20/06/2013 - 23/06/2013
We got the Yo! Bus from New York to Boston. It's another bus company owned by Greyhound that's cheaper and better than Greyhound itself. We got to the bus stop pretty early, but that turned out to be a good thing as they seemingly over-sell the buses so if you're not there early enough you'll have to wait for the next one instead, which mightn't be for hours. The journey was a lot longer than expected, mostly due to the amount of traffic getting out of New York. I think we arrived about 2 hours late.
Finding cheap accommodation in Boston was pretty much impossible. We ended up booking a mystery hotel through Hotwire, which still wasn't cheap, but it was a nice little treat for our last few days in North America. The hotel was Club Quarters and it was as central as you could get. It's mostly aimed at the business crowd so there's free wi-fi and free wireless printing, which was really useful as we had a few booking confirmations for Iceland that we needed to print out. The only slight downside with the location was that the area it was in would all shut down at about 6pm, so finding somewhere to eat when we arrived was pretty difficult. There's a pub attached to the hotel, which was still open, but it was rammed. We ended up just going to Subway, as nowhere else seemed to be open.
I'd been to Boston before, but way back in 1997 and only for a day or so, so it was really nice to return and see some more of the city. I really like Boston, it's got a relaxed kind of atmosphere. We only had 2 full days there and it was really hot, but we still managed to see a decent amount. On the first day we walked some parts of the Freedom Trail, plus had a walk around the Beacon Hill area with its cobbled streets and gas lamps. As the Boston Bruins (Ice Hockey team) were in the upcoming final, there were quite a few statues around the city that had been given Bruins shirts:
We also went to see the Cheers bar, which was used for external shots in the show. Then we went for a drink at the replica studio bar at Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
On our second day we went to the Samuel Adams brewery for their free tour. That was brilliant - I can't recommend it enough. It was a good length, the guide (Jess) was really good, it was very informative and it ended with tastings of 3 different beers where you got to pour your own measures and then keep the glass. And all for free!!! They weren't even allowed to take tips - any donations went towards charity. If you're in Boston and have any remote liking of beer, you've got to do it.
After that we went to the Tea Party boats. Back in 1997 we went to the Tea Party boat, so it was really interesting to see how it had all changed in 16 years. Unsurprisingly it had changed a lot. Back in 1997 there was just the one boat, whereas there are now 2 and a 3rd is due once it's been renovated/maintained. I think the one we went on in 1997 might have been the one that was now missing, as that's the largest boat. Back in 1997 there was a brief bit of role-play and re-enactment, but mostly you just wandered around the boat for yourself, pretending to throw tea overboard and such like things. It's now a lot more controlled as you go around various areas as part of a group. It's all done as re-enactment and you're given the name of someone who was at the tea party. There's a lot of interaction with digital displays and it's much more elaborate and informative than it used to be, but it did also seem slightly over the top at times and a little boring. It's not cheap either. It was still enjoyable and there were some nice additions, but I think I probably preferred the low-key approach of 1997.
The tea party boats: