In DepthSumus primi, or “We are first,” is one proud, but well-suited, description of Greater Boston. The phrase—the motto of Boston Latin, the country’s oldest continuing public school—succinctly conveys 300-plus years of Boston-bred organizations, inventions and pioneering ideas. In a metropolis where firsts are commonplace, the expression fits like a well-insulated glove—the kind you’ll need when visiting New England during its frosty winter.
Even on chilly days, coffee-guzzling visitors roam the nation’s first public park, the Boston Common. Ice-skaters clad in scarves and knit caps welcome Jack Frost’s glacial touch, coasting across the frozen Frog Pond from November to mid-March. When sandal season arrives, picnickers recline beneath blue skies, their views of dawdling clouds interrupted occasionally by soaring Frisbees and colorful kites.
Perhaps the best (and most popular) way to get to know Boston is to traverse the Freedom Trail, a red line connecting 16 historic sites through downtown and the North End. Along the way, you can visit Charlestown Navy Yard, home to World War II-era destroyer the USS Cassin Young and the USS Constitution, a three-masted heavy frigate launched in 1797. Or, pay your respects at Faneuil Hall, where leaders like Samuel Adams and James Otis once garnered support for the American Revolution.
Many sightseers touring the Freedom Trail diverge at the Boston Common to find historic restaurants and other fun places to go. Beckoning visiting fashionistas are the upscale retailers of the Back Bay, also prized for its Victorian brownstones and cultural landmarks such as Trinity Church. Near Beacon and Park streets, those marveling at the Augustus Saint-Gaudens bronze high relief honoring one of the Civil War's first African American military units often cross over to the Black Heritage Trail, which meanders through adjacent Beacon Hill. In Boston's most prestigious neighborhood, gas lamps still light narrow passageways once traversed by Louisa May Alcott and Robert Frost.
Nature lovers continue along the Emerald Necklace—Boston's linear system of urban green space designed by Frederick Law Olmsted—to the majestic Public Garden. Near the Arlington Street entrance, artists with grass-stained jeans and furrowed brows busily sketch an equestrian statue of George Washington, one of the earliest depictions of the first president on horseback.
More green spaces were added upon the completion of the Big Dig engineering project. Filling the void left by the formerly above-ground Central Artery is the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, a pedestrian-only ribbon of parks and gardens.
Although you really must investigate “America's Walking City” on foot to fully appreciate its nuances, another stress-free alternative to navigating Greater Boston's maze of narrow roads by car is the public transportation system, known locally as the “T.” The launching point for the nation's first subway line is near the gold-domed Massachusetts State House.
Ride the Green Line to the New England Conservatory of Music, the oldest independent school of music in the country. Or, if the crack of the bat is music to your ears, take the “T” to the oldest operating MLB stadium, Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox. In 1903, the team then known as the Boston Americans defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates during game 8 of the first modern World Series.
Whether it's your first trip here or your fifth, when you experience Boston's hometown treasures, you'll leave with a better understanding of both this enduring city's vast heritage and the nation's.
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
The state sales tax in Massachusetts is 6.25 percent. Combined city and state taxes on hotel occupancy in Boston is 14.45 percent.
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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, (617) 667-7000; Boston Medical Center, (617) 638-8000; Massachusetts General Hospital, (617) 726-2000; Tufts Medical Center, (617) 636-5000.
2 Copley Place, Suite 105 Boston, MA 02116. Phone:(617)536-4100 or (888)733-2678
Logan International Airport (BOS) is just 3 miles east of downtown across Boston Inner Harbor.
Boston is served by most major rental car agencies. Hertz provides discounts to AAA members; phone (617) 568-5200 or (800) 654-3131.
Amtrak offers service to and from New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., out of Boston's South Station at Atlantic Avenue and Summer Street. Connections to all points in the national Amtrak system can be made at the Back Bay Station, 145 Dartmouth St.; phone (800) 872-7245 for reservations and information. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates commuter rail service; phone (617) 222-3200.
Greyhound Lines Inc., (800) 231-2222, and Peter Pan Bus Lines, (800) 343-9999, operate from South Station.
Cruiseport Boston’s Black Falcon Cruise Terminal is at 1 Black Falcon Ave. in South Boston.
Cabs in Boston are metered, with the fare $2.60 for the first 1/7 mile or less and 40c for every 1/7 mile thereafter. Phoning for a pickup or going to a hotel taxi stand is easier than hailing a cab on the street. Local companies include the Independent Taxi Operators Association, (617) 268-1313. Limousine service is available throughout the Boston area for about $80 an hour, normally with a 4-hour minimum.
Transportation by trolley, bus, boat and subway is available in Boston.