Boston Destination Guide – Boston Dining, Nightlife & Chic Hotels

 Article and Photography by: Andrea Cannistraci

It’s true what they say, if you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait 10 minutes. journeyPod.com had the pleasure of experiencing the beautiful city of Boston for a week in early June. The first few days the weather was cold and rainy. Wednesday was gorgeous and sunny and in the 90’s (almost too hot!). Then it dropped to 60 and started to rain again by the weekend. Crazy.

With that said, journeyPod.com has some great outdoor AND indoor activities to keep you engaged during your next trip to Boston.

Things To Do:

Swan Boats: For over 130 years, the Swan Boats have been a part of the Boston experience. As a welcome sign of Spring, they grace the waters of the Boston Public Garden, the first botanical garden in the United States. They are the only boats of their kind in the world!

Public Gardens and Boston Common: The Public Garden is decorative and flowery, while the Common is pastoral and practical. The Common’s walkways are for crosstown travel, the Public Garden’s paths for meandering. The Common was America’s first park, the Public Garden its first public botanical garden. And, they are located across the street from each other. How convenient! And since we were in Boston during the Stanley Cup Finals, we saw a rare site: The famous statue of George in the Public Garden wearing a Bruins jersey! (See Photo)

Museum of Fine Arts: If you visit before August 7, you can experience the art of blown glass with Dale Chihuly’s “Through The Looking Glass” exhibit.

Note: Unless you are super awesome at navigating, we highly suggest you skip the Freedom Trail. The Trail seems painless enough—I mean you follow a red painted line—how difficult could that be? Well, as we found out the hard way, that red painted line magically disappears several times…you’ve been warned.

Where To Eat: So many great places to eat! So little stomach for it all.

Via Matta (Back Bay): While you should meander through the North End (aka Little Italy), the food there is not the best Italian. We suggest dining at Via Matta and trying the Black Pepper Fettuccini with clams, pork sausage and cavolo nero, Veal Medallions with sunchoke, foraged mushrooms, braised cabbage and prosciutto, Bittersweet Chocolate Terrine with nepitella gelato and salted almonds.

Bin 26 (Beacon Hill Area): The perfect place to pop in for an excellent glass of wine (they have over 65 wines by the glass) and you can choose from four different sizes: 100ml, 250ml, 500ml, or 750ml. The tapas are fabulous too! Try the Chicken Liver Truffle Patte with a glass of the Mencia (Red from Spain—Bierzo).

CLINK (Beacon Hill Area): Set on the lobby level of The Liberty Hotel, a national historic landmark that was once the storied Charles Street Jail, CLINK offers Modern American Cuisine. Try the Beef tartare with pumpkin seeds, crostini and a raw quail egg, Steamed mussels with chorizo, garlic, and madras curry, Black Pasta with local shellfish, squid, saffron butter and garlic oil, Pappardelle with lamb ragu.

Tangierino Restaurant/Koullshi Lounge (Charlestown): Looking for great atmosphere and to smoke a little hookah? This is your place. Although we prefer to follow tradition and only eat couscous on Fridays, we suggest you try it any day of the week. Don’t forget to order a mint tea…it is tradition, afterall.

Helmand (Cambridge): Helmand is an Afghani restaurant named after Afghanistan’s longest and most important river. Located in East Cambridge, the Helmand Restaurant’s dining room is flanked on one side by a small fireplace, and on the other by a woodburning oven, where the restaurant’s famous flatbread. Try the Char-broiled Leg of Lamb marinated in puree of onion, sun-dried baby grapes and garlic served with sauteed eggplant and pallow rice, and/or the Beef meatballs with Afghan seasonings sauteed with sun-dried tomato, hot peppers and green peas in a fresh tomato sauce, served with challow rice.

Menton (Fort Point): Located “near the milk bottle”, Chef Barbara Lynch’s fine dining restaurant is named for a small French village a few steps away from the Italian border. The Crossiants are the best you’ve ever tasted, and the foie gras, duck, halibut, blueberry soup with pistachio cake are a must try!

Where to Stay:

There are a handful of hotels in every area of the city. You have your simple pleasures like the Kimptons, trendy/upscale like the Liberty Hotel, The Langham or The Ames. journeyPod.com suggests trying out the true-European style boutique property, Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro. The property is small—very European in every sense. (Even the ironing board is hidden behind a mirror in the closet!) There is no on-property parking, it’s in one of the oldest parts of the city—complete with cobblestone streets, and the Bistro is attached. The Commons and Public Garden are literally right down the street, as is the chic Newbury Street. But, plan ahead, there are only 12 rooms and they fill up fast! Be sure to check-out our luxury podcast with Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro’s owner Peter Rait. And if your taste buds need tempting, read our Chef’s Corner piece with the Bistro’s Chef Rich Edes.

Day Trip:

If it’s raining in Boston, hop in car and drive about two hours south to escape the rain. Not only will you experience a great little town called Newport, but you’ll also cross another State off your bucket list. That’s right, you’ll be in Rhode Island. Once in Newport, enjoy the quaint little downtown area. Pop into any of the many watering holes for a relaxing drink overlooking the marina. Then it’s off to “The Gilded Age”….tour the multi-million dollar “summer cottages” of the Vanderbilt’s, the Berwinds, and others. There are 11 Newport Mansions you can tour, including The Breakers, which is a must! Two mansions were enough for one afternoon for us (we chose The Elms as our second tour).

After mansion-hopping, drive over to the water’s edge and stroll along the beautiful Cliff Walk. It runs for seven miles, but you can walk seven minutes and get a taste of it all.
You’ll have worked up an appetite after all this walking, so head back into town for a glass of wine and tapas at Fluke’s Wine Bar & Kitchen. Skip the “crispy squid” it’s nothing more than your plain, old, boring breaded and fried calamari. But do order the bacon wrapped dates filled with almonds—they are amazing! And for a night-cap, head around the corner to Genie’s Hookah Lounge. There is no better way to unwind after a busy day than to sip apple tea on a couch and smoke a little double-apple shisha!
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