Okay, maybe we’re biased, but for its compact size, Boston offers an unbeatable variety of sightseeing attractions--and more than a little character. Being the birthplace of the American Revolution, as well as the original cultural “hub” of the nation--it was once dubbed the Athens of the New World--we take pride in living up to our reputation. With our iconic battleship, colonial architecture, our wealth of world class museums, one or two universities you might have heard of, famous concert venues, and championship banner-decked sports arenas, our city is both charmingly historic and vibrantly contemporary. Boston also boasts some of the country’s more fascinating and distinct neighborhoods, from the old world feel of the North End/Little Italy, to the stately brick and brownstones of Back Bay.
As the gracious hosts that we Bostonians ahh, we want you to get a real taste of the town (and maybe even a little taste of The Town, while we’re at it). This winter, we’re proud to introduce Gray Line’s new Boston & Cambridge Top Spots Tour, that will feature the very best of Boston & Cambridge, bringing you a bit of everything essential to what makes us proud to call Boston home.
After crossing the Charles River, you’ll be immersed in the proud city of Cambridge--home to some of the world’s best higher learning facilities: the tech mecca, M.I.T., and one of the oldest universities in the New World (and still one of the most renowned), Harvard University. Aside from the quaint, historic campus, Harvard Square itself is home to an abundance of shops, colorful cafes, counter-cultural bookstores, and museums; this place oozes a tradition that is both academic and revolutionary--as it did when Washington took command of the continental army on these very grounds, during the struggle for independence.
We go from high-brow Cambridge to another mecca of sorts: one of the holiest shrines to our national pastime, the inimitable Fenway Park, home to our storied baseball franchise, the Boston Red Sox. Despite being home to some of the greatest players to ever play the game (Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski), it was only this century that our bean-town heroes were able to reverse the legendary “curse of the Bambino”, the alleged source of our 86 year championship drought. More than just a team, the Red Sox--and perhaps that 2004 season--are the stuff of local folklore, permanently etched into this city’s psyche--a scrappy, proud, and perseverant bunch, who just don't know how to quit.
In our cultural capitol, Back Bay, you’ll see the some of the city’s most photographed buildings, such as the stunning Trinity Church as well as the elegant Boston Public Library in Copley Square, as well as two masterpieces by architect I.M. Pei: the Christian Science Mother Church and the building formerly known as the John Hancock Tower. Also in Copley Square, you may want to take time to visit another important site near and dear to our hearts, the Boston Marathon Finish Line--site of so many triumphs and yet one heart-rending tragedy, the bombings of 2013.
After leaving behind Back Bay’s grid of luxurious townhouses, past the Public Gardens, you’ll find yourself in the midst of the stateliest of aristocratic neighborhoods, as you ascend into the affluent and historic environs of Beacon Hill. You’re now in the very heart of Boston, where colonial history begins to come alive before your eyes (aside from the Granary Burial Ground, of course--RIP Mother Goose). One by one, scenes from your history books seem to pop up everywhere--the Boston Massacre site, Paul Revere’s home, and many others, while men dressed as Ben Franklin dart through traffic on their segues...
When you reach the famous wharves of Boston’s iconic harbor, the briny sea breeze fills the air, as well as the smell of one of Boston’s specialties: --NO, not baked beans! Nobody really eats those anymore, thank heavens--we’re talking about clam chowder, or shall I say clam chow-dah? I guess the difference is, chowdah is rich, creamy, and filled with plump local clams and potato chunks (and if you want, bacon or salt pork), while clam chowder is that watery, tomato based substitute they’re dishing out down in Manhattan. Again, we’re not biased or anything…Ahem. The point is, how ever you pronounce it, you will be getting your own cup of piping-hot chowder from one of our favorite local restaurants, on the house!
Next stop, the Charlestown Navy Yard, is where you can pay a short visit to the oldest commissioned warship in the world, the USS Constitution, aka “Old Ironsides”, so-named as she was said to repel cannon fire with her sturdy wooden frame. A feat of engineering, and a feat of perseverance--she still makes the yearly turn-around journey in the harbor, long after surviving the War of 1812. Currently still open for limited visits, but in dry dock during restoration, she will be back in the water by the autumn of 2017.
At the end of our trip, you’ll come to Faneuil Hall & Quincy Market, the heart of the Freedom Trail. While once serving as the site of some of Boston’s most historic events, including fiery speeches that sparked the Boston Tea Party, these grounds are now also home to a taste of all things Boston--boutiques and souvenir shops for tourists and locals alike, an indoor marketplace featuring samples of Boston’s iconic foods (think clams, lobster rolls, and pizza!), and on Fridays, the boisterous and colorful haymarket--it's a great place to have lunch or explore for the rest of your afternoon.
We’re excited that this new tour will give you a sense of what this city and it’s people are about; you could say we’re a bit intellectual, a bit artistic, we love our sports with a religious fervor. We’re as warm as a cup of chowder on a cool winter night, but our spirit is as tough as iron. I guess living through all of those blizzards and that crazy traffic will do that to ya!