Cambridge, and a (Bos)Ton of Memories in Massachusetts

 

(As my simple way of thanking you for hosting me, this write-up is for you Len. Praying always for your speedy recovery. Shout out also to her niece, Tricia, for taking nice photos and for being the best guide and confidante.)

The bus ride from New York City to get to Boston took about seven hours, with stopovers along the way, plus some traffic in NYC in that post-afternoon rush. It was a long overdue visit to a close college friend who’s also my son’s godmother. So the lengthy ride did not bother me at all as I was excited to spend some time with her after about 11 years since the last we saw each other. My friend owns a unit in a posh residential area near the city. That was my home for five days. While she was at work, I spent most of the week with her niece who already knows the ins and outs of Boston and Cambridge.

In my head, Boston Common is just the setting of the now-defunct TV show with the same title. I thought it was something that was cooked up. But truly there is a place. It is a lush park sitting in the middle of the city, just like New York’s Central Park.

Above and below are tranquil spots in the park. We’d rest here in between long walks at the 50-acre park!
It was hot and humid. The forecast even mentioned “heatwave” repeatedly. So we came prepared. We gotta wear shades! 😀
As I put it, I’m a commoner in Boston Common.
 This fountain was spotted just in time for my deep thirst amid the heatwave.
It began with a duck. This tour costs around $45. We rode an amphibious (duck) truck that took us all over the city via the streets and the Charles River. The hilarious tour guide narrated the stories behind each landmark that we saw. For more about this tour, you may check out https://bostonducktours.com.
Beacon Hill is where the rich and famous live. It’s a high-end residential district where the Clintons used to live, according to our guide.
 The Massachusetts State House has a golden dome. Finished in 1798, the building houses the state legislature and the office of the governor of Massachusetts.
City view from the amphibious vehicle sailing on Charles River.
The Longfellow Bridge is also called the “salt-and-pepper bridge” by the locals because the towers look like shakers.

We had so many food treats during my stay. One of which was at Totto Ramen. There is one in NY, so we tried the Assembly Row branch here after our movie date and window shopping at the outlet stores. I prefer the Totto Ramen here because of the quantity of serving (takaw much?). The one in NY did not taste that good and had lesser ingredients.

I just find the name of the resto amusing. Is there an illegal one? 😀 Boston has plenty of seafood places due to its nearness to the bay.
Due to over-excitement, I forgot to take photos of the food we had at this historic Boston landmark. It was a seafood platter, clam chowder, and the supposedly unlimited cornbread. To me, it was a treat. The cornbread is something you’ll never find elsewhere. I tried baking at home but it didn’t come close. They sell cornbread flour to those who want to easily bake using their recipe but of course, there are some secret ingredients you cannot find on the label.

I learned also that Dunkin’ Donuts (now only called “Dunkin'”) started in Massachusetts. That’s why my friend has an unlimited supply of Dunkin’ treats/credits. Its stores pop almost everywhere. (Dapat Poppin’ na lang ang bagong name. 😀 )

We also ate at a Bon Chon there. It’s different than the ones in the Philippines because it was not a fast-food chain. It was like a bistro. The food options are also like “real” non-Westernized Korean food. I remember having the Korean pancake, of course, the fried chicken, potstickers, and vegetable sidings. I really loved it there. It was not pricey at all.

The ladies had Japanese in Chinatown. Haha! Here at Shabu-Zen. And yes, I had the vegetarian set. It was so good!
The Boston Public Library (left) and the Old South Church (I think! Haha). There are so many churches in the area with fine architecture as old as the 1700s.
A portion of Boston’s 360-degree view from the top of the Skywalk Observatory at the posh Prudential Center. I think my friend paid $21 for each of us. More info can be found on their site https://www.prudentialcenter.com/
Of course, I had a tour at Harvard U in Cambridge. One thing that I love about the structures here is the brown brick facade that is common among almost all old buildings.

The brick style is like an architectural must in the Boston-Cambridge area. Where it’s like archaic versus modern coexisting at present.
Inside the Harvard U bookstore. I bought a university-branded box of chocolates. Yes, candies in a bookstore.
There are small shops. It is a big campus community.

My friend told me that practically, anything you buy in Massachusetts is cheaper than in NY because the state offers a lower tax for purchases. Because of this advice, I bought my husband a pair of shoes on sale at Steve Madden’s outlet store as my anniversary gift. So cheap of me! Haha! Got it at only USD 31 (that’s a little less than PhP 1,600). Puwede na!

Oh, and one more thing! I also found out that cannabis is legal, but there are certain conditions in its usage. No wonder, t-shirts and souvenir items in Boston boldly have the marijuana leaf design on them. It’s going to be a big "uh-oh" in my country so I did not bother buying the souvenirs.

I am reminded of the ’80s animated series The Flying House. You’re looking at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Stata Center designed by brilliant architect Frank Gehry.
According to MIT’s website, the Stata Center “is built on the site of MIT’s legendary Building 20, a ‘temporary’ timber-framed building constructed during World War II that served as a breeding ground for many of the great ideas that were born at MIT.”
The South Station is where I rode my bus to go back to NYC.
I stopped by the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Boylston St. and remembered the victims of the bombing in 2013.

If you want a taste of a classy place in the U.S. that emits a vibe of an educated surrounding filled with academics and professionals thriving in a chill city, Boston and Cambridge are for you. I did not get worried that walking alone on the street would be an open opportunity for beggars or pick-pockets because there was none. Everyone was friendly, would smile at you as if you’re long-time friends, and would even open the door for you or wait for you to get out or in first before they do. Really, a classy culture.

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