Pt 1 | My Solo Weekend Trip to Boston
Each year I create a bucket list for that year and try to make it happen. It doesn’t always work which is ok, but putting it on the list means it is serious business to me. This year one of the major items was a solo trip somewhere. Alone. Crazy for me because traveling with friends is highly rated pleasure of mine.
In August I realized in order for this trip to happen it would need to be scheduled in for the autumn and accordingly began to research Savannah, Boston and New Orleans as possible destinations. For one reason or another Boston in the fall kept popping up and when a good direct flight came up I put my name down with applicable credit card info.
After the grueling research to find an affordable hotel (I was too late for good AirBnBs) in a good location, that too was procured. Perhaps Boston wasn’t a good place to solo travel? However, the die was cast.
I basically forgot about it until a few weeks before leaving when I realized it would be good to have a basic idea of what there is to see and eat in the city of Boston.
Hotels near the city center of Boston run from $300-$600 a night for many of the nicer ones, with a shocking lack of not-nice ones to fall back on. As a result I booked Copley House as soon as possible to lock in the rate of $200 nightly. It was in a fantastic location, in the Back Bay area of Boston with all the picturesque brownstones and quiet neighbors one could desire.
The drawback was having to share a bathroom between four rooms, but eh, what is life without a little adventure? The neighbors weren’t at all rowdy so with a little good manners from everyone, the bathroom situation wasn’t hard to deal at all.
The staff was fantastic. On the ready to serve and gave me crystal clear instructions for late check-in. I got in no problem at 1:30am, even with no one at the desk.
Copley House is unique because it isn’t just one building, but several spread out over the block. Once you have your key it works to unlock both the door of your building and room; just don’t forget it when you go to use the bathroom. Of course, I could’ve gotten my own bathroom if I’d paid $300 a night, but $100 isn’t worth it just for the purposes of showers and toilets. One can usually remember a key when leaving a hotel room anyway.
On the plus, the linens were wonderful and I slept about 9 hours a night there, it was so comfy and quiet.
THE PATISSERIE ON NEWBURY
Up and around a corner from Copley House is Newbury St, and on this street lives a little basement Patisserie with croissants to rival Paris. This contained my first surprise about Boston: the people.
I always thought Bostonions, like the French, were a bit hoity-toity. Imagine my surprise to find, like the French, that they are warm-hearted and kind, and what I’ve found exclusive to Boston, chatty. I haven’t encountered this in any other city.
His name was Peter S. and he was waiting outside the Patisserie with his dog (everyone in Boston has a dog, and probably a big one) and he thought perhaps I was a student. I told him this was a weekend visit and we chatted about North Carolina, and sports teams. I tried to appear intelligent even if I’m ignorant as a pansy about such things.
He recommended The Atlantic Fish Co and told me which waiter to ask for, and then I had to leave to meet a group for a walking tour.
THE WALKING TOUR WITH IRA
It was a point of honor to me that I have never behaved liked a touristy tourist, but have been throwing that towel into a damp heap recently in favor of finding out more history about the locations I visit. The walking tour was my first real jaunt into the world of tourism.
Make Way for the Ducklings.
Oh wait, I meant these ducklings…
Ira was the tour guide, originally from Cali and now a dyed-in-the-wool Bostonion. He loved the city, clearly, but he wasn’t under any illusions about it as he told us controversies over things like sculptures, the city-wide indignation when the new head gardener at the Public Gardens planted palms (apparently he has done it every year since because he enjoyed the kerfuffle so much) and fun facts like the time the city decided to pull up the brick sidewalks in favor of concrete. The women of the city were so outraged they planted their bottoms and all their children on the sidewalks and refused to move until the city gave up. Today, we get to walk on brick sidewalks in Beacon Hill as a result.
Highly, highly recommend this walk. It is $35 and worth its salt for the things you will learn about architecture, history, the city’s personality, and worthy restaurants to visit. You will be provided headsets through which to clearly hear Ira, which is lovely because otherwise half of what he says would be missed with a group strung out over narrow streets, taking photos and whatnot. Ira recommended the Atlantic Fish Co, which produced my favorite dish of the trip, and Luke’s Lobster, in Back Bay.
LUKE’S LOBSTER, BACK BAY
This was my first shell-shock about the cost of food in Boston. I ordered the lobster roll upon recommendation and paid $17. I went to sit down.
Accordingly the dish was brought forth adorned by a skinny spear of a pickle and and I stared, almost in shock. It was tiny. Now, I know lobster is expensive and that probably three lobsters died to supply this roll, but to my mid-western eye this was insufficient. No wonder the staff looked at me funny when I declined the chips.
The lobster was perfect; tender and sweet. It was chilled, as lobster rolls are generally meant to be, on a toasted bun. In it I tasted the winds of Maine on cool summer days.
<Insert nap here> No really, I went back to Copley House to take a nap and refresh after the late night before. Why else would I stay near the city center than for a midday siesta?
THE BARKING CRAB
In the evening I was scheduled to meet my cousin and her family for dinner, and as the Atlantic Fish Co was already out of reservations we decided to hit up the Barking Crab instead. Located just on the waterfront of the Bass River, off the Boston Main. We had only an hour and a half wait there and M passed the time by finding parking closer by, while my cousin and kids, and I sat overlooking the construction as that was a main point of interest for the littles.
That evening I dined upon Ipswich Clams, or as the menu referred to them mainly as “whole-bellied, fried clams.” Basically what this means is that the gastro-intestinal tract of the clam is included and develops the flavor. Is it because I get to taste it twice? Once when the clam tasted it and once now?
I came to Boston to be brave, and come hell or high water a little seafood wasn’t going to stop me!
To be continued…