1. The Lenox Hotel
Jasmine: Without a doubt, this was our top attraction in Boston. Rated the #2 hotel in Boston, this lovely boutique hotel nestled on prime property in the heart of the city, the Lenox distinguished itself for its fabulous service.
Housekeeping offered us chocolate pralines during turndown service, and the hotel offered the widest array of complimentary items I’ve ever seen in any hotel, from the ubiquitous, like toothbrushes and hairbrushes, to the more unexpected, like Lay’s potato chips and Reese’s chocolates. But what put the icing on the cake was this: when Andrew went to ask front desk for one of each snack they had, they brought up a HAMPERFUL of full-sized goodies and one cute little Lenox beaver mascot:
Jasmine: And all of this, without even an extra charge! We were so pleasantly surprised that we just had to leave a tip the following morning for the front desk.
Andrew: It was really an amazing hamper of goodies. Of course Dearie was happy that they had a full size bag of chips, as opposed to the usual fun sizes you get when you sit on planes or with Subway. What was even cooler was that they gave us a whole jar of Lay’s French Onion dip to enjoy with our nachos and chips! I was a happy man:
Andrew’s “Campbell’s can” T-shirt blends right in with all the goodies
Jasmine: Of course, the cosy Christmas atmosphere and traditional furnishings made it seem like a (luxe) home away from home. Speaking of service excellence, we were helping each other take photos when a bellboy came over and offered to be our “photog”, saying that he was “pretty good at it”.
Jasmine: I will always associate Boston with the Lenox and have already recommended it to two different people who are headed to Boston. Overall the excellent service made this the best hotel ever (and this is in comparison to our stays at six-star hotels like Raffles and Fullerton Bay)!
Andrew: To add on to what Dearie has already listed as The Lennox’s plus points, they had one of the best gyms out of all the hotels we stayed in US. They also had a board that listed possible running routes around the city, for marathon trainers. Boston is quite big on marathons! They also have a decent restaurant on the first floor, where we had dinner when we first arrived in Boston AND it is an environmentally friendly hotel:
2. Freedom Trail
Jasmine: Considering how Boston was the birthplace of the American Revolution, the geeks in us just had to sign up for a ninety-minute long walking tour despite the freezing cold. For that, we opted for the Freedom Trail, which was sort of an "outdoor history museum", led by a tour guide costumed as the first female writer, Mercy Otis Warren, from the 1700s and who remained in character throughout.
One of the tour guide’s jokes about this emblem: time flies
Jasmine: And that was quite a feat, staying chirpy and entertaining, on all 16 stops of historical significance, from churches to Paul Revere’s house (outside only) to the site of the Boston massacre to cemeteries. Quite an engaging way of experiencing history!
Andrew: Even though I’m not quite a history buff, I actually did enjoy the tour quite a bit. Like Dearie mentioned, what made the tour so fun was that the guide stayed ‘in character’ throughout. When we were at the graveyard, instead of giving lengthy descriptions of prominent people who died, she spoke of them in a very casual manner, as siblings/friends or whatever relation she bore to them. It was an engaging tour indeed, if not for the unbearably cold weather.
3. North End
Jasmine: The North End is also known as "Little Italy" by locals so we tried a couple of Italian food places here. We also met up with my former Edinburgh flatmate, Julia, who is a Boston native, for our mini food hunt!
Jasmine: We tried pizzas at the famed Ernesto’s, where a "slice" was more like a quarter of a very large pizza that might feed a party of football-watching dudes, and priced only at $4. We also had one of my favourite Italian desserts, cannoli, a flaky tubular pastry with a creamy, mildly sweet pistachio or vanilla filling, at Mike’s, which offered huge ones in all kinds of flavours! Julia shared that this was most probably the Italian-American adaptation of the Italian dessert, though, as Mike’s monster cannoli was thrice the size of the delicate cannolis I’d had and loved back in Italy.
Our amazingly huge cannolis
Andrew: It was not just the cannolis which were huge – every single thing there was huge. I had so much fun taking photos of all the over-sized desserts:
4. Seafood chowder
Andrew: Still along the theme of oversized food, another highlight of Boston was the seafood chowder we had at Atlantic Fish restaurant. As it is a classic New England staple, we had to try it. This came highly recommended by the waitress and we had no regrets. It was so rich and chock-full of seafood goodness, with clams, prawns, fish and other summer vegetables like celery and carrots. Along with the chowder was a small bag of oyster crackers that were nice and crisp, good on their own or with the chowder.
5. Candlelight Carols at Trinity Church
Andrew: Dearie and I still made it a point to attend service weekly when we were on honeymoon and I was put ‘in charge of’ identifying interesting churches we could go to, both in terms of architecture and also different format of service from what we were used to back in Singapore. Trinity Church, which just happened to be a few streets down from our hotel, was our choice for Boston:
Dearie and her ‘artistic’ photography
Jasmine: The Romanesque church looks imposing during the day, but looks positively stunning lit up by night. Trinity Church is renowned for its three choirs, and the Candlelight Carols are a famed Boston tradition, so it was a real treat to attend their choral service, pipe organ and all.
Andrew: Although we can’t remember the sermon now, we both remember being quite impressed by how down to earth it was. It wasn’t too heavily spiritual, but was more practical in terms of perspectives one could take on life.
Jasmine: And just after the service ended, the pastor announced that some women in the church had returned from Tibet (or Nepal, or somewhere), and were selling linens and pashminas to raise funds for the needy, and invited the congregation to support them. So I turned to Andrew, and said, “Who am I to hinder the work of God?” and happily dragged him down to the undercroft of the cathedral.
Jasmine: We were also very amused by this shirt sold in the church’s gift shop, which wasn’t afraid to poke a little fun at its denomination. Thanks Dear, for sourcing all the amazing churches and choral services! Plus points if the churches have gift shops!
Jasmine: And to round off our post, here are a couple of pretty pictures from our walks around this walking city:
Next stop – Chicago!