A Guide to BostonThe capital and largest city of Massachusetts, Boston was founded at the mouth of the Charles River on Massachusetts Bay in 1614 by English explorer John Smith. More than a century later, the prosperous colonists resented British control and when British taxes were increased in 1773, the locals boarded three British ships laden with tea chests and dumped them into the harbour in protest -The Boston Tea Party.
The city is centred around the large natural harbour on Shawmut Peninsula and has much to offer keen historians and culture enthusiasts. All major sites are easily accessible by bus, taxi, subway or foot.
In the southwest is Boston’s equivalent of the Champs Elysées, Commonwealth Avenue, a 200-ft wide grand boulevard with elegant townhouses in various architectural styles, and the distinctive Romanesque First Baptist Church.
Running parallel to Commonwealth Avenue is the upmarket Newbury Street, home to haute couture, smart restaurants and art galleries. Don’t miss the Church of the Covenant for the largest collection of stained-glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany, or the Newbury Street Mural.
Copley Square with trees and fountains hosts concerts and weekly farmers’ markets. The 740-ft John Hancock Tower is the tallest building in all New England. Across the square stands Boston Public Library featuring enormous bronze doors, a high barrel-vaulted ceiling and Sargeant murals.
At the plaza’s northern end is one of the US’s most beautiful buildings, the Romanesque Trinity Church dating from 1877, masterpiece of Henry Hobson Richardson. The exquisite stained-glass windows and gold bas-reliefs should not be missed.
The Art Deco Verizon Building contains a huge mural and a recreation of Alexander Graham Bell’s laboratory where he invented the telephone.
Boston Common, 48 acres of greenery, dates back to 1634. Southwest of the Common is the 24-acre Public Garden of formal lawns, flowerbeds, a tranquil lagoon and a bronze equestrian statue of George Washington.
Follow the red strips of the 2.5 mile Freedom Trail from Boston Common past major historical buildings including: Massachusetts State House, Park Street Church, Granary Burying Ground; King’s Chapel, Old Corner Bookstore, Old South Meeting House, Old State House; Paul Revere’s house, the oldest in Boston, from where he rode out at midnight to warn his compatriots of the imminent arrival of British troops. (He was a brilliant gold- and silver-smith who cast many church bells and cannons.) The Trail continues past Old North Church, Copp’s Hill, an early hanging site and settlers’ cemetery. It then crosses the Charles River to the Navy Yard and Bunker Hill Monument, the 221-ft granite obelisk commemorating the Revolution’s first battle between British and Colonial forces on 17 June 1775.
The theatre district and Chinatown are south of the Common, while to the east is Downtown Crossing, a vibrant pedestrian shopping mall. Northwest is Beacon Hill, until the 1870s Boston’s most elite suburb. See Louisburg Square, Mount Vernon Street, and Charles Street, full of antique shops, restaurants and gourmet delis.
Quincy Market in northeastern Boston is a popular shopping and dining complex while the Customs House, with a 495-ft tower, has a maritime history museum. The Aquarium contains a coral reef! Take a boat trip to offshore whale-feeding grounds.