Whenever I travel to a new area, I have this (kind of annoying) habit of wanting to see and do as much as possible, even if that means going out of my way. Boston is only two hours from Portland, but I had already planned a day trip to Acadia National Park. Despite this, I just couldn't leave the Northeast without road tripping to Beantown. So, with a few schedule adjustments, that's exactly what I did! (Have I mentioned I'm stubborn? And once I decide on something, it's hard to change my mind?)
After a couple days exploring Portland, I woke up to gloomy skies and heavy rain. The forecast in Boston was clear, so after a quick breakfast, I hit the road to Massachusetts.
I didn't want to waste time hunting for parking when I got to Boston, so I left my rental car in the first garage I saw. After that, I took a leisurely stroll around Beacon Hill. The neighborhood is known for its federal-style rowhouses, narrow streets, and brick sidewalks. It's regarded as one of the most desirable and expensive neighborhoods in Boston, and it's absolutely stunning. I walked down Acorn Street, one of the most frequently photographed streets in the United States, and took dozens of pictures.
After I worked up an appetite, I made my way to Clover Food Lab for lunch. Founded in 2008 by two MIT/Harvard graduates, Clover Food Lab is a vegetarian fast food chain in Massachusetts that serves a simple menu based on what's available from local farmers. The founders are passionate about making fresh, local, sustainable vegetarian food. In addition, they use mostly organic ingredients. I ordered the chickpea fritter platter, which came with a huge scoop of chunky hummus, a cucumber/tomato salad, shredded carrots and red cabbage, and a bunch of other sides. I also ordered potato salad and rosemary french fries, even though I knew I wouldn't be able to finish everything. And I washed it all down with a delicious, house-made carrot soda.
After lunch, I walked around Boston Common, the oldest park in the United States. By this point, it was lightly drizzling. I expected the rain to catch up to me, so it didn't hinder my afternoon too much. Boston Common was gorgeous, and the squirrels were freakishly friendly (and huge!). At one point, I was surrounded by a handful of squirrels, and they were all staring at me inquisitively. I'm sure my fascination quickly pegged me as a tourist.
The rain started to pick up, but I had to make one last stop at the Granary Burying Ground. The graveyard, located on Boston's Freedom Trail, contains over 2,000 slate gravestones and tombs, but an estimated 5,000 people are buried there. Three signers of the Declaration of Independence are buried on-site (Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Paine), along with Paul Revere and Benjamin Franklin's parents. History has always fascinated me, so visiting the graveyard was a really neat experience.
I couldn't leave Boston without visiting a cozy bakery. Fortunately, Tatte Bakery has a location right next to the parking garage I used! I picked up a hazelnut latte and a giant meringue cookie, which was the perfect fuel to hype me up for my next destination: Harvard.
Most of my friends and family know I'm a total nerd. I love learning. I love school. I love taking notes, studying, reading, and writing papers. Because of this, I was super excited to see Harvard. It was my first time stepping foot on an ivy league campus, and it was awesome.
I decided to head back to Portland shortly after my Harvard adventure because it was getting dark outside. But my five hours in Boston left me with a strong desire to visit again, for a much longer period of time. I can't wait to return and see more of what the city has to offer!
Have you been to Boston? Do you have any suggestions for my next visit?