Our hotel room
We stayed at the Inn at St. Botolph, my favorite hotel in Boston (trivia tip! Boston's original name is actually St. Botolphston, and St. Botolph is the patron saint of travelers). It has the feel of a pied-a-terre with the comfort of a luxury boutique hotel (without the price tag of either). It is located right where the South End, Back Bay and Theatre districts meet. It has a residential feel while only being steps away from some of Boston's finest attractions.
When we arrived in our room, a bottle of Prosecco awaited us to kick-off our weekend. After a quick cat-nap, we freshened-up and dressed for the American Craft Beer Festival (held at the Seaport World Trade Center, which was only a quick T-ride and walk away). I would post pictures of all the amazing craft beer I sampled, but I was honestly too busy enjoying myself. Besides, trying to take pictures while double-fisting beer, downing about 30 samples, and keeping track of beers I adored (or hated!) was a bit tough. I think my favorite of the night was the Goose Island Bourbon County Vanilla Stout (though there were many others I loved - let me know if you would like more info in the comments).
Giacomo's, via Stef's Smorgasboard
We grabbed a cab back to our "home base" and then walked to Giacomo's for some tasty Italian. The atmosphere was super-cozy, and the food unbelievably good (we split an order of garlic bread, Dave had the best Chicken Parmesan either of us have ever tasted (no lie), I had the other-worldly Pumpkin Tortellini in Fresh Sage Sauce, and we shared the Chocolate Bomb for dessert). The quick walk back to our hotel was the perfect digestif for our beer-laden, Italian-stuffed bellies.
Saturday morning, we grabbed a quick coffee at the Prudential Center, then headed down Boylston and Newbury Streets to do a little window shopping. We decided to sit-a-stay by the Lagoon in Boston Common and watch the Swan Boats pass slowly by.
We crossed through the park to enter the Beacon Hill neighborhood. We hopped in the (45-minute long!) line at Paramount for lunch. Dave opted for breakfast (egg, bacon and cheese on toast with homefries), while I had the apple, candied walnut and bleu cheese salad with chicken. Both were worth the wait. We walked through the history-rich district and stopped to pick out some antique artwork and prints (our anniversary tradition - we buy a piece of art each year!). I also picked up a great old Currier and Ives book of plate listings and illustrations. While there, Dave found a Dartmouth yearbook from 1939. We looked for Dave's grandfather (both Dave's dad and grand-dad went there), but the book post-dated him.
I am obsessed with boating and sailing, and Dave indulged me and took me down to the Charles River Esplanade to watch the dinghies. It made me love boats even more. We headed back towards the park, stopping at Cafe Vanille for a coffee and sweets (I couldn't choose between a chocolate eclair or a Night and Day bar - a bruleed sponge cake paired with vanilla bavarian cream and chocolate mousse), so I bought both, eating half of each (file this under This Is Why You Are Fat). We stopped to smell the new blooms on the roses in the park and laugh at Boston's pride for its sports teams (the Bruins were in the Stanley Cup finals, so all available statues donned jerseys, including the famous ducks (of Robert McCloskey fame) and George Washington).
After getting gussied-up at the hotel, we took the T down to Long Wharf to board a yacht for a sunset cruise of Boston Harbor. We met a lovely couple from London and chatted with them for a bit before witnessing sunset ceremonies of the USS Constitution (aka Old Ironsides).
Bad Blackberry photo of our view from the Top of the Hub
Views of the South End
Sunday morning was a bit lazy, as we strolled through the South End, grabbing a quick bite at Thornton's and making our way to Splash Fountain at Christian Science Plaza. We sometimes fantasize about buying a little apartment in Boston, so we snuck into an open house to check out the real estate scene in the city. Finally, we headed back to the car and out to Brookline for a late lunch at Zaftigs, one of America's Ten Best Delis (as rated by National Geographic). We could have built our whole meal just on the bagel chips and herbed cream cheese (complimentary with every order!), but we also shared Holly's Heavenly Salad and the Challah French Bread.
Dave and I always joke that we must look like we know what we are doing when in Boston, because we get asked for directions so much (on this trip, we were asked five times - it must be the Irish lass in me). We are now home, safe and sound at the farm - albeit fatter, but more in love than ever. It was an amazing trip, and I can't wait to head back to Beantown!