From Chinese to Portuguese, we heard a bevy of languages from our fellow passers-by. Nearly every street was a vibrant stage; singers, dancers and performers of all kinds played to an international audience. Sleek skyscrapers were juxtaposed against centuries-old structures, shading our path as we explored one of the official “Most Walkable Cities in America.” It was a crisp autumn day in New England and our first visit to Boston.
The history books are wrong. At least about the Boston Massacre, according to our guide, a wildly colorful character on Boston’s Freedom Trail tour. Dressed in 1700’s period costume, he led us to significant sites along the Trail – including bustling Faneuil Hall, Boston’s oldest marketplace; reverent Park Street Church; solemn Granary Burying Ground, and infamous King Street… the site of the Boston Massacre. Turns out it wasn’t a planned massacre after all, but a tragic misunderstanding by soldiers who heard “Fire!” instead of, “Hold your fire!” The stories were dramatic, riveting and often comical.
Sometimes it’s fun to be a tourist versus a traveler. That’s why upon our arrival in Boston, we were compelled to have New England clam chowder in New England at none other than Cheers. For those Cheers aficionados, yes, there are two structures: The actual bar that inspired the TV series, and the recreated hangout where the shows were filmed. We chose the latter, and Patrick immediately grabbed Norm’s famous spot.
In Good Company
Being mollusk lovers, we were in the right place. After the aforementioned Freedom Trail experience, we dined at The Union Oyster House – “America’s oldest restaurant” and a National Historic Landmark located along the Freedom Trail. The Boston fixture opened in 1886 and served the likes of Daniel Webster and in more recent years, the Kennedy’s.
With all due respect to Gloria Estefan’s “Love to Hear Percussion”, the artist surely had not experienced this when she penned those popular lyrics. The Blue Man Group combines music, comedy and multimedia theatrics to produce a totally unique form of entertainment. Having missed the live stage show in other cities (New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando, Berlin, Amsterdam and Oberhausen), it was sheer serendipity to discover it here at the historic Charles Playhouse.
Pay attention; there is a lot of social commentary woven throughout the show. It was a terrific way to end the day.
Sadly, a day is all we had. Time permitting, we would have also availed ourselves of Boston CityPASS, a deeply discounted ticket booklet for many of Boston’s must-see attractions. The Little Italy Market tour was also on our overly ambitious list.
Having had a delicious taste of this internationally-flavored city, we will return for an extended stay. Have you been? What are your must-sees?
If you go:
For more information about Boston: bostonusa.com; Blue Man Group Boston, blueman.com; Boston Food Tours, bostonfoodtours.com; CityPASS Boston, aboutdci.com; The Freedom Trail Foundation: thefreedomtrail.org
Written by Lisa Codianne Fowler; photos by Patrick Fowler