An insider’s guide to Boston

Nestled in the New England region of the U.S, 215 miles north of the Big Apple and just south of the Canadian border, lies Boston Massachusetts. One of the country’s oldest cities and the stage for some of the key moments in American history, Boston reveals a modern metropolitan sheen under its bricks and brownstone. After a summer spent there on a J1, I realised there is no other city where you can happen upon America’s oldest state house, hidden between towering skyscrapers.

Despite its historical prowess, Boston is a young, vibrant city. Home to some of America’s most prestigious universities including Harvard, Boston College and MIT, it’s impossible to avoid the college culture. Harvard hoodies, frat parties and general student revelry abound, no matter what time of the year it is.

The city is so small; you could walk from the east to the west in an afternoon with little difficulty. But remember, the roads were built before cars so there is no grid system, the only way to learn the ins and outs of its winding streets is to get lost and find your way without any plan or map.

The Freedom Trail, a well-worn pedestrian path, winds throughout the city, taking you to all the historical sites pivotal to the American Revolution. Even if history isn’t your thing, it’s hard not to get sucked into the patriotism of the place, and when in Boston…do as the Bostonians do.

If you’re a self-proclaimed ‘foodie’, the city offers a plethora of culinary experiences. Little Italy in the North End claims to have pizza to rival New York’s (gasp) and then of course there is the world famous Mike’s Pastry, where you can expect to queue for up to an hour for a creamy cannoli. A Starbucks lover?  Not in Boston. Dunkin’ Donuts hails supreme. The Union Oyster House is America’s oldest restaurant and a visit wouldn’t be complete without trying the ‘seafood chowdah’.

That’s another thing; be prepared for the accent, it’s without logic. Bostonians tend to pronounce their ‘o’ like ‘au’ and the letter ‘r’ is non-existent. (Think Ben Affleck in Goodwill Hunting). Try this, “Pahk the cah in the Hahvahd yahd”.To hear the accent in its natural habitat, hit Fenway Park. Boston has a love affair with sports that is unseen anywhere else in the U.S. The Boston Red Sox is one of the most legendary baseball teams in Major League Baseball history and Fenway Park, its home playing field, is the oldest in the nation.

If you want a city that is unique to anywhere else in the world, Boston is it. It’s the polar opposite to the bigger U.S cities; the skyline is small, there are wide open spaces and the air is fresh. Most unique of all, while you’re enjoying the bars, restaurants and shops of the new, metropolitan Boston, the old Boston from 1630 is never too far from sight.


Katie Shaughnessy

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