This past March, 300 women descended upon Boston for the Women in Travel Summit. I was heavily involved, not only speaking at the conference and planning the event, but also hosting pre-conference events as the local organizer for Wanderful’s Boston meetup chapter.
I have lived in the Greater Boston Area my whole life. I’ve lived both south and north of the city, as well as in Brookline, the Back Bay, Cambridge, and Somerville. I went on a million Boston tours during educational field trips as a kid, and my best friend growing up was a colonial reenactor. By the time I went to high school I had already seen Paul Revere’s midnight ride, slept over at Plymouth Plantation a couple of times, smooched a walrus at the Aquarium, been behind the scenes at Fenway, and driven a duck boat. I’ve pretty much seen it all and was excited to spend the weekend socializing and learning from the presenters, but I felt like my Boston street cred was pretty thoroughly intact, and Boston tours didn’t have anything new to teach me.
Time to eat for the penguins at the New England Aquarium!
There’s Always Something New
Ariel, who went to Emerson and therefore spent way more time by the Common than I did, was a far better tour guide for the area immediately surrounding the conference. She showed us the Edgar Allen Poe statue, which I couldn’t believe I had never heard of, until I found out it was erected in October 2014. During the press trip of Boston tours for Wanderful’s bloggers, I finally made it to the Mary Baker Eddy Library and the Mapparium, where I was like a kid in a candy store.
This beautiful fountain at the Mary Baker Eddy Library is a mix of digital art and functional sculpture.
A Great Tour Guide Makes all the Difference
New England is proud of our history (you’re welcome, America!) so I grew up hearing all about it. I went on the Freedom Trail tour with the other Wanderful bloggers expecting not to be particularly impressed. But I could not have been more wrong. In spite of the frigid cold, our tour guide Captain Tom had us cracking up the whole day. Like a real-life Ichabod Crane (TV version), Captain Tom was a sassy, history-wise Brit who turned on his people to help the Colonies. A great mix of history, dry humor and modern pop culture references, he didn’t even get mad at Meg and I for sassing right back and serving as the peanut gallery throughout the tour. He even had a few nuggets my rigorous New England education missed! When you have a hilarious, dedicated tour guide, history becomes hilarious, making this one of my all-time favorite Boston tours.
Meg and Captain Tom, ready for revolution!
I Stick to My Favorites Too Much
From neighborhoods to restaurants, it seems I go back to my old favorites again and again. The conference was in the Theatre District, so I knew a few coffee shops and some places for a not-so-expensive (but yummy!) dinner, but pretty much no quick lunch spots. All weekend people were asking me for recommendations for food. When it was for the city as a whole, and when they had more free time, I was able to give plenty. But when everyone and their sister wanted fast lunch spots, I was afraid of sending the entire conference to Boloco. I guess this means I have to explore more neighborhoods, and make an effort to eat at new spots when I’m out and about!
It’s always a good time to try something new and delicious!
I don’t know Any Street Names
The weekend felt a bit like a quiz, with people asking me for directions all the time, usually obscure and highly specific. While I have a license, I no longer own a car. As a result, I don’t drive much and basically don’t know any street names. For the domestic travelers, sometimes I felt like saying just use your dang google maps! Most of the time, I wound up just bringing people along and delivering them to their destination. While it annoys people when I don’t recognize street names and my driving directions send them the wrong way down one-ways, this ended up being an unintended great way to meet new people. During the many short walks, I got to chat with attendees from all over, and we got to know one another rather than walking with our heads down, studying our phones.
New wine with new friends in a new spot.
Have you ever been a tourist in your hometown? Did you learn or do anything brand new? What are your favorite Boston tours? Let me know in the comments!
Note: This post was sponsored.