Travel // a few Christmassy days in Boston, New England

December 11, 2018

A travelogue from our recent pre-Christmas trip to Boston if you'd like to see...

A couple of weeks ago, with my family, we took off on a trip to Boston for a few days. It had originally started as my Mum & I planning a Christmassy trip to a market in Europe, but somehow spiralled into finding ridiculously cheap flights to Boston where my Mum has always wanted to visit, at a time when Ben's favourite NFL team would be playing, leading him and my Brother desperate to join us. Next, we had to convince Dad {he wasn't that keen on taking anymore trips this year} but after he realised how excited we all were, and with the agreement that this trip would be so much better than us all doing the normal Christmas presents to each other, we were booked! We found an Airbnb which was a lot more reasonable than a hotel for us all, plus meant we could stay in a gorgeous residential neighbourhood, and cook in/have more space, and so we flew on the 30th November. 

We decided to go just after Thanksgiving, when most American's decorate for Christmas, but before it would hopefully be too cold/snowy or manically close to Christmas. And it was just the most perfect trip with so much fun. We all adored Boston and the area around it too. It was cold, freeeezing most days in fact, but that kind of added to the festive atmosphere and made us all feel like we were in some American Christmas film that we loved to watch growing up so much. 

As a side note, we flew out with Delta who happened to be cheapest for us into Boston, and it was probably the best economy flight we've ever taken. It felt like the 'good old days' of flying from say 5/10 years ago before all the airlines decided to start going as budget as they could, we were all so comfortable and had the best service and they kept bringing us food that entire flight! Also, flying into Boston is just a dream compared to crazy New York.

And just 6 hours later, we had arrived. I love an early flight, it meant we landed at 12pm lunchtime and had the rest of the afternoon to explore and get our bearings of the city. We had 4 nights total with a full day at the end so it was a good chunk to be in the city. Ben and I had visited Boston last October as part of a mini New England road trip and truth be told, we didn't like it much at all. Everyone had told us that we'd prefer it to New York, but after just coming from NYC, we just couldn't get Boston. It felt a bit lacking, almost insignificant and we stayed in the wrong place {in Cambridge across the river} so walked for miles. 

Luckily, this time, we totally changed our opinions and by not comparing it or coming from NYC, saw Boston for the city that it truly is. In fact, we did end up comparing it to New York by the end but only in a good way to say 'gosh isn't Boston so much friendlier than NYC', and quieter, and cleaner, and more beautiful in a way. We also felt so safe in Boston. 

It helped that the neighbourhood we stayed in, Charlestown/Bunker Hill Monument was so adorable and the houses were just fairytale. I'd hoped that we'd see some gorgeous Christmas decorations but I didn't realise just how festive the streets would be, with garlands on most lamp posts and beautiful wreaths adorning most doors. By the end of our trip there was a beautifully lit tree in almost every window. And without sounding creepy, you know when you walk in the evenings and it's dark and you can see into the houses? They housed the most perfect, sweet American families. 

We checked in to our accommodation {this apartment - and if you'd like £25 off your first airbnb stay you can sign up via this link}, and dropped off our bags before walking across the city on that first afternoon. Charlestown is just across the river from the city but not far to walk {although we sure earned a million steps that trip!}. 

These were some of the first wreaths that we spotted.

I must have taken about 78 photos from that very first neighbourhood walk into the city that afternoon. Looook at all this Christmas cheer!

Hello Boston. And hello Dunkin', my brother's first of many donut stops that holiday. They were founded in Boston so they're literally every 2 minutes on each street. 

We walked around the Back Bay on our first afternoon, one of Boston's most historic and beautiful neighbourhoods with brownstones aplenty.

A wreath on every window!

Acorn Street is a must visit with all of it's cobbles and history.

We got a feel for the city that first afternoon wandering around the Back Bay with all of these gorgeous boutiques and a woman actually stopped her car and said 'where are you guys from? Welcome!'. We must have looked like out of towners! But it was so sweet.

Tatte Bakery. A must visit in Boston.

Look at all these wreaths! All super tasteful too.

Almost every stoop was decorated, I loved these simple pine garlands.

These bows. But also that huge tree in the window, can you see how wide it is?! 

We then wandered over to Newbury Street, a lovely shopping area and home to the Boston Public Library where we admired the building, and warmed up for a while!

Pretty Boston Common. I love how walkable the centre of Boston is.

When we got back to our airbnb, it was time to check in and discover the view from the rooftop. Hellooo the Boston skyline. So magical from up there with a 360 degree view. 

We were all exhausted from the long day both jet lag wise and from flying, so we walked to the neighbourhood pizza restaurant called Figs {they have a couple across the city, we'd seen one in the Back Bay earlier that day and thought how good it looked.} Such delicious, huge, pizzas and on that Friday night had such a sweet, typical Boston local neighbourhood vibe with locals coming in who knew everybody. 

Our airbnb was also less than a 10 minute walk to Wholefoods which was the nearest grocery store so we enjoyed stocking up for our time there. 

On Saturday morning, we woke to a freezing cold but crisp day, and decided to walk over to Harvard as our first stop.

Via the little park in Bunker Hill that we adored so much and we started to get to know the local dogs {of which there were so many!}. We just wanted to live here, it had such a nice feel, apart from the cold winters... 

Wrapped up!

When one wreath isn't enough, hang three!

It was December 1st and a main day for locals to buy their trees. We stumbled across a truck load that had been driven down from Canada that morning and were still covered in snow. They were being sold by the local youth group to the community and they had all sold out by the time we got back!

Happiest when surrounded by the smell of Christmas trees.

Ben & I had visited Harvard, in Cambridge, before on our last trip but my family and brother in particular were keen to visit. It's such a gorgeous array of old buildings and on that Saturday morning, had such a nice feel about it.

We then took the long walk back along the Charles River into Boston, a pilgrimage for a Shake Shack burger! {side note, if you're in Cambridge, there is a Shake Shack just outside Harvard but it was too early for us to have lunch at that point!}. 

SO worth the achey feet. Shake Shack cheeseburgers are on another level.

On Saturday evening, we walked over to Quincy Market/Fenuiell Hall for their Christmas lights and food market.

Throughout the holiday season, every half an hour from 4.30pm the main Christmas tree puts on a light show which was incredible and made us feel so festive. 

It was beautiful, and all twinkly, to start with but the music and lights were fab and so cleverly done.

The food market has some of the best options from the city too, Ben & I went for a legal seafoods bowl, which felt deliciously healthy after the cheeseburger, but was also really yummy but it's definitely the place for the famous lobster rolls, or clam chowder that Boston is known for.

The next day, Sunday, we hired a car and drove down the coast to Cape Cod. It was unfortunate that it was pouring with rain all day, but kind of good to have the car and not have to wander around the city in the rain. The boys were going to the NFL game that afternoon, which was near Cape Cod, so we made a morning of driving around some beautiful typically New England towns like Sandwich on the Cape and stopped at this farm shop I'd found on Instagram. It happened to not only sell beautiful Christmas trees and wreaths, but the very best sandwiches made to order {Ben & I shared a meatball sub that was the best I'll probably ever experience, and a turkey and cheese} but everything they sold in there looked incredible. Followed by the best cookie I know that pretty much nothing can ever beat.

If you're in the area, you must take a visit to Lambert's! Ben and I are planning a more extensive Cape Cod/Nantucket trip sometime and already want to come back here.

It was too rainy to see the rest of Cape Cod, or any of the beaches properly, so we dove into Target for a couple of hours {LOVE that place} for fun American Christmas supplies.

Everything peppermint bark flavoured please...

Before shopping at the Wrentham Premium Outlet village, again highly recommended. I bought 3 items in J Crew for less than 10 dollars! and Ben got some jeans for 8 dollars. 

And then it was game time. My husband is obsessed with the New England Patriots and because he's so into it, I love sharing the passion for it too {and hi Tom Brady}. He and my Brother came home just buzzing from watching them win at their homeground the Gillette Stadium {if you're also an NFL fan's wife then you might know what I mean?!}. My Parents and I just loved seeing all the fans walking to the stadium, such a huge celebration of their national sport. 

But we were equally quite happy to drive back to the city and have a relaxed evening in rather than watching the game! 

The rain stopped for us to walk around the neighbourhood and pick up some dinner, I love spending time with my parents like that. 

Wholefoods is the best for easy, healthy dinner options. 

We kept the car overnight so that on the Monday we could drive North of the city and visit towns like Marblehead {one of our favourites from our last visit} and Rockport. 

They're just half an hour north of Boston and are such quiet, coastal pretty towns worth exploring. In the summer, even more so with the beaches and ice cream parlours!

They kind of feel like Cornish fishing villages and there are so many English named towns around there. They don't call it New England for nothing.

Even the Rockport lifeboat hut had a wreath.

Picture perfect little villages.

And bright blue skies.

Marblehead will always be a favourite though. We picked up lunch {as we did on our visit before} at Crosby's supermarket, similar to Wholefoods they have a fab help yourself deli counter in there so we all ate lunch in the sunshine outside before wandering around the town.

It's a really historic town and the houses are beautiful.

A Five Guys shake {an American tradition} for the road.

And one more quick visit to an out of town, big Target to stock up on supplies. I love how all of my family love it and are happy to spend time in there shopping, something that's rare for all 5 of us! 

Driving back into the city at sunset. 

We dropped off the car and ate dinner in Legal Seafoods Oysteria in Charlestown, another restaurant that I'd recommend.

We had one last day in Boston, our flight wasn't until 9.30pm that night so we'd booked the Airbnb for an extra night so that we didn't have to check out and lug around our cases for the afternoon. 

We started our day with one last family walk through that neighbourhood along to Wholefoods for breakfast supplies {healthy waffles with yogurt and fruit, so good, I wish they sold them here}.

Before walking into the city for a last bit of sightseeing and shopping.

One last cheeseburger for the trip at Tasty Burger that a friend had recommended, they're a small Boston chain and we found them to be delicious. For me, not quite as good as Shake Shack, but definitely worth a visit.

Four nights felt like the perfect amount of time although that was with taking 2 days out of the city, Boston really is quite small so I don't think you'd need as long as there as you would say NYC with so much to do there. This trip really couldn't have been much better though. I actually cried a little when we all had one last group hug as we left the apartment for the airport {which was just a 10 MINUTE drive away by Uber, how many easy city trips do you get like that?! In NYC you'd need to leave at least 90 minutes to allow for traffic}. It was just such a fun trip with everyone.

Bye Boston <3.

Have you ever seen JFK/Newark look as calm as this? We're definitely going to think about flying in and out of Boston again for any future East Coast trips. 

Just 5.5 hours later, almost too short for a night flight, and we were back in London.

If you've got this far through all of my millions of photos, and indulged me in my personal ramblings about our trip then thank you for reading! I'd really recommend Boston as a pre Christmas trip. But do expect freezing cold weather, and even snow! So magical though.

Have you been?

R <3 xx 

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  1. As a follower/fan of your blog, I am so excited to see you visited my birth city! When I saw you visited Cape Cod, I was on tenterhooks hoping to see you had visited my shop in Dennis Port. When you visit the Cape again, please stop by LaBelle's General Store! We'll tell you where to go for the best lobster rolls, clam chowders, and sunsets. Merry Christmas!

  2. These photos make me want to visit Boston asap omg

  3. Stumbled on your blog and this post - I live in Boston, so it was quite funny to see a visitor's perspective on my favorite season in the city!


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