Braving the Cold – Boston Travelogue

ZY Boston Clam Chowder

Earlier on, I recorded my US East Coast trip’s first 2 stops at Washington DC, as well as New York City. The trip was initially planned to coincide with Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, however, due to flight plans and of course, concerns for security, N and I ended in Boston while the parade was taking place.

US East Coast Trip - Boston. Logo of city inside transit area of Boston Logan International Airport.

I had also blogged about the lobster rolls in Boston earlier, since that was one of our (gluttony) objectives. However, there were other sightseeing done too.

Getting to Boston

Our travelogue in Boston started with the train ride on Northeast Regional from Penn Station, New York City to Back Bay Station in Boston. By the time our train pulled in to Boston (by the way, that was the second last stop of the train service, because Boston has 2 train stations, the other one being Boston South station nearer to the wharf), it was already nightfall.

When we stepped out of the train station, a feeling of dread came over me. It was drizzling and we had planned to walk to our hotel. I was also rather apprehensive about walking from Back Bay to our hotel at Boston Park Plaza after dark. To my surprise, it was actually a rather short walk, at about 5 minutes, even though the sidewalks of Boston was so bumpy that it was really tough to pull them along.

US East Coast Trip - Boston. Street view of Boston, from Boston Park Plaza hotel.

First Dinner at Luke’s Lobster

Dusk comes early in winter, so by the time we checked in, it was actually 7pm. So we quickly put our stuff down and headed down towards Prudential Center Boston where Luke’s Lobster was.

We were thankful that Luke’s Lobster was still open and I got to taste my first lobster roll in Boston; when I was there in 2012, I was not that travel savvy and I thought that I could only have lobsters at the wharf area. At that point of time, I also didn’t think of buying overseas SIM card which would be good for navigation, so I did not dare to venture too far from the nearest T station to the wharf; I ended up missing out on Boston’s most famous food!

Luke's Lobster at Boston, USA, beside Boston , platter of 3: lobster roll, crab roll and shrimp roll

As usual, after our dinner at Luke’s Lobster, we sought out Star’s Market for the day’s water supply and popped by Boston Public Library to take a look before heading back to hotel.

Boston’s streets at night was so different from New York City or Washington DC. NYC, of course, was crowded well into the night. Washington DC, like I mentioned in my earlier post, was busy at night – not with pedestrians, but with traffic.

Boston had a different scene; there was almost no one and no cars on the streets even though it was only 8pm. The only crowded place was the plaza between New York Public Library and Copley Square, where youngsters were hanging out.

US East Coast Trip - Boston. Seen here are xiong xiong the teddy bear, lying on the table in Thinking Cup Cafe, with 2 cups of black coffee, a scone and a muffin.

Breakfast in Boston

The next morning, we went to a café nearby, called Thinking Cup, for breakfast. The rain had intensified overnight. We managed to borrow a pair of umbrellas for our walk to the café. Unlike Singapore, there was literally no shelter from the rain if one chooses to go anywhere on foot along the Boston sidewalks. It was a hassle, but it was also a unique experience trying to brave the cold strolling through the lyrical curtain of rain!

The Thinking Cup was as English as you could get, from the sweet treats to the sandwiches and pastry, to the not so impressive coffee. The atmosphere (and fragrance from the pastries) was comforting despite everyone being wet from the drizzle, which was really in stark contrast to the cold out in the streets.

The main section of the cafe was set below street level, which made it slightly dark, but also created a cosy feel. The best seats of course would be the ones at the upper level, looking out of the floor-to-ceiling windows onto the streets of Boston. However, the seats at the lower level were lined up facing the display cases where all the fresh pastries and cakes were, making it a rather appetising view too!

After having our fill at Thinking Cup, we headed straight to MIT. If you read my previous posts, we had taken bus rides in Washington DC and New York City, just for the sake of experiencing local life. Taking and transferring on bus rides sort of completed the whole experience!

US East Coast Trip - Boston. Waiting for bus to MIT, Cambridge, outside of Haynes Convention Center.

Exploring MIT

The journey to MIT wasn’t a direct one; we had to drop off the green line at Hynes Convention Center, before transferring to a bus (Service Number 1) that crossed Charles River to the entrance of MIT.

We dropped off at the foot of the great steps of MIT School of Architecture and Planning, before crossing over the road to Stratton Student Center to roam the grounds of the famed university. You know… leave bits of ourselves there, in the hope of also having some of their intelligence brushed onto us!

After getting ourselves warmed up in the compounds of MIT, we started a stroll in the rain to Central Station on the T’s red line, towards Harvard!

Harvard In and Out

Dropping off at the plaza before Harvard Yard, we got some advice from the guard and started roaming the grounds of Harvard University!

There was that walk through the greens of Harvard Yard, passing in between the dormitory blocks, to go touch the foot of John Harvard’s statue, then taking pictures near the steps of Harvard Library, before crossing Cambridge Street to explore Science Center (mostly to warm ourselves up again).

It was interesting that Harvard Square was deserted both times I was there. I thought there would be many tourists, or parents eager to seek out the environment for their children. That, however, afforded us some tranquility walking on the paths and weaving through the bare trees. If not for the rain, we would have sat down at a corner and soaked in the atmosphere!

US East Coast Trip - Boston. In the rain outside the grounds of Harvard Square.

We returned to Harvard Square, trying to find the place to board the bus service to Boston Legal Sea Foods, before giving up and walked 10 minutes to Charles Square to have our lunch.

The rain was not giving way despite our long stay at Legal Sea Foods, so we trekked our way back to Harvard Station again in the drizzle. To be frank, the Harvard T Station was rather massive and we didn’t notice that on our way in to Harvard. We decided to walk around the underground station a bit, before we realised that the bus stop we were looking for to board the service to Charles Square earlier was actually subterranean!

Blame our sub-Harvard IQ for not realising that earlier!

Yup, if you are ever in the area, you would have noticed that the streets around Harvard Square and Harvard Yard didn’t seem to have heavy vehicles plying the roads. That was because they were all directed to an underground network of roads!

We took the T back to Central to do some shopping, before taking the red line back to Boston station, where we changed lines to return to our hotel to take a rest.

It was a dreary day, and boy was I glad to have taken that rest!

After that, we ventured out into the rain again, with the objective of going to Boston Sail Loft at the wharf for dinner.

US East Coast Trip - Boston. Boston Commons in winter.

Enroute, we strolled past Boston Commons, which was freaking cold with that rain! The wind chill took its toll and although we only took around 15 minutes to cut through Boston Commons, we were frozen by the time we reached the station exit!

From there, it was a T ride on 2 lines, where we dropped off at Aquarium, only to have to bear even stronger winds now blowing direct from the bay!

Boston Sail Loft off Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park , beside the harbour clam chowder overflowing with goodness

Creamy Clam Chowder for Dinner?

The dinner at Boston Sail Loft was thankfully great and the environment warmed us up again. By the time we left the place, it was almost dusk.

As I mentioned in the other post, I thought that Luke’s Lobster was so good that we should try it out again that night.

Luke's Lobster at Boston, USA, beside Boston Library, restaurant interior overview. It was teeming with people, and it looked like they were not only students, but working adults and families too. The decor harked back to old, wooden warehouses docked by the pier.

Thank goodness we did! We had debated whether we should go eat at Luke’s Lobster the next morning, before we left Boston. However, the restaurant was closed for Thanksgiving!

Bidding Boston Goodbye

We ended up roaming the streets around Boston Park Plaza and settled our breakfast at Au Bon Pain in the same block. The rain had stopped, the sun had peeked out, yet it was still freezing cold that morning. Just by walking around the block alone froze us out and even the piping hot chicken soup from Au Bon Pain could not douse the cold away!

After packing up, we left for Boston Logan International Airport with a heavy heart (OK, that was damn cheesy). We took 2 buses, Service Number 9 to change at Broadway to Service Number 171 that brought us across the bay to the airport. From there, it would be left to another post for the flight back to Singapore.

US East Coast Trip - Boston. Train platform at the T.

This post is part of my series to document my trip to US East Coast, which started with my trip reports on Thai Airways via Boeing 777-300ER and on Scandinavian Air Systems (SAS), heartfelt experience at Washington DC, adventures in the neighbourhoods of New York City and Brooklyn (Part 1), exploring the skyscrapers of the Big Apple, and my immersion of old English ambience in Boston, including an overview of the Lobster Rolls I found in Boston. Subscribe to my blog for future travelogues!

If you enjoyed reading this trip report, please like and share my post to your friends! Or you can read my travelogues to Bavaria for Christmas Wanderlust and Hokkaido for summer flower hunt.

Till then, stay wanderlust!

All photos and videos were taken using Olympus TG870 and Google Pixel XL, and edited with Snapseed.

3 thoughts on “Braving the Cold – Boston Travelogue”

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