Before my California friends plan their Hawaiian or European vacations, consider historical Boston by the Massachusetts Bay and Charles River.
Boston offers the best of nature, sustainable city living, and fine art. But its best known for history. Alive within its streets and architecture, Boston is American history where heros like John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Paul Revere, helped win our freedoms and a long litany of firsts.
And when you're ready for a change of pace and beach, go to Boston's Long Wharf Harbor and hop on a 90 minute Boston Harbor Cruise fast ferry to Provincetown, Cape Cod. It's that easy.
Ease is a good word when talking Boston, for it's a small, walkable city. And the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority operates one of the best American subway systems.
The Charles River runs through Boston and nearby Cambridge, offering windy paths to walk, run, kayak, and bike.
You see benches with people reading and enjoying nature weather permitting. And in spring, summer, and fall--weather should permit.
Boston not only feels very livable, it is.
Boston Air Quality
Yes, Boston and vicinity has mostly clean air, which felt invigorating!
"We are currently monitoring attainment for the 1997 ozone standard, which is the primary pollution problem on the eastern seaboard," Mr. Keith said. "The past three years 2008-2010 of monitoring data show we are below 85 parts per billion. We also are close to meeting the newer 2008 ozone standard of 75 parts per billion."
I'm not saying the air was polluted but humidity made the air feel heavy.
(Here I am kayaking on Charles River under clear blue skies)
Overall, Boston has low industry, and winds tend to keep pollution away.
Cape Cod, which I'm also recommending as a vacation destination, is not always as lucky but when it's not in attainment for ozone, it's generally only for a few days during particulary hot summer days. Winds may sweep air pollution up from NY, Connecticut and Philadelphia. But relative to other parts of our country, including Hawaii which is frequently impacted by vog, Cape Cod is relatively clean. And I'll add, interested in sustainability. A wind-farm is under development in Nantucket Sound.
My Must-Do Boston Recommendations
One is the Duck Tour... an over-sized open "truck" that rolls through town, as well atop the Charles River affording the top photo.
And two a costumed guided walking tour of the Freedom Trail.
Here's my tour guide Dr. Samuel Prescott (a fabulous actor named Daniel Berger-Jones) born 1751 in nearby Concord, Massachusetts and friend to Paul Revere. He poses at Faneuil Hall Marketplace with Canadian visitors along for our historical journey and Paul Revere's gravestone with our group.
"They came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade union.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."
Martin Niemoller, a German Pastor sent to Dachau Concentration Camp
When you walk within the Boston Holocaust Memorial, you read true stories of Holocaust victims from those that witnessed their torture, for example women having their haircut before entering the gas chamber.
Go to remember the millions who lost their lives. Go not to forget how far unchecked cruelty can go. Go to remember to always speak up for injustice. For more information, click here.
Side note, Boston and vicinity is one of the most tolerant areas with a long history. Massachusetts was the first state to abolish slavery and in 2004 became the first state to legalize gay marriage.
Depending on your interests, Boston offers the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art, John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, New England Aquarium and what became my favorite, Museum of Fine Arts.
Photos of his glass garden.
After the tours and museums, you'll want to visit Cambridge home to more Ivy League Universities than anywhere in the world.
My parents met at a Harvard University dance.
Dad was sweating out law school during the week, and courting mom on his friends' sailboat on Charles River weekends. God only knows how many future lives are incubating on sailboats in-between classes right now.
My favorite restaurant happened to be in Cambridge near Harvard Square, The Red House.
My mom's favorite restaurant is in Little Italy, the Italian Seafood and Oyster Bar.
Boston area is home to the Redsox (baseball), Boston Marathon, Bruins (hockey), New England Patriots (football), Celtics (basketball) and I'll guess hundreds of thousands of fans. I'd say millions but Boston is small with a population just over 600,000. Part of its charm!
Where to Stay
I stayed in two hotels, which I highly recommend.
The Onyx is a small environmentally-friendly boutique hotel that is dog-friendly.
This is the perfect place to stay if you like being in the heart of the city, within a quick walk to Little Italy, and two blocks to the subway. Everything about this hotel is friendly, including 5 p.m. free wine bar in lobby!
I am long-time fan of Kimpton Hotels due to their EarthCare standard, which shines through from organic coffee to eco-certified cleaning supplies.
The Residence Inn Marriott Boston Harbor on Tudor Wharf is located at 34-44 Charles River Ave. in Boston a little off the beaten path but within a short walk to historical monuments USS Constitution and Bunker Hill, and Little Italy's North End. (617) 242-9000
A number of rooms are dog-friendly and PURE.
The Residence Inn Marriott is great because the room suites have everything including a kitchen. So if money is tight, you can enjoy a full-breakfast that comes with the price of your room, and cook the rest of your meals, saving a modest budget for say my favorite new Cambridge restaurant The Red House, or one or your own discoveries in nearby Little Italy, a short walk in North End.
My suggestion is consider 3 nights Boston, and 3 nights Cape Cod. The best of Northeast's premiere city and fun in the sun. Fun even if it rains, for there's so much to do!
Or not do.
Relax and breathe easy.
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Thank you to members of Boston USA.