This past weekend we spent a lovely 48 hours in Boston. The trip was primarily planned in order for our tween daughter to visit one of her camp friends, but we wanted to introduce both of our kids to the city of Boston. We had gone for a visit when they were very young, and we felt it was time to return to soak up its important history and classic vibe.
We started with the Hahvahd Tour (www.harvardtour.com), taking a tour of Harvard University. It’s an hour tour walking through Harvard Yard, run by actual students (ours had just graduated). They are the official tour of Harvard Student Agencies, the Harvard Museum of Natural History and The Harvard COOP. Our tour guide was young, humorous and she offered a few good stories of what it’s like to go to school there. We learned about John Harvard and saw his statue, saw the Kirkland House (where Mark Zuckerburg invented Facebook), walked by the library and dining hall, learned about admissions and found out why Harvard is one of the best schools in the world after having gone from a public school to a private school, about 100 years before any other top institutions, giving Harvard a big head start for private funding. Tours run daily in March through December and cost just $10 or less for students/kids. View the schedule here. Bear in mind this tour does not take you into the buildings nor give you authorized access. It’s not the most academic of tours either. Nonetheless, my kids really enjoyed it, particularly my son, and I’m hoping they were inspired by the experience and will shoot for the stars in the next five to seven years preparing for to get into colleges. At the end of the tour, we bought Harvard shirts to commemorate the experience.
Boston is a walking town. We managed to walk everywhere and left no stone unturned. We started in Boston Common and the Public Garden where they offer Duck tours, foot-paddled boats that go around the park, a tribute to Robert McCloskey’s “Make Way for Ducklings,” about a duck family who found their home in the Public Garden. Then we walked a great bit of the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile red brick path that takes you to sixteen of Boston’s most important sites. It took us around three hours to walk the trail while stopping in at some of the attractions like the Paul Revere House and the U.S.S. Constitution. We grabbed lunch at Quincy Market in Faneuil Hall Marketplaceand then sat on the steps and took in some of the entertainment. We ended up at the home of the bar one of my favorite shows was based, Cheers, where I channeled Sam Malone and and Diane Chambers.
A highlight of the day for me was the New England Holocaust Memorial, inspired by a group of Holocaust survivors. The memorial was built to foster reflection on the impact of bigotry and the outcomes of evil during World War II and to this day. Visitors to the Memorial are greeted at one end by words attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoller, whose expression of the lesson of the Holocaust has become legendary. He had delivered anti-Semitic sermons early in the days of the Nazi regime, but later opposed Hitler and was sent to a concentration camp. The experience was riveting and I’m glad the memorial is located right in the heart of the city, so people can be introduced to the atrocities that occurred during World War 2.
It was a special weekend for all of us, one that we plan to do again soon. After all, Boston is an easy ride from New York, a mere three hours from where we live.
Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to experience the Hahvahd Tour, but all opinions are my own, as always.