I have always thought of Boston as a place of intellectuals; where the smartest and the brightest students want to pursue their dreams. I have also associated Boston with law schools, lawyers, old politics and tech. Every aspiring university students around the world know where Harvard or MIT are. Although the place was a curiosity, I have never imagined that I would end up here one day. But one day I was invited by one of my closest friends to spend the Thanksgiving Day with them. It was out of the blue but I did not hesitate. Before I knew it I was on a plane to Boston.
I stayed in Longmeadow, which is in Hampden County, Massachusetts. This is where my hosts live; a nice and quiet leafy village with few big houses that I can only dream of. It was a great opportunity to have stayed there for few days.
During the Thanksgiving Day morning, we enjoyed preparing festive food and decorating the table to look festive. It was my first Thanksgiving Day experience and it can be compared to preparing for the big Christmas meal. We were expecting visitors from around the area and I got the hint not to wear jeans. We don’t normally dress up for Christmas meal in the Philippines, unless we go to church first for the midnight mass and come back home for the midnight meal, followed by opening of Christmas presents.
Thanksgiving Day (just before the guests arrived to join us for the meal)
After the big day we drove to downtown Boston for a day out. On the way from and to Boston I noticed that New England has a strong resemblance to most places in England in the UK. It’s the same around Cambridge. It felt like I have never left England. Well, it’s called New England after-all.
We parked the car at a hotel in Cambridge and took a train to explore around city. I have to see Harvard. When I was a kid I often heard adult students talking about this particular university. They talked about it like it’s the ultimate goal to get accepted in Harvard; like there’s no other university in the world for those who can afford. I’ve never heard any of my immediate and distance relatives has ever gone to Harvard. I learned why when I got older. It’s for the rich or through scholarship sponsors for the brightest students.
At least I got the chance to explore this famous institution; one of the Ivy League universities based in Massachusetts, New England. The campus was quiet as well as other part of the city; most students in Boston have gone home for the Thanksgiving Day.
As we looked around I was thinking of how many influential people around the world have spent part of their lives here. What does it take to graduate as summa cum laude in an institution like this? It was an overwhelming thoughts and admiration of those who have managed to study and graduate here. Never mind the cum laude title; to graduate here is already an assurance for a hefty salary.
From Harvard campus we headed up to ‘the pub’, the famous one! 🙂 It is along Beacon Street at Beacon Hill, the most expensive and sought after area in Greater Boston Area. It is a quaint neighborhood with gas street lighting, rows of red brick houses, and lined trees. According to popular estate agents, the property here can cost between $1,000 to $1,900 per square foot. The place certainly has a dollar sign in it.
The pub is within the premises of the trendy Hampshire House, facing Boston’s Public Garden, a Victorian garden right at the heart of Boston. Hampshire House a Georgian townhouse is particularly known for as an upscale event venue for weddings, corporate events and a place to celebrate other special private occasions. According to different publications, this is the place where the elite of Massachusetts have dined and wined. In the old days, the visitors here were the type that wore top hats and tails for gentlemen, and ladies wearing silk and satin gowns. It is an epitome of grandeur and luxury. No, we did not dare go up at Hampshire House. We came for the Cheers and it was all worth it!
It doesn’t look like a pub from the outside, it’s tucked away down at the basement of Hampshire House. It makes it more interesting; it’s like a secret hang-out place except that it’s popular!
The iconic wall signage.
After a long walk in the cold November evening, we were finally seated and enjoying our pints! One for the road, as they say :-)
I hardly visit pubs in England but I like the community feel inside pubs that is hardly felt in restaurants. This one is the first one I visited in America and the one that I will always remember.
Remember this during the 80s and early 90’s?
From the Cheers, we ended up at the Oceanair Seafood Room at Court Street for a nice meal; a treat from our generous hosts. I must say the food here were very good! This must be packed when all the professors, students and city workers are in town. We are quite lucky to come here on Thankgiving week when its nice and quiet. We looked rather tired after walking around, coming in and out of subways, buses and few shops.
The outside and inside of the restaurant (the entrance photo is owned by the restaurant)
After dinner, my hosts went home to Longmeadow. Myra and I stayed in this hotel at Bennett Street, in Cambridge. It is a 5-minute walk from Harvard University. The John F. Kennedy Park along the Charles River is close by for an an early morning or an afternoon walk. The hotel was busy with holiday makers from all over the world. The staff were polite but of course we should not forget the tip. We don’t do tips in the UK but here they will be gutted if you don’t.
The next morning Myra and I visited the Museum of Fine Arts. This is the 5th largest museum in the USA, according to many publications. Saying that, some says it is the 3rd largest in America. It housed about 450,000 works of art and has more than 1 million visitors a year.
The MFA is definitely huge. We have only managed to explore half of the whole place. I could spend a day here but we have limited time on that day.
After 5 days, it was time to say goodbye to Boston. It was a lovely 5-days in New England and was worth it! Time to go back home to old England (UK). I must say I would love to come back here one day for a longer stay.
Downtown Boston on a foggy morning.
Other places worth exploring while in Boston –
Acorn Street – one of the most photographed streets in America. We missed this place.
(Photo credit is not mine)
Faneuil Hall Marketplace – Boston’s Government Center which include historic market complex with trendy shops, cafes and restaurants. It is also close to Christopher Columbus Park. There’s a lot more to explore within the city when you have more time to spend.
Other places we’ve explored during our 5 days stay, which you might be interested when you find yourself in Ma. one day is the Forest Park. It is a Victorian garden located in Springfield; ideal for family visit during Christmas evenings, when they put up beautiful Christmas lights in different forms all over the park. Even adults will be amazed. I was. More about the park here.
Wrentham Village – a designer outlets, coffee shops and decor shops, etc. There were a lot of bargain sale when we were there. I got tempted by a nice BCBG strappy evening high-heel shoes for half the price!, something I will not pay on a full price.
And that was it…happy memories in Massachusetts 🙂 🙂 Many thanks to our lovely hosts!