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Friday, 25 January 2019

New England Trip - Boston and Providence

I promised I would write a blog post on my road trip around New England so that others could avail of my excellent organisation and planning skills..… I promise I’ll be less smug from here on out ;) 

Planning New England was originally quite stressful, because there’s SO much in that area of America and I felt like I wanted to do it all incase I never got the chance to go back (spoiler alert: I FULLY intend on going back). We had a restricted window of 2 weeks and there’s only so much driving you can do before you feel like you spent your entire holiday in a car. My top tip is to make a shortlist of what you feel like you MUST see. Plan the holiday around that and then you’ll find you can easily slot things in along the way.

I thought the best way to format these blog posts would be to cover the holiday in chronological order, noting where we stayed/what we did in each place. As I began writing I realised how much I wanted to cover, so I'll split this journey over a few blog posts. This first post will cover Boston, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island.

Boston, Massachusetts (2 nights)
We arrived in Boston around lunchtime on the first day and our hotel was the Westin Copley Hotel down in the Back Bay area. I would highly recommend staying in this area (and in this hotel if funds allow). It’s pretty central and easy walking distance to all the points of interest. Our hotel in Boston at the end of the trip was a bit of a nuisance, but I’ll cover that when I get to it.


View from hotel room in Westin Copley Hotel
We spent the afternoon/evening walking around the area close to our hotel, Newbury street was a particular highlight. Lots of cool little bookshops and the Newbury Comics store there was HUGE and I could have spent every last penny I had in that one shop. Lots of horror figurines and comics and funkos and general pop culture merch.

Newbury Street, Boston
The next day we dedicated to the Freedom Trail. This is a really useful way to cover a lot of Boston. You follow the red brick trail through lots of different historical spots at your own leisure. Of course you can take a guided tour, but neither Matthew nor myself are particular history buffs, so I wasn’t that bothered. Taking your own self-guided tour means you can just walk off to random spots you locate along the way (like really cool bookstores or Starbucks – one great secondhand shop was Books & Old Prints). Another bookshop you must visit is Brattle Book Shop, one of America’s oldest and largest antiquarian book shops. When I was there they had a white board where customers could write down the scariest book they’d ever read. I added Dan Simmons’ Summer of Night to the list.

Boston Common is a park right in the middle of Boston and this is beside where you start the Freedom Trail. It’s absolutely gorgeous with lots of little squirrels running around, and we had really amazing cookies from one of the stands in the park. Boston’s Public Garden is another beautiful park worth checking out. Boston Common is also very close to the Cheers bar, which is usually quite busy but if you’re a fan it’s a must-see. And obviously the Boston Public Library needs to be on your list as well!

The next day we were leaving for Providence in Rhode Island, but before we left we made a stop over at Harvard. If you’re staying in central Boston the easiest way to get over to Harvard/MIT is via the subway, which was really easy to use and nagivate. The campus grounds of Harvard are stunning and it’s just a really nice little area of restaurants and cafes. The Harvard Book Store is also worth a visit.


Harvard University
My memory of where we ate in Boston is vague, there’s an abundance of great restaurants no doubt, but for breakfast I would highly recommend South Street Diner. Their milkshakes were freakin’ INSANE. 


Rhode Island, Providence (2 nights)
We picked up our rental car at Logan Airport in Boston and then we were on the road! The first stop was Rhode Island, Providence. Admittedly, this may not have been on my original list, but when I was talking about my road trip, my Instagram friend Robin asked if I was planning to head to Providence, since I’m such a big HP Lovecraft fan. So all of a sudden, it was on the list!

It was only about an hour drive down to Providence, where we stayed in the Dean Hotel. It’s a boutique hotel, so has a very modern style, but the hotel rooms were a tad small. The bed in particular was an issue for Matthew as he’s 6 feet tall and his feet were hanging over the edge… but the shower was incredible, as was the coffee in the little coffee shop located downstairs. It was also quite central to all the spots I wanted to see, so there was pros and cons. 

We arrived in Providence quite late in the afternoon so we decided we’d just walk down around town and explore. My initial overriding impression was that I was in some Lovecraftian story, as the city was SO quiet, but being a national holiday this made sense, as the next day was much more lively. Even though it was on my list of places to visit (lovingly curated by Robin), we randomly stumbled across Lovecraft Arts and Sciences – a store that is pretty much dedicated to Lovecraft himself, although I also found a rare King book amongst a lot of other authors. It was incredible and I was fangirling so hard inside that store – it has books, clothing, memorabilia, totes, everything! So definitely visit it if you get the chance.

Lovecraft Arts and Sciences
The next day we went on our Lovecraft tour! A tour where I was the guide (with Robin’s instructions) – lucky Matthew. Let me tell you though… Providence has got some hills!!! It was unseasonably warm and I was wearing black jeans, and I was on the brink of death. So it was a sweaty affair. We got to see the house that inspired his story “The Shunned House”, we also got to see where he lived when he wrote “The Call of Cthulhu” and “The Shadow over Innsmouth” and another residence he lived in etc. A special mention must go to The Providence Athenaeum, one of the most incredible libraries I’ve ever seen. This is a place that Lovecraft frequented and is also where Poe courted his “Annabel Lee”, Sarah Whitman. It also has a stunning Lovecraft bust as you walk in the entrance. MUST-SEE.


The Providence Athenaeum
The next day we were heading up towards Salem, but before we left we want to Swan Point Cemetery to visit Lovecraft’s grave. Interesting fact: Lovecraft was buried in the family plot, and originally his name was just included on the Phillips family monument, but a number of fans actually pitched in together to buy him a headstone of his own. It includes the iconic phrase “I AM PROVIDENCE”, a line from one of his personal letters. He is not actually buried under this headstone, but amongst his family (which is right beside this), something a potential grave robber found out when they tried to dig up his body and found nothing there!


Lovecraft's Grave in Swan Point Cemetery
So that's Boston and Providence! Next up, I will be covering the Lizzie Borden B&B in Fall River, as well as Salem.

Johann
x

2 comments :

  1. I'm 6ft 3 actually.......

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tourists can fly to New England to enjoy their beautiful trip. Thanks for sharing this exciting travel post. airport parking deals

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