I love Boston! I visited Boston and the Cape several times in my childhood, and several more times as an adult. My memories of Boston are of sunny skies and long walks, so that’s mostly what I had planned for our port stop…sunny, crisp, clear fall weather and a long walk. We got the long walk, but the rest of it was elusive.
Since my sister Laura lived in Boston for several years she made plans to stay with my mom and just shop for a few hours, while Jim and I planned to see Boston with his siblings who had never been. We wanted to combine the Freedom Trail with a food tour or some kind of an off the beaten path tour, but unfortunately since it was a holiday (Columbus Day) many things weren’t available.
Barb, John, Jim, and I settled on a North End Pizza Tour that included several stops on the Freedom Trail, and we all decided to start together at Cheers to do the tourist thing!
Sadly, we woke up to the polar opposite of the vision in my head. It was foggy. It was rainy. It was sticky, warm, and humid…exactly what I didn’t want!
Nevertheless, we arrived on time and were off the ship headed to Cheers shortly after 10:00. I had thought we could use Uber, but that seemed problematic for a port pick-up so we jumped in 2 taxis. Traffic was CRAZY! Many of the streets were blocked because there was a holiday fun run downtown. We finally grew weary of sitting in the cab and watching the meter tick, so we jumped out and walked across the Common to get to Cheers.
Boy, has Cheers changed since my last visit! Of course, that was probably 20-25 years ago, but back then Cheers looked largely the way it had always looked despite the popularity of the TV series. Not any more! They have cashed in on their fame, expanded, and really made it a tourist attraction.
After Cheers we walked up Beacon Street in the general direction of our tour start location. We stopped at the American Meteorological Society for Jim to take pictures, and and then we split up, with Susan and Gary doubling back into the Common for the start of the Freedom Trail, while us four “old folks” headed towards the North End.
At that point in the day it was very warm and sticky, but it wasn’t raining and I thought we might get lucky. That thought lasted almost as far as King’s Chapel and Burial Ground, which is not far at all, and the rain started. Out came the rain gear, which made walking about as comfortable as taking a steam bath in a plastic bag!
I would have really enjoyed our tour if the weather had been better. I ended up having to remove my raincoat because it only acted to generate and trap moist heat! As in Newport, I struggled to juggle an umbrella, a camera, and a slice of pizza, but I managed.
We started with slices from Regina. These were great, but we had to eat them out in the rain because Regina doesn’t seat tour groups.
After our first slice we began walking through the North End, stopping at Paul Revere’s House and finally making our way to Modern Pastry where they have a little known but fantastic pizzeria downstairs.
It was great to get out of the rain for a while, and it was also nice to find a TV that was broadcasting the Astros-Red Sox game! We, of course, were cheering for Houston, so a little friendly rivalry broke out between us and the locals, especially because at the time the Astros were looking a little lost. We had slices of several different kinds of pizza while we dried off and watched some baseball.
Alas, all dry things must come to an end, so back into the rain we went. We walked through Paul Revere Mall to the Old North Church.
After a short presentation we made our way up the hill to Copp’s Hill Burying Ground. The cemetery was the second one established in Boston, and the oldest graves date back to 1660. During the Revolutionary War, British soldiers occupied Copp’s Hill as a military post. They found entertainment by firing bullets at the gravestones, the marks of which can still be seen on some of them.
Directly across the street from Copp’s Hill is the Skinny House, which is only 10.4 feet wide at its widest point! The house was built as a “spite” house following a dispute between brothers. According to the tale, one brother built a large house on co-owned land while the other brother was at war. When the absent brother returned he was upset to see there was no space left for him, so he shoehorned the skinny house in the remaining space to cut off his brother’s light and view.
From the burial ground, we made our way through the North End to Ernesto’s for our last pizzas. Since it was very crowded we weren’t able to go in, but instead made our way back to where we started to sit and enjoy our pizza in the liquid sunshine.
This was a fun and very reasonably priced tour, and the pizza was great! Our guide was very knowledgeable and personable, and I highly recommend this tour if you’re looking for something a little different to do in Boston. You just need to hope the weather’s better…the steady rain really made the cobblestone streets and crowds difficult to navigate. Besides, sitting outside to eat pizza isn’t nearly as much fun when the yummy, gooey cheese gets diluted by a downpour!
Our original plan had been to walk back over to Modern Pastry or Mike’s Pastry after the tour, but because of the weather we headed straight to Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market. We did a little shopping, but by that time we were pretty wet (all of us) and cranky (me!), and a dry ship and a cocktail sounded pretty good!
We hung around a bar at Quincy Market long enough to see the Astros win the series and send the Red Sox to the offseason! We left pretty quickly after the Astros clinched…a short Uber ride back to the port and we were finally able to towel off and put on some dry clothes!
Our evening was pretty uneventful. We watched the Carnival Sunshine leave before we mustered up enough energy to go up to the Horizon Court for dinner (you know I’m tired if I voluntarily eat in the buffet!), and we all went to bed pretty early. I did manage to sneak in a quick winning trip to the casino, and my last official activity before bed was cashing out and putting the money in the safe before I gave it right back!
Up next…Bar Harbor, much better weather😁, a great tour, and Princess’ not so great specialty dinner reservations system🙄!