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Day Trip to Boston

Aug 13, 2013 12:35AM ● Published by Erin Frisch

Just a two-hour drive from Hanover, New Hampshire and the Connecticut River Valley, Boston is a great city to visit for a day trip with friends or family. Rich in our country’s history and culture, Boston has much to offer tourists. There are plenty of things to do and places to visit, rain or shine, and wonderful restaurants where you can sample just about whatever kind of food you’re in the mood for. If the weather is on your side, you may not even need to use public transportation (“the T”) because this city was made for walking. There’s more than enough to do and see in Boston to fill a few day trips. Here are just a few suggestions.

Once you arrive and find a place to stash your ride, head over to the Back Bay and visit the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA). Housing over 450,000 works of art, special exhibits, and films, it needs almost no introduction. Current exhibits include Hippie Chic, a tribute to the fashions of the Woodstock Generation, Audubon’s Birds, Audubon’s’ Words, a sampling of North American birds in their natural habitats, and Rembrandt the Etcher, to name a few. Visit the MFA on line before you go to learn about dining options, parking, visits with children, and much more. (Take the Green Line E train to the MFA stop.)

When you finish your visit to the MFA, head around the back of the building and enjoy the beautiful gardens of The Fens. You’ll pop out around Boylston Street, where you can make your way to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. Take a tour of the park to see the Green Monster on the inside and the lone red seat way up in the bleachers that marks the park’s longest home run, hit by Ted Williams in 1946. If you’re visiting during baseball season, take in a game. Baseball at Fenway Park is a unique experience. Treat yourself to a Fenway Frank! (Take the Green Line train, except the E line, to Kenmore.)

A crisp, early fall day is perfect for an amble through the Boston Common and the Public Garden, which are the oldest public parks in the nation. The Common, a wonderful place to people watch, is home to numerous historical landmarks, and the Public Garden boasts a large pond complete with swan boats you can take a ride on and real swans you’re likely to see, in addition to many native and introduced trees, flowering plants, and shrubs. (Take the Green Line (any train) to Arlington, Boylston, or Park Street, or the Red Line to Park Street.)

History buffs should plan to take a walking tour of the Freedom Trail—a three-mile ribbon of red paint or brick on the sidewalks that links 16 historical sites. Follow the trail on your own, or take a 90-minute tour led by a guide dressed as a famous patriot who’ll refresh your grade-school memories of Boston’s role in the American Revolution. You’ll see the Old State House, the Old North Church, Paul Revere’s house, the site of the Boston Massacre, the USS Constitution, and more. (Take the Green Line, any train, to Park Street or the Red Line.)

From the Common, walk through Downtown Crossing (a fun place to shop!) or Government Center (home to many food trucks for a delicious lunch on weekdays) and you’ll arrive at Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall Marketplace. The actual hall, dating to the mid 1700s, is known as the Cradle of Liberty because of the many impassioned speeches given there during the Revolutionary War. It is now a tourist center and home to shopping, dining, and additional sightseeing. (Take the Green Line to Government Center, the Blue Line to Government Center, or the Orange Line to State Street.)

Just a short walk from Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, across the lovely Rose Kennedy Greenway, is Boston’s North End and the city’s Little Italy. This neighborhood fell victim to the Great Molasses Flood in 1919, and folklore notes that on really hot days, you can still smell the molasses. Full of little shops, authentic bakeries, and amazing Italian restaurants, the North End offers old world charm. It is also the city’s oldest residential community and home to Paul Revere’s house, the Old North Church, and the historic cemetery known as Copp’s Hill Burying Ground. If you’re planning a summer trip, time it to coincide with one of the North End’s feast days that celebrate saints such as Anthony of Padua. You’ll find a schedule of festivals at www.northendboston.com. Celebrations include a parade in the saint’s honor, following which streets are closed off for food and craft vendors, games, and entertainment. (Take the Green Line or Blue Line to Government Center, or the Green Line or Orange Line to Haymarket.)

And finally, if you’ve day-tripped to Boston before and have seen what you thought were all the sights, visit one more time to spend the day on the harbor islands. Just a short ferry ride across Boston Harbor you’ll find 34 islands that make up the Boston Harbor Islands. Enjoy hiking trails, fishing, and picnicking. Explore tide pools, visit a lighthouse, and walk through a Civil War fort on Georges Island. Get your ferry tickets at the Gateway Pavilion (situated between Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market and Long Wharf North) on the Rose Kennedy Greenway on Boston’s waterfront. Round-trip tickets are $15 for adults, $11 for seniors, and $9 for children 11 and under. Children under 4 ride free. Be sure to check the departure and return schedule before you set out. (Take the Green Line or Orange Line to Haymarket, or the Blue Line to the New England Aquarium.)

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