With a beautiful harbour and a vibrant city, Boston is the ideal city and sea break. Last summer I spent a few days in Boston, before we drove down to idyllic Cape Cod.
Large wooden beam houses set back from the road with a porch and a tree swing, Hyannis replicated a traditional American movie set. It was also the best spot to get a boat out to explore the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard – which were probably the highlight of the trip!
Boston Tea party
You can’t really go to Boston without learning about the Boston Tea party, but the museum is… quite interactive. Offering a reenactment of Boston’s history of the tea trade it’s an ideal activity for families with children, but slightly more annoying and hysterical if you’re grown adults.
I didn’t want to shout huzzah at 11am in the morning when they were talking about the Bostonians fighting back against the British. It was a great way to learn the history and impact of importing tea into Boston from England and how that divided the local area, but I wouldn’t go again nor force anyone I know to sit through it.
A whale tour is a must in Boston. It takes a whole afternoon – a good four hours or so on the boat – as you leave the harbour and go further out from the coast line to find the whales. Then you wait for a spurt of air to appear along the horizon followed by a flick of the fluke (the whales tale).
We were lucky enough to see four or five whales, some of which were very close to the boat. I would highly recommend spending an afternoon whale watching.
Beacon Hill & The Freedom Trail
Following the Freedom Trail through the streets of Boston is another way of learning Boston’s rich history. You’ll reach Beacon Hill along the way that echoes a smaller version of the capitol building in Washington DC. Beacon Hill is a great area to explore for independent shops, bakeries (including Tatti bakery which was gorgeous) and quaint strolls through the cobbled streets.
Boston common & public gardens
The public gardens in Boston are beautiful. Filled with rich flowers, ponds, music and trees and a random man dressed as a clown playing five different instruments. Each to their own.
The green space is a calming space to relax for a few hours and take a moment out of the big city and witness a gazillion squirrels. Squirrels were like rats in Boston. EVERYWHERE. In bins, up trees, they all looked a bit mad maybe too many fries.
Cape Cod, MA
We stayed in Hyannis, which is an idyllic coastal town with regular ferries across to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. There are beach huts on the boardwalks with local artists selling their creations, a JFK memorial and museum, a beach and a few good places to eat including Spanky’s Clam Shack and Seaside Saloon – the seafood was as great as the name.
It is an ideal spot to reside to visit the islands from and have a full Grace & Frankie live by the beach and sea experience.
The island of Nantucket is absolutely beautiful. Cobbled streets are lined with small independent shops, which are interjected by high-end labels such as GOOP and Ralph Lauren.
I cannot recommend exploring Nantucket enough. There are buses to get you across the island to the beaches, to see lighthouses, whaling museum, but there are also so many small towns to visit on the island. You could easily spend the day walking through Nantucket, getting lost, finding bookshops filled with illustrated versions of Herman Meville’s classic Moby Dick and independent cafes, bars and restaurants filled with fresh beautiful food.
Nantucket was my favourite of the two islands and I’d happily go back and live in the middle of the ocean, powered by a set of cables from the mainland to the island if it meant living in this paradise!
The best way to explore Martha’s Vineyard is by hiring a car or taking a bus across the island. We went on a rickety bus tour and it was good, but pretty scary (he knocked down a road sign 15 mins into the journey) and inefficient. His mic also broke.
We had one day on the island, which was not enough time to do everything.
It takes a good hour or more to get across the island and there are six towns to see and explore. Well known for it’s extensive list of high-end summer residients – the Obamas, Clintons, Kennedy’s – Martha’s Vineyard has a very luxurious feel to every aspect of the island, the beaches, the woods, the shops; they’re all quality, thought-out essentials to create a haven on the island.
The most picturesque aspect of the Vineyard were the Gingerbread houses near the harbour. This secluded suburb was filled with ornate and intricately designed houses each customised to reflect the residents inside, with a traditional porch extending out onto the pathway. It was like visiting a simpler, expressive reality.
Have you been to Boston or Cape Cod? Where would you recommend to visit?
Read more about my travels in the US here.