Boston is wicked awesome and wicked expensive! Because of this we chose to just spend the day there and drive on through. Thanks to our friend Mark who gave us sound advice on cool places to check out in the city, we were able to see a lot within the short time we visited.
We hit a ton of traffic heading into the city and finally found parking in a city garage near the Old City Hall building for around $12 (weekend rate). This location was great since we were within walking distance from all the places we wanted to visit. We began at Boston Common Park, a gorgeous green space that reminded us of some of the grand parks we had seen in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The park was vast and lively but as much as we wanted to just relax in this lovely space for the afternoon there was much more to explore!
We were also incredibly hungry so we ventured into Paramount Restaurant for lunch. This deli style eatery famous for its amazing all day breakfast was packed when we arrived. Although the breakfast looked delicious we ended up enjoying sandwiches instead (we’ll make it a point to come back someday for morning grub). As we kept walking we realized we were already in Beacon Hill, the next part of the city we wanted to explore. This neighborhood was gorgeously adorned with cobblestone streets and had small town charm just like Alexandria where we once lived. We had a very relaxing walk around this area.
Next we were headed to one of Boston’s oldest neighborhoods the North End but first we decided to stop in one of the city’s newer spaces North End Park. This amazing three-acre green space links the historic North end to the rest of the city and is an incredible place to relax. Manu and I found ourselves just resting on the grass for a good chunk of time. This park is perfect for an afternoon stroll, a picnic or just people watching. Once rested we finally made our way over to North End. The neighborhood also known as Little Italy was lined with charming restaurants and cafes that looked incredible (another meal we must return to Boston for someday). When in this area be sure to visit the Home of Paul Revere for a great picture op.
As we explored more of the city we couldn’t resist but pop into the delicious Thinking Cup coffee shop for some cappuccinos and dessert. The place was cozy, had a great vibe and the coffee was fantastic. Plus, we needed some energy for the two and a half mile walk along the infamous Freedom Trail along the city. I am not a big history buff but this is quite an interesting walk to do when in Boston.
Marked by large bricks this trail snakes through numerous historic landmarks around the city including stops at notable building, cemeteries, museums and more. Walking around the city was pleasurable and thankfully the weather was cooperating with us. However, by the time we reached Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown we were beat! The memorial erected to commemorate the Battle of Bunker Hill was the perfect way to end the trail for us. Since the museum across the street was already closed we decided to just relax in the park where the memorial is situated. It was time to end our short but sweet journey in Boston and head further north. The city is lovely and there are a vast number of things to explore. We would definitely have to come back to the area to give it another go.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Another great recommendation from Mark brought us to this quaint New England town along US 1. Portsmouth is small and walkable and since we were just passing by we were able to see some of the highlights in just a couple of hours. We parked downtown and walked towards Memorial Bridge. Located on the Piscataqua River this WWI memorial bridge runs through the division between New Hampshire and Maine. The architecture is remarkable and it is definitely worth visiting when in town.
Since it was a warm sunny day we decided to get some relief from the heat and seek some shade underneath the trees at Prescott Park. Located on the water and speckled with numerous perfectly manicured gardens this park provides the ideal scenery for a relaxing stroll. We decided to walk over to the Strawberry Banke Museum ($19.50 pp) a living museums with restored buildings from the 17th and 19th centuries. Since we were short on time we skipped this museum but would recommend it as an interesting and educational experience (great option if visiting with kids).
We made our way to the other end of town then back up Congress Street down to Market Square. This part of town is very lively full of locals, tourists, restaurants and cute shops worth a peek. We were getting hungry and walked down to the waterfront along the Piscataqua River to enjoy the views and look for lunch. There are numerous waterfront restaurants in this area with outstanding views. The one place we wanted to check out was closed for lunch so we headed to Ceres Bakery further in town instead. This charming coffee shop served some delicious sandwiches on their freshly baked bread. The food was reasonably priced and they even had some daily specials to choose from.
Cape Neddick, Maine
We were finally in Maine on the way to Portland but decided to stop in Cape Neddick thanks to a tip from Kathleen. Taking the scenic US 1 route rather than hurtling down I-95 was a fantastic decision since we were able to enjoy our drive and stop at some special little places along the way. Here we visited the breathtaking Nubble Lighthouse located on a rocky island near the shore. We hiked down to the rocks and were able to get some fantastic views of the lighthouse. Make sure to visit the ice cream shop nearby for a quick treat. There is plenty of parking nearby, a gift shop and even a restaurant if you’re looking for a bite to eat.
Where we’re headed next:
- Portland, ME