MY CITY* BOSTON
CHRISTINE DIANE SHOWS US THE HIGHLIGHTS OF HER HOMETOWN IN HER FAVOURITE SEASON: FALL
*There’s no better way to get to the heart of a city than through the people who live there. Every month, we ask someone, clearly in love with their city, to take us on a personal tour and tell us what makes it so special. You may feel inspired to visit one day or to rediscover the charms of a city closer to you, but for now just sit back, relax and enjoy some vicarious travel.
How long have you lived in Boston?
Boston has always felt like home. I grew up just outside the city and moved into Boston for college six years ago. I graduated in 2016 and now share an apartment downtown with my best friend. I absolutely love it!
Tell us what makes your city unique
The energy of the city and the spirit of the people of Boston is really special. Just visit Fenway Park and hear everyone singing Sweet Caroline together during the Red Sox game, or watch the Boston Marathon in April, when the city shuts down and one million spectators line the course to cheer on the runners. The many colleges, universities, start-ups and new buildings that spring up on the skyline give a youthful edge to the city’s well known historic landmarks, sights and trails. It’s the best of both worlds.
What’s it like in autumn?
Fall is my favorite season in Boston. The air is crisp and the temperature is usually about 16–17C. There’s plenty of foliage in the Boston Public Garden and when the leaves start to change, all the orangey reds are reflected in the pond. When you stroll past Boston Public Market at this time of year, you can smell the fresh cider doughnuts from the farm stand inside. Trust me, it’s hard not to stop!
Around Halloween, the Beacon Hill neighbourhood, with its cobblestone streets and brick houses, does a great job decorating. It’s also rumoured to have the best candy, making it a favourite stop for trick or treaters.
What’s the nature like?
Boston is on the coast, so many neighbourhoods border the Atlantic. Along the waterfront is the Harborwalk path – stretching for almost 43 miles – where you can take a stroll or sit and watch the comings and goings of the boats and ferries. Boston Harbor Cruises leave from Long Wharf, opposite the Aquarium, and run various tours including whale watching. These trips are pretty amazing – it’s common to see a few different types of whales when you go out.
The Charles River, which divides Boston from Cambridge is another hub of energy. You can catch
a college crew team or sailing race, or watch the famous Duck Boats – large replicas of Second World War amphibious vehicles – as they glide along the river. In early fall, the Charles River is great for kayaking. You can rent a kayak at one of the boathouses and go out for a few hours… or until your arms get tired from paddling. Boston Public Garden is the main green space in the heart of the city – there’s a little pond in the middle with swan boats, open for rides from spring until early September.
Where’s your favourite outdoor space?
Tough choice! I’d have to go with the Esplanade. It’s a park along the Charles River with fantastic paths for a scenic walk or run. I did a lot of my training runs for the Boston Marathon along the Esplanade.
Tell us about the colours of your city.
The colours really depend on the season. Spring, when the flowers are in bloom, is full of pinks and bright greens. Summertime reads green and blue, but this transitions to oranges and reds in the fall. After a good snowfall, white blankets everything in sight in winter.
What’s your favourite way to get about the city?
Walking. Boston is pretty small, and super walkable. There’s always the T (our underground and overground network of subway cars) if I’m in a hurry or the weather is bad.
Tell us about the people who live in your city.
Bostonians are proud to be from Boston – of the city we are now, and of our history. We love our city, we love Dunkin’ Donuts (which was started in a suburb of Boston) and we love our sports teams (we’re die-hard fans). We’re aggressive drivers but friendly people.
Where are your favourite places to go with friends?
On Friday nights we like to meet up and go to the local bars for a few drinks. If we’re in the mood for dancing, which we normally are, we like to go somewhere with a live band, like the Lansdowne Pub or the Bell in Hand Tavern. We might also explore the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), which has a great collection of American historical portraits and studies by John Singleton Copley, or walk around Castle Island. You can explore the historic fort there, or just watch the planes overhead as they fly in to land at Logan airport.
Tell us about eating in Boston.
My friends and I love to eat out. We have a running list of all the places we are dying to try, and it feels like for
“For every new restaurant I check off, there are three more new ones I want to add to the list”
every new place we check off, there are three more new ones to add! When you’re visiting Boston, you have to try a fresh lobster roll and a cup of New England clam chowder. If you’re in the mood for delicious pastas, pizza or pastries, then the North End, our Little Italy neighbourhood, is a must.
What’s the shopping like?
Newbury Street is a great place to stroll and shop, or window-shop, as the options there are on the pricy side. There’s a wide range of stores, from boutiques to large chain retailers, all housed in buildings that look more like homes than stores.
Where do you like to escape to?
In the summer, if I have the whole day, I like to go down south of Boston. There are some great beaches, especially on Cape Cod. It’s also fun to take a ferry trip to the Boston Harbor Islands.
What has been your best discovery about your city?
There’s a Sicilian pizza shop in the North End on Hanover Street called Galleria Umberto that’s a hidden gem. Lacking a real storefront, it’s only marked by a small sign over the doorway, so you have to keep your eyes open or you’ll walk right by. It’s family run, so they don’t have set daily opening hours. They open when the pizza is ready, and close as soon as it’s sold out – and it’s so good, the line can go out of the door. Just be sure to take cash as they don’t accept credit cards.
What would surprise a newcomer to your city?
We don’t all have the famous Boston accents, but we do have some distinctly Boston words. We often use ‘ Wicked’ in place of ‘awesome’; a ‘bubbler’ is a water fountain, and a ‘frappé’ is a milkshake.
If you could change one thing, what would it be?
I’d like fewer cobblestones and brick walkways! Don’t get me wrong, I love the character of the streets, but it’s so hard to walk in any type of heel! Trust me, I’ve tried. My closet is full of flats and wedges instead.
Where would you recommend somebody to stay if they were visiting your city?
The downtown waterfront is a great location. It’s within walking distance of Faneuil Hall, the Freedom Trail (a 2.5-mile route around some of the city’s key historic sights), the North End, and the Seaport district.
What keeps you in your city and where else would you like to live?
I really love everything about Boston – above all, the people. I don’t think I could leave, but if I had to, I’d probably go to San Diego. I visited once and it reminded me a lot of Boston, just on the other coast.
2Fall colour in Boston 1 Public Garden.2 Sunset reflections at the Esplanade, Christine’s favourite outdoor space.3 Standing the test of time – Custom House clocktower.4 The holey grail of deep-fried dough: Kane’s Donuts.5 Seasonal produce at South End’s SoWa open market
4Maple trees in 1 autumn: our second favourite maple after syrup.2 Boston sandwich classic, the lobster roll.3 Beacon Hill: home of the redbrick and Halloween hijinks.Blue skies over the 4 financial district.5 Still stallholding: shopping and dining hall, Quincy Market.The voluminous 6 Boston Public Library