Eastcoast Roadtrip 2013: Sightseeing in Boston

Boston can be seen as an Eldorado for tourists. With its plentiful markets, the secure streets (even at nighttime), beautiful architecture and some major sights, the city is a contrast to many other Northamerican cities and should be on your list, when you visit New England.

You could get a firm impression of the Universities in Cambridge and of the Boston Nightlife. Now it’s time to present some sights to you, covered with the photography of this beautiful city to address your imagination. This is the view on Little Italy. The district of Boston is also called Northend.

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Boston and Cambridge are basically one unit, woven into each other, not separable. The elite is found in Cambridge, though. The campus of MIT looks quite industrial, the people of Harvard, that I dealt with have a certain kind of arrogance. I preferred the MIT definitively over Harvard, it seems more suitable for scientists, a place where excellence is born with every semester of inscription. The people you meet there remind you of the famous TV series Big Bang Theory, IQ > 150, very polite but a tad nerdy. In contrast to the busy Universities, Boston is quite a touristic playground, very secure for a Northamerican city and beautiful. This is an impression of downtown. This church “hides” in the big skycrapers.

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You already could see the skyline from Cambridge, so I will just give you impressions from the city itself. It has great markets, it’s clean and you find top notch dining for a bargain. For seafood you should check out the Union Oyster House close to Haymarket. On Haymarket you can buy all kinds of fresh food for you, if you have an apartment during the time of your stay. And since I have been to Miami and New York City as well, I can compare and state, that you never have an uncomfortable feeling, walking around, not even at night. It seems very secure and people are in the streets at night as well. On the picture you see the Union Oyster House. I enjoyed the best oysters I have ever had at this place.

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The oysters you get in Union Oyster House are from different areas. The personnel tells you exactly where they are from, and it’s just delicious.

The mixture of modern skycrapers, cultural offers, markets, old brick houses and the feeling of Northamerica make Boston special. It’s like good ‘ol Europe manifested in this city. And although I live in a tad rundown area of Boston, kind of a Hood compared to the rest of this shining city, I never feel uncomfortable. This security and minimal crime rate is due to the healthcare program of the city, that offers food and healthcare to homeless people for free – so nobody has to suffer hunger. In downtown you find the world famous Freedom Trail and some more touristic food and arts markets, like e.g. Quincy Market. Another impression of downtown, seen from the freedom trail and many more in the attached gallery.

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When I walk around, I finally make it to the areas of the Boston Public Garden and the Commonwealth Ave. Should have spent more time there… Discovered this beautiful area too late, since I was busy one full day in Cambridge. It’s very European, very beautiful and exclusive. The second picture you can see, taken with the cellphone, is from a market along Newbury Street, the Copley Square Farmers Market. Check this area out, longer than me.

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On my last day, just before I continue to Maine, I walk all around the Southend. There is a market, which you should not miss, it’s called SoWa Market and Maura told me to go there, before I continue to Maine. I have the best coffee there, I ever had so far in the United States of America – quality comes close to the coffee in Austria! And the market is great, so many antique stuff, linen, foreign wares and great ecological food is offerd there. Make sure to hit it on Sundays!

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Boston is a great city, colorful, diverse, classy and secure. I would definitively go there again and can recommend it to you, as a contrast to many other Northamerican cities. It is very different from those and the many markets – I did not bring pictures from Haymarket here, that you definitively should visit as well – offer a great alternative to American Mall shopping, that can be found everywhere else over the country.

Eastcoast Roadtrip 2013 – Boston Arriving & Cambridge

The beginning of my stay in Boston and Cambridge is focussed on Cambridge and the best known Universities on planet Earth. I discover the campus, learn to differentiate between MIT and Harvard people and discover a stunning city in between.

Leaving Cape Cod is a tad sad. It’s beautiful there and the last day was vacation at its best and my hosting family was very nice. On my way to Boston I stop at the Mayflower memorial in Plymouth. It showcases the rebuilt Mayflower II of the first pilgrims who came to young America back in the day. At 1 PM I reach my Airbnb in Boston

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This is the rebuilt Mayflower II, a memorial for the first pilgrims who reached America. You find it in Plymouth, between Cape Cod and Boston.

I am a bit shocked in the first moment of my arrival. I will stay in Roxbury and the area looks a bit rundown, like in a hood. There are lots of people hanging around on the street. My host is not there, still at work. I follow her directions and claim the key out of a little lockbox, which lies on the porch. I need to sleep, am totally worn out, the jetlag is stronger than the days before. Want to be fit, when I discover the campus of the big two, MIT and Harvard in Cambridge. That is the plan for the afternoon. 

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In the afternoon I start with Cambridge and get an overview over both Campi, starting in Harvard. My plan to meet up with a Professor from MIT manifests, I want to do it the next day, since it is already late. So I just continue to discover the campus and visit the Technics Museum of MIT, which is really cool! Sun already sets, when I come out and the mood over Cambridge is great and the view to Boston stunning!

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I have to say, from the people I met, I liked the guys from MIT much more, nerds like you and me. The personell of Harvard is kind of arrogant, as some of the visitors have been at as well. I ask myself “Why?” – Shouldn’t people on the top of society be glad for their status and be grateful and polite? Especially the brats, who get this once in a lifetime opportunity by their dad, who they probably rarely see, because otherwise they would have better manners. If I compare both elitist factories, I prefer MIT for sure.

At night I speak to my host, she tells me I don’t have to be worried, the crime rate of Boston is really low because everyone in this city receives healthcare, even if people can’t afford it and nobody is just left behind to suffer poverty. And I can confirm that as far as I can walk around without any incidents – you get used to it very fast. My dinner is pasta and afterwards I continue the sightseeing and head into the touristic parts of Boston, but the pictures of Boston will be showcased in another entry, this one is focussed on Cambridge in regard to the photography.

At late night, around 10 PM, I hit the restaurant & jazz lounge The Beehive – I enjoy live music, a great blue cheese burger and awesome IPA beer. A really great experience to get enjoyable American beer!

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The dark lounge of ‘The Beehive’ is cosy, food is great, beer good and the live music really cool. Thank you for this recommendation from Toronto, Oli!

This is the first time, as far as I can remember, that the beer was actually good – I remember my times in Florida of 2008, where I never appreciated the offered beer on liquor stores. Scenic and en vogue South End really seems to be the place to be in Boston! And those are some impressions of my way home, since the Metro and Bus does not ride too long anymore, I have to walk home about 45 min…

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The next day starts again in Cambridge. I have a good overview how to get there – by Metro – and what to do. I want to see a Professor of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the MIT, but sadly she is on travels and a second Professor I had on my list, as well. But the Koch Institute of Cancer Research is an impressive building. Should I ever remain in Science, I’d be honored to work there. 

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Inside worlds famous Koch Institute at MIT
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The Koch Institute of Cancer Research, MIT

After this attempt – hey it worked great at Yale University – I take a walk over the campus of Harvard and decide to continue from the main campus to Harvard Medical School in the late afternoon.

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Inside Harvard’s holy halls
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Inside the Institute of Chemistry of Harvard University

The way to Harvard Medical School is interesting, since I go back to Boston by Metro, followed by tram I see a lot – the campus of HMS is not in Cambridge but in Boston. I would need more time in Boston as it seems… I can’t access the main building of the Medical School, stroll around a little more and by surprise run into the Pharmacy school. What an incident! I take a look around there as well, then I return home to plan the next tours, potential interviews and what to do at night…

Eastcoast Roadtrip 2013 – Round of three states

Throwback to the USA and Canada Roadtrip 2013: The second episode of this roadtrip begins in New Haven (CT) and since New England’s states are not too big, you can easily do three states in one day. The first stop is Mystic (CT) where you can have a look at the historic shipyard. For lunch and some gawking I chose Newport (RI), where the wealth of New England accumulates and the final destination of this trip is Cape Cod (MA), where I stay the next two days, before the trip continues to Boston (MA).

I continue, New Haven (CT), albeit of one of worlds finest Universities is not really a favorable place to live, not for a long time at least. At 11:00 PM life ends spontaneously, i.e. the streets get really empty, and everything of this city which is not directly on campus looks rundown and I heard the crime rate is really high if you leave the campus regions, where the campus police takes care to keep criminals off. The more it’s time to continue. Bobcat Cody woke me up early, he is awesome and I had the feeling I miss my cats at home in Berlin.

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The first stopover is in Mystic. It’s just a little village which became famous due to its shipyard. There is a relatively nice museum and it’s a nice place to stay for some hours, take a coffee, or like in my case, have some breakfast. It’s is nothing really special, though and you could skip it as well, when you want to push miles. As you can see, Indian Summer is there, the leaves of the American oaks shine in bright red!

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My next stop is Newport in Rhode Island (RI). It’s the place of the rich and famous, at least it was very dominant as a summer residence to those families. I enjoy my first lobster and I have to say, it is a delicacy which I would not be able and willing to afford in Europe. American pricing is just different, in regard to consumption, no matter if it is for cloth, electronic devices, or more or less luxurious food. The poor lobster was awesome – it’s true, New England is famous for its seafood for a good reason. What I love about America: Several older people wonder where I am from, when I skype with my cousin in Canada to assure that I will arrive in a couple of days – German accent most likely included. We get into conversation quickly. They ask me if the lobster really is as great as it looks. “Yes Ma’am it is!” 🙂

The cribs in Newport are very impressive – I show you some shots in the attached gallery. You can certainly see the wealth of this region and you feel it in the pricing compared to CT in regard to tobacco, beer, softdrinks – your daily needs.

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At 5:15 PM I reach my final destination for the day, the half-island of Cape Cod. I stay in an Airbnb in Orleans with Julie and her family – she is not there on my arrival so I decide to head to the beach which I reach easily by car, passing through a dense forest. It is just beautiful and I decide to take a swim – it is not too cold after all!

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That’s me, just out of the water. It was fresh but not unbearable cold!

The day ends with a most beautiful sunset over the Atlantic Ocean. I love those moments, when I am alone, able to let the thoughts pass, not worried for a short time, just silent and in a status of meditation. It is beautiful and I feel blessed to be able to see all of this – already, although there is so much more to come!

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My plan for the next day is to spend the day at the beach. I want to talk to Julie later what she can recommend. The weather is supposed to be splendid with up to 25°C – a perfect day to enjoy these nice beaches and to explore Cape Cod.