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Beantown Bound!

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Leaving Matha's Vineyard by ferry put our total ferry count to 7. On the boat sitting next to us, were a couple who pulled out a guitar and fiddle and started playing a lively set of bluegrass tunes. Who knew we would have a little serenade on the deck of the boat? We hoped it wasn't a foreshadowing of The Titanic. ;)

We said our goodbyes to the Sullivan's and continued on our journey on our own. Arriving in Boston, we searched out our accommodations in the heart of downtown, but when we arrived at the purported address of the Ames Hotel, there was no sign of a hotel there.  It was a bit crazy with traffic and one-way streets so we decided to park in the nearest parking building and search on foot.  We returned to where the hotel address was and still no signs of any kind, just two gentlemen standing guard at the door of what appeared to be an office building.  As we approached, they welcomed us in and sure enough it was the right hotel.  I guess part of their mystique is similar to a speakeasy:  you have to be in-the-know.  Very modern inside with great rooms and the most abundant sorts of amenities beyond the usual mini-bar stuff, including t-shirts, hats, first aid kits, pleasure kits, etc. - all within the room.  It certainly exceeded all expectations and a reasonable value as well, costing less than half of what we paid on Long Island.  We can highly recommend the Ames!
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That afternoon we decided to take it easy as it was the first time we had to ourselves for the past week or so, so we explored Faneuil Hall (just a block from our hotel) before returning to the Ames.  We indulged ourselves by staying in the room and watching "The Most Exotic Hotel Marigold" movie on our TV, which was still in theaters.  (Note to Nancy:  you were right, this movie was better than Prometheus.)  For dinner we went to a restaurant recommended by the hotel bartender, but it was very loud, the food mediocre, and the service completely disengaged.  It was one of the few times we did not take the recommendations from Trip Advisor or Yelp, and it showed.

The next morning we explored Boston Commons, the Public Garden, Newbury Street, Chinatown, Boston Harbor and back to the Faneuil Hall/Aquarium area - all on foot.  Quite a walk.  We had a little lunch at Legal Seafood, then boarded the Old Town Trolley tour for an historical excursion of Boston, with quite the animated driver/narrator.  Huzzah!!! he would loudly exclaim at every opportunity, while both explaining the colonial patriot movement and yelling in a friendly, although startling, manner at nearby pedestrians.  He was informative and fun!
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He also explained why Boston is called Beantown. I had guessed it had something to do with Boston Baked Beans, but wasn't sure of the details. Our guide explained: during colonial times, it was forbidden to cook on the Sabbath, so the day before, colonists would start a big pot of beans and let it simmer until the next day. After church, they would return home and the beans were served. I guess beans are one of the few foods that you can slow cook for a full day or more.
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During the tour, we passed though the Beacon Hill neighborhood, with it's quaint shops and little streets, and decided it was a good place to return for dinner.  We checked out three restaurants within one block, and decided to eat at Figs, a Todd English (famous chef) restaurant, specializing in pizza and a few pasta dishes.  I was very surprised that such a prominent chef would have his name on such a small restaurant.  Only about 8 tables and 6 barstools filled this teensy tiny space.  The pizza was, however, delicious.

Returning to the hotel for a nightcap, the bartender, Collin, a former minor league baseball player, was very nice and congenial and made up for the previous night's rather uppity bartender, who had made the wrong drink and tried to blame us for not ordering correctly, while she lectured us on the nuances of ordering a shot neat, straight, straight up, or as a sidecar.  She could surely learn a lesson from Collin on the nuances of being a more friendly bartender.

Posted by jim-n-mark 13:41 Archived in USA Tagged hotel town tours old boston trolley ames

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