The hubby and I went to Boston for our babymoon! Here is an extensive review of our last big adventure just the two of us (at least for a little bit 😉).
How did we decide on Boston? We knew we’d be going in February, so our first thought was to go somewhere warm. Any all-inclusive situation was automatically out because, let’s be real, what’s the point if you can’t sip on a vodka tonic poolside? The everglades were a real contender - national park, adventure, nature, mad bird-watching - but recent hurricanes created some uncertainty about the accessibility of everything, and we weren’t sure how I’d be feeling hiking several miles while 29 weeks pregnant (this is hilarious looking back at how far we actually ended up walking everyday). We’ve done desert trips before. We were trying to pick somewhere that didn’t require renting a car. Long story short, Boston had been on our list for a while - history, seafood, fun accent to try out - so we pulled the trigger, packed up our winter coats, and flew to the harbor!
Our flight landed around lunchtime, so we immediately dropped our bags off at our hotel and made our way to Quincy Market for some Boston clam chowder. The subway/bus system was easy enough to figure out, and we bought Charlie Cards to get us through the week.
Quincy Market is so freaking cool! There were performers lining the cobblestone walkways, fun shopping, little kiosks, and amazing food selection. As we walked around, we realized the old building right across the way was Faneuil Hall - part of the Freedom Trail!
Y’all, history 👏is 👏 my 👏jam. And something I was most looking forward to on this vacation was exploring the Freedom Trail - 2.5 miles of historical sites and museums about the revolution! So to say I was excited is an understatement.
With full bellies, we walked through Faneuil Hall. Built in 1742, the building was originally a place designed to share ideas and serve as a center for business. Today, it kinda serves the same purpose which is really amazing. Faneuil Hall is somewhat of a halfway point along the Freedom Trail, so we decided to explore all the sites south of it - the site of the Boston Massacre, Old State House, Old South Meeting House, Old Corner Bookstore, Boston Latin School site, King’s Chapel and burial ground, Granary Burying Ground, Park Street Church, Massachusetts State House, and Boston Common. Phew! I’m exhausted just typing these out.
Boston Massacre site - there’s plaque on the ground marking the spot where it all went down. It’s on the corner of a busy intersection, so it’s wild to picture a time when the surrounding skyscrapers were absent and the paved streets with electric cars were instead cobblestone paths and wagons.
Old State House - beautiful brick building. Boston does a really great job of blending historical sites with modern amenities. There’s a subway station in the basement of this building!
Old South Meeting House - we purchased tickets to go inside and explore this one. Probably not worth it, but it felt good to escape the cold for a little bit and sit down. The building was used as a church, so there were really old pews you could rest on. This was the site where the Boston Tea Party began!
Old Corner Bookstore - sadly, this is not a bookstore. This is now a Chipotle. But it’s the building that Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Longfellow brought their manuscripts to be published. If I win the lottery, I will invest money in rightfully converting this to a real bookstore.
Boston Latin School Site - first public school in America. Benjamin Franklin was a former student.
King’s Chapel & Burying Ground - really old church and graveyard.
Granary Burying Ground - where really prominent revolutionary war heroes are buried! Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock. We love old graveyards - there’s something to be said for maintaining a peaceful resting site amidst the hustle and bustle of downtown Boston.
Park Street Church - old, tall church.
Massachusetts State House - beautiful government building overlooking the park and the city.
Boston Common - the oldest public park in America. It’s crazy to picture revolutionary soldiers camping out in the green spaces. Boston Common served as our central hub for this trip. I bet it’s gorgeous in spring/summer/fall, but seeing as it was February when we were there, most of the colors were still in winter-mode.
We made our way back to the hotel and decided on a restaurant called the Tip Tap Room for dinner. SO GOOD. I got the turkey tips. Then we (I) wanted ice cream (this pregnancy has me craving anything sweet), so we ventured to Amorino for gelato and macarons!
I should mention that our hotel was next to a conference center advertising the Celtics. After doing some research over dinner, we were disappointed to learn that the Celtics were out of town that week. BUTTTTT, the Bruins were playing the next day! We’d never been to an NHL game. This was a big hurrah to be spontaneous. So we splurged on tickets and added those to our itinerary.
By the time we called it a night, we had walked over 8 miles. EIGHT MILES. And that was only half a day! So I told my husband we can’t do that again, and then we proceeded to walk that far everyday of our trip.
Day 1 Do’s:
Stay at Omni Seaport Hotel & Resort
Freedom Trail - at least walk by the sites. Do you need to go inside all of the buildings? Probably not. But grab one of the free guides at Faneuil Hall and read about them as you go.
Boston Chowda Co. - for Boston clam chowder, of course!
Charlie Card - to ride the subway, especially if you’re going to be staying longer than a couple days
Tip Tap Room
Spontaneously change the next day’s plans to attend a sporting event
Day 1 Don’ts:
Walk 8 miles around the city while 29 weeks pregnant
We took our time getting up the next morning and grabbed coffee at the Thinking Cup - super cute cafe across from the Boston Common. While we sipped on our lattes, we booked a tour at Fenway Park - being able to book things the day of is one of the perks of traveling in winter!
Google Maps did a really great job of getting us to the actual ballpark. It did not do a really great job of getting us to the correct entrance. So there was a mile of walking around the entire perimeter of the stadium added to our step count.
Regardless, we got to where we needed to be. I enjoyed the tour a lot more than I thought I would! I’m not a big baseball person (unless the year is 2015 and the Royals have won the World Series), but I loved learning and seeing all the history of the ballpark. They were laying out grass on the field in preparation for the season to start, so while it may not have been the most beautiful, pristine version of the park, it was fun to see behind the scenes.
The tour ended and we had to hurry over to TD Garden for our Bruins game! Turns out, the Bruins are #1 in the league - It. Was. HYPE. Hockey is way more fun than soccer or baseball (which are the only other professional sporting events I’ve attended). And it was fun to learn all the rules alongside Alec. While our seats were basically nosebleed section, we could still see everything. We got ourselves a bucket of chicken, and enjoyed yelling at grown men fighting on the ice.
Afterwards, we were close to the North End and near some more of the Freedom Trail sites that we had missed the day before. We saw the church famous for “one if by land, two if by sea” as well as Paul Revere’s house. His house is right in Little Italy, so we found a spot to sit and just bask in the smells of Italian food. While Alec booked us a reservation for that night at one of the neighboring restaurants, I found a route to get to the water - because you can’t go to Boston and not see the harbor! Unfortunately, there are not subways that go that direction, so again, here we are adding miles of walking to our day. Tiring, but definitely worth it.
We got ready for dinner back at our hotel, and made the realization that Uber was much faster and more efficient than the subway. By a landslide. Like instead of it taking 40 minutes to get to the restaurant, it only took 7 minutes. We are fools.
Dinner was amazingggg. We went to Mama Maria’s - Alec got pepperoncini noodles, and I got mushroom-stuffed ravioli. Afterwards, we went to Mike’s Pastry for cannolis!
Day 2 Do’s:
Fenway Park Tour
Bruins Hockey Game
See the harbor (even if it’s a trek)
Little Italy & and the North End restaurants
Day 2 Don’ts:
Thinking there’s a subway line that goes to the North End and Little Italy - prepare to walk
This was one of the chillier days of our trip, and we woke up to freezing rain and cloudy skies. The forecast for the rest of our trip was looking a little questionable - snow, sleet, truly all the things one should expect when traveling to the northeast in February. A trip to Salem had been on our list, so we figured this might be the best day to do it!
We grabbed breakfast and coffee at Tatte - it’s a chain in Boston, but super good! - then made our way to the commuter rail station. This part was really fun for uncultured people like ourselves. We had paper tickets that had to be punched by a conductor! So we geeked out about that for a minute. The ride to Salem is about 30 minutes long, and we had brought a deck of cars on-board. There wasn’t a whole lot to look at from the train, but we enjoyed several rounds of gin rummy to pass the time.
When we arrived in Salem, we walked from the train station to the Salem Witch Museum. This was not much of a museum, rather than a storytime building. We sat through a presentation about the witch trials and the history of witches in modern culture. I’m glad we did this, but I definitely don’t feel the need to do it again. I thought there’d be more tangible items or handwritten journals or something to look at.
We walked a little bit more around some of the witch-y stuff - an old graveyard, a memorial - and found ourselves close to the harbor. Ye Old Pepper Candy (America’s oldest candy company) was around, and we stopped inside and grabbed some gibraltars (kinda like rock candy) and chocolate-covered gummy bears. The House of the Seven Gables was across the street, and we snapped a couple pics outside of that. We could’ve paid money to go inside, but the site didn’t really mean much to us so we passed. Around the harbor there were a lot of old historic buildings, as Salem has a really rich sailing history, and a cute little lighthouse was at the end of one of the wharfs. We realized we’d have to walk all the way back to the train station since Uber was not being reliable on our phones, so we slowly ventured back that direction. On the way, we passed a couple of photo ops for sites from Hocus Pocus.
Overall, I was a little underwhelmed by Salem. I’m sure this town is really alive and fun in the fall season, but in February, it is dead. I’m still grateful that we made a little day trip there, but I think I saw all there is to see.
We were going to get back to Boston at that weird time where it’s too early for dinner but most tourist-y things are closing up, so we decided to visit Harvard. Such a beautiful, historic campus! And a really cool area for restaurants and shopping!
How better to end a full day of witch-y, harbor history than with a lobster roll? We went to Saltie Girl, and it was AMAZING. The service was maybe a little sub-par, but they were super busy - reservations are a must.
Day 3 Do’s:
Visit Salem - preferably in the fall and really only if you’ve never been before
Ye Old Pepper Candy Co.
Ride the commuter train somewhere and explore outside of Boston!
Visit Harvard - super pretty just to walk through
Saltie Girl for lobster rolls (make reservation)
Day 3 Don’ts:
If you’ve already been to Salem, you probably don’t need to see it again
Again, the forecast for the rest of the week was looking iffy, and we figured this was our last day to do anything outdoors (at least comfortably!). I had heard of a place called Brattle Book Shop - the oldest used bookstore in the country! There were a ton of shelves OUTDOORS, which was wild, and the inside was 3 floors of nothing but books. The top floor housed rare and unusual books, so it was fun to just peruse. I will say it was dusty (comes with the territory), but still really cool to explore.
The bookstore was incredibly close to the Citizens Bank Opera House, which is where we were going to see Hamilton that night! Snapped a quick pic, grabbed a bite at a chain restaurant (because comfort food), and visited the Boston Public Library that was right across the street.
The Boston Public Library was honestly one of my favorite stops this entire trip. It was absolutely beautiful! It almost felt more like a museum than a library. Of course there was a part of the building that was more of a modern, updated library, but there were also incredible wood-paneled rooms, a tea lounge, and a huge study room that reminded me of the long room at Trinity College in Dublin. I truly could’ve spent all day here, but we had more sights to see! And local foods to eat!
Before finishing up the Freedom Trail, we stopped at the Omni Parker House Hotel - where the Boston Cream Pie originated! Pie? Coffee? Historic hotel? Count me in! Then we decided to finish up the Freedom Trail that we had started on our first day. The only stops left were Bunker Hill and the USS Constitution.
Bunker Hill looked like a miniature Washington Monument from far away, but it was really cool up close! The surrounding neighborhood was super cute, and the views of downtown Boston were awesome. There was an option to climb to the top, but I’m pretty sure Alec would have trouble getting into heaven if he made his 29-week pregnant wife climb 294 stairs.
Next, we made our way to the USS Constitution. The museum - meh, not worth it for us as it was overly kiddy. The ship itself was amazing! We were able to go onto the ship and tour 3 decks. “Old Ironsides” is the oldest floating ship in the world, and one of the first six naval ships in the U.S. Navy! While it was frigid being so close to the water, it was really cool to be on such a great piece of history.
The USS Cassin Young was right next to the USS Constitution - this ship was super active in World War II and served beyond its expected life. Touring around this ship was unplanned, but still incredibly neat. Two ships from two very different times in our nation’s history!
For dinner, we went to Chinatown for soup dumplings. Alec and I have been chasing any and every soup dumpling since we first discovered them on a trip to St. Louis last summer. Unfortunately, nothing has really lived up to the hype of those first ones, but Asian food is always a winner in my book.
Then, we went to Hamilton!!
This was something we had planned and booked (and paid a lot of money for) prior to leaving KC. If I’m being honest, the only reason I was excited for this was because of having Boston and all the revolutionary sites as our backdrop. We’d seen Hamilton on Disney Plus, so we thought we kinda sorta knew what we were getting into.
I cannot overstate how amazing seeing Hamilton in person was. In fact, I’d say Disney Plus didn’t do it justice (and neither will my review!). You can feel the booms from the cannons in your chest. The complexities of the background dancers is unreal. I personally liked our performers better than the recorded version (no offense, Lin-Manuel). I cried 3 separate times. It was just incredible.
When we walked out of the theater, it was pouring freezing rain (which leads us into our next day).
Day 4 Do’s:
Stop inside the Boston Public Library
See everything on the Freedom Trail
Go on the USS Constitution
Buy overpriced tickets to see Hamilton
Day 4 Don’ts:
USS Constitution Museum if you don’t have young kids
Forget your winter hat if you’re going to be on the water in the middle of February
We awoke to snow. Lots and lots of snow. The kind that doesn’t look even remotely fun to be out and about in. We took this as a sign that the universe wanted us to rest - which is fair considering we’d been walking 8+ miles every day. So we grabbed coffee from the hotel lobby, crashed in bed, and watched probably 6 straight hours of Impractical Jokers on Comedy Central. I’d like to make a point to share that I was wearing a Harvard sweatshirt I had bought a couple days prior, and the barista asked if I was a student there (no ma’am, I’m almost 30 - but I’m honored you think I look like a college kid!).
As dinner time rolled around, we were feeling a little restless. Our hotel room had the perfect view of its rooftop pool. One of the reasons we had picked this hotel was for its somewhat heated outdoor pool, just on the off chance we’d feel like swimming. Were we the crazies who went for a swim in the middle of a snowstorm? Yup. No regrets.
After re-warming ourselves back in the hotel, we wrapped up our evening by ordering a pizza and watching more sitcom reruns on TV.
Day 5 Do’s:
Swim outside in a snowstorm
Take advantage of alllll the hotel amenities
Spend all day snuggling
Day 5 Don’ts:
Expect a “heated” swimming pool to feel like a hot tub
Our last day 🙁 We were honestly ready to be back home by today - we’re homebodies and were missing our own bed, but still sad that our final trip pre-parenthood was coming to an end.
Donuts have been my biggest pregnancy craving, and I had a spot picked out since before we even left KC. We ventured to Union Square Donuts, which is a donut joint that’s consistently ranked nationally in terms of donuts! I got a brown butter hazelnut crunch, while Alec got a raspberry jam filled donut. SO GOOD. We should have been eating these everyday! They also served George Howell coffee (a local roaster) which was also phenomenal.
The only item left on our agenda for our trip was the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum (Alec and I have made it a low-key goal to visit all of the presidential museums - so far we’ve been to Harry S. Truman and Abraham Lincoln). This was a little out of the way - a subway ride + Uber - which is why we were saving this for later on. But y’all, it was so worth it!! This museum was so beautiful!! Just a sense of peace and elegance and light. Jacque helped design it, and made sure it reflected his life in the best possible way. You learn about his upbringing and his journey to the presidency, as well as what he was able to accomplish and his assassination. There was an amazing mix of video/audio and physical pieces. My favorite part was the theater showcasing the Cuban Missile Crisis - I learned so much from just a 10-minute movie! His assassination wasn’t dwelled upon - the museum represented it with a dark hallway and a recording of Walter Cronkite reporting it. The hallway opened up to a massive white room that displayed JFK’s legacy - all the programs, innovations, and successes that are a direct result of his work. Truly a beautiful monument.
As we walked out of the museum, Alec ensured a full-circle moment for me by saying, “Jacque told his story” 😭 I mean, come on. Right after seeing Hamilton? Perfection.
For lunch, we had Clover Food Lab - meh, it was ok. They didn’t have Diet Coke, but the food was good. By the time we finished lunch, it was time to head to the airport. Turns out, we were traveling on one of the windiest days, so our 3-hour flight turned into a 4-hour flight. Which is really really long when you’ve had an exhausting (but wonderful!) week and just want to pass out. We were ONE DAY away from coming home through the new terminal at MCI. That was poor planning on our part, but we were able to snap one last photo of us in the old airport.
Day 6 Do’s:
Union Square Donuts
George Howell Coffee
JFK Library and Museum
Pack A LOT of chapstick for windy, winter days
Day 6 Don’ts:
Fly west on a windy day
With tired feet and full hearts, we made it home from our Boston babymoon! And then I made a 43-page scrapbook documenting it because, if anything, I am thorough 🙂