Posts Tagged ‘Tours’

Boston By Boat

Boston By Foot is known for leading excellent walking tours of Boston’s architecture and history.  Now you learn about Boston’s architecture and built environments on a 90-minute cruise!  Teaming with the Boston Society of Architects and the Charles Riverboat Company, the Charles River Architecture Cruise offers a unique perspective on Boston and Cambridge.

I took the debut cruise yesterday morning on a beautiful late summer day and got enjoy a relaxing cruise and learn a lot about buildings and history along the river.  The cruise will be offered on Saturdays and Sundays at 10 am through October 17th (yours truly will be narrating on Columbus Day Weekend).  Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for members of Boston By Foot. Come on out and sail with Boston By Foot!

The slideshow below offers some highlights of what you can see from the boat.  No captions, you’ll have to come on the cruise to learn about what you see in these photographs.

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Boston By Foot Tour of the Month – Chestnut Hill

Today I took the excellent Boston By Foot Tour of the Month of Chestnut Hill.  While the neighborhood straddles Newton, Brookline, and Boston, the tour covered the Newton portion viewing elegant houses along shady lanes.

My photos are online here, with some samples below.

The Church of the Redeemer

The official description of  the tour from the Boston By Foot website:

Chestnut Hill is a classic streetcar suburb which developed as the railroad and streetcar network expanded around Boston. By the early twentieth century, Chestnut Hill was considered to be “suburban living at its best”.

This walking tour explores the Newton portion of the Chestnut Hill neighborhood where you will walk among large Victorian mansions while learning its evolution from rural farmland to a modern suburb.

Chestnut Hill also features the campus of Boston College and the historic Chestnut Hill Reservoir with a finish at the new Metropolitan WaterWorks Museum.

Hammond House

If you missed the tour today, don’t worry it will be offered again next year.  Become a Boston By Foot Member today and receive a discount on Tours of the Month plus special members only tours.

The Metropolitan Water Works

Boston By Foot Avenue of the Arts Tour

Huntington Avenue photo courtesy of Yarian Gomez's photostream on Flickr

Come out this Sunday July 25th at 2pm for a guided walking tour of Boston’s Avenue of the Arts lead by Boston By Foot guides (including yours truly).  The tour begins in front of The Church of Christ, Scientist on Massachusetts Avenue and the cost is just $15/person.  If you become a Boston By Foot member admission is reduced to just $5 and you get lots of other benefits as well.

Have you ever wondered why so many cultural institutions dedicated to fine arts, music, education, religion, and sports are clustered in one area in Boston?  As we walk along this cultural corridor we’ll explore the history of Huntington Avenue and learn about:

  • landmarks created by two of the most remarkable women in Boston’s history: Mary Baker Eddy and Isabella Stewart Gardner
  • not one but two acoustically perfect concert halls
  • not one but two historical figures named Eben
  • the oldest artificial ice sporting arena in the world
  • Boston’s lost opera house
  • the many innovations and contributions of the YMCA
  • the site of the first World Series game
  • expansion and development at Northeastern University, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
  • and much, much more

I’m particularly proud of this tour because I originated the idea and collaborated on the research and manual writing.  So please come out and join us to learn more about this fascinating Boston district.

Huntington Avenue in 1920, courtesy of Boston Public Library's photostream on Flickr

The Best Dam Walking Tour in Boston

I promote a lot of tours on this blog, but if there’s one tour you must take this summer it’s the Exploring the Charles River Basin tour offered by Boston By Foot guides (including myself).  The tour steps off at 2 pm on Sunday, June 27th from Nashua Street Park just opposite the exit from the Science Park MBTA station (exit to the right, not toward the Museum of Science).  Admission for this tour is $15/person and $5 for card-carrying members of Boston By Foot.  A great excuse for getting a membership now!

Not to frighten anyone off but this tour covers about two-miles of some-times rough ground with little protection from the elements.  So come prepared with appropriate clothing and fresh liquids.  The tour lasts approximately 2 hours but you can duck out pretty easily at the 90-minute mark if you need to.

While Exploring the Charles River Basin,  you will:

  • discover three brand-new parks that most people don’t know exist.
  • history of the Charles River and its ever-encroaching banks
  • hear mellifluous words like bascule, freshet, and sluiceway and find out what they mean too
  • cross not one but two dams
  • see the only city jail with a waterfront view and a park across the street
  • ponder our litigious society
  • find what remains of Miller’s River
  • get a new perspective on the world’s widest cable-stayed bridge
  • and without fail you’ll see all manner of transportation, roads, railways, bridges, and waterways

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FREE Tour of Jamaica Pond on Saturday!

Saturday June 19th at 11 am, meet at the Jamaica Pond Bandstand near the intersection of Pond Street and Jamaicaway for a 90-minute tour around Jamaica Pond.   Yours truly will be one of the guides for this Jamaica Plain Historical Society walking tour.

Official description of the tour from the JPHS website:

Once a gathering point for Boston’s elite, the Pond had previously been put to   industrial use as tons of ice were harvested there each winter. Learn about the movers and shakers such as Francis Parkman who made their homes on the Pond’s shores. Discover how the Pond was transformed from private estates and warehouses into the parkland we know today.
Leaves from the Bandstand, Pond Street and Jamaicaway.

Come join us for a fun and informative tour.  Last year I lead this tour for 27 people and 4 dogs.  It should be a nice escape on a hot day.  Don’t forget that the price of this tour is FREE, although you may want to sign up for a JPHS membership starting at $15.

Boston By Foot Tour of the Month – Preserving Boston’s History

Today I took Boston By Foot’s August Tour of the Month focusing on the Historic Preservation movement entitled Preserving Boston’s History.  The tour featured many familiar Boston landmarks and the guide informed us how historic preservationists saved many of them from the dustheap.

I’ve put a gallery of photos from the tour on my website.

Adaptive reuse kept Old City Hall alive after the municipal offices moved to Government Center.

Adaptive reuse kept Old City Hall alive after the municipal offices moved to Government Center.

Highlights include:

  • the site of John Hancock’s house on Beacon Hill, lost in 1863 and ever since has been the rallying cry for what can be lost with historic preservation.
  • the Charles Bulfinch portion of the Massachusetts State House which was almost demolished and replaced with a larger version of itself during an expansion
  • Old City Hall, an early example of adaptive reuse as the government building was converted for commercial office space and restaurants.
  • Old South Meeting House, one of the first buildings preserved due to historic events that happened there rather than being associated with one famous person.
  • City Hall Plaza, once a vibrant commercial district which was cleared for urban renewal and replaced with a sea of bricks.  At least the Sears Crescent survived.
  • The Filene’s department store building, currently gutted and vacant, holds the future of historic preservation in Boston.
Will Daniel Burnhams beautiful Filenes store building survive?

Will Daniel Burnham's beautiful Filene's store building survive?

If you missed the tour today, fret not as Boston By Foot will offer it again as part of its Tours of the Month in the 2010 season.

Charles River Basin Walking Tour

I promote a lot of tours on this blog, but if there’s one tour you must take this summer it’s the Exploring the Charles River Basin tour offered by Boston By Foot guides (including myself).  The tour steps off at 2 pm on Sunday, July 26th from Nashua Street Park just opposite the exit from the Science Park MBTA station (exit away from the way to the Museum of Science.  Admission for this tour is $15/person and $5 for card-carrying members of Boston By Foot.  A great excuse for getting a membership now!

Not to frighten anyone off but this tour covers about two-miles of some-times rough ground with little protection from the elements.  So come prepared with appropriate clothing and fresh liquids.  The tour lasts approximately 2 hours but you can duck out pretty easily at the 90-minute mark.

While Exploring the Charles River Basin,  you will:

  • discover three brand-new parks that most people don’t know exist.
  • history of the Charles River and its ever-encroaching banks
  • hear mellifluous words like bascule, freshet, and sluiceway and find out what they mean too
  • cross not one but two dams
  • see the only city jail with a waterfront view and a park across the street
  • ponder our litigious society
  • find what remains of Miller’s River
  • get a new perspective on the world’s widest cable-stayed bridge
  • and without fail you’ll see all manner of transportation, roads, railways, bridges, and waterways

Come join us by the banks of the Charles River!

Come join us by the banks of the Charles River and find the Lost Half Mile!

Boston By Foot Waterfront Tour

Celebrate Sail Boston ’09 with a Boston By Foot walking tour of the Boston Waterfront.  Meet at the Sam Adams statue in Dock Square by Faneuil Hall on Friday, July 10th 2009.  The ninety-minute tour steps off at 6 pm and will cover much of the made land that once was the waterfront in colonial days and then reach the modern waterfront with a great view of the tall ships.  I will be one of the guides for this fantastic, scenic and historic walk.  Admission is a mere $15 per person, $5 for members of Boston By Foot.

The beautiful Boston waterfront

The beautiful Boston waterfront

Official description:

The Boston Waterfront was the epicenter of the maritime economy in the New World. From Dock Square to Rowes Wharf, this walk through Boston’s mercantile history features tales of the colonial shoreline, the lore of clipper ships, and the vibrant commerce of today’s shops and restaurants.

On this tour you will walk along four centuries of Boston’s ever-changing coastline. From John Smibert’s 1742 Faneuil Hall to the modern day Rowes Wharf, this tour of discovery is filled with artifacts and clues of New England’s great seafaring heritage.

In its heyday, the Boston waterfront was a maze of docks, warehouses and wharves serving Alexander Parris’ Quincy Market and Boston’s growing Financial District. Today, tourists flock to the waterfront to experience this maritime history walking among architectural treasures such as the Custom House and the Grain Exchange Building.

The once 1,743 foot Long Wharf is a popular destination for the New England Aquarium and sightseeing among Boston’s 34 islands encompassing nearly 4,000 acres of sheltered anchorages. Long Wharf, although quite a bit smaller today, remains the oldest continuously operating wharf in the United States.

You will also see the surviving wharf buildings designed by some of the finest mid-19th century architects including Gridley J.F. Bryant and Isaiah Rogers. Newly created green spaces in Columbus Park and the Rose Kennedy Greenway provide further connections with the Boston Harbor on land once occupied by Mercantile Wharf, City Wharf, T Wharf, India Wharf and Griffin’s Wharf (where some rebels once steeped a large quantity of tea).

Take in the incredible architecture and relive Boston’s past while getting a glimpse at her future on this guided tour of Boston’s waterfront.

Let me show you the Boston watefront (I cant promise Ill be this well-dressed though).

Let me show you the Boston watefront (I can't promise I'll be this well-dressed though).

Benjamin Franklin in Boston

Does the name “Benjamin Franklin” bring to mind an elderly man with a bald pate and a pot belly? Well, Ben Franklin was a boy once too and his boyhood was spent right here in the city of Boston.  Come learn about Benjamin Franklin’s early days and influences on the Boston By Foot walking tour Ben Franklin: Son of Boston.  Your guide (one of whom is your blogger) will lead you to sites in Boston related to Franklin as well as talk about his later life as a printer, politician, scientist, inventor, and founding father.  This tour is offered as part of Boston Harborfest, one of the best events on the Boston calendar.

Son of Boston will be offered on two dates stepping off from the corner of Washington and School Streets near the Irish Famine Memorial and Borders Book Store:

Friday, July 3rd: 4 pm – 5:30 pm

Sunday, July 5th: 4 pm – 5:30 pm

Admission is $12/person.  $5 for members.  If you’re not already a member, sign up now or sign up with a Boston By Foot docent before the tour.

Benjamin Franklin statue at Old City Hall

Benjamin Franklin statue at Old City Hall

More photos of what you will see on this tour online.

Official tour description:

Celebrate and learn the life of Benjamin Franklin by walking among the sites of his homes and haunts in Colonial Boston. In his day, Benjamin Franklin was America’s greatest scientist, inventor, diplomat, humorist, statesman, and entrepreneur. Ben was born in Boston, came of age in Philadelphia, and was the darling of Paris. From his many inventions, creation of civic, philanthropic, and educational institutions, to his his roles in the founding of America, his legacy is immeasurable.

If you have the chance, bone up be reading The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.

Previously: Son of Boston: A Salute to Benjamin Franklin

The Flat is Where It’s At!

If a Jamaica Pond tour isn’t enough for one weekend, head to Charles/MGH station on Sunday June 28th as Boston By Foot presents the Tour of the Month, The Flat of Beacon Hill.  This special tour will focus on the lesser known and once unfashionable area built on made land along the Charles River.  Stepping off at 2 pm, tour admission is $15 per person, but only $5 for Boston By Foot members (one of the many reasons to become a member!).  This tour is also an event for the Boston By Foot Meetup Group, another great way to get involved, meet people, and learn about our fair city.  I will not be leading this tour myself, but I can assure you that some of the finest and knowledgeable guides will be.

A view of Brimmer Street in the Flat of Beacon Hill

A view of Brimmer Street in the Flat of Beacon Hill

Click here for many more photos of the December offering of this tour.

Official description of this tour:

On this walk you will discover one of Boston’s least known and most delightful neighborhoods. The Flat of Beacon Hill is built on 19th century made-land along the Charles River. The Flat is geologically part of Back Bay and culturally park of Beacon Hill, with the architecture of both. This intimate patch of real estate soon acquired carriage houses and horse stables owned by the wealthy families living on Beacon Hill. Today, many of these edifices have been converted into charming residences and seamlessly blend among the notable landmarks such as the Charles Street Meeting House, the Church of the Advent, and the Sunflower Castle. What do Sam Mayday Malone, a private-eye named Spenser, a Fox Terrier named Igloo, and seven strangers have in common? They all know the Flat is where it’s at!

See you on Sunday!

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