Enjoy the Sites of Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill–the Hub of the Universe.

And, I might add, a good place to visit this summer.

First hint. Park your car at Riverside at Exit 14 on the Mass Pike and take the train into town. Parking there is only $2.25 for the day!

Second hint. Wear comfortable shoes. Boston is a walking town.

Third hint. Take a Duck Tour. You can reserve tickets on the internet at Ducktours.com but they don’t take telephone reservations. Or, take your chances, and buy tickets in the Prudential Center when you arrive. But, get there early–tickets are usually sold out by noon during the summer.

So, from Riverside, take the train to Copley and change to the E (still green) line get off the train at the Prudential Center. It’s an easy walk to the tour.

The kids will love the ride, on land and on the Charles River. (Or, should that be "in" the river?) And it’s a good chance to get a broad overview of the top tourist and historic spots in Boston.

Back at the Prudential Center area after your ride you can visit the Christian Science Center and its reflecting pool (there are also tours, but the Mapparium is closed until next year while renovations continue), grab lunch in the area, visit historic Trinity Church, or get back on the Green Line of the subway, called "The T" by Bostonians, and head to the State House..

Get off The T at Park, which is on the Common, and walk one block up the hill to the State House. You can usually buy a soft drink, snack or souvenir from vendors along the way.

Find my office in Room 254 and say hello. We’ll be happy to give you a short tour and a map. Or, you can take a long tour with official volunteers, the Doric Dames.

If you haven’t walked the Freedom Trail, it’s a good bet. Follow the lines painted on the sidewalks for about two and a half miles and you’ll see just about every historic site. From Boston Common to the Granary Burying Ground, the Old State House to the site of the Boston Massacre, Old North Church to the USS Constitution and Bunker Hill Monument. You can walk it non-stop in about an hour or take three hours to enjoy it leisurely.

Or, walk the new Black Heritage Trail on Beacon Hill.

Or, just plain walk. Beacon Hill is beautiful. You can wander the streets aimlessly on the Hill, which is bounded by Beacon Street, Charles Street, Cambridge Street, and Bowdoin. You’ll see beautiful homes and buildings, dogwalkers with half a dozen pooches in tow, perhaps the rich and famous, and the down and out. Notice the doors and windows, and especially all the flower boxes. Beacon Hill has a contest to find the prettiest each year.

For a short walk around Beacon Hill, take almost any street and you’ll find beautiful homes and small gardens, interesting shops and restaurants. Acorn Street is probably the most photographed. Louisburg Square the most famous. You’ll find them on the map that I’ll give you, of course.

Need help? An idea? Start at the back of the State House and go west, with Bowdoin turning into Myrtle Street. Little kids along? Stop at the Myrtle Street playground for a shady break. Then continue on Myrtle to Garden. Go right on Garden for one block and turn left onto Revere.

Be sure to peak into all the allies and lanes. Near the bottom of the hill, turn left on West Cedar. Continue to Mount Vernon where you’ll turn right. You’ll find yourself on Charles Street, with great shopping to the left and to the right. Shoes, artwork, antiques, Charles Street has it all. Hungry? Pop into The Sevens for a beer and a pub-style sandwich.

Wander south, or left on Charles to The Garden, where you’ll find beautiful trees and plantings and flowers and the famous Make Way for Ducklings statues. Or, when you hit Beacon Street, go right to see the Bull and Finch Pub ("Cheers") or left, up the hill, back to the State House.

Looking for food in the area? Legislators hang out at The 21st Amendment on Bowdoin or the Black Goose on Beacon. For a simple sandwich, at reasonable prices, the Capitol Grille. Sit down and eat it across the street on the benches outside at the State House.

My favorite place for dinner–Antonio’s Cucina Italiana (288 Cambridge Street) for interesting and reasonably priced pasta. And if you want a really nice dinner, go to 75 Chestnut in the evening. If price is not a problem you can’t beat 9 Park Street.

Fish? On the Freedom Trail, go the Union Oyster House.

Still time? Science Museum, Aquarium, Red Sox.

Yes, plan your day to get to Fenway for a game. Just get back on the Green Line (any Green Line except E), get off at Kenmore, and follow the crowds.

After the game, find your way back to the train (it’s free outbound after the game from the Fenway stop) and back to the car and back to Exit 3.

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