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Home » TRAVEL AND LODGING » MASSACHUSETTS » Please Come to Boston for the Summer
Please Come to Boston for the Summer

By Karen Berliner | July 23, 2010

From its cobblestone streets to its breathtaking waterfront harbor, Boston is a city infused with magical charm and a rich American history.

Explore historical sites and dine at top notch eateries, catch a ballgame at Fenway Park or kayak on the Charles River. Whatever you fancy, the choices for visitors are limitless.

I’m staying here with some friends and they’ve got lots of room…

There are just as many lovely places to stay at while visiting Boston as there are things to see and do, each hosting you with their very own signature personality and accoutrements.

Being a landmark hotel located in the historical Back Bay area of Boston, The Colonnade Hotel caters to those who seek well seasoned luxury in an authentic setting. Just recently having enjoyed a $20 million dollar facelift complete with redesigns from top to bottom, the Colonnade is home to Boston’s Brasserie Jo restaurant. This eatery boasts an extensive cocktail menu with recommendations happily suggested by their top notch wait staff. An extensive selection of French fare specialties accompanied by an impressive list of wines to pair with, along with other eclectic options for any palate makes for a full dining experience. I chose their bouillabaisse which was by far one of the best I’ve had, brimming with chunks of tasty seafood in a rich and savory golden broth. Enjoy the convenience of an express breakfast from Brasserie Jo served to your room as well. Just hang your door menu choices outside your lavish suite before 2am, and rest assured that your feast will appear on point the very next morning.

St. Botolph was revealed as the patron saint of travelers. In that spirit, The Inn at St. Botolph, also located in the Back Bay district, offers contemporary and sleek interiors, playfully sharing space with classic wing chairs in shades of cinnamon and blue. Their cozy lounge is the quintessential spot for relaxing in front of a fireplace après a busy city tour.

For more of an old school atmosphere, The Fairmont at Copley Plaza might suit you the best. Formally opened in 1912 via a gala reception presided over by Mayor John F. Fitzgerald (President Kennedy’s grandfather himself!), this palatial hotel showcases classical décor and architecture, complete with ornately gold gilded ceilings, dark wood paneling and marble wall hangings. Their signature restaurant The Oak Room at the Fairmont continues in fine Ivy League mode, with a comfortably elegant grand dining room, featuring a traditional steakhouse menu or more nouvelle options if you so choose. Start off with one of their signature drinks such as the Blueberry Basil Martini deliciously fusing local, organic blueberry vodka with fresh picked basil from their roof top herb garden.

For those romantics looking for a unique way to pop the question, indulge in this hotel’s “most romantic martini always served with ice.” This one of a kind Engaging Martini is a classic drink with a seriously unconventional twist, a brilliant one carat diamond, set in platinum is playfully served to go with, in addition to a deluxe bedroom suite complete with flowing champagne, flowers, chocolates and an elegant dinner for two at the Oakroom.   I do!

You can sell your paintings on the sidewalk…

Shopping, Sightseeing and Culture in Boston

Known as America’s Walking City, you can easily hop by foot or bicycle on a nice day to every neighborhood. Otherwise, every other mode of getting about town is at your disposal via this city’s easy to access public transportation systems.

Urban AdvenTours is an eco-friendly Boston company providing bike rentals and guided bike tours. Michele Toper’s Boston North End Market and Culinary Tours offers an extensive program of ever changing walking culinary tours for the true foodie. The Freedom Trail is another walking tour marked by an easy to follow red line that winds through old streets and alleyways, and literally follows the precise footsteps of colonial Boston to freedom and independence.

The Charles River offers boating, and for landlubbers, miles of paths for cycling, jogging or just a leisurely stroll. Also nearby is the famous Boston Common and Public Gardens, the oldest public park in the country and the starting point of the Freedom Trail. This 50 acre park comprises the “Emerald Necklace,” a system of connected parks that winds through many of Boston’s neighborhoods.

Opened in 1912, Fenway Park is a baseball park near Kenmore Square near Boston.   Serving as the home ballpark of the Boston Red Sox since it opened in 1912, it is the oldest major league stadium currently in use. With its manually operated scoreboard, and the endless tales of the legends that have played there, Fenway remains a link to the legends of baseballs past. The Museum of Fine Art as well as Symphony Hall, in fact the theater district as a whole, allows for cultural experiences such as ballets, operas, musicals and theater productions.

Looking for a shopping experience that has the hippest boutiques and brand name stores tucked into brownstone storefronts? Hit Newbury Street, which some consider the Park Avenue of shopping excursions. Here you’ll find locally owned stores featuring handmade sweaters to soaps, to national retailers like The Gap and Pottery Barn. And while you’re shopping, stop by one of the street’s many cafes to people watch. After, do your own gallery stroll. There’s art for everyone, including on the sidewalk. Around Newbury and Exeter Streets look for Charlie Wang who hangs his originals and prints on the wrought iron fences. He’s also one of the city’s best and most affordable portrait artists and can work from photographs.

One street over, check out the acclaimed world class retail shops line Boylston Street. Pavilions and arcades lead guests through the Prudential Center and beyond to the most prestigious and exciting shopping spots. Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co., and Gucci are just a few of the shops that you will find there.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace is a world renowned and historical open air shopping mecca. Kiosks and stores stocked with artisan wares of both local and international acclaim are open side by side for easy perusal. Stroll about and enjoy the area’s famous street performers, featuring daily spontaneous shows right there on the cobblestone promenades.

Stop in The Quincy Market in doors, and choose from more than 35 eateries, serving freshly made to order favorites from all types of ethnic fare to just a good old fashioned American frankfurter.

While there, linger through and peruse the New England Holocaust Memorial, a grand sized monument of six green tinted glass towers etched with the numbers one to six million for every Jewish person who perished during the Nazi regime. Stories and quotations can be read along the way, in memorializing this tragic event in the history of mankind. On your way out of the neighborhood, stop in at one of the many Boston’s premier Irish pubs. Paddy O’s embodies everything that is the Irish. From the handcrafted bar to the authentic food and drinks, Paddy O’s offers a menu stocked full of choice Irish fare classics. Wash your meal down with an icy cold and frothy mug of stout.

And across the river: The Cambridge Antique Market, located directly across from the Cambridge Galleria mall, is situated in an 18th century building housing five floors of antique goodies from oil paintings circa 1900’s to one of kind costume jewelry pieces.

By a café here I hope to be working soon…

As for dining in Boston, the options are as diverse as the people who dine here.

The Chocolate Bar at The Langham Hotel is located in Café Fleuri on the second floor. Expect an extravagant spread of everything chocolate from their decadent truffles to their s’mores served up on a silver spoon. Take a break from cocoa and grab a wand of freshly spun cotton candy or fill a bag with retro confections such as Milk Duds and Malted Milk Balls, from the days of the original neighborhood corner candy stores. Yum.

Summer Shack is known as Boston’s Best and Largest Raw Bar. Within walking distance to both Fenway Park and Symphony Hall, the raw bar case holds 4,000 pieces of shellfish kept fresh in an ideal atmospheric condition. Open for lunch during Red Sox season and dinner year round. Looking for another fix? Get over to their spot in Cambridge and eat all over again. Located in Harvard Square overlooking Winthrop Park, this Alice in Wonderlandesque eatery.

Upstairs on the Square is a bi-level spot with a split personality. With its Upstairs designed for elegant soirée style dining while its animated downstairs Monday Club Bar/ Zebra Room serves casual haute cuisine, it all works out to be a fantasy experience featuring superior cuisine using French and Italian inspired local seasonal ingredients. In the summer, the tables are whooshed away on Monday nights, when they strike up the band and offer dancing till the wee hours.

Located in the Back Bay neighborhood, M Bar & Lounge at the Mandarin Hotel provides the ideal setting for catching up with old friends or making new acquaintances. The interior features Hessian green and gray stone and an illuminated glass bar top, intimate booths to nestle into, and dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows. This spectacular bar and lounge features a custom designed wine wall stocked with select vintages, while the bar offers an extensive menu of classic and exotic cocktails such as their mandarin martini or green tea swinging Tokyo.

Venture out just a bit into the suburbs of Boston and find hidden treasures there as well. The Fireplace Restaurant in Brookline, Ma. For example, is a New England grill and barbeque, with an emphasis on wood-smoked and rotisserie dishes using the freshest offerings of the New England region. The owner, Chef Jim Solomon stays true to his philosophy: “hearty, clean food with integrity – food that embraces the abundant offerings of the region prepared simply yet thoughtfully.” From their Signature Spit-Roasted Maple Glazed Half Chicken to their ‘House Dry-Aged’ Sirloin every bite was true to form. The Fireplace also has wine, spirits and beer “tastings” every other Saturday. Farmers, vintners, aficionados and master brewers amuse and instruct visitors with knowledge and anecdotes, and share food and libations. Enjoy occasional reenactment visitors, the likes of a costume clad John Adams, as they on occasion, stop by to read excerpts from their lives, fireside. Sip a snifter of brandy with them and play dress up for the day. Jazz and Latin Music can be enjoyed on Wednesdays and Thursdays nights starting at 9:30 PM.   Enough said.

Truth be told, there is such an endless treasure trove of Bostonian goodies to be had, it’s almost tempting to get planning a return jaunt back even as you visit the first time around, if only just to hoard in and capture what you might have missed!

Please come to Boston for all seasons…

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