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Archive for the ‘Vacation’ Category

What’s Your Top 10?

Before we went down to Philadelphia, one of T’s coworkers (who recently lived in Philly) gave us 4 pages of recommendations for things to do while there. Granted, most of them were food suggestions (organized by category: coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner, BYOB, and Cheese steak). But it really got me thinking… would I be able to come up with that kind of list for my own city? I didn’t think so…

On the way home (the 7 hour drive), T and I tried to come up with a Top 10 list of things we would recommend a tourist to see in Boston. We kicked food off the list because really, you’re most likely going to eat at a place that is near where you are…

However, there is one food recommendation I would make: Finale! Finale is a dessert restaurant (they also make some sandwiches and stuff… but really, the attraction is their desserts, which are heavenly!)

From their website, but the food actually looks that good in person too!

It’s near Boston Common… so there is a good chance you’d be in the area…

Ok, so the Top 10 List of things to see in Boston according to me (and T):

1) Quincy Market/Faneuil Hall – I read somewhere once that Quincy Market is the second most popular tourist destination in the county (behind Disney… I don’t know which one or if that includes both… and therefore Quincy Market is really 3rd… I’m not sure). Because I can’t remember the source, I don’t know how true that is, but I can imagine that it’s pretty close because not only do tons of tourists go there, but tons of locals go there on a daily basis as well. Quincy Market is a great place to go for lunch (they have tons of quick, little places) – I would personally recommend MmmmMac and Cheese’s stand (best mac and cheese in the city, and it only costs $4 for the original!). You can really find any kind of food there! Then, you could come back at night for a fancy, sit down dinner at the variety of actual restaurants. And there are some general shops there as well (like souvenir places or run of the mill clothing stores that you could find at any mall)

2) Fenway Park! Not only is it our ball park, but they also celebrated their 100th year this April and are on National Register for Historic Places. You can read more about that aspect on one of my friends’ blogs.

3) Boston Common! You might want to ride the “swan boats” or just wander around. If it’s cold out, you can go ice skating on the “frog pond;” or if it’s warm, you can wade around in it. (Note, the frog pond is just a 3 inch deep, chlorinated pool… there are no actual frogs). You can also find the “Make Way for Ducklings” statue.

And it’s not uncommon to find weirdos taking pictures with the ducks… 😉

4) If you’re a runner, running along the Charles River is lovely! Despite there being a song about our “dirty water” (‘Dirty Water” is a song by the Standells about Boston and the Charles River), the Charles River is now the cleanest urban river in the country! (side note, if you’re a runner and want to run the Boston marathon’s Heartbreak Hill, you’ll have to drive about 15 minutes west of the city… but you’ll be right by my library… so I would run it with you if you want a temporary running buddy… provided I like your blog) 🙂

5) If you’re into shopping, check out Newbury Street (that’s where all the expensive shops are).

6) Take a day trip up to Salem (about 30 minutes north) and check out all of the witch/witch trial stuff (museums, tours, etc). Especially fun around October.

7) Take a Duck Tour. They are totally silly… and you will probably find yourself “quacking” around the city, but you’ll also learn a bunch of fun facts and see some lovely sides of Boston.

They travel on land and in the water

8) Check out “The North End” if you’re looking for some awesome Italian food (go to Mike’s if you want the best cannoli in town… but expect to wait in line).

9) Columbus Park has a really great view of the city.

10) Find Mother Goose’s gravestone (in a cemetery near the Common). She’s also near some other cool people like Paul Revere and John Hancock… or John Adams… let’s be honest, I think Mother Goose is the coolest in that cemetery! I stopped paying attention after I found her. But you should know that there are some other really important, long-dead, people near her.

11) Bonus from T: visit Rowe’s Wharf, also some nice views (and I think shopping… but I can’t remember the last time I was there). Or the Prudential Center.

Museums! If you’re into museums, I would recommend:

  • The Institute of Contemporary Art (aka the ICA)
  • Museum of Fine Art (aka MFA)
  • The New England Aquarium
  • The Science Museum (with the planetarium and the IMAX movie screen with fun, nerdy, science movies… or action packed ones that make me a little dizzy) *this one is my favorite
  • The Children’s Museum (really only fun if you have children…)

So yeah, I think that’s my list… but I feel like I’m missing something really important… Oh! I forgot walking the Freedom trail! (do that with a tour guide though… otherwise you’re just walking along a red line…) One another attraction could be Harvard… but that’s not really a Bostonian thing… it’s not like we all get to go there, we all just get to enjoy the traffic congestion around there.

Where do you live and what would you recommend seeing there? Have you been to Boston or live in/near Boston and think I missed something?


Fun in Philly

My wonderful boyfriend and I had a TERRIFIC time in Philadelphia for our 10 year anniversary!

It started off a little rocky but not this kind of Rocky:

Our first interaction with the city was near an art college. Everyone we saw was either a hipster, art student or homeless. It didn’t bode well for the city! But maybe we were just near the Philly version of the Pine Street Inn (Boston’s major homeless shelter… in case I lost you on that hometown reference) because we didn’t see nearly as many in other parts of the city. Also, the first piece of art looked like poo:

It was really supposed to be a giant glob of paint, but at first we didn’t see the giant paint brush over it when we were driving past it.

We really did have an awesome time though! We went on a tour of City Hall (the largest government office in the country). I LOVE guided tours that teach me something… because I’m a GIANT NERD!

T and City Hall (in the background)

We went to the Reading Terminal Market (which I think was my favorite thing… I LOVE a wide variety of foods in one place and the soft pretzels were to die for! Literally, there was probably enough butter to cause a heart attack – but they were scrumptious!)

We also saw the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall

And we did a lot of walking… T is an architect, and as the tour guide at City Hall said: “not all art is in a museum!” We looked at a TON of buildings! T simply loves it and Philly has a bunch of really neat buildings to look at, including the Masonic Hall:

Philly also has a ton of really fabulous statues:

I don’t know the real name of this statue, but I call it “butts and feet” because regardless of the angle, you see lots of butts and feet!

In fact, if I ever go back to Philly, I think I would go on a butt scavenger hunt, they have a lot of exposed butts on their statues (not saying I minded, it was just interesting). Make a game out of it, see how many one can find while there, you know? At least there were more than I’ve ever seen in any other city… and I studied abroad in Europe! (there is a statue of a kid peeing in Belgium… and they still don’t have as many derrieres as Philly).

And yes, Philly cheese steaks were had! T tried 3 from a variety of places. I did not, however… since I’m a vegetarian and all. 🙂

It was a lot of fun and I’m super glad we went! I love seeing and learning about new places. It’s a great walking city and I really recommend seeing Philly!

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