01 Jul

The Freedom Trail


The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long path through downtown Boston, Massachusetts that passes by 16 locations significant to the history of the United States. You can pick up a map at the visitor center located in the Boston Common or pay for a walking tour for 12$.  To buy tickets online click this link: http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/book-tour/

The official sites are:

  1. Boston Common
  2. Massachusetts State House
  3. Park Street Church
  4. Granary Burying Ground
  5. King’s Chapel
  6. King’s Chapel Burying Ground
  7. Benjamin Franklin statue and former site of Boston Latin School
  8. Old Corner Bookstore
  9. Old South Meeting House
  10. Old State House
  11. Site of the Boston Massacre
  12. Faneuil Hall
  13. Paul Revere House
  14. Old North Church
  15. Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
  16. USS Constitution
  17. Bunker Hill Monument


Click the links which will take you to the Wikipedia page for each site.  This trail will take you about half a day if you stop and look at all the sites.  I recommend eating lunch while near Boston Common at Sam LaGrassa’s which has the “World’s Best Sandwiches”.

03 Mar

Boston Breweries

The top two breweries to visit in Boston are Harpoon and Samuel Adams.


1) Harpoon Brewery is located in the Seaport District of Boston (about 10 minute cab from Back Bay).  They do offer tours but  they also have a large brew hall.  I recommend skipping the tour and going to the brew hall and getting a flight of beer and a few orders of their doughy pretzels.  The pretzels come in three flavors: salted, cinnamon sugar, and garlic.  They are amazing!

Tour Schedule: Cost is $5, includes beer tasting

Mon – Thu from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM (starting on the hour, last tour at 5p)
Fri from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM (starting on the hour, last tour at 6p)
Saturday from 11:20 AM to 6:00 PM (starting every 20 min, last tour at 6p)
Sunday from 11:30 AM to 5:30 PM (starting every 30 min, last tour at 530p)

For more information or directions to the brewery visit:


2) Samuel Adams Brewery is located just outside of the city in an area called Jamaica Plain (about a 10 minute cab ride from Back Bay) If you are looking to go on a tour I recommend the Sam Adams Brewery over Harpoon.  Tours leave every 45 minutes and last about 1 hour.   Tours are first come first serve and do not take reservations.  The tour is free but they do ask for donations (usually people give 2-5 dollars).  After the tour you sit down at the bar and they let you try multiple beers for free!   Since you will be in the Jamaica Plain area I recommend stopping at a restaurant called The Haven.  It is one of my favorite restaurants in Boston and it is different from anything else you will find.   I recommend trying the Scottish Egg, the burger (best in Boston), and the fried mars bar for dessert.  It is definitely not healthy but so good!  To make a reservations visit http://thehavenjp.com/

Tour Schedule:
Monday – Thursday: 10:00am – 3:00pm
Last tour starts at 3:00pm (gift shop closes at 6:00pm)
Fridays: 10:00am – 5:30pm
Last tour starts at 5:30pm (gift shop closes at 6:00pm)
Saturdays: 10:00am – 3:00pm
Last tour starts at 3:00pm (gift shop closes at 4:00)
Sundays: Closed

For more information or dirrections to the brewery visit: http://www.samueladams.com/boston-brewery/brewery-faqs

25 Jan

Easy Day Trips from Boston

There are so many easy day trips or fun weekend getaways near Boston.  If you plan to rent a car here are some of my favorites:

  1. Gloucester MA– Gloucester is a fishing town that is part of Massachusetts North Shore.  It is about a 40 minute drive from Boston but you can also get there by boat or train.   The film The Perfect Storm was filmed here along with the show Wicked Tuna.  Things to go include whale watching, deep sea fishing, relaxing on the beach, visiting lighthouses dated to 1780s.  There are also many cute shops and restaurants. Visit http://gloucesterma.com/ for more information.
  2. Rockport MA-  If you are going to Gloucester you should also stop at Rockport, they are only a few minutes apart.   Rockport is even more quaint than Gloucester with great food, candy, and many artistic stores to buy paintings and crafts.  I recommend getting lunch in Rockport at Roy Moore Lobster Co.  Their lobster is amazing!  I also recommend going to Tuck’s Candy store for fudge or taffy.  The movie the Proposal was filmed her so a lot will look familiar if you have seen it.  If you only have time for Rockport or Gloucester I would choose Rockport.
  3. Salem MA– This city is just 40 minutes from Boston and is most well known as the site of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.  When my mother and I went here we took one of the guided tours which worked great because you can get off and on the trolley as you please.  Some of the main things to see are the Peabody Essex Museum, The House of Seven Gables, Salem Witch Trials Memorial, and The Witch House/Corwin House.  If you are more interested in history instead of quaint shops and cafes I would choose Salem.
    witch house 
  4. Cape Cod– Is a hook-shaped peninsula in southeastern Massachusetts about one hour from Boston.  It is a popular summertime destination. Its 15 main towns encompass quaint villages, seafood shacks, lighthouses,  and ocean beaches. Provincetown, at the far tip, marks the Pilgrims’ first anchorage in the New World with a towering monument.  One of the main areas is Hyannis which is where you can catch the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket.
    cape cod 
  5. Martha’s Vineyard– Is an Island just south of Cape Cod.  The port that you pull into from the Ferry is very touristy but if you rent scooters, you can see the whole island which has beautiful beaches and homes.  There are also many amazing restaurants.   If I had to choose I prefer Nantucket because it is more quaint but also has many fun restaurants and bars.
  6. Nantucket– Another Island just off of Cape Cod.  The downtown area where the ferry pulls in is very picturesque with many restaurants, bars, and small art stores.  I recommend just spending the day walking around downtown.  You can also rent bikes and bike to the Cisco Brewery which usually has live music and many different food trucks to eat lunch at.  I had the tacos which were amazing!
  7. Newport RI– Is a seaside city with many beautiful mansions and yachts that is about 2 hours away from Boston.  I recommend doing the Newport Cliff Walk which is 3.5 miles and runs behind many of Newport’s famous mansions.  Most of the walk is paved and it offers beautiful vistas, tunnels, and long winding pathways.  You can also take a tour of many of the historic mansions.  Next you can grab lunch at one of their many cafes and before driving back to Boston you should remember to do the scenic Ocean Drive.
  8. Boston Harbor Islands– Boston Harbor Islands State Park is a MA state park comprising 13 islands located in Boston Harbor,  which now forms part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.  On these islands you can visit Civil War-era Fort Warren, tour lighthouses, go hiking, or relax on the beach.  To get to the islands you take a quick ferry from Boston’s Long Wharf.  This is the closest and easiest day trip out of the ten I mentioned.
  9. Plymouth MA– Plymouth was the site of the colony founded in 1620 by the Pilgrims, passengers of the famous ship the Mayflower.  Plymouth is where New England  was first established.  Plymouth is only 45 minutes from Boston.  Some of the main attractions are the Plimoth Plantation, Mayflower II, and Plymouth Rock.  This day trip would be similar to Salem in that there is a lot of history.
  10. Portland ME– Portland is my favorite weekend getaway!  It is about 1 hour and 45 minutes from Boston so you may want to book a hotel for a night (if you plan to try out the breweries!).  I recommend just walking around the city, eating at as many restaurants as you can and going to breweries.  My favorite restaurants are Eventide Oyster Co and Street & Co.  At Street & Co you MUST get the Lobster Diavolo, it is to die for!  Some of the breweries to visit are Shipyard, Allagash, Rising Tide, Foundation, Sea Dog Brewing Co and many more.  Many of them are within walking distance from each other.
    portland maine full
22 Jan

Visit Historic Fenway Park


Fenway is the oldest park in MLB and has been the home of the Boston Red Sox since 1913.  Fenway has hosted the World Series ten times and the Red Sox have won five of them, most recently in 2013 when I was living here!

The Boston Red Sox will play two baseball games against the San Francisco Giants during the 2016 IEEE PES General Meeting. The games will be on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 19 and 20. The Red Sox will also host the Minnesota Twins on Thursday to Sunday, July 21-24. All of these games except for the Sunday game will start at 7:10 PM at Fenway Park, which is a 15-minute walk from the Sheraton Boston Hotel. Tickets will be on sale at http://www.redsox.com


If you do not want to go to a game but still want to see Fenway they do offer tours for 18$ every day.  You can buy tickets at http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/bos/ballpark/tour.jsp

21 Sep

A day in Boston’s Back Bay

Boston is divided up into many small neighborhoods.  The hotels for the conference will all be located in Back Bay so I decided to spend a day walking around my favorite spots in the area.  Yes, you can walk the whole city so bring comfortable shoes!!
boston neighborhoods

I recommend starting your day at either Thinking Cup on Newbury St. in Back Bay or Tatte Bakery on Charles St. in Beacon Hill.   Both are brewing Sumptown Coffee and make excellent Almond Milk Hazelnut Lattes which is my personal favorite.

At Tatte I like to order the Muesli Cup or the Shakshuka.  The Muesli includes Greek yogurt topped with pears, apples, blackberries, black sesame seeds, honey, and their famous muesli.  The Shakshuka  is eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, peppers, and onions.  It is sprinkled with feta cheese and served with bread for dipping (see photo below).  They also have a wide range of breakfast sandwiches and pastries which are all delicious.  In a recent article titled “50 things to eat in Boston before you Die”  Tatte’s Nut Box was rated #1!! So I highly recommend this place!!


Thinking Cup also has many breakfast sandwiches and pastries.  My favorite things to order are the quiche with side salad and a few macaroons to go.  They have every flavor macaroon you could want and they wrap them up in very cute to go packages.   In the same 50 things article they rated coffee at Thinking Cup #32 out of 50 things to eat in Boston.

thinking cup







If you are starting your day in Beacon Hill:  I recommend spending some time wandering around the neighborhood.  It has beautiful row houses with brick sidewalks and narrow gas-lit streets.  It is one of Boston’s most expensive neighborhoods and people like John Kerry own a house in Louisburg Square.

beacon hill 6
Acorn Street
beacon hill 2
ouisburg Square
Cheers Bar- located on the border of Beacon Hill and the Boston Public Garden.  Is very touristy but it is fun to stop in for a beer and a quick photo.

Next I would recommend going to the Boston Public Garden.  It is a very quick 5 minute walk from Beacon Hill.

If you are starting your day at Thinking Cup I would recommend going to the Public Garden right after coffee because it is only a 1-2 minute walk down Newbury Street.  The garden is filled with beautiful statues and flowers.  You can also ride a swan boat where a tour guide will pedal you around the small lake.  2 swans are currently located in the garden named Romeo and Juliette.

eorge Washington Statue

Romeo and Juliette

Make Way for Ducklings Statue


If you would like to walk the Freedom Trail the starting point is located at the Visitor Center in the Boston Common which is right next to the Boston Public Garden.  The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile walk that takes you to 16 historically significant sites like the State House, burial grounds, churches, the site of the Boston Massacre, and many more.  You can pay for a walking tour with guides wearing 18th-century costumes for $12 or you can walk it on your own following the red brick line seen in the photo below.   See the website for more details.  www.thefreedomtrail.org.

freedom trail 5
The start of the Freedom Trail
freedom trail 3
Guide wearing 18th-century costume
visitor center
Boston Common Visitors Center
state house
he State House


If you choose not to do the Freedom Trail and are feeling hungry I recommend stopping for lunch at Parish Cafe or The Courtyard Restaurant at the Boston Public Library.

Parish Cafe is located on Boylston Street about one block from the Public Garden.  The menu is made of of gourmet sandwiches created by a local famous chefs such as Barbara Lynch, who you have maybe seen on the Food Network.   My favorite sandwich is the Zuni Roll which is  smoked turkey breast, crisp bacon, chopped scallions, dill Havarti cheese, and cranberry chipotle sauce wrapped in a flour tortilla and served warm with a side of cranberry chipotle sauce and sour cream with scallions.

Parish Cafe outdoor patio

The Courtyard Restaurant at Boston Public Library overlooks the beautiful Italianate courtyard and serves New American cuisine.  Make sure to watch the clock because they are only open a few hours each weekday but they do take reservations.
Lunch:  Monday- Friday, 11:30 am -2:30 pm
Tea with finger sandwiches and small desserts:  Wednesday- Friday, 2:00 pm- 4:00 pm and Saturday’s 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
courtyard restaurant
talianate Courtyard

Now that you have eaten I would recommend seeing a few more sights or shopping.  

If you would like to go shopping Back Bay has some of the best around!   Newbury Street runs from Massachusetts ave all the way to the Public Garden and is lined with shops and restaurants.  There is a mix of affordable and high end stores.   The Shops at the Prudential Center is another great spot to shop in the area.   This is an indoor mall with mostly high end stores like Luis Vuitton, Dior, and so on.  

If you would like to go back to sightseeing I would recommend either taking a Duck Tour or heading towards Copley Square to see the Boston Public Library, Trinity Church, John Hancock Tower, and the Prudential tower.

A Duck Tour is a 80 minute tour that takes place on a “DUCK” W.W.II style vehicle.  The tours leave from 3 different location in Boston but I recommend leaving from the Prudential Building which is within walking distance from the conference hotels.  The tours are lead by fantastic guides that are funny and very knowledgeable about Boston History.  The tour will drive by many historic spots in Boston like, The State House, Bunker Hill, TD Garden, Boston Common, Quincy Market, and many more.  Lastly the vehicle will drive right into the Charles River where you can see Cambridge and Boston skylines.  Don’t worry you will not get wet!  The cost is 35$ per adult.  See the website www.bostonducktours.com to purchase tickets or for more information.
duck boat
Duck tour pickup location outside Star Market by Prudential Building

Copley Square
is a public square in Back Bay.  On one side of the square is Trinity Church and the John Hancock Building and on the other is the Boston Public Library.  Trinity Church was built in 1872-1877 and designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson.  The style he popularized is named for him: Richardsonian Romanesque.  “The Hancock”  formerly known as The Hancock Tower is a 60 story tower built in 1976. Unfortunately their observation deck was closed after 9/11.  You will have to visit the Prudential Tower for a bird’s eye view of the city.
trinity church
View of Copley Square with Trinity Church
john hancock
The Hancock
boston public library
oston Public Library 

The Prudential Tower aka “The Pru” is the second tallest building in Boston after The Hancock and is made up of 52 floors.  The 50th-floor observation deck, called the Skywalk Observatory, is currently the highest observation deck in New England open to the public.   The Skywalk cost $17 for adults therefor I do not recommend doing this because it is a waste of money.  I recommend going to Top of the Hub which is a restaurant/bar on the 52nd floor.  You can sit at the bar for a drink and then walk around, take pictures, and listen to live jazz music.  They do serve dinner but is is pricey and not as good as many other places in the area.  You can stop here for dessert only.  They have a warm cookie plate that is amazing.
Bar at Top of the Hub
Views from Top of the Hub


Now that you have finished a long day of sight seeing I would recommend going out for a nice dinner and a cocktail.  See my Where to Eat page at the top right corner of this blog for all my restaurant recommendations.