Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Exploring Boston

Just back from a wonderful weekend in Boston. The trip was primarily to attend the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra concert on Saturday night in Cambridge (which was a fabulous mix of Brahms, Adams and Bernstein), but I also allowed myself some time to browse in Cambridge and sightsee in Boston.

This is the fifteenth such visit and, in that time, I’ve come to know Boston almost as well as I know New York City. Boston is a great place for a weekend visit given its compact size and the tremendous amount of history attached to the city. While there is a very efficient underground transit system (the T), walking is a pleasure and even encouraged by the Freedom Trail which marks out the route past many points of historical interest.

Despite the number of visits I’ve made, there always seems to be something new to discover about the city and this time was no exception in the form of the Black Heritage Trail which ‘explores the history of the 19th century free Black community of Boston’.  Unlike the Freedom Trail which is easy to follow as it is marked by continuous red paint or brick paving, the Heritage Trail is sign-posted and, sadly, I must have missed one of the signs because not long after I started out from the Common, I found myself almost back where I had started without having passed any of the major landmarks of the route.  Not wanting to try again without a map in hand, I decided to leave the rest of the Trail for my next visit.    

Both the bus and train from New York come into South Station, but I had never explored this area, always taking the T straight to whichever hotel I was planning to stay, partly on the assumption that like many other cities there would not be much to see around the station itself.  However, it turns out that the station is just a few minutes’ walk from the river where a stretch of the designated Harbor Walk winds past residential complexes and hotels and offers unobstructed views of both the nearby marinas and the architecture on the opposite banks, including the airport.

A couple of blocks up from the river, a series of small parks which form part of the Rose F Kennedy Greenway provide a pleasant, pedestrian route through an otherwise built up area - the parkway actually sits on top of an underground eight lane highway!  The Greenway runs for over a mile and connects several of Boston’s neighborhoods, but as I only had time to walk through three of the sections on the way to the station, I left the city happy in the knowledge that I still have plenty of exploring to do in future visits.   

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