Our anniversary was May 6. Unfortunately Mark was sick as a dog so we postponed celebrating. We checked our calendars and our only ‘free’ weekend was Father’s Day weekend. We decided to take a Friday off, head to Boston, and return on Saturday night so that we would be home to celebrate Father’s Day with the family. That gave us 24 hours in Boston!
I know that sounds crazy but it was really fun and, believe it or not, totally relaxing. Just what we needed. We arrived around 1PM on Friday and headed out about 3PM on Saturday. If you only have 24 hours to spend in Boston, I recommend you do these six things.
- Location, Location, Location – choose a hotel that’s within walking distance to local attractions and restaurants. We stayed at the Omni Parker House Hotel. We left our car in the Pi Alley parking garage – valet parking is also available – and walked just about everywhere we went.
We stayed at this hotel once before and it was wonderful. When I called to make reservations I mentioned that we were celebrating our anniversary and they surprised us with an upgrade to a suite – complete with chocolate covered strawberries and champagne.
- Go to the New England Aquarium – the aquarium, located on Boston’s long wharf, was a 15-minute walk from the Omni Parker House. After arriving in Boston and checking into our room, we headed over to the aquarium. We got there just before 2PM and stayed for about three hours. Note: check with the concierge at the hotel to see if they have any discounts or coupons. We got $2 off each admission.
The centerpiece of the aquarium is its four-story tank that simulates ocean life complete with coral reef and hundreds of Caribbean reef animals, including sea turtles, stingrays, eels and fish. The tank is open at the top. Throughout the day there are live presentations featuring a diver, and with the underwater communications system – complete with audio and video – you can ask the diver questions about what’s going on. Mark asked if any of the species reproduce in the tank. Good question. They do find fish eggs for some species and incubate them outside of the tank.
- Eat dinner in Boston’s North End – Before we went back to the hotel to change for our dinner in the North End, we stopped and had a beer at The Black Rose on State Street. We enjoyed a beer and had a snack – corned beef and cabbage spring rolls. Really tasty. Our timing was perfect. It was the beginning of the World Cup and we watched the Netherlands score the winning goal against Spain in the first round.
By 6:30 we were back at the hotel. We had some champagne, changed and grabbed a taxi around 7:15 to the North End. My blogging friend, Bianca, lives in Boston and recommended we go to The Daily Catch on Hanover Street. The line was out the door so we didn’t eat there. We headed up Hanover and ended up at Nico’s.
- Be a tourist – Boston is one of our country’s oldest cities with a rich history. The city’s original market places like Faneuil Hall (established 1742) and Quincy Market (established 1824) have been restored and are definitely ‘touristy’ (is that even a word???). That being said, they’re also part of the National Park service so if you want to combine retail therapy with history, this is the place to go
On Sunday morning we walked over to Cheers bar located in Faneuil Hall for breakfast. We each had a Bloody Mary and shared Eggs Benedict.
- Take a walking tour – Our hotel was located on the Freedom Trail which includes 16 historic sites significant to the American Revolution. The hotel is also a few blocks away from the beginning of the Black Heritage Trail. We checked out at 11:30 but left our bags while we walked the Black Heritage Trail.
We were surprised to learn that in 1783 slavery was abolished in Massachusetts; schools were integrated in 1855.
We also happened to be on the route for Boston’s Pride parade on our way to the trail. Even more entertainment!
- Go to Sweet Cheeks Q – Bianca also recommended this restaurant which is located near Fenway Park. We picked up our bags from the hotel and drove over to the awesomely delicious barbecue place. We got there a little before 2. The place was full of folks wearing Red Sox gear. I asked our waiter what the deal was with all the baseball fans. This was the pre-game crowd. The game was starting at 4:30.
Enough about that – let’s talk about the biscuits. No, let’s talk about the cocktails. Scratch that. Let’s focus on the ‘cue. This is Texas barbecue. The meat is cooked to perfection with just enough seasoning to accentuate the meat. Not overpowering. Sauce is on the side. Your choice but in my opinion, this ‘cue is good on its own.
My mom is from Alabama and I grew up eating biscuits – both buttermilk and soda biscuits. Sweet Cheek Q’s biscuits are phenomenal and have even made Food and Wine’s Best Biscuit in the US list. Add a little – or a lot – of the whipped honey butter that come with it and you will feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven.
The cocktails are amazing too. I had a concoction made with rum, ginger beer and fresh ginger. I wish I could tell you what it was. It must have been a specialty cocktail and I didn’t make a note of what it was. Can’t find it on their online menu either.
Mark had a brisket sandwich with cole slaw and I ordered a tray.
We had a complete and total blast. This break from our regular routine was just the right combination of relaxation and activity and just what we needed – from a fancy dinner to strolling around Boston to learn about its rich history – we couldn’t have asked for more from our 24 hours in Boston.