BlinkPack ShortList: The Boston Five

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The BlinkPacking blog is pleased to announce a new featurette: the ShortList. Say you find yourself in a certain city for a handful of hours and want to experience a whole lot more than the airport. Well friends, high-tail it out of the terminal and head for a jolly time — armed with a cornucopia of ideas from the BlinkPack veteran.

The first locale featured in our ShortList is one of my favorite cities. The City on a Hill, The Hub, The Athens of America, The Puritan City, The Cradle of Liberty, City of Notions, America’s Walking City, Beantown, Titletown, City of Champions, The Olde Towne… that’s right: Boston. (Thank you Wikipedia for the exhaustive list of ridiculous nicknames.) Note: transit directions leave from Logan Airport.

BlinkPack ShortList: The Boston Five

Catch lunch at Mother Anna’s
Blue Line to Government Center, Green Line to Haymarket
Boston’s North End is brimming with Italian eateries. Mother Anna’s, one of the first to open its doors, has been serving all the favorites since 1932. Come for the homemade ravioli, stay for the veal parmigiana, and wash it all down with the the tiramisu. Still have some real estate in the belly? Stroll over to Mike’s Pastry for the finest cannoli money can buy on this side of the pond.

Stroll the Freedom Trail
Blue Line to Government Center, Green Line to Haymarket
Guts bloated with goodness from Mother Anna’s and Mike’s? it is time to burn a few calories. Departing from the North End, Boston’s Freedom Trail is a brick sidewalk inlay that meanders past many of the city’s historical sites. The 2.5 mile trail wends past some of the most quaint and photogenic areas of the city, and its walkers will gain a chunk of urban lore as they burn off a hunk of North End lasagna.

Get your Ivy League on
Blue Line to Government Center, Green Line to Park Street, Red Line to Harvard Square
A self-guided tour of Harvard University’s campus is always enjoyable. Wear three-strap Birkenstocks, corduroys, and a jacket with elbow pads, and you may be fortuitously overestimated as a student. The square is brimming with chic coffee bars, opulent clothing boutiques, and all other kinds of nonsensical ways to spend way too much money. Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage is a fantastic lunch spot, but be prepared to brave the line for a table.

Make way for ducklings
Blue Line to Government Center, Green Line to Park Street
Boston’s public gardens and commons are the famed setting for many beloved children’s books, and its fountains and willow trees are a mesmerizing oasis in the heart of the city’s frenzy. Join generations of giggly children in feeding stale rolls to the ducks, cough up a few bucks for a short spin on the world-renowned swan boats, and curl up under the willow branches with that used novel you purchased in Harvard Square. Up for more fun? Nearby Newbury Street hosts an eclectic mix of shops and eateries. A favorite stop includes the Vintage Poster Shop, purveying original prints worthy of the best wall spot in the loft. Skip the Starbucks frappucino (always a good idea) and opt instead for a scoop of one of the boutique flavors at J.P. Licks Ice Cream Shop.

Catch a concert, sort of… 
Blue Line to Government Center, Green Line to Back Bay
The neighborhoods at the far end of Newbury Street house three famous colleges of music, New England Conservatory, Berklee School of Music, and Boston Conservatory. Security can be a little tight at some of the buildings, but keep those Birkenstocks strapped to your feet, because no one will give you a second glance. Stroll the halls of practice rooms, and hear hundreds of individuals and groups rehearsing at once. The sweet cacophony is a feast for the senses, and rubbing elbows with some of the world’s finest young musicians is nifty for sure. In the mood for something more official? Boston Conservatory offers a wealthy roster of concerts, many of which are free and open to the public.

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