American History Recreated in a Trendy, Coastal Town
There are two primary reasons one should go to Boston: charming cobbled streets steeped in historical significance, and a surplus of unbelievable seafood. Spend a weekend in this very walkable city exploring the Freedom Trail, shopping Newbury Street’s brownstone storefronts, and gorging on buttery lobster rolls, the creamiest chowder, and local oysters swimming in mignonette sauce. When evening arrives, hunker down in a cozy Irish bar with live music (The Black Rose and The Green Dragon Tavern both have nightly shows). Boston’s Irish American community (the largest in the country) knows how to throw a good time.
Weather permitting, one of the most delightful ways to pass a day in Boston is on the water. Take a catamaran out to Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary for spellbinding encounters with Massachusetts’ five native whale species. Savor a New England clambake on Spectacle Island, complete with lawn games and a post-sunset bonfire. Or drift past Boston’s historic lighthouses, including the country’s oldest: Boston Light. Ferries are operated by Boston Harbor Cruises and are seasonally dependent, so check the website for schedule information.
Housed inside a narrow brownstone, Saltie Girl’s dinky space is outfitted with carved mermaid figureheads, scale-like sapphire tiles, and stacked displays of tinned fish (the restaurant has approximately 60 varieties collected from across the world). Chef Kyle McClelland’s seafood-oriented menu draws inspiration from international cuisines and East Coast signatures. Picture a New York-style smoked fish platter and bowl of “holy trinity of clam chowder” alongside charred octopus empanadas and chunks of chilled crudo. Whichever items you settle on, don’t overlook Saltie Girl’s ultra indulgent signature dish: lobster meat fried in a light golden batter, piled atop a fluffy waffle and drenched in a saccharine combination of melted sweetcorn butter and spicy maple syrup.
The Inn Crowd
When the Charles Street Jail was constructed in 1851, Bostonites went to great lengths to avoid spending time inside its walls. But after being reincarnated as the Liberty Hotel in 2007, this cruciform-shaped building became one of the most desirable accommodations in the city. A collaborative effort between architects, conservationists, and historians retained and modernized many of the jail’s original features: catwalks are showered with light from a dramatic central atrium, the exercise yard has been transformed into immaculately landscaped gardens, and the hotel’s appropriately named restaurant, Clink, still has wrought-iron bars throughout. Curious guests can book a historical tour via the hotel concierge and get the full lowdown on the building’s past.
The Last Call
Finding Backbar – a hipster speakeasy located down a quiet alley in Somerville – takes a little persistence, but for cocktail enthusiasts, it’s worth the extra effort. Sam Treadway, Backbar’s owner and award-winning chief mixologist, bases his tipples on geographical locations – some real places (the Kulukki Kush is a spicy, spiked spin on an Indian mango lassi), others entirely fictional (Dumbledore’s Office is a fruity nod to Hogwarts, with Oxley gin, St-Germain, limoncello, ginger, passion fruit, and frothy egg white). Feeling experimental? Say the word and the bartenders will happily go off-menu and whip up something new just for you.
With its dusty window display of washing detergent, cereal boxes, and canned beans, you’d be forgiven for overlooking Bodega. But this unassuming convenience store has a secret second purpose. “After a nod from a massive gentleman at the counter, you approach a Snapple vending machine and the facade slides open to reveal a pristine, mahogany-lined streetwear dreamland,” says Randy Pease, Full-Time Travel’s Managing Director, and former Bostonite. Imported sneakers from Japanese cult brands are the store’s specialty, so expect to peruse the shelves alongside cool kids and sneakerheads.