I Spy with my Little Eye – B for Boston Part II

Genie Davis October 5, 2010 No Comments

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In my last New England oriented blog (Boston Part 1) I told you to make way for ducklings at the Public Garden and in the beautiful classic Boston Public Library. But there are still many more Boston based delights that your little ones will enjoy. 

If it’s baseball season, take them out to a ball game. No matter what city you’re from, there’s nothing like the compact stadium and passionate crowd of Fenway Park, right in the heart of the city and easily accessible by public transportation. Buy some peanuts and cracker jacks and join the crowd in a sing along to support Boston’s boys of summer, the Red Sox. Fenway Park remains in appearance and home-town spirit, much as it did on the day it opened in 1912. 

If there’s no game scheduled, your kids will still enjoy a guided tour of the park, from bleacher to pitcher mound. 

Fenway Park Boston MassachusettsIf you want something a little more refined, try the Isabelle Stewart Gardener Museum. This beautiful home turned museum features burbling fountains, beautiful flowers, paintings , furniture, and tapestries. Your children will love the magical feel of the indoor gardens, and the fairy book – or Harry Potter-esque, as the case may be – feel of the house itself. It was built to recreate the feeling of a 15th Century palace in Venice. The art collection it contains ranges from paintings to furniture displays from Europe and the Islamic world. Stroller friendly, child friendly, and wonderfully compact. 

Time to eat? Try  a fine fish dinner at Legal Seafoods, Boston’s famous and always crowded dining favorite for fish baked, fried, broiled or fileted. You can take a number and get in line – no reservations taken – at the Copley Plaza, Long Wharf, or Pru Center locations. There’s a wide ranging kid’s menu and the crowded, convivial atmosphere makes this restaurant a family friendy winner. 

Something completely different: head downtown to Boston’s compact but flavorful Boston Chinatown, where many restaurants are open twenty-four hours, like Chau Chow City with great egg rolls. Inexpensive and always kid friendly. You’ll find fun souvenirs in a bevy of small shops, and markets with fresh vegetables and exotic spices to browse. 

Chapel on Harvard University Boston Cambridge, MA

Chapel on Harvard University Boston

Another option:  take Boston’s great transportation system – the T – across the Charles River to Cambridge. Head into Harvard Square to wander the ivied bricks of America’s academic center. The nooks, crannies, cobblestones and courtyards of America’s oldest university are also great fun for kids to explore. 

Harvard Square itself is an iconic international land mark with shops and restaurants, movie theaters and galleries. Try a sandwich, salad or tasty cheese fondue at Grendel’s Den. A long time student hangout, this reasonably priced, family-welcoming restaurant has many rooms and a library atmosphere – if you could talk and laugh in a library. The fondue is a great hit with kids of all ages. Built from a series of conjoined houses, the restaurant has several different levels and is enjoyable to walk through if the kids get restless waiting for a meal. 

Cafe Pamplona on Bow Street is a sweet, historic spot with fruit drinks, iced chocolate, and coffee and tea for the grownups. Quick fix paninis are great for the family on the go. Pinochio’s Pizza and Lizzy’s Ice Cream are great Cambridge favorites, inexpensive, and what child will not want pizza and ice cream for dinner? 

Harvard Square Harvard Coop

Harvard Square Harvard Coop

Shopping is equally eclectic. The Harvard Coop began as a cooperative student venture, a place for books and school supplies, heating materials and essential clothing. Now you’ll find great souvenirs for the kids and adults, and those books include an enjoyable and relaxing children’s section. 

If your little ones are old enough to enjoy music, or fall asleep while listening – enter Passim’s Coffee House, the place to check out new sounds of folk, jazz, and acoustic performers of all stripes for more than fifty years. Best of all, with no alcohol served and a homey, comfortable feeling, Passim’s is a perfect place to introduce your kids to some sounds beyond those featured on Radio Disney. 

You can spend at entire day at the science and tech nirvana spot known as the Boston Science Museum. The bird exhibit literally features a specimen of every single New England bird. Bees – explore a glassed in bee hive of thousands. Then there’s the butterfly garden, where you can stroll beneath these beautiful winged creatures in a conservatory filled with beautiful plants and flowers. The exhibit also offers a fantastic view of the Charles River. We spent an hour just enjoying the butterflies, the peaceful atmosphere, the sunlight coming in through the glass walls. Elsewhere in the museum there’s fossils, dinosaurs, x-rays, and computer exhibits too, but best of all for little kids is the discovery center. Clean, modern, and filled with great hands on activities for kids from babyhood up to age eight. Exceedingly well staffed with supportive, interactive docents, the center allows kids to put an animal skeleton together, examine fossils, or observe live animals close up. Frequently changing science experiments and junior engineering challenges are offered here, too. 

From science to – ships. Kids of all ages will enjoy the USS Constitution located in Boston harbor. Built in 1791, and still housing a US Navy crew on board to this day, the ship given the nickname “Old Ironsides” is the oldest warship in the world and loads of fun to explore. 

For an overview of the city, try the John Hancock Tower, the blue glass monolith that reflects the Public Library and plaza in Copley Square. It has over ten thousand panes of reflecting glass. At the top, you’ll have a great, safely enclosed view of the entire city.  When you’re back on ground level look for the names of the Boston marathon winners cut into the stones in Copley Square. 

Wherever you go in Boston or Cambridge, you’ll enjoy a town small enough to walk through, easy on the eyes, stroller friendly, and connected by public transportation that’s simple to map and readily available. You’ll love bringing your babies of any age to Boston.

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Genie Davis is a multi-published fiction author, screen and TV writer, and travel writer. If it was possible, she'd like to spend every day traveling. www.geniedavis.com

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