the large number of statues including the George Washington Statue. Across the street from the Public Garden nestled amongst the Victorian homes is the original ‘Cheers’ of TV fame. Lunch is served daily, or sit at the bar where Norm became a fixture and raise a glass of cheer. Separated by Charles Street, Boston Common is another popular park area for tourists and locals.

While in the north end of Boston stop into one of the many Italian bakeries to have a pastry.

Mike’s Pastries was our favourite, this is a bustling pastry shop with friendly staff and delicious, fresh and authentic cannoli. This area is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Boston, it was predominantly Italian in the 20th century and is still home to many fine Italian restaurants, well worth a trip in the evening to savour the fresh pasta.

A harbour tour lets you view this beautiful city from a different angle. Boston is a bustling seaport and a major port for cruise ships.

There are a number of tours that depart from the waterfront.

For an unusual and enjoyable way to see the harbour, there are a variety of tours offered including the ‘Duck’ tours. These are reconditioned amphibious landing craft. This tour is approximately 80 minutes.

One of the most treasured sites in Boston is the ‘USS Constitution’. This ship is a wooden hulled frigate that was launched in 1797 and saw action until her retirement from active duty in 1881, she is the oldest commissioned US Navy vessel afloat.

This ship played an important role for the U.S. in the war of 1812.

‘Old Ironsides’ as she is known offers free tours to promote an understanding of the Navy’s role in war and peace. The crew on board are all active members of the U.S. Navy.

What would a trip to Boston be without a side trip to the site of the famous Salem Witch Trials of 1692? There is year-round ferry service to Salem that departs from the Boston’s Long Wharf for the trip to Salem.

The trip takes less than an hour at a cost of about $27 USD round trip. A must do if you have some extra time.

Boston is a modern city that would appeal to history buffs, sports fans and those seeking the diverse culture of a beautiful city. It’s a must see for the new and the seasoned traveler.

Janice Dunlop is a travel consultant with Expedia CruiseShipCenters.