THE best way to see Boston, Massachusetts, is to strike out on foot. There is so much to explore within easy walking distance, from historic buildings to art museums to glorious public gardens.
Here are some of the best.
John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
This library and museum at Columbia Point stands as the nation’s official memorial to the 35th president of the United States. The late president’s family chose the site because it overlooks the sea that he loved and the city that launched him to greatness. More than 36 million people around the world donated money to build the centre, which has attracted more than six million visitors since it opened 40 years ago. The museum utilises high definition, large screen projections and interactive displays to bring the late president’s speeches and debates to life - www.jfklibrary.org
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Isabella Stewart was born in New York City in 1840 and married Bostonian John “Jack” Lowell Gardner at the age of 20. The couple’s wide travels sparked a passion for art and when Isabella’s father died and left her a fortune she began amassing a remarkable collection of art from around the world. Isabella died in 1924 but her legacy is a priceless collection of art, superbly shown in a Venetian-style manse she personally designed - www.gardnermuseum.org
Boston Public Library
The first municipal library in America is housed in the beautiful McKim building with its sloping red tile roof with green copper cresting, arched windows, triple-arched main entrance and cluster of branching wrought-iron lanterns. The inside is just as grand with a pink marble vestibule, domed ceilings, mural paintings and decorative elements. The magnificent Bates Hall Reading Room is 218 feet long and 42 feet wide. Free one-hour tours are offered by volunteer guides - www.bpl.org
Walk to the Sea
The Walk to the Sea encompasses four centuries of the city’s history. Beginning at the State House on Beacon Hill, overlooking Boston’s ancient Common, the walk passes historic landmarks and skyscrapers and across ground that was once an active harbour. Nearing the end of the walk is the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a network of gardens and public spaces built on an elevated expressway in the 1950s. Traffic was re-routed underground and the expressway became a pedestrian zone for all to enjoy. The one-mile walk ends at Long Wharf, built in 1711, from where you can take a cruise of Boston Harbour - www.walktothesea.com
Your one-stop shop for all that’s good to eat in Boston. Think clam chowder, lobster rolls, the freshest fruit and vegetables, housed in 190-year-old buildings, with colourful push-carts and open outdoor seating. It’s a favourite place for buskers and impromptu performances - www.quincy-market.com
The Freedom Trail
Tread the path of the Founding Fathers through more than 250 years of history - and 16 of Boston’s most significant sites - on this trail. The 2.5-mile guided or self-guided walk, marked by a line of red bricks, takes you to a unique collection of museums, churches, meeting houses, burying grounds, parks and historic markers that collectively tell the story of the American Revolution and beyond. Each year about four million people visit Boston's precious 17th, 18th and 19th century sites, including the frigate the USS Constitution better known as "Old Ironsides" - www.thefreedomtrail.org
Boston Public Gardens
The first public botanical garden in America, this glorious spread of gardens with an immense lake is a perfect place to sit, relax and watch the squirrels scamper through the trees. In the warmer months the garden’s famous Swan Boats ferry people around the lake as the real swans look on in bemusement. Make time to seek out the Make Way for Duckling statues which appeal to everyone familiar with Robert McCloskey's classic children's book about the duck family that makes its home in Boston's Public Garden - www.boston.gov/parks/public-garden
The city of Boston is home to the mighty Red Sox and a city gripped with baseball fever every summer. If you don’t have time to take in a game you can do a tour of the hallowed ground of Fenway Park, the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, dating back to 1912 - www.mlb.com/redsox/ballpark/
Other suggestions: America’s revered Harvard University, the thought-provoking Black Heritage Trail, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Boston waterfront and New England Aquarium, North End known as Boston’s Little Italy and Back Bay, a beautiful residential area lined with brownstones and flowering trees.
Sue Preston visited Boston as a guest of Collette Tours.
IF YOU GO…
If you are interested in including Boston as part of a wider US trip, four Collette tours incorporate Boston in their itinerary: