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Walking tour of Boston

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

I cannot imagine how challenging it must have been to traverse Boston on foot before the Big Dig, which residents endured for 15 years from 1991 to 2006.  I was living in Barcelona just prior to the 1992 Olympics when the city undertook a similar project to put major roadways underground.  I recall the project was overwhelming and excruciating in its impact on the city.  But both projects seem to have made their respective cities more livable.


The Barcelona initiative transformed the city from one that turned its back on the sea, to one that embraced it.  The fabulous waterfront promenade of Barcelona created infrastructure changes that now stretch for nearly five kilometers and facilitate a marvelous view of the deep blue Mediterranean Sea.  Similarly, the Rose Kennedy Greenway has replaced Boston’s I-93 highway and softened downtown Boston with green gardens, water features and hard-scaped areas that are very appealing.

Dancing fountains on the Greenway

Visit the Boston Greenway

Our walking tour of Boston began in the Seaport district with an introduction to the rejuvenation of the South Side.  After a quick stopover at Barking Crab for a light snack, craft beers and water views.  We joined the Greenway in the Financial District and followed it to the Faneuil Hall Marketplace.  The Greenway was delightful, with families congregating to follow their young ones through water fountains and rock back and forth on oversized wooden swings.


At Faneuil Hall the tourist foot traffic is more intense.  I did not mind that as my earliest memories of Boston were of this tourist trap, and slurping oysters at an establishment called the Walrus and the Carpenter.  That restaurant no longer exists, but we found a willing substitute in the Boston & Maine counter within Quincy Market.  The peel and eat shrimp were plump and fresh, albeit pricey.

A typical Italian grocer in the North End

Visit the North End of Boston

We strolled the Greenway some more and found our way to the Freedom Trail, traversing the North End of Boston.  This is an area steeped in history in two different ways. The Freedom Trail in the North End highlights some of the more significant sights of the beginnings of the American Revolutionary War – the Old North Church and Revere House among them.


But it also showcases the importance of Italian immigration to these shores.  The Italians are the second largest ancestry group in Boston, and most of those emigrated to the North End. A tour of the North End is an introduction to the Italian roots of this neighborhood.  Simply walking around the North End accentuates the influence of the Italian culture and the restaurant options emphasize it further.


Our tour of the North End started with a visit to the popular Neptune Oyster Bar, but we opted for the razor clams as our entrée (which is an unusual dish stateside).  After popping into a few Italian-themed gourmet shops, we settled into a cozy restaurant called Aqua Pazza for a delightful meal that included fresh oysters, stuffed zucchini flowers, a sampler of three different pasta dishes and excellent service.

Boston Public Garden

Visit Boston Common

A tour of Boston is not complete without a visit to Boston Common and the adjoining Public Garden.  The Common is the oldest public park in the US and has been central to life in the City of Boston for 350 years.  The Public Garden is also the oldest botanical garden in the United States and features a six-acre pond with swan boats.  Like Central Park in New York City, these two green spaces offer a tranquil refuge from the bustle of city.  If there is time after a stroll around the Common, popping into the WNDR museum nearby is well worth the visit.  It is one of the most interesting, interactive attractions I have experienced.


Note: I am not being compensated for my mention of the various businesses or attractions in this post.  I am simply a happy customer!

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