One Day to See the Best of Boston

This past April, I needed to travel to Cape Cod for a friend’s wedding. After assessing options of getting there from New York, my friends and I decided to take a bus or train to Boston to rent a car and drive out from there.

Having only been to Boston once before for a conference, I decided to leave a day early and do a bit of sightseeing before journeying out to the Cape.

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One day isn’t nearly enough time to see all of the things that make Boston a great city, but it was enough time to see some of its charms and pique my interest for a longer visit.

The city itself is relatively small and well connected by the subway system, the T. If you’re short on time like I was, these are the things I’d recommend you check out.

Interesting Attractions

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile route that hits 16 of the main historic sites in Boston, e.g., Boston Common, home of Paul Revere and so many more. It’s a great way to better understand the city’s revolutionary history

Boston Public Garden and adjacent Boston Common are beautiful. The garden and park are the perfect place for a morning or late afternoon walk. Fun fact: The Pubic Garden was the first public botanical garden in America.

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Faneuil Hall Marketplace is a good place to stop for lunch or a snack, and watch street artists perform. Inside Quincy Market you’ll find every kind of food stall imaginable

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Beacon Hill was unsurprisingly one of my favorite parts of Boston. With cobbled walkways, Federal-style row houses, gaslit streets and immaculate flower boxes, every nook and cranny is picture perfect. According to Wikipedia, the neighborhood is named for the location of a former beacon atop the highest point in central Boston, which was used to warn residents if there was an invasion.

  • Pro-tip: Acorn Street, the most photographed street in Boston, is located in Beacon Hill- it’s beyond dreamy
  • If you have time to shop while you’re wandering Beacon Hill, check out the boutiques along Charles Street. Two favorites: Good (unique gifts and pretty jewelry) and December Thieves (amazing accessories)

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Acorn Street

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Acorn Street

Cambridge is where you’ll find Harvard University. We stayed near this area, which made it easy to explore Harvard Yard and the shops and restaurants near the university.

  • If you have time to shop while in Cambridge, two of my favorite places: Black Ink (adorable stationary and quirky gadgets) and Mint Julep (pretty dresses for any occasion)
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Sweet in Harvard Square

Favorite Places to Eat & Drink

  • Crema (Cambridge): Preferential to the ginger lemonade and savory spinach and feta croissant
  • Render Coffee at 121 (Downtown Boston): New to downtown, this cute and quiet space is a great place to spend an afternoon working. PS. Their iced teas rule
  • Flour Bakery & Cafe (Locations Across Boston): You really can’t go wrong here- everything from the homemade pop tarts to sticky buns and french toast rocks
  • Diesel Cafe (Davis Square): The Vietnamese coffee is excellent, and although I’m not a huge bread fan, I loved the pumpkin bread- so rich in the best way. This is a pretty big cafe, which would make it a great option for doing some work if the wifi time wasn’t limited to an hour
  • Loyal Nine (Cambridge): Often compared to open-air coffee shops in Chiang Mai, it’s a great place to sit, work and sip some tea
  • Thinking Cup (Chinatown): Rumored to have the best coffee in Boston, but I’m a fan of the hazelnut latte
  • Wagamama (Locations Across Boston): I first fell in love with this Asian chain in London because the food is fresh and amazing. Love the juices and veggie noodle bowels
  • Loco (South Boston): Fish tacos and coconut margaritas, need I say more?
  • Beat Brasserie (Cambridge): The food here is bomb. With live music, a vegetarian friendly menu and wine on tap, it’s my dream dinner spot. Really impressed with the kale Greek salad and buffalo cauliflower bites
  • Sweet (Locations Across Boston): Quaint cupcake shop, we picked up a few cupcakes to celebrate a friend’s birthday- highly recommend the cappuccino one
  • Mike’s Pastry (Cambridge):  Cannolis are great (if they’re freshly filled)

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On my next visit, I’d like to: 

  • Walk the full Freedom Trail
  • Catch a baseball game at Fenway Park
  • Visit the Museum of Fine Arts
  • Explore more of Cambridge
  • Take a day trip to Salem, MA

And, if you’re passing through Boston on your way to Cape Cod, check-out my recommendations for a weekend in a quintessential part of New England.

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Weekend Getaway: Cape Cod

Growing up near Pittsburgh, my family always vacationed at Long Beach Island in New Jersey during the summer. While I’ll always have fond memories of our holidays in LBI, spending every summer on the Jersey Shore meant I never visited any of the other east coast beaches.

Since moving to New York City a few years ago, Cape Cod, and by extension Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, have been on my to-travel list. When I received an invite to a friend’s wedding on the Cape for the end of April, I was excited to finally have a reason to head north and check out the area.

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Red River Beach, great for a morning walk if you’re staying in Harwich

After spending the night in Boston, we rented a car and started our drive out to the Cape. On the way, we stopped in Plymouth to load up on some grocery essentials and take a quick drive by Plymouth Rock.

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Plymouth Rock is a cool to see if you’re in the area, but I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to visit- unless you’re a history buff.

If you’ve never been to Cape Cod, you’re in for a treat- white sandy beaches, local restaurants with fresh seafood, and plenty of coastal activities, like whale watching, to keep you busy when you’re not on the beach. The quintessential New England getaway spot is just that – timeless.

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With so many adorable seaside towns to choose from, knowing where to begin can be tough. Planning around wedding activities, we decided to stay in Harwich and spent most of our time there and in Chatham.

Even if your time on the Cape is limited, these are three things I’d recommend doing.

Interesting Attractions

Drive around the little towns and check out the amazing houses. From shingled cottages to Victorian houses, if you appreciate architecture, you’ll be in heaven here. If you’re staying near Harwich like we were, stop by the Lavender Farm on your drive. Nearby Chatham is a quaint town, with cute boutiques lining the main road. Park your car in one of the shopping lots and spend some time checking out the local shops.

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Lounge on the beach, or take a walk on the beach if you visit in the off-season.

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Sandy Neck Beach

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Chatham Lighthouse

Stroll through Provincetown. At the tip of the Cape, Provincetown is a popular summer destination. There is so much to do for everyone, from great restaurants and shops on Commercial Street to activities like whale watching. We didn’t have a chance to visit Provincetown during our weekend on the Cape, but it’s at the top of my list to check-out on a return trip.

We visited the Cape in the off-season, which means less tourists, but also chillier weather. Our weekend on the Cape brought a mix of rain and sunshine with the temperatures hovering in the high 40’s / mid-50’s. Even though the weather wasn’t ideal, I’m glad we made the trip, 1) Because nothing tops watching a good friend get married, and 2) We have favorite places to stay/visit and a list of things to do on our next trip to the Cape.

Because we visited in the off-season, we were able to score a great deal on an Airbnb. This charming historic carriage house was the perfect place for five first timers to stay.

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Industrial stove dreams

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It was too chilly to take advantage of the adorable backyard on our trip, but this would be the perfect place to savor a morning coffee or sip a glass of wine on a summer night

Our carriage house came fully equipped with a gorgeous kitchen, but we chose to have breakfast and dinner out to hit up some local spots. We didn’t have time for the full list of recommended places in/nearby Harwich friends shared with me, but all of these places would be good options if you’re looking for a bite to eat or sweat treat.

Where to Eat

  • Schoolhouse Ice Cream: What’s summer without a delicious cold treat?
  • The Talkative Pig: Farm-to-table Italian food
  • George’s Pizza House: This place may not look like much from the outside, but their pizza is seriously delicious
  • Brax Landing: Waterfront restaurant with fun frozen cocktails and seriously good seafood. Don’t miss the crab dip or lobster roll
  • Hot Stove Saloon: Great atmosphere, a good place to grab a drink or watch a sports game
  • Ruggie’s: Tasty breakfast
  • Bonatt’s: Another good breakfast or lunch option
  • The Orpheum Cafe: Adorable cafe, right next to the cutest movie theater in Chatham
  • Corner Store: The burritos and whoopie pies get rave reviews
  • Dino’s: A no-frills local diner serving up hits-the-spot breakfast
  • Hole in One Donut: Hand cut doughnuts, um yum
  • Sunbird Bakery & Cafe: Two morning essentials: Quinoa porridge and espresso
  • Dunkin Donuts: There are multiple locations on the Cape, but no trip to New England is complete without a stop at this chain coffee shop (Bias disclosure: I’m a huge Dunkin Donuts iced coffee fan and am always excited to stay somewhere with a DD)

The Cape sure didn’t disappoint, and I’m already looking forward to the next time I’ll have a chance to visit. If you’re planning a longer vacation to the Cape, check out Travel & Leisure’s guide for the best of Cape Cod.

And, in case you’re interested- some of my favorite wedding weekend moments 🙂

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But first, lemme take a selfie

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A wedding wasn’t the only thing we were celebrating, there was also a birthday girl among us 😉

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Champagne toast & s’mores with the bride’s family the night before the wedding. How adorable are these s’mores?!

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Wedding prep aka peach moscato mimosas

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Snapchat glam filter while waiting for the ceremony to start

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Kudos to our friend, JV for designing a great wedding filter

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Love that “y’all”- Texas meets New England

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Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Maria <3

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From the big city to the Cape <3

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One of my favorite moments, captured by http://www.dylansites.com

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#Take12Trips: April

After a few weekend trips (Philly for a race and Cape Cod for a wedding), and a vacation to Seattle and Tulum, I’m ready for a few weeks back in the city. As much as I enjoy traveling and experiencing new things, there’s always anticipated comfort in coming home and getting back into a routine.

This weekend, I’m staying close to my home in Harlem- working from a few neighborhood cafes and taking advantage of the spring weather on runs through the park, so exciting to see everything in full bloom. Spring is definitely one of my favorite seasons in New York.

Some of my favorite moments from April’s travels:

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Working Friday @ a cute cafe in Philly, #AlltheIcedCoffee

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Post-15k Brunching

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Sun-drenched Happy Hour in Seattle

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The best doughnuts, ever at General Porpoise

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4 mile hike to Rattlesnake Ledge (uphill hike was totally worth it for the view)

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From the PNW to the beaches of Tulum

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^Me, in 80 years 😉

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Spicy margs beachside

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Perfect afternoon at a cenote

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Spa bliss at Coqui Coqui

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Drinks & dancing in the jungle

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Quick stop in Boston on the way to the Cape for a friend’s wedding

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Totally understand why people spend summer weekends on the Cape, beautiful beaches & cute towns

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A night of friendship, dancing, love and celebration #GettingMariad

Tulum travel guides and my favorite places in Pike Place Market coming soon, but if you’re heading to Seattle any time soon, check out some of my favorite places to visit.