Travel Weekly - Jo Cooke
November 28, 2013

Boston is the real deal, the East Coast’s original gateway city. Back in the 1700s it was the largest metropolis in America and a hub of international trade.

Today it’s a hotbed of American history, and has streets lined with classy, classical architecture. Its waterfront is also up-and-coming, adding a little attitude and glitz to the mix.Walkable and brimming with interesting neighbourhoods, Boston is ideal for those looking for a short break Stateside.

An abundance of airlines offer a direct service from the UK, including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines and KLM, and with an average flight time of six-and-a-half hours, three nights is ideal.

For those who have longer to play, the city is the gateway to New England where holiday possibilities are as numerous as clapboard houses.

WHERE TO STAY
Top-quality hotel brands are dotted around Boston’s tourist zone. With the city so walkable, the key factor is what clients want to be closest to.

Those who like to step out into a swanky neighbourhood might enjoy being based around elegant Copley Square. As well as the handsome historic buildings that edge the piazza, including Trinity Church, the chic upscale Newbury Street lined with boutiques is a short stroll away.

Hotels here include the Fairmont Copley Plaza, a stunning property with 383 rooms that dates back to 1912 and oozes old-world charm.

There’s also the Westin Copley Place, a contemporary city hotel with 803 rooms, and its neighbour the 1,216-room Sheraton Boston. Both connect to a shopping mall and the convention centre.

For those on a budget the Midtown Hotel, with 159 rooms and an outdoor pool open in summer, is a great choice. It’s friendly, functional and just a few blocks away from Copley Square.

The south side of Boston Common is the location for the 235-room W Hotel, while Nine Zero, a Kimpton Hotel, is on the east side. This sleek boutique option, has 190 smartly-furnished rooms and guests are treated to a complimentary wine hour nightly.

The waterfront is another great location, home to the Aquarium, museums, and perfect for an evening stroll or dining alfresco.

The Seaport or Innovation District is enjoying a renaissance. It has a growing number of bars and restaurants and is a hive of activity.

The InterContinental Boston has a view of it all (see Tried and Tested below). Heading north is the 230-room Boston Harbor Hotel, which exudes an air of luxury and has classically furnished rooms. It’s also a short walk away from Long Wharf, the starting point for harbour cruises and city sightseeing tours.

WHAT TO DO
Boston packs a lot into its central area. The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, which opened in 2012, is a great place to start.

An interactive experience, actors in period costume recount the raucous events that kick-started the American Revolution.

Visitors are given characters to play and even get to throw chests of tea into the harbour in defiance of the tax we Brits were charging the Bostonians.

Afterwards, follow the Freedom Trail, a self-guided history walk, past the most significant and beautiful landmarks across the city. En route clients will stumble across Quincy Market, a bustling enclave of food stalls, street entertainers and shops, then Boston Common and Public Gardens.

This parkland at the heart of the city is complete with landscaped floral gardens and a boating lake where visitors can glide around on pleasure craft that resemble swans.

The Cheers bar, made famous by the 1980s sitcom, sits at the edge of the common and is well worth popping into for a Samuel Adams, the local brew.

For cultural kicks there’s the expansive Museum of Fine Arts, and its equally arty neighbour the exquisite Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which is housed in an Italianate mansion. A nose around the Harvard University campus is another must.

Boston is a city that loves sports. Catch the Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics in action at a baseball, ice hockey or basketball match and you’ll get swept up in the moment by the passion of the fans.

Back at the waterfront check out the New England Aquarium, or jump aboard a high-powered speedboat ride from Long Wharf to see the city skyline from the harbour.

NEW ENGLAND
The six states of New England are all tantalisingly close to Boston and fly-drive packages abound from operators including Kuoni and Hayes & Jarvis.

If clients don’t want something off-the-peg, though, specialist operators such as America As You Like It and North America Travel Service can design a bespoke road trip.

Great Outdoors: Corking countryside drives are de rigueur. New Hampshire’s Kancamagus Highway, for example, affords jaw-dropping vistas, cutting through undulating forest and vale.

Park up for waterfall and gorge walks or a train ride up to the summit of Mount Washington for a top-of-the-world view.

Over in Maine, Acadia National Park (pictured above) is all peaks, fjords and lakes to hike or bike around. Trails start right off the scenic byway.

A few white-sand beaches are thrown in for good measure and clients can take a sunset sail-boat ride from blissful Bar Harbor, a shorefront town with bars, restaurants and eclectic shops.

In neighbouring state Vermont, visitors can add a tour of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory to their itinerary or a stay at the Trapp Family Lodge built in true Austrian alpine style by the descendants of the real-life Maria from the Sound of Music story.

Coastal Fun: Over in Massachusetts, there’s a beside-the-seaside vibe for clients who head for Cape Cod. This funky peninsula that curves back on itself is a flat, easy drive.

They can cycle around sand dunes, take whale-watching trips from casual and quirky Provincetown and book a ferry ride to beach-chic Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard islands.

Across the state line in Rhode Island, Newport’s palatial mansions will wow those who love to poke around sumptuous homes adorned with antiques.

And while they’re in southern New England, suggest they swing by Mystic Seaport. Its restored historic waterfront village gives visitors the feeling of stepping back in time.

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