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A Local on Boston Tours: What I Learned - Away She Goes

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.

And yet…

boston-tours-new-england-aquarium-penguins-photo-by-delia-harringtonTime 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.

boston-tours-mary-baker-eddy-library-christian-science-photo-by-delia-harrington-travel-blogger-away-she-goesThis 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.

Boston-Tours-freedom-trail-Meg-Ten-Eyck-Dopes-on-the-Road-photo-by-delia-harrington-travel-blogger-away-she-goesMeg 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!

boston-tours-dessert-image-by-delia-harrington-travel-blogger-away-she-goesIt’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.

boston-tours-dessert-image-by-delia-harrington-travel-blogger-away-she-goesNew 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.

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