Wanderlust Series: Boston
A city synonymous with American history, Boston’s rich past, diverse neighborhoods, and world-class arts and culture scene offer something for every visitor. Foodies will be spoiled for choice with an ever-evolving dining scene offering a range of options from traditional New England Fare to eclectic ethnic cuisine. Lose yourself in the heart of the city at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, boasting 160,000 square feet of retail space, more than 70 local artisans, and world-renowned street performers occupying the adjacent cobblestone promenade.
As with all major cities, there’s more to Boston than the deservedly popular main attractions. On your next visit, make time for these local favorites!
Lovingly referred to as “The Gardner” by Bostonians, this amazing assemblage of over 2,000 artifacts from around the world were all collected by a single woman: Isabella Stewart Gardner. Born in New York City and educated in Paris, Isabella moved to Boston after her marriage to Jack Gardner, the brother of a Paris schoolmate. Soon after, Isabella lost her only child to pneumonia and fell into seclusion. To revive her spirit, Jack took her on a trip across Europe that inspired a new purpose: bringing home strange and original objects from the foreign lands she visited. After filling several warehouses in Boston with her collectibles, Isabella built Fenway Court to house her vast and varied belongings, which came to be the museum we know today.
Isabella’s unique and innovative presence is felt throughout the stunning property. In addition to pieces of art, the space offers the opportunity to enjoy flowers, plants, textiles, furniture and architecture. Illustrating the value of the museum’s collection, the biggest unsolved art theft in the history of the world occurred here in 1990, when 13 paintings by artists including Rembrandt, Vermeer, Manet and Degas - valuing more than $500 million - were tragically stolen. Barbara Shapiro’s novel The Art Forger was inspired by the heist.
Fun fact: admission to the museum is free if your name is Isabella!
This quirky, industrial-style lounge is located in the Seaport District along the Boston Waterfront. You access the space - formerly a wool warehouse - through the entrance for Sportello, an Italian eatery from local celebrity chef Barbara Lynch. Instead of heading upstairs to the restaurant, head downstairs to find Drink. There’s no cocktail menu to peruse; simply tell the bartender what you’re in the mood for and they’ll craft you a custom beverage using high-quality spirits, bitters, and other ingredients sourced from around the world. Keep an eye out for the 50-pound block they chip ice from. Heading there with a group? Order punch in a large goblet to share - also available in single-serve portions.
This steakhouse speakeasy is hidden inside the back room of downtown cocktail bar JM Curley. Head to the back of the bar to the red velvet curtain with a small sign stating “Adults only - no cell phones allowed.” This will lead you to the clandestine eatery with just 16 seats. Enjoy cuts of steak adorned with bone marrow and foie gras and an extravagant caviar tray service. The space is named after co-owner Andy Cartin’s childhood memory of a Connecticut pizza parlor that hosted a secret gentleman’s club in the back. From his vantage point, whenever the doors opened, the only thing he saw was a cardboard cutout of Humphrey Bogart.
Which space tops your Beantown must-see list?