One night in Boston

Boston was not a city I had a strong urge to visit, nevertheless, I ended up there for one night in June, spontaneously and unexpectedly. My then-boyfriend had meetings there, and suggested I come, despite that I’d have to see the sights on my own. He described the city  as “small and quaint”, with not much to boast for, except good seafood, which was enough to sell me on visiting.

On a Wednesday morning, I was scheduled to take an Amtrak train from 34th Street Penn Station, to Boston South Station. The return trip from New York to Boston on Amtrak, with one business class seat, and one coach seat, set me back around USD300. I was excited as it was my first time catching an Amtrak train, and I went to Penn Station at the time I was advised to come. Unfortunately, due to “police activity” on the train route, my train to Boston was delayed at first by an hour, which kept increasing little by little. All passengers were finally allowed to board at 1:55pm, just over three hours after the initial scheduled boarding time.

The specific train I was on, was an Acela Express, so the travel time was slightly shorter than if I had caught another Amtrak service to Boston. The trip was scenic in some parts, and we passed Stamford, New Haven, and Providence before arriving in Boston. I got there around 4:30pm and was starving, so my agenda was to get some food as quickly as possible.

I got an Uber to a lobster roll place in Boston North End. The lobster place, called Pauli’s Northend, was highly reviewed on Yelp, but looked like a fairly casual eatery, and didn’t include table service, with customers picking up their food at the counter once it was ready. I opted for a hot lobster roll with butter. The price was around USD22, and the roll was fairly small, about the same size as a lobster roll from Luke’s Lobster. The roll had everything good about a traditional lobster roll- soft bread, warm pieces of lobster, soaked in a rich butter. My only complaint was that the lobster roll was too small. I was finished in two bites, and decided to appease my seemingly insatiable appetite, by a second course of dinner.

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With that, I walked nearby to Union Oyster House. The restaurant claimed to be “America’s oldest restaurant” and was established in 1846.

While walking to the restaurant, I passed by Old North Church, and decided to stop in and have a look. Old North Church, as with a majority of the historic churches in Boston, was free to enter.

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Though it was early for dinner time when I arrived, around 5:30pm, the hostess informed me that it would be over an hour wait for a table in the restaurant section, but that I could be seated at a booth immediately if I desired. With that, I took a seat at a booth, and was brought a copy of the menu immediately. Booth seating, while there is no wait, or a limited wait, compared to the restaurant, also features a limited menu, comprising of appetizers and oysters or mussels, which suited me fine as I’d just eaten.

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I opted for a bowl of the clam chowder, and mussels, cooked in a white wine sauce, with garlic, and served with a crusty garlic bread. The clam chowder was creamy, rich, and flavoursome, with the accompanying sauce that came with the mussels accordingly so. I also enjoyed the complementary corn bread that came on the side.

After my excessive dinner, I decided to stroll around the nearby area, and passed Massachusetts State House, the building that housed the seat of government for Massachusetts. Massachusetts State House is located just up the street from Boston Common, so I strolled down to the park after that.

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Outside Massachusetts State House

Boston Common was a lovely park with pristine and unkempt lawns, but its size in no way rivalled that of New York’s Central Park, or San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

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I’d walked the park in about 15 or 20 minutes, and then decided to go to back to the hotel to retire for the evening.

The next morning, I said goodbye to my then-boyfriend at the hotel, who had another full day of meetings, and shortly after, set out to get breakfast and then go about my day.

While walking through the city, I stumbled upon a Japanese coffee chain, Ogawa Coffee, and decided to breakfast there. Though my train back to New York was scheduled for around 1ish that afternoon, I intended to see as many of the sights as I could. Boston’s city center enabled me to do this, as it is small and the entirety is easily walkable within a couple of hours.

Following breakfast, I went for a stroll around Boston Harbour.

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Boston Harbour

The weather in Boston was fine that day, around 25 degrees Celsius, and not humid. After walking Boston Harbour, I walked back over the bridge and into the main city area, which didn’t take more than 20 minutes.

From there, I walked to Old State House, and paid the $5 entry fee. Old State House is a historic building which previously housed the seat of state government and operated as Boston’s City Hall. The building now operates as a history museum. DSC_0860

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Following my visit to Old State House, I walked leisurely down the street, and stopped to admire Boston’s Old City Hall.

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Boston’s Old City Hall

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After stopping at Old City Hall, I walked past Granary Burying Ground, Boston’s third oldest cemetery, founded in 1660.

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The environs of the burying ground were lush, green, and leafy, with tall trees that created lots of pockets of shade. As such, it had a calming effect on the walker, and made one forget that they were in a cemetery.

From Granary Burying Ground, I walked through Boston Common to Old South Church, which took me around 20 minutes. On the way there, I passed another historic church, Trinity Church.

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Entrance of Old South Church

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Old South Church was very pretty to behold, with its dark wooden interior, and stained glass windows.

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Following my visit to Old South Church, I crossed the street and walked over to Boston Public Library, established in 1848. Boston Public Library is the third largest library in the United States, following New York Public Library, and the Library of Congress.

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The library’s architecture was beautiful, and impressive. I enjoyed exploring the large halls and rooms. There were a number of people studying, while tourists, like myself, gawked and took photos.

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Boston Library’s Great Hall

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After looking around Boston Library, it was nearly 12, and time to head to Boston South Station to catch the Amtrak train back to New York. Before going to the station, I stopped to get a quick lunch at James Hook and Co, an eatery serving lobster rolls and various seafood dishes.

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Cold lobster roll with mayonnaise and celery, and baked scallop

After getting lunch, I went to the station and sampled some food items at a market just across from Boston South. When I got to the station, the train was already on the platform, but was somewhat delayed again, due to the same reason as the day prior.

All in all, I was content with my solo adventures in Boston for the day and prior afternoon. The city was small, but charming, and I had managed to tick off a majority of the major sights, in addition to enjoying good food.

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