Not your average travel blog
Let’s be British and mention the weather. New England is cold. After the polar vortex across the US recently, there is still pure, white snow on the ground, even in the city. It’s not exactly the Spring start I was looking for. When I arrived, the days were fresh, cool, breezy and actually pretty pleasant, the sun was out, the skies were a pristine blue and when carrying a heavy pack, good old body warmth was inevitable.
Starting in Boston Harbour
Now I’m in Worcester, west of Boston and its below freezing, the windchill is unbearable and not even my “Radiator Man” reputation is stepping up the plate. The woods haven’t warmed yet and are still asleep, looking like giant clusters of brittle kindling swaying in the stiff winds. The lakes are all frozen, groaning as the ice shifts and grinds, which is rather annoying for the Canadian Geese, which apparently refused to fly south this winter; they’re enjoying arguably easier conditions in the north, however didn’t quite judge it right this winter and are being stretched for a few more weeks. Along with the freezing winds, the dirty snow drifts are still common place on every street and driveway in town and won’t have long to wait to be topped up with fresh powder from the sky, due to fall this week.
Not surprisingly, walking and camping are not on my radar yet. I’m working like a couch surfing pro for three reasons, 1) Even with some decent camping gear I don’t fancy frostbite, 2) there are now woods everywhere, but there are very few camp spots across the sprawling cities and 3) I’ve found that non-city dwelling Americans (even though Worcester is the second largest city in New England) are rather hospitable. Couches are very welcome!
Prior to a possible stroll in what looks to be sunshine, along with face-damaging freezing winds and snowfall over the next week or two, I have explored Boston with the help of an American friend. I was sad to leave and I haven’t explored anywhere else yet!
A city since 1822, Boston is one of America’s oldest.
The advent of the steam engine and the developments through the industrial revolution in the second half of the 19th century marked the decline of Boston seafaring prominence. Early on, Boston industry was successful due to overseas trading, ship building, fishing and glorious glorious rum. Boston’s buzz, away from big industry, was influenced by generations of early European settlers. It was soaked with welcoming, small-scale artisan businesses, many of which were restaurants and food outlets. The legacies of their welcomed nostril invasions are still floating around the northern quarter today. Europeans, especially the Irish and the Italians made Boston their home. However the War disrupted things somewhat and caused acute shortages of manufactured goods. Some pragmatic merchants shifted their investments into industry, and in the middle of the 19th century, industrial wealth transformed the city. It was revolutionary for many cities across the world, almost overnight. Boston was no exception and as fast developments took place to accommodate the masses, tops of hills were cropped and used for landfill waste to rapidly expand its size.
Boston began as a homesteading community with people from Europe seeking out new beginnings and opportunity. It is now an economic and cultural hub of New England. With over 615,000 residents, Boston is proud of its many institutions of higher education, some of the world’s finest inpatient hospitals, varied cultures and cosmopolitan vibes, contributing to the hospitality industry driven by a demand for artisan goods as well as some top professional sports organisations. I’ve wandered past the massive base of the Bruins, the Celtics and also seen the oldest baseball stadium in the states, home to the Red Sox. With the baseball season about to start, so is summer….god I hope summer is about to start!
Red Sox Police know how to enjoy game day
Maybe it was just the places that were being pointed out to me, but another thing Bostonians take seriously, and something which is noticeable across the metropolis is a progressive lean towards a relatively healthy lifestyle.
From the docklands to the central market sectors, there are efforts to maintain a green image, trees are planted along main streets, its clean, it’s not overcrowded, it seems unpolluted for a large, old, developed city and residents are extremely aware of recycling practices and forms of conservation.
There are roads along both north and south banks of the Charles river but there are also cycle and running paths along each bank and in the summer, they’re teaming with active locals. Speaking to people that live here, there is a love of Boston which stems from the vibrant arts, history, music, food and social scenes, with an eagerness to get out and enjoy the sports and activities in the mountains. It’s a hub of positivity for a well balanced and healthy lifestyle. Although it’s one of America’s most expensive places to live, on the whole Bostonians have a modern, progressive (in terms of sustainable living), educated understanding of their climate and a respect for the environment that makes for healthy approach to city life.
There might be a touch of pretentiousness in Boston, or at least that’s how they appear to be viewed by people from out of town. As well as being a pricey place to live, it’s also home to the oldest and arguably most prestigious educational centres in America. The Ivy League university of Harvard stands proud within a Cambridge-like area, conveniently named, Cambridge.
John Harvard and his well polished boot
Over the weekend, I’ve covered some mileage around Boston. It harbours numerous classes, cultural roots, diverse, proud neighbourhoods and imported traditions. Harvard and Cambridge areas display a pride of place in the development of American history but my favourite area has to be the busy food hub of the northern Italian district. Side streets of bakeries, coffee shops, packed pizzerias with food queues rolling down the frozen streets for brunch and indulgent amounts of calorific, sweet smelling cake snack shops. I didn’t spend a lot of time checking out the menus or the numerous streets filled with salivating hunger-nuts but the smells and the slightly grungy atmosphere from well-settled italian roots was enough to make me want to revisit.
Famous for their Paddy’s Day celebrations (I was a week late) I assumed there would be Irish people everywhere. I only found the one and he was just visiting. Boston may not be the typical America that we perceive from the press or tv shows back home, but its certainly a vibrant, eco-friendly and healthy start to my American introduction.