North America

Timeless Boston

written by | Posted on November 1st, 2011

So what do Sylvia Plath, Louisa May Alcott, Robert Frost and Senator John Kerry have in common? They’ve all called Beacon Hill—one of Boston’s most beautiful and charming neighborhoods—home. The reason we point this out is because what makes Boston so unique amidst its New England setting is its neighborhoods, each with its own flavor, its own ambiance and rhythm, and each with its own unique story to tell. And although each neighborhood is its own little world, weave them all together and what you get is a destination that has “hot” written all over it.

“Sophisticated, passionate, thriving and diverse are all adjectives that come to mind when thinking of Boston,” says Kim Vincent, product manager, North & South America, for the Globus family of brands. “Boston remains a steadfast, classic North American tourist destination. There’s something for everyone in Boston—it’s not just the birthplace of America any longer. It’s a melting pot of ethnicities, which is evident in its distinctive neighborhoods that pride themselves in their cultures. These unique cultures are celebrated throughout the city through food, entertainment, cultural events, and come together as one in Boston.”

neighborhood hopscotch Although we are only scratching the surface, here’s a handful of our favorite neighborhoods to wander through.

Once an actual bay, Back Bay is probably the most fashionable of neighborhoods. Both fashionistas and architecture aficionados will have a field day here—Newbury Street is one of our favorites, lined with one-of-a-kind shops and hip restaurants tucked away in buildings that date to the late-1800s. Recommend a visit to Copley Square, home to Trinity Church, the Boston Public Library, the John Hancock Tower and other notable buildings. Suggest lunch at the Met Back Bay, which delivers basics such as clam chowder and mac & cheese, done well with a few twists (think cedar-miso salmon or Scituate-lobster-and-cheddar dip).

For the quintessential colonial Bostonian neighborhood, meanwhile, tell clients to head to Beacon Hill, one of the city’s oldest communities. Here, they’ll feel as if they’ve taken several steps back in time as they stroll the narrow streets paved with brick sidewalks and lined with gas lamps, all while perusing beautiful doors and decorative iron work. Beacon Hill is home to the Massachusetts State House and America’s first African Meeting House, and Charles Street, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare, is lined with antique shops and restaurants. Steak lovers will love the award-winning Mooo restaurant, located within the XV Beacon Hotel and offering a modern take on classic steakhouse fare.

From Beacon Hill, it’s an easy and might we add absolutely gorgeous walk to Downtown, where the city’s center of business and government cozies up to the Boston Common and the Public Garden. It’s here, too, where visitors will come across a number of historic sites such as Faneuil Hall and some of the oldest cemeteries in Boston, as well as plenty of public art dating as far back as the 1700s. A must is eating at Faneuil Hall’s Durgin-Park, with its tradition of communal seating at long tables, typical New England fare and a wait staff that is encouraged to “back talk” the clientele.

Of course, visitors can’t leave Boston without seeing the country’s third largest Chinese neighborhood, aptly named Chinatown. It’s located between the city’s Financial District and Theater District, so it’s easy to wander into. Tell claustrophobes to be prepared because it’s actually one of the city’s most densely populated areas. Pushing up against each other are an insane amount of Asian restaurants and bakeries, where visitors can sample everything from dim sum to almond cookies. It’s a nice place to visit, too, during a Chinese festival—the popular August Moon Festival has children carrying brightly colored lanterns and revelers eating moon cakes. For eating, one can stop in at any of the myriad restaurants serving dim sum, it’s a true treat.

But we must say that one of our preferred neighborhoods is the North End, which was home to Paul Revere and is, in fact, one of Boston’s most historic. It’s known mostly as an enclave of Italian immigrants, and as the home to the Old North Church (a must visit). Of course, authentic Italian cuisine is on full display in all the restaurants, but we suggest visitors venture over to Mother Anna’s Restaurant. Over 70 years old, it’s the oldest family restaurant in the neighborhood and offers up true Italian dishes that melt in one’s mouth.