Wednesday, September 7, 2011

learning + exploring boston.

 photo via | I see these everyday.

So, I've been a little quiet on this front for the past week and half, but that's because most of the writing I've been doing has been on the T while I've been wandering around exploring Boston (and enjoying public transit!).

Just walking around cities and visiting new neighborhoods is one of my favorite things to do, so I've spent the last few weeks taking advantage of my current work schedule and using my afternoons to explore Boston. (Until the after school program starts, my working hours are 8-3; after it starts, they will change to 9-5:30.) Since I moved here a few weeks ago, I feel like I've seen a decent amount of the city, but there's still so much to do!

(And speaking of my job, a quick update: work is full of up's and down's; I have really frustrating moments and really amazing moments when everything falls into place and I understand why I'm there... usually within the span of a few hours. Overall, it's good--just an adjustment. Let's just say that I have lot of learning and growing to do over the next year.)

For the first week of my exploring, I mainly focused on my surrounding neighborhood in Jamaica Plain. First, I became obsessed with the Forest Hills Cemetery (which is more of a park than a cemetery, and not creepy at all). Then, I moved on to Roslindale (the neighborhood just south of JP  where Casserly House is also located), which has a really fun/cute downtown area with lots of local shops/restaurants/thrift stores.

Then, I boarded the "T" (subway) and made my way downtown.

T map: I live on the orange line.

A few of my adventures so far...
At this point, I have walked the majority of the Freedom Trail and have therefore seen some of Boston's most historical sights, including but not limited to: Boston Common, Beacon Hill and surrounding areas, the original Cheer's bar, Sam Adam's and Paul Revere's graves, and so forth.

Unsurprisingly, I also spent a good amount of time in Boston's North End, which has historically been the Italian neighborhood. I bought a cannoli at Modern Pastry (my sources tell me that it's better than the more touristy Mike's). I did a lot of wandering down Hanover Street, admired all of the other Italian restaurants, and checked out some more historical sights. Last Friday afternoon, I also visited the Haymarket, which is a really big, cheap farmer's market near the North End.

One of my other favorite neighborhoods so far as been Back Bay and Copley Square, which is home of the main branch of the Boston Public Library (I have a card now!).  Then, I walked down Newbury Street (Boston's main shopping street) and down to the Charles River.

image via | this is actually really helpful for understanding the different neighborhoods.

Yesterday, I ventured across north of the Charles River for the first time to explore Cambridge--mainly Harvard Square and Harvard Yard. I wasn't there for very long, but Harvard is so beautiful! Definitely an amazing campus. Cambridge itself is really cool as well; there were lots of neat shops and just good people watching.

I have also been doing a bit of a bookstore tour of Boston. Essentially, if I pass a bookstore, I go in. I've probably been in at least ten so far, but my favorite one, which I just went to yesterday for the first time, has been Harvard Book Store.

Soooo, in a nutshell, there's a really brief summary of some of the adventures that I've gone on in Boston so far. In general, I really like Boston as a city; it's very neighborhood-y, which makes it all the more suited for adventures like these. It also means that there's always something new to discover.  Physically speaking, Boston really isn't a very big, so it makes it much more manageable. It's also very walking and public transportation friendly, which I love. I'm really glad that my work schedule has allowed me the opportunity to  see so much of the city over the past few weeks.

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