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Back at the end of October, Hubs and I took our first trip together without Little. Earlier this year, we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary and in just a few short months, we’ll be adding another little one to our team. There is much to celebrate around here and we wanted to take advantage of it while we were able. We ended up planning a long weekend in Boston and it was really wonderful.
I’ll be honest, I was a nervous wreck about leaving Little. Of course, Hubs and I have both traveled separately away before, but this was our first trip where neither of us would be home. I was nervous about Little’s napping – whether or not he would have meltdowns (two is a tough age!), how he would sleep through the night, just all the things. As it turns out though, I think he only asked about us once and spent the rest of the time playing and having fun. In hindsight, it’s not a real shock.
Once I knew he was having a great time, I was really able to relax and enjoy our vacation to the fullest.
Our Weekend in Boston
This was my first trip to Boston. I’m from the south and aside from a couple of trips to Ohio, New Jersey, and New York, I really haven’t traveled that much outside of the Southeast. Hubs had been to Boston before though and felt confident that it would be a great time to visit. He was right. We traveled in the end of October and it was absolutely gorgeous. I had read that fall was the best season to visit, and I now know why. It was cool and brisk in the mornings and evenings, but without being dreadfully cold, and the afternoons were sunny and mild. The leaves on the trees were absolutely beautiful shades of orange, yellow, and red and plenty of them were still hanging on making the city just stunning. I highly recommend it.
Where We Stayed
We had been planning on taking a vacation this year for a while, so we’d been saving and learning about different travel incentives for a while. We are able to use travel points to get a great room at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Boston for our trip. It was wonderful. Probably the nicest hotel we’ve stayed in since our honeymoon. It was absolutely perfect for the trip. The hotel was right in downtown near the Theater district and we were able to walk almost everywhere we went during our entire stay which meant we didn’t need to rent a car. The staff was excellent and so friendly. They even left us a sweet welcome gift for the new baby.
Things to Do in Boston
Because our time was relatively limited, we chose all activities that were within walking distance from the hotel. We planned our days with one activity each morning, some rest in the afternoon and another activity in the evening. We wanted to see as much as we could, but also wanted plenty of time to just relax and enjoy the city and one anothers company. Although I know there is a lot we missed, I definitely feel like we got a good taste of the city.
Our first night in town, we went to the Charles Playhouse to see the Blue Man Group perform. While Blue Man Group is not specific to Boston, I had never seen them perform live before so I was excited to see that they were less than 0.5 miles away from our hotel. The show was 90 minutes long without intermission, and was the perfect combination or percussion music, comedy, fun, and audience interaction. It kept us engaged the whole time and was a great way to start the trip. After the show, the band and Blue Man Group was available for pictures, which I thought was a great touch.
Also, fun fact about the Charles Playhouse: It was originally constructed in 1839 as a Speakeasy before becoming a Jazz nightclub. Obviously, it has since become a theater for performing arts, but I appreciate the little bit of history in the place.
Friday morning, we grabbed breakfast and then spent some time walking around the city to visit the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. The tours are guided and last about an hour each. When we arrived, we were welcomed by fully costumed guides to a town hall meeting taking place just before the Boston Tea Party, complete with a rousing speech from Samuel Adams. Following the meeting, we had the chance to tour one of the ships and even throw some of the “tea crates” into the sea and tour the museum which had several interactive exhibits. The tour guides were all really excellent and knowledgeable – happy to answer any questions thrown at them. They also stayed really well in character, which added a lot to the tour.
We actually ended up being just behind the guests who purchased the one millionth ticket to the museum, so we were all treated to a big celebration complete with colonial drums and fluting, as well as cake and tea for everyone on our tour. So much fun.
Another great place to visit was the Boston Common and Public Garden. These are technically two separate places, but they’re right across the street from one another and are both absolutely gorgeous places to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Common is set on 50 acres and is America’s oldest public park. It was actually used by the British soldiers for camp prior to the American Revolution. The Garden on the other hand, is more decorative with beautiful flowers and greenery throughout. Both remind me of New York’s Central Park and were a nice place to take an afternoon walk. I recommend stopping by if you are visiting.
This was another guided walking tour that covered several historic places and events in Boston. The tour starts in the Boston Common and ends up in North End at Faneuil Hall.
To see all the stops on the tour, see here.
Each of these tours is led by a historic character from Boston. Our tour guide was actually playing the role of Thomas Hutchinson III, whose father was a Royal Governor in Massachusetts in 1771. It was really interesting to hear the tour from the perspective of a Loyalist during the time surrounding the American Revolution. Outside of character, our tour guide was a Boston native and his love for the city was apparent, which made the tour that much more enjoyable for us.
If you haven’t picked up on it, I really am a fan of doing all the touristy things my first time visiting a city. I loved all the walking tours and learning about the history of the City of Boston. It is such an important part of American history, and it was really fun to see all those places in person.
Right outside of Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market is full of little shops and food stalls and restaurants. There are street vendors outside as well. We actually stopped by the Market a few times during our stay in passing. There was always something going on whether it be performers, or in our case, lots of people in costume gearing up for a Halloween celebration. It’s a great place to stop by to grab something quick to eat or just to people watch.
Located right across from the Common and about 0.5 miles from the Massachusetts State House, Acorn St. is in the Beacon Hill neighborhood and is worth a stroll if you have the time. The cobblestone streets and beautiful homes are totally swoon-worthy.
Spend the Afternoon Walking Around Harvard’s Campus
On Saturday afternoon, we took a cab out to Cambridge to visit Harvard’s campus. We ended up just walking around the campus, taking photos, and relaxing for a few minutes in the student center. Totally took me back to both being in college (those were the days) and working on a college campus. It’s such a fun and exciting place – so much learning, new friendships, I just love all of it. The campus itself was really beautiful and the weather was PERFECT for walking around exploring.
Pro Tip: Be sure to check Groupon for Events and Deals Near You!
Where We Ate
Fajitas and Rita’s is a local Mexican restaurant where we ate lunch on our first day in Boston. Our flight landed just before noon and by the time we made it to the hotel to drop off our bags and walk around the city, it was almost 2:00 in the afternoon. This was the perfect place for a bite to eat after traveling. Hubs ordered nachos and I had steak fajitas. Both were delicious. My favorite was their chips though. So delicious!
This was my FAVORITE place we ate. Well, I ate. I’m a coffee and baked goods kind of girl and I was happy to find this delicious Italian coffee place just about 0.2 miles away from our hotel. The place is set up like an old library or bookstore and the staff was so friendly and efficient. (One of the baristas even gave me some good local coffee recommendations for back home!)
Most importantly, I had probably the best decaf latte and chocolate croissant I’ve had in a while. Perfect tasting espresso, perfect ratio of milk and flavor, perfect temperature. Likewise, the croissant was baked to perfection with just enough chocolate to satisfy my sweet tooth without feeling like I ate a candy bar for breakfast. We went there again on Saturday morning and my only regret from the trip was not getting up extra early before our flight Sunday morning to grab one last treat.
I know there are lots of great coffee places in Boston, but our time was limited and when you find a good thing, just hang on to it, you know?
We stopped at Rock Bottom before the show on Thursday night. We wanted something quick and simple and this definitely did not disappoint. Rock Bottom is your standard sports bar/restaurant/brewery. It was pretty casual with great food and service. I ordered a BBQ chicken salad and Hubs got a burger with fries. Both were tasty and really filling.
Another quick bite -Blaze Pizza is a franchise make-your-own pizza place. I had never tried it, but Hubs had been before and liked it so we gave it a try. I topped my pizza with nearly every single veggie in the place and Hubs got all meat on his pizza. The pizza was actually really tasty, but the think that impressed me the most was the efficiency with which the orders were filled. The pizzas are cooked right in front of you and are out super quick.
Modern Pastry is a little pastry shop in North End. It’s just across the street from another famous bakery, Mike’s Pastry. This was a must-visit on my list before heading in to Boston. I had read excellent reviews online and made a point to grab a cannoli.
I ordered the chocolate dipped cannoli vanilla custard and chocolate chips. It did not disappoint. They’ve got tons of other pastries and cookies to choose from as well of cannolis aren’t your thing.
One thing to keep in mind though – it’s cash only so if you primarily use your card, you’ll want to grab some cash before heading out.
Another cash only place, Mr. Bartley’s Burgers is right across the street from Harvard. It was packed when we go there and when we got our food, we immediately knew why. This is a great local spot for excellent burgers. (I didn’t realize until writing this post that they have actually been featured in several magazines.) The food and staff here were both really wonderful and come highly recommended!
On our last night in Boston, we made reservations at Tresca in North End. We were with a friend that did grad school with Hubs who had come to meet us on Saturday. His mom actually recommended it to us and it was fantastic!
Tresca is a more upscale Italian restaurant with an excellent menu. Hubs got a pizza and I got Chicken Marsala. We both loved it. For dessert, (because no way was I leaving without dessert), we got a chocolate cake and a seasonal item – chocolate chip pot pie, which was DELICIOUS.
Pro Tip: Be sure to check websites and social media pages for restaurants on your trip to find any deals or promotions that might be going on!
And that’s it. Our flight left pretty early on Sunday morning so we were back in time for lunch with Little, which worked out really well for us. This was definitely a trip for the memory books. I am still just so thankful that we were able to take a vacation with the two of us. I know we missed several things in Boston, but I think we had just enough time to fit in lots of things that were really fun and special to the city. We came home feeling refreshed and recharged which is just what we needed.
Have you traveled to Boston? What are your favorite things to do and see in the city? I love to hear what you think!
Finally, I’m excited to be joining Shani over at Sunshine and Munchkins and a few other bloggers today to celebrate Shani’s 2 year blogiversary! To celebrate, she’s giving away a few of her favorite things to one lucky reader! Shani is also a Stay-at-Home mom to two with another on the way and she is constantly sharing fun and creative DIY and craft projects as well as tasty recipes over on her blog!
One of the things I have loved most about blogging is meeting so many other wonderful people. I have loved getting to know Shani and I know that you’ll love all the things in this giveaway! I mean, hello, chocolate, planner stickers, and gift cards?! You don’t want to miss it! Be sure to enter below and we’ll announce the winner on Friday!
Also, be sure to check out all the lovely bloggers in the giveaway!
Shani @ Sunshine & Munchkins
Justine @ Little Dove Blog
Meg @ The Kusi Life
Steph @ The Gifty Girl
Sarah @ Making Joy & Pretty Things
Anna @ Practical & Pretty