2017, or as I’d like to call it: the year of travel. And the first trip of this exciting year was a whirlwind, wonderful trip to beautiful Boston, Massachusetts.
My husband and I arrived in Boston late on Friday night and paid for a nice comfy bed to sleep in for a few hours. Upon waking up and practicing our best Boston accents, we rented a car and drove to an area of Boston called Egleston Square where the Samuel Adams Brewery is located. We got an extensive tour of the brewery, where specialty recipes are tested, and research and development happen. We tasted some of their new recipes (Author’s Note: if you can get your hands on the new sour beer they offer ‘KMF’, never let it go!), and even got an exclusive tour of the ‘barrel room’ where only the best of the best (and the most secret of the secret) beers are kept. (Thanks little bro for the hookup!) It was amazing to see that the Sam Adams Brewery and Boston Beer Company still have a small family-feel despite being the giant conglomerate of the craft beer industry. (Downside: only one sighting of a man with a giant beard.)
Beer can only be followed by one thing in Boston: sports. (Author’s note: It can actually be followed by a lot of things, but this is one of my favorites.)
We headed for Gillette Stadium and the Patriots vs. Texans Divisional Playoff game. The stadium is surrounded by a concourse with popular shops and restaurants. If you ever find yourself in Foxborough, MA, be sure to check this area out. There are trendy bars like Howl at the Moon and Bar Louie, and also some sports-fanatic themed places. We stayed at the lovely Hilton Garden Inn that was right at the concourse, which meant walking distance to the bars, shopping and stadium. If you like country music, beer served in solo cups and piles of nachos as big as sports fans’ egos, check out Toby Keith’s “I Love This Bar.” We weren’t disappointed by the food or the servers who’s playful tempers were as quick as their wit. The CBS Sports bar felt impossibly inviting right outside Gillette Stadium with an impressive view, boasting tons of TV screens, a huge selection of beer on tap, and excited fans dressed like me taking selfies. What more could you ask for?
After dinner & drinks, into the stadium we headed for some Divisional Playoff action. It was 21 degrees with snow flurries, but the beers stayed cold, the crowd stayed loud, and the Patriots won! It was an amazing experience for a fan of football. (Not to mention we headed to Bar Louie after the game and saw 3 or 4 of the players who head there after every game! A stalker’s dream!)
On Sunday morning after mourning the fact that I may never be surrounded by that many Patriots fans at once ever again, we headed to Downtown Boston where we made plans to explore the trendy, historic and iconic parts of the city.
We stayed at “The Millennium Bostonian in Boston,” a hotel I would recommend to anyone looking for a perfectly located boutique hotel with style, charm and great customer service. Our room over looked Faneuil Hall (and iconic walking mall in Boston) and the views at night were incredible. (We requested to have a balcony off of our room, and it was totally worth the small amount of extra coin for the picturesque views.)
Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market are two areas made up of shops and restaurants, scaling from quaint, local vendors to major-scale retailers. You could spend hours in just these areas alone and still not get through everything. It was a great mix of culture and history carved in the cobblestone streets, while still providing some modern flare with new and popular brand names. We had bagels inside of the Quincy Market hall, and I couldn’t help but picture us meeting there on our corporate-job-lunch-hours. Safe to say it didn’t take me long to fall in love with this city.
Because walking around on cobblestone streets works up a thirst, we headed to The Bell in Hand Tavern, which is America’s oldest tavern. (History over drinks is my favorite kind of history.) This partially restored tavern served the best of North Eastern bites (I recommend the clam chowder! [Husband’s note: “Hey, they say it ‘chow-dah’), while sticking to the classics and keeping to the integrity of the original 1795 ale house. We drank Sam Adam’s Brick Red Irish Red Ale which is an ale only served at bars in Boston. You know what they say, when in Rome, drink the local beer. The place was packed with tourists and locals alike, making for a fun atmosphere.
We then explored the Back Bay Area, an area that reminded me of D.C. or Georgetown. Two main thoroughfares filled this part of the city with high-end shops and restaurants that were all located in beautifully restored buildings. It was in Back Bay where we stepped foot in my dream home: The Boston Public Library. Marble steps with majestic lions greeted us at the door; the architecture alone made me what to pick up the nearest book I could find and snuggle into a nook where I’m convinced modern philosophies were formed. This was definitely the most awe-inspiring part of our trip, and we explored every inch of the library from top to bottom. A definite must see on any trip to Boston. For dinner we stumbled upon a delicious pizza place on Newbury Street called “Dirty Water Dough.” It was the definition of ‘hole in the wall,’ except that it had a beautiful window area that you could literally climb into with two tiny tables to sit at. As we stuffed our face with thin-crust-cheesy goodness, we couldn’t help but feel comfortable in this trendy neighborhood around us. Cue the Zillow search for ‘homes in Boston.’
Monday morning, as we reluctantly packed our bags to check out of our third (and favorite) hotel in three days, we planned out our historic tour of part of the Freedom Trail; this trail leads visitors around Boston via a bricked path, hitting popular historic landmarks such as Paul Revere’s House, The Old North Church where P.R. hung those significant lanterns, and much more. If you’re a fan of our nation’s history, this is definitely a tour you’ll want to check out. It was a self-guided tour with landmarks and checkpoints all along the way. We finished the historic part of our day with the Boston Tea Party Museum, where we tasted the five flavors of tea that were thrown off of the ship on that historic day. We sat in a beautiful room that overlooked the harbor and sipped tea (a needed break from the low 30 temps outside!). Plus, I felt fancy calling our shared cookie a crumpet at this stop.
Finally, just as we started our trip with a brewery visit, we ended with one as well. We visited Harpoon Brewery in Boston’s desirable Seaport District where we had one flight of beers celebrating a great vacation… and a second flight of beers to deny it from being over. This is a huge brewery with an extensive tap room, a must visit for beer lovers in Boston. (I recommend their Apple Cinnamon wheat beer – not too sweet or heavy with tons of flavor!)
And so, 2017 has indeed kicked off as a year of travel. A year of exploring cities, trying out new places, and sinking our teeth into the culture that is all around us. We loved Boston’s culture, people, food and wonderful mix of historically memorable and modern. #BostonOrBust was a beautiful expedition; now on to the next one!