An early morning walk along the harbor in North End Boston delivers dawn that paints the light feathery clouds in crimsons and violets. The downtown skyline facing east reflects the morning colors on their glass and concrete structures. At 0645 the sun breaks the horizon. Soon the golden glow washes away the crimson and violet. The sun climbs as a new morning breaks. Vessels move in and out of the bay, breaking the golden sheen of a calm Atlantic. Boats docked within the harbor dance to the undulating current moving swells to and from the shore. Aircraft continually approach and depart Boston Logan International Airport just across the harbor. Despite all the activity, tranquility dominates the morning's mood.
Visiting Boston in October invigorates the soul. Rich in history, the autumnal hues, exquisite cuisine, minimal tourism, and the frenzy of an oncoming World Series Championship make Boston in October one exciting place!
The walk back to the North End neighborhood passes through Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park along Atlantic Avenue. The white marble statue of Columbus stands in the middle of the park. The trees wear their seasonal colors of gold and red. A gust sends the leaves falling to the ground.
Staying in North End places you in the midst of historical settings. North End dates back to colonial times and occupies a peninsula along the bay. Paul Revere lived here. The Old North Church on Salem Street still stands here. This church is where lanterns were placed in the church's steeple signaling that British troops were on the march, prompting Paul Revere's famous ride to warn the American colonists. Red brick buildings line the narrow streets and though the North End has had it's turbulent history from colonial times to the mass immigrations in the 1800's to the organized crime in the twentieth century, the neighborhood is now peaceful and has become a tourist destination. Italians, the last large group of immigrants that moved into North End, give the neighborhood an Italian flavor. Ristorantes, cafes, pizzerias, bakeries, and small markets inhabit the storefronts along the old narrow streets.
Apartments and condos also make up most of the living space in the North End neighborhood. A nice place to stay is La Gemma. This Airbnb truly is a gem. A little hard to locate at the intersection of Salem Street and Charter Street because tucked among the red brick buildings is the narrow Goodridge Alley. The alley leads into a small courtyard where the cool autumn nights have not kept the flowers in the beds from showing their bright blossoms. Statues of the Virgin Mary, the Christ Child and Joseph decorate the small courtyard - more evidence of Italian influence.
A door leads into the building and up a short flight of stairs. The condo opens to a small living room with a comfortable sofa, a chair, a wood stove and a TV mounted on the wall. The modern kitchen contains all the necessary appliances and utensils for preparing meals. Sunlight enters through the large windows filling the kitchen and dining area with natural light. A wall in the kitchen painted black allows guests to scribe their messages in colored chalk. A spiral staircase leads to the lower floor where two bedrooms and a full bath are located. The condo is nicely decorated and there are wood floors throughout. The place definitely offers all the conveniences of home.
The host of this little gem left reading materials, eating recommendations, info on places of interest, and transportation maps.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will get you where you want to go whether by boat, bus, or train. The train or "T" as it is called makes it easy and inexpensive to ride. The Haymarket station is close to the North End neighborhood. An attendant at the station offered help in purchasing a twenty buck CharlieCard for a week of indefinite metro train rides.
It was easy getting to Back Bay for shopping on Newbury Street where boutiques, shops and restaurants fill the brownstone buildings.
And before heading back to the "T", a quick visit to Copley Square where a cool breeze blows the autumn leaves across the park. People, traffic, and pigeons busy the square. On one end the square Trinity Church attracts visitors to its magnificent ornate architecture. The modern John Hancock glass skyscraper reflects the sky in the background. On the other end of the square sits the Boston Public Library. According to the library's website, Boston Public Library “was the first large free municipal library in the United States.” Besides books this library contains marvelous marble walls, sculptures, ornate columns, and a series of fine murals.
When in Boston during October: beware not of ghoulish haunts but Red Sox fever. On the first game of the 2018 World Series, the Red Sox hosted the Los Angeles Dodgers at the famous Fenway Park. Red Sox fans donning their Red Sox apparel filled the trains, busses, and streets. The city exploded with excitement. Meeting family at Blaze Pizza near Fenway Park proved challenging navigating through the enthusiastic crowds. From the stadium, the crowd roared. Something good for the home team. Somehow it seemed the fans knew that their Red Sox would end up the 2018 World Series Champions! By the way, the pizza at Blaze Pizza is good.
The trouble with a place like Boston is there is never enough time to see everything. But the stay in North End truly gives the first time visitor a good look at this historic city.