My top 5 of quirky stuff I loved in Boston:
As I mentioned before, Boston was, well, not on the top of my itinerary. And that did not change for me while I was here – though I would come back to visit Cait and Jeremy in a heartbeat – you can read more about that one here…
But there are some off-freedom-trail-things in Boston that I really loved! So here are my personal quirky top five things to check out or try when in Boston:
1. The Mapparium
This was my absolute favorite thing to do in Boston, and not only because it was on the inside!
The Mapparium is a three-story high glass globe with a bridge leading through it!
To me, it is amazing to stand inside a Globe and compare the size and shapes from this perspective. Since it was constructed with a specific technique usually used in German church windows it would also be very expensive to keep it up to date, which is why it still shows the maps as they were in 1932. And it just blows my mind, how much has happened in less than a hundred years: The fall of the soviet Union, the independence of African countries from their colonial masters, the shifts of power in Asia, it is all on there, frozen in time, a giant prove that a map is always also a political statement. And finally there are some really cool acoustic effects that happen when you are in the center of a giant glass globe – but I will let you figure out that one for yourselves. Because you should really go! Seriously. Now! Check it out
2. Jamaica Plains
This is my kind of neighborhood! Colorful wooden houses that have oriels and oblique angles, little stores, restaurants that don’t pretend to look run down but actually are and that still serve delicious food ( best fries I had in years!), bars that offer live music, a park with a lake nearby and an amazing little tea shop (Evy Tea open bar) to hang out and get some work done while watching people…
3. The Fenway Victory Gardens
This is one of those places I am absolutely certain I would have spent hours in in summer just people watching: The memorial gardens are the oldest continuously operating victory gardens in the US. For those of you who (like me) don’t know what a victory garden is: During World War II, community gardens were constructed all over the US where citizens could plant fruits and vegetables. Today there is, of course, no shortage of food supplies in the US – but many of the community gardens survived. This is why you can stroll around between more than 500 little garden pockets spanning 7 acres where Boylston meets Park Drive. These tiny gardens are being tended to by more the 300 Bostonians from every neighborhood. Some of them put up little more than a chair and five rocks whilst others display little ponds, flower fields, and artwork.
Obviously, while I was there, I saw no one except some geese. But in summer this must be an amazing place: Lush, green, creative and community oriented. There is a bee hive, a herb garden, and a learning garden. I know, I have not seen it in action – but I would love to. And I am almost certain it’s worth a visit, just by seeing what it looked like when it was asleep… Go to their homepage
4. The Bar inside the Green Monster
I grew up close to a former coal mining area in West Germany. Till today it is one of the poorest areas in the country. People there often don’t have much – but they have one thing – soccer! If Borussia Dortmund, the best German soccer club ever if you trust me and not the statistics, wins, the whole city smiles. When they suck, people suck too. So I believe visiting sports events can be a way of looking into a cities soul. Which is why I would have loved to go watch a game by the Boston Red Socks. Unfortunately, they were not in season while I was there. But I was lucky because Cait and Jeremy showed me the second best thing: They took me to a bar. But not any bar. The Bleacher Bar is hidden inside the iconic Green Monster, the high wall in the stadium. If you are lucky, like we were, you score a seat directly in front of the field to catch a glimpse of the stadium and the atmosphere, even if no game is on. Or, well, you get creeped out by the weird stuffed dogs that are scattered all over the field to scare the geese away…
5. The “Boston Color Scheme”
I think from now on, the icy blue of clear northern skies in combination with an earthy red of like the bricks and a green of corroded copper is going to remind me of Boston immediately. I know it is a little weird but I can get obsessed with things like this. I love when material changes it’s color when the years go by as if nature was forcing its beauty on those artificial houses made by man. Looking at the result I can completely loose myself wandering around and looking at little chips in the brick, at most colored rooftops and bricks glowing in the light of the setting sun. Catching the perfect picture of this balance of red and green, of architecture and nature would make the perfect Boston postcard! Challenge accepted: