Friday. . . Come fly with me!
Getting there was definitely more than half the fun as my hubby and I jetted from San Francisco nonstop to Boston on Virgin America following a terrific three days in Napa Valley. Sir Richard Branson’s U.S. airline was like a breath of fresh air. All the toys and bells and whistles were present on board, with individual screens for watching movies and television on demand, as well as a vast selection of music. I found the white leather seats refreshingly mod and comfortable. We were served food that was actually edible and tasty – I was delighted with my roasted vegetable entrée’ and bread pudding dessert. Who knew this kind of food was possible on an airplane? Now if only Virgin America would come to Atlanta.
Just in time
We landed in Boston around 6:30 P.M. as the sun was setting. A quick cab ride delivered us to the lap of luxury and The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common. With just enough time to drop our bags and a quick change of clothes, we headed for the Club Lounge for a pre-dinner cocktail with our friends. An 8:30 dinner at Scampo in The Liberty Hotel in Beacon Hill was off-the-charts contemporary Italian cuisine and a super fab way to kick off the weekend.
Inner monologue says: Breakfast in San Francisco and dinner in Boston – not a bad gig if you can get it. Sweet.
The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common is tucked away on quiet Avery Street just steps from the financial center and theater district as well as a mere half-block from scenic Boston Common. The exterior look is 80’s glass and steel high rise, but upon entering you get that immediate sense of Ritz-Carlton opulence repeat guests have come to expect and appreciate. From the friendly doorman to a gracious welcome at check-in, we knew we had chosen the best place to stay for my first introduction to this famously historical city.
Jer-Ne Restaurant & Bar just off the lobby area serves as the hotel’s signature eatery and offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Its sleek, hip décor and unique specialty food and drink menus draw festive crowds of locals and guests alike.
With just 193 rooms set on 4 floors of the building plus the beautiful lobby, The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common offers a quiet respite for the business traveler as well as weekend warriors like us. And booking accommodations on the Club Lounge Level is definitely worth the extra cost. The level of service displayed in the lounge was such a welcome delight – how convenient it is to simply roll out of bed in the morning and have immediate access to that ever important first cup of coffee without having to order then wait on room service. The lounge offers servings throughout the day into the evening, including a decadent dessert bar from 8-10 P.M. nightly.
Inner monologue says: I’ve settled in nicely at The Ritz-Carlton; I could get used to coffee service like this each and every morning. How much would it cost to actually live here?
Boston is the perfect walking city with so many places close to the hotel. I recommend packing your best pair of walking shoes and simply hitting the pavement. We started out with a lovely stroll through the Boston Common, which is a lush public park of some 50 acres. We admired the stately trees with their stunning fall colors and the people-watching was tremendous as well. Bostonians were definitely savoring this warm, sunny Saturday. After exploring the entire Back Bay area including ritzy Newbury Street with a pit stop for a pint of Guinness, we then paid our respects to the Massachusetts State House before finding ourselves in the Faneuil Hall/ Quincy Market Place area.
The Black Rose pub on State Street seemed the perfect spot for a lunch break, with New England Clam Chowder, Lobster Rolls, Fish & Chips and, of course, another pint of Guinness to wash it all down. I found myself completely fascinated with everyone in the restaurant as they were so genuinely Irish – loved it!
The rest of the afternoon was filled with more walking and catching up with our friends who had driven in from Connecticut. Good thing we did so much walking because dinner at Abe & Louie’s that evening was on tap and we had been told to bring large appetites.
Abe & Louie’s on Boylston Street comes across as your typical gentleman’s steakhouse with the muted lighting, dark wood, and leather accents but the cuisine was anything but typical. Here we were able to live out our ever-present lobster fantasy by ordering steamed 3 lb. Maine lobsters with drawn butter and also lobster stuffed with king crab, which blew my mind it was so massive! Lobster macaroni and cheese sounded too decadent to pass up and we threw in a few green salads just for good measure.
Inner monologue says: I would love to dine on Maine lobster at least once a week; it is so delicate and rich. It doesn’t taste quite the same when ordering it in Georgia. Why is that?
Sunday was another sparkling scenic day in Boston and again, we hit the streets after plying ourselves with coffee and a light breakfast served in The Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge. Today we were to play the part of the tourist by taking a trolley tour of the city. Just the mention of a tour makes many people I know cringe, but I had been advised this was most helpful for the first time visitor to become acclimated to the layout of the city and learn about its vast historical significance. Peppermint Patty did a great job of narrating and driving us to highlights including:
- Cheers bar
- Copley Square
- Fenway Park – home of the Boston Red Sox
- Cambridge – home to MIT and Harvard among others. Boston is an amazing college town with over 50 colleges and universities. Lotta smart cookies here!
- Antique Row/Charles Street – adorable; must come back with zero balance on credit card
- Boston Harbor – setting for the Boston Tea Party in 1773
- Seaport District – where the USS Constitution still proudly rests at anchor
I can’t say enough good things about Boston, my new favorite city of the moment. It deserves all the high accolades and praise it constantly receives with its friendly people and upbeat modern vibe. It’s an historical town, a huge sports town, college town, and great walking town. It also boasts upscale shopping and remarkable dining establishments, all encased in this incredible aura that is distinctly Irish, distinctly Boston.
Inner monologue says: When can I swing a return visit to Beantown for a Celtics game? They were awesome in the NBA finals and now they’ve got Shaq!