Boston is the first place I ever lived on my own, and while calling her winters “long” or “cold” is an understatement, she can be quite a charmer too. Boston has narrow, winding streets, brick buildings older than the country, and people with endearing accents and lots of love for their city. It’s a quaint little place that feels like a town but acts like a metropolis, and every fall since I graduated from BU, I miss its changing leaves, crisp air, and sidewalks filled with students in sweatshirts boasting a plethora of local college acronyms.
So, last spring, when we found tickets to Iceland that flew though Boston with a 7-hour layover, I jumped at the opportunity to show Jordan around the first real city I had ever lived in. Of course, in the seven hours between landing and takeoff, we didn’t get to everything I wanted to show him, but on a 75-degree summer day in Boston, you can see a lot on a short walking tour. Here’s how we spent our Boston afternoon.
2:30 p.m. Land at Boston Logan
One of the great things about a Boston layover is the airport’s close proximity to the city. It took us about 15 minutes (and $20) to get from the airport to Boston’s historic and adorable North End in a cab. Luggage in tow, our first stop was finding a place to store it for the afternoon (since apparently airports don’t do this anymore for security reasons). The vallets at the Millenium Boston Hotel on North Street, agreed to store our bags for the afternoon for a whopping $2, and with that we were off.
First on the list was lunch, so we tucked into the tight streets of the North End and wandered to an Oyster Bar, but with a 2-hour wait list for lunch, I decided America’s oldest restaurant would be a better option. Union Oyster House claims their cornbread is the best, so we put it to the test alongside clam chowder and a Sam Adam’s pour. Then it was time for a walk.
4 p.m. Walk the Freedom Trail
The Freedom Trail is a red line painted (or laid in bricks) on the sidewalks of Boston that acts as a guide for self-service walking tours of Boston’s historical sites. Walk along the path and you’ll come upon the nation’s first public school, the church that held Paul Revere’s lantern warning, and the state house, until you end at Boston Common — the Central Park of Boston. Technically the trail starts in Charlestown on the other side of the river, and it’s 2.5 miles from there to Boston Common, but with time of the essence we started at Fanieul Hall and walked from there, reading plaques and touching old stuff along the way.
5 p.m. Take a load off in Boston Common
We had gorgeous weather the day we were in Boston, so the Common was lush with people and green grass. We bought a lemonade and rested our barking dogs on a hill in the shade, as I treated Jordan to every single story I could remember from my time in Boston.
5:45 p.m. Walk through Beacon Hill to the Charles
Scientifically speaking, Beacon Hill is the most adorable neighborhood in the world, so a trip to Boston isn’t complete without a walk down its brick streets and a peak in the windows of its fancy restaurants. We walked through on our way to the river, where we watched collegiate sailboats and yuppie yachts alike get pushed along that dirty water.
6:30 p.m. Grab luggage and bid adieu
While I wished that we were hungry enough to do dinner in the city before our flight and that we had time to get up to BU’s campus so I could show Jordan my college campus, we were working with an international flight check-in, so we decided we better play it safe. We hopped in a cab back to the hotel that held our stuff, and then took the blue line back to the airport, where we bid adieu to the states and hopped aboard a plane to
Reykjavik the moon.
8 p.m. Clear international security and clink wine glasses in celebration of coming adventure
Our walking tour of Bean Town only intensified my New England pang, but it felt great to be back in the little city that influenced me so much before jumping aboard a plane to such a foreign land. If you ever get the chance to visit Boston — even just during a layover — you’ll see what I mean about its quaint charm and impressive history. It’s well worth a layover, if not an entire week of patriot celebration.
What’s the most charming place you’ve ever visited? Have you done the Freedom Trail?