Polar Boston Day 2 & The Liberty Hotel

A lovely sunny day greeted us on our first morning in Boston. It was a pleasure to wake up, an inmate of the Liberty Hotel, and be able to appreciate the space properly in the sunlight. A cutting edge granite jail built in the mid 19th century, it had stood derelict since it closure by order of the Supreme Court in the 90s only to be reinvented with hotel guests as prisoners (clever name for the hotel I thought). On checking-in we had been assured that Shaolin Monks had exorcised all the bad spirits left behind by former residents; OIA! Aside from the gimmicks (Do not disturb signs read “Solitary”, etc…) the hotel was unique and quality, the only downside was that the in room automated tea machine did not work so Boston wouldn’t give us our morning tea….

We didn’t have breakfast and instead opted to go to Cambridge to see Harvard, walk around and hopefully find a lovely little coffee shop as a substitute.

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The T, the Boston underground, stopped right outside the hotel. After buying our tickets and being given $16 worth of 1 dollar coins, we quickly arrived at Harvard. It was bitterly cold and we felt an immediate breakfast was a must. 20 minutes later, having walked the surrounding area we were resigned that Starbucks was the only place open; everything else had elected not to open because of the snow. That Starbucks had let all the homeless in for warmth softened the blow. Obviously the fare was nondescript and I’m pretty sure every Starbucks near a university has an identical mix in clientele.

Wading through Harvard was brief, although the snow meant that I had the opportunity to leave my mark on the place. The reality was though that it was too cold to appreciate anything except sustenance, this would be the feature of the day.

Undeterred, we travelled back in central Boston to continue the night before’s walking tour.

We saw the Boston Bruins’ ice and followed the freedom trail into Italian and Chinese Boston. We had been recommended the Quincy market but like everything else on this cold, cold day it was closed. Sorry there are not many pictures here, but trust me, if you knew how much pocket time a hand would need from a single exposure to warm up again, you would have no pictures either!

Just when we may have come close to losing our resolve, on the cusp of maybe a little cold temper tantrum, Legal Seafoods saved the day. Gabby had been promising me that if we got to the aquarium we would be able to count on a traditional A family favourite for a late lunch. Thank Neptune they were open! A  lobster bisque, fish burger and lobster roll later, we felt a lot better.

The harbour was cool, the sea was washing onto the quay and forming little icebergs as it froze on the granite. Let’s not talk about the wind on the water’s edge, I’m getting shivers just thinking about it. It weird looking at the photos now and seeing how tame the weather was, with the sun shining, because there should be something else in the shot, because it was present: the arctic cold. Honestly, I don’t understand how Canadians function, maybe they don’t sightsee?

Tea party museum was closed so we were robbed of the opportunity at the end of a visit to be given, as their brochure promised, a real tea bag to throw in the sea (OIA). With it getting dark we scurried across town to find the only hot drink available – coffee.

Flour Bakery was lovely, it’s always great to get a local’s recommendation (thanks C). Strong coffee and chocolate chip macaroons. On route we had stopped off at an Army and Navy shop to pick up a new fetching hat (as modelled here by Gabby) which made the rest of the time in the US 100% better. After one warm clothes success, Gabby wanted in on the action so we asked gmaps to direct us to North Face. With closing time imminent we power walked, as much for warmth as for speed, down Newbury Street. There are no pictures but here are two things I learnt: 1) if you go to Boston you must walk down Newbury Street and up Commonwealth Avenue at some point and 2) This area of Boston is gridded and the North/South axis streets’ name are in alphabetical order (if this helps you navigate, since the phone got confused).

Having got there on time we walked to Fenway Park, home to what we could have done with an extra pair of, and made our way back to the hotel down Marlborough Street, through the Common and up and down the streets of Beacon Hill. Once back in the hotel, all thoughts of a pub dinner vanished and were replaced with gradually warmed up baths and bed!

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