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Boston, Massachusetts - Overview and Essential Travel Information


'Boston, a place where everybody knows your name and they're always glad you came'. Many people probably know Boston because it houses, in the Bull & Finch Pub, the set of the popular television series 'Cheers`

Others might be more historically aware and recall the 'Boston Tea Party' which led to the formation of the first continental congress. Or remember the impact of the murder of five colonists by the British which ultimately led to the American Revolution.

Readers probably recall the cluster of literary legends that came from Boston and its surroundings, legends such as Herman Mellville, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Shackles, Edgar Allen Poe, TS Eliot and Jack Kerouac.

Gastronomists amongst you probably want to taste, or still can taste, the fish and beans of this 'bean town' at the harbour. Almost 40% of the Boston metro area is comprised of individuals under 30 years of age, which means that the ubiquitous bars are packed on any given night of the week.

Some people believe that Boston's character is very much like London. This is certainly true for its meltingpot of history and grace. Besides that, it's eccentric and bears a cosmopolitan character. Boston (600,000 inhabitants), is a modern fashionable city that has it all: shopping areas, melodrama, films, people, nightlife and many students. Harvard University is just across the river in Cambridge. Speaking of the river and festivals, Boston on the 4th of July sports a day of music, fireworks and food. Boston also houses the capital of the state of Massachusetts with it's famous gold dome (painted grey during WWII). A state which is better known as 'the Cradle of American Independence'. Massachussetts hailed famous figures such as the Pilgrims from Plymouth, American Patriots and the presidents John F. Kennedy, John Adams, John Quincy Adams and George Bush Sr.


When it comes down to sights, Boston is probably everyone's cup of tea. It is the cradle of the 'Boston Tea Party' which resulted in the formation of the first continental congress. The city is packed with museums dedicated to historical events that took place in Boston or its vicinity. Take for instance the 'African Meeting House' which is the oldest black church in America. The oldest commissioned warship in the world, the U.S.S Constitution, resides in Charleston Naval Yard.Herman Melville wrote his classic 'Moby Dick' in these surroundings and Charles Dickens wrote a majority of 'A Christmas Carol' in a hotel in Boston. Memorial sites, parks, the harbour..... Boston is a marvellous place to explore.

There are several organizations that offer trails through Boston. The Boston Freedom Trail is a nearly five kilometres' walk that links about fifteen historically interesting sites. The Boston National Historical Park Service provides a free 90 minutes' tour. These tours take off from either the Visitors' Center, at State Street 15, or the Boston Common Information Center. Boston Prudential Center Sky Walk (Boylston Street 800) offers a sightseeing-tour by bus.

The Black Heritage trail, which deals with the history of the African-American community in the 19th century, leaves from the African Meeting House on 46 Joy street.

African Meeting House

This is the oldest black church in America which was founded at the beginning of the nineteenth century. It is also used as a center for African activities and exhibits cultural heritage.

Boston Massacre Site

This is the spot where five colonists were killed by British soldiers in 1770. The cruelty of the incident roused the anti-British rage which led on its turn to the American Revolution.

Old Corner Bookstore

In the former days, this used to be the literary centre of Boston. All great namens gathered at this spot or at least legends such as Emerson, Hawthorne and Thoreau.


It's a short drive into town from Logan International Airport, though the 'T' subway is the easiest way into the city. There's also a water shuttle from the airport to Boston's Rowes Wharf on the northeastern waterfront.

Boston is a compact city that can be covered easily on foot. Driving is another matter, because the city is famous for setting the teeth of out-of-town drivers. Cars might do for excursions, but for getting around the Boston-Cambridge area, you're best off catching the 'T'. It is the oldest subway in the country and one of the best. The T serves most areas of the city and Cambridge and several lines head to outlying suburbs. The T is so useful that you can pretty much forget about using the local bus network which can be confusing for newcomers. Taxis are plentiful but expensive.

Commuter trains go to some outlying areas (like Concord). For most excursions, however, you'll need a car. Boston has all the major rental agencies. Ferries go to several points around Boston Harbor. It's a 3-hours' ferry trip or a 3-hours' drive from Boston to Provincetown on Cape Cod.

Information provided by cctraveler2 at

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Norm Goldman and Lily Azerad Goldman are a husband and wife team, writer and water colorist, who write and paint about romantic destinations and wedding destinations.