Saturday, February 16, 2019

Three Great Things To Do in Boston this Spring [That Aren't the Freedom Trail]

I spent just a few days in Boston, tackling most of the historic sights of the freedom trail in just one afternoon. With a bit of time on my hands I sought out a few off the beaten path items to check out.

 Some things I found underwhelming, some I've earmarked for next time, and my favorite three I'm sharing with you right now.

1. Brattle Bookstore

This is the easiest and most fun of the spots. I could've spent hours combing through the bookshelves. Whether you're looking for a cheap paperback to pick up for the flight home, a beautiful leather bound classic, or a weighty art book (guilty!) this is your place. From the outdoor bookshelves stacked with $1, $3, and $5 books to the curated collection of first editions inside, it has something that every bibliophile will love.

Even if you don't bring anything home, there's something about this book shop that seems so communal and inviting. Dozens of passers-by will halt in front of the book alley and find themselves scanning titles alongside you. It's such a unique place & so close to the Freedom Trail. It's worth the stop if you're nearby.

2. Boston Harbor and Waterfront

Stroll through the crowds at Faneuil Hall Marketplace as you head towards the waterfront. Make a pit stop to grab an ice cream sandwich at the Cookie Monster truck by Atlantic Ave before sunning in Christopher Columbus park.

It's a nice little walk from there to the New England Aquarium, where you can forego a ticket and take a peek at the seals swimming around their enclosure at the front entrance of the aquarium. The best part? They'll be around to say hi any time of the day. I wandered by after a late dinner in the North End and was greeted with playful seals bobbing over to say hi.

3. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

This place is such a gem! It's not free, but admission is pretty affordable. And if you're a member at a museum in your hometown, ask if they have a reciprocal membership with your museum. We lucked out & didn't have to pay for entry since our local museum had a reciprocal agreement with them. Once inside, check out the main courtyard and wind through the different floors to experience one of the most varied collections of art you'll ever see.

Isabella left specific instructions in her will that no item could be permanently moved from where she had placed it - meaning most of the rooms look exactly as they did a hundred years ago when she designed them, and much of it is so close you could touch it (but don't!).

From handcrafted dining chairs to full wall tapestries and an ostrich egg encased in handmade silver ostrich, there is no shortage of gems. You can even use your phone for a free audio guide to get an inside look at a few special pieces and learn about the empty frames that still hang in the museum after an infamous theft many years ago.

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