Boston, City of My Heart

Do you have one favorite city that trumps all the others you enjoy?

I admit, I haven’t been to most of the cities that would come to minds. I haven’t been to Paris or Rome, or even to London, in spite of having been to the United Kingdom a number of times.

I love Dublin. I adore New York and like San Franciso, from what I’ve seen. Montreal and Ottawa have their distinct and undeniable charms.

But the city that has my heart is Boston.

If you’ve been here, hanging out with me for a long time, you knew that, because almost every time I go I seem to feel the need to write about it.

I love the history of Boston, as one of the cities where American liberty was born.

And my own family history is connected to Boston. My many-times-great grandfather lived on this exact site, at the corner of Washington and Essex. He owned this land 125 years before the Liberty Tree was the gathering spot for the Sons of Liberty. Might he have planted the Liberty Tree?!


I love that Boston is surrounded by water. For the first time, we had a view of the water from our hotel and also took advantage of the location and went on a harbor cruise.

I love the sights and sounds of Boston. Like all big cities, there’s always a festival, a gathering, lots of unusual and quirky details.

And I love the museums. We go back to the same museums every single time and visit our favorite pieces and find new treasures, like this glimpse of infinity. Each side of this work had only about 10 glass vessels in a space about one foot deep. The artist,
Josiah McElheny (American, born in 1966), created a brilliant vision—I could look all day.

I know that, when I have an opportunity to travel, I should go new places. I know I would love those other great cities and find them thrilling and intoxicating, too. I know I would expand my horizons and knowledge by visiting more, different cities.

And I know I’ll go back to Boston. In fact, I can hardly wait!

So, how about you? What city inspires your affection? Should I go there soon?

76 thoughts on “Boston, City of My Heart

  1. I love seeing my city through your eyes. If I was to talk about Boston the views would be less beautiful and there would be more complaining:) Could you tell me where all that stunning glass is located? I’ve never seen it and I’ve lived here my entire life.

  2. If you are looking for cities to visit, I recommend Trondheim, Norway. I haven’t been for more than 20 years, but every time we stopped there I found something new that facinated me. Love the old streets, the shops, the Nidaros cathedral, it was just so simple and charming and historic. And, closer to home, Rapid City is a pretty hopping little town, for South Dakota anyway. 🙂

    • I can’t imagine living in Boston or any really big city (although I lived in and loved Buffalo for 20 years) but visiting them makes me happy. My husband knows Pittsburgh quite well but I haven’t spent enough time there to really get to know it. Thanks for commenting!

  3. I don’t have a favourite city, but I do have many that I love. I suspect I’d love Boston if I visited it, because it seems to have many of the important ingredients. History? Of course, and with added museums. Water? Certainly. A river or the sea will do. A lively, preferably quirky cultural life. And food. You didn’t mention food. Whether it celebrates the region it’s situated in, or is a multi-cultural hotspot, satisfying and individual food stops are essential. Cities I love include London, York, Vancouver, Seville, Barcelona, Toulouse, Cremona. Oh, and in South Korea, I loved Busan, but perhaps that’s because my daughter’s living there.

  4. Yay! My city. I love Boston for the same reasons. Every time I go I see something new. Last month I came upon the Irish Famine Memorial on Washington St. And I’m eager to get back to the Boston Public Library since major renovations were completed.

    • We took a tour of the library on this last trip and it’s fab! We saw mostly the art and architecture of the old part but ended in the new section–very interesting! I’ll need to put the famine memorial on my list for next time.

  5. [J+D] Completely understandable that you should keep going there. You have old connections. You have roots! You’re going to renew those connections, reaffirm cultural values, etc. Both of us have reason to think it would be good to visit – and we are DEFINITELY not urbanites or city lovers! For us a similar trip would be to the Peak District in England – not that we’ve been there (or any big cities) for at least 20yrs. It’s not that you should be discovering new places instead of going to the old, but perhaps – if you can justify time and cost – as well. ???

    • I’m not a city lover at all–which is part of the reason I’ve been to Cornwall 3 times but never London! Maybe Boston is a city for non-city people. I like your perspective on re-visiting old/loved places, while fitting in new adventures, too. Out hope is to come to Scotland next autumn, to see some of what we’ve seen but expand our horizons, too!

    • If you can, come back–the city has changed quite a lot I think. That “big dig” everyone talked about, where they replaced the chaotic, elevated highways that bisected the city with tunnels, has made for a wonderful long and meandering Greenway, a narrow green park system with all kinds of charms along the way.

  6. Boston is fanatstic! I bet your great great grandfather (many times removed) is overjoyed that you love his city so much too. Dare we say that the city is in your blood?! Your travel photos are gorgeous, by the way. Nice job capturing the city!

    • It’s good to see you, Miss Jeannie! I somehow got unsubscribed to your blog but I’ve just fixed that! It does feel, in an ineffable way, like Boston is in my blood. That location where my grandfather lived is now just a corner in Chinatown but I still got a thrill from seeing it!

      • Oh welcome back my dear! It’s funny how cities change over the years but we still retain some inherent connection to them. Just love that about life. You’ll be forever linked to your favorite city. Lucky you!

  7. I think it is wonderful that you can trace your lineage back so far and contemplate if your many times great-grand-father planted that tree! I’ve never been to Boston, but everyone I know who has been loves it too. My favourite city in the world is Florence, though it is 25 years since my last visit. Perhaps the passing of time makes it even more special in my memory.

    • My grandmother did all the genealogy work–and she LOVED the idea that her forbear might’ve planted that tree! If you ever make the LONG trip to the US again, put Boston on the itinerary–it’s very appealing. And I would definitely love to see Florence.

  8. I find going to Savannah,Ga interesting… it is a beautiful old city. I did enjoy visiting Charleston, Sc not so long ago.i don’t think I have a “love” for cities. Watching the lady make candy would have been neat though. Thank for the delightful tour.

    • I don’t have a love for cities either but I do love art and museums and the best ones seem to be in cities. I haven’t been to Savannah but I liked Charleston very much. SO Southern!

  9. Stunning captures Kerry! During the very short 2 day trip that we indulged in back in 2012, I remember liking a city a lot. Another trip has to be planned because I know there’s so much history & art left to be explored. Thank you for sharing this:)

    • It’s the history and the art that make the city special, plus its physical beauty–the Museum of Fine Arts is not to be missed. The city may have a special meaning for Americans that wouldn’t make as much sense to folks who grew up elsewhere. SO many iconic people and places and events in our nation’s history are straight out of Boston. Still, I think there’s something for everyone!

  10. I have to say that Edinburgh has a special place in my heart. Old Town, New Town, Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, Princes Street shopping and the gardens. It’s a magical place.

  11. I’ve never been to Boston, but it’s on my (long) list! The big city in which I’ve spent the most time is Chicago, hands down. And I love it, though I’ve never wanted to live there. I did work in the Loop for a couple of years, and we try to visit now and then. It is endlessly fascinating with new places to discover and old friends to visit.

    • I haven’t spent a lot of time in Chicago but I loved what I saw! That Art Institute is so fabulous! I wouldn’t want to live in Boston, or any city that big, but I’m glad it’s relatively easy for us to get to so I can visit often. I hope it makes its way up your list before too long.

  12. Boston is on my ‘top places I would love to visit’ list. You won’t be surprised to read that I would also wholeheartedly recommend a trip to our wonderful Edinburgh. So pleased that it receives a shout-out from one of your other commentators too! 🙂

    • Yes, and I was just saying to her that we may be coming to Scotland in the next year or so, so I’ll be asking for info about Edinburgh! The point of the trip would be Outer Hebrides and Orkney but a couple days in the big city might make sense, too . . .

      • Well, if you are going to come, you might as well make the most of it!! Orkney and the Outer Hebrides are sublime – you will love them. You might also consider trying to fit in the Shetland islands – they also have a very strong yarn heritage (although I guess you would wish to prioritise Harris Tweed!). Can’t wait to hear more about your plans in due course 🙂

          • Completely understand that – and it can often be a mistake to try to cram too much in to a trip, can’t it. Much better to focus on priorities and get the very most out of those. Having said that, I am really hoping you can squeeze in Edinburgh – you won’t regret it!! X

  13. I was born, raised and educated in New York City so it’s safe to say that it is the city of my heart. It has changed so much over the years, but that’s okay because that’s exactly what it is supposed to do. I haven’t traveled widely, but if I had t choose a runner up, for sure it would be Paris, followed very closely by Washington, D.C. I need to get out more!

    • I can’t imagine actually living in such a large city–I find it both tantalizing and terrifying to think about! I wish I knew New York better–I love what I know but I don’t feel as at home there as in Boston.

  14. I agree! I went to college in Boston and we lived south of the city for some years. It sings to me. I love the age and the British feel of it. (Is the steaming bean pot still there?) I walked all around usually on Saturday – I went to a girls’ college and most of my friends were away for the weekend. I particularly loved Christmas downtown. I was sad, the last time I was there, to see that the downtown shopping area where Filene’s and Jordan Marsh were, looked pretty bad.
    Other places sing to me. Bali does, the minute I get off the plane! I have come to love London as well, though Paris doesn’t thrill me as it does so many people. Seattle comes to mind as well. It feels so very different from the Eastern seaboard with the Asian – Pacific Northwest vibe.
    Having lived all over, there are so many wonderful and interesting places here and abroad to see and experience. I wonder that so many people I know don’t travel more…..

    • I thought you’d be chiming in on the love of Boston! I was just saying to my husband that I want to spend Christmas there some year–we haven’t been in winter. You’ve traveled so much it holds no fear for you!

      • I forgot to ask – are you a Puritan? I am a 13th generation Philadelphia Quaker, though I think my relatives were farmers and country folk.

        • Yes, my grandmother loved to say that her people “came with Governor Winthrop’s fleet”! Both sides of the family go way back, pre-Revolution–some Puritan, some Dutch, all farmers, I think!

  15. I like traveling and love visiting big cities because there is always so much to see. Boston is about 1.5 hours from home, and I can get there by car, bus, or train. 🙂 The history of our Nation up in this part of the Country is pretty great. It must be nice to trace your ancestors back that far. 🙂 I’ve been to a lot of places, I’d gladly go back to.

    • We usually fly to Boston–our very small airport has a direct flight that takes about an hour. This last time, we were in MA for weaving school and took then drove to Fitchburg and took the commuter rail in–it was SO easy and comfortable! I’d gladly go back to most of the places I’ve traveled, too!

  16. Your love of Boston really shines out from this post! I think it would be a place I’d love too, with all its history and its manageable size. I haven’t travelled a lot and where I have been I have usually chosen to visit the countryside rather than the towns and cities.
    I must confess that I love London – when I’m not there I don’t miss it at all but as soon as I get off the train and start to walk along its streets I’m hooked all over again. I grew up not far from the city and I worked there for a few years which is probably why it means a lot to me.
    I have grown to love Norwich, the nearest city to where I live now and other cities I would love to see again are Cologne, Innsbruck and Vienna.

    • We usually visit the countrysides, too, rather than the cities (which is why we’ve been to Cornwall three separate times and never to London!). I think one of the reasons I like Boston so much is that I know it well now and it doesn’t scare me, like some big cities do! It sounds like you have the same relationship with London.

  17. What a nice tour you gave us! Not sure I have a favorite city, but I seem to find something to like most places. Don’t miss Edinburgh in Scotland. Lots of weaving going on there, lovely colors, too. Try Inverewe Gardens while you’re there and venture to Kyle of Lochalsh and on to Skye.

    • I think we will definitely need to go to Edinburgh, after so many recommendations! Last time we were there we went to Islay and Glencoe but didn’t have the time to go to Skye and Harris and Lewis. So, it’s time to go back!

  18. Boston has much to return to… as to Liberty, the Virginians would like to think that they had the process going, intellectually and politically, before those thugs in Boston started pelting the Brit’s with snowballs…

    • I’d like that, too! Out next planned trip is for the Marathon but we’ll be with a group of people, including a runner, so I don’t know how free time we’ll have. But I will look for a bit of free time!

  19. It’s been such a long time (40 yrs???) since I’ve been to Boston, and I definitely want to explore the city.
    I love the idea that your many-times great grandfather may have planted the Liberty Tree. But even if not, how cool that you know your family history, Kerry. Neat Post!

    • You’d love Boston–go back and take your cameras! My grandmother did all the work to uncover the history of that side of the family–she was very prideful about it. It is neat to know about it!

    • I think you’d find Boston delightful–it feels smaller and cozier than New York. It’s very walkable and the reminders of US history are, literally, around every corner. I hope you get there!

  20. I share your love of Boston, I’ve been there two years in a row and can’t wait to get back to explore more. However, what with the threat of your president-elect that Germans would get special vetting at immigration, I don’t think that will be any time soon…
    I follow “secret Boston” on Instagram, and it’s amazing to see how many beautiful places I still haven’t seen yet.

    • Yes, I remember you love Boston! And I can’t help but wonder how international travel will change, in both directions now . . . I hope you’ll be able to come back to the US, without hassle, soon.

  21. Hello. Thank you presenting Boston. We have not been there and that is why it was interesting to read Your post. Our favorite town is Paris. Its atmosphere appeals to us. We make on every visit long walking tours, sitting in small cafés and studying people passing by.

  22. I love your affectionate – and, yes, excited – take on Boston. It’s a city I’d like to visit (along with Washington DC), though my only memory of it is driving through along a multi-laned underpass where the other drivers were taking no prisoners. I did visit New York, though, expecting not to like it – but did, very much. I love visiting London, now that I’m not having to get in and out of it so often for work. But cathedral cities have a special feel, I think – Wells, Salisbury…

    • When you can, do visit Boston and DC–they are wonderful cities, and so different from NYC (which I also love!) Boston is so historic and friendly. I’ve been to England 3 times and have not yet been to London! But I will go someday!

  23. I’m visiting Boston in September, and Swansea, Bourne, and Portsmouth, Plattsburgh, Manchester and Saranac. It’s my New England family history trip. I wonder if you found the part of Muddy River where our first American ancestor had his first land? I wonder if you have a recommendation of where to stay in Boston? Is there a ferry across to Saranac? Have you ever heard why Truman’s brother, David Brainard (my second great grandfather, left Saranac for the midwest?

    • Hi Karen! How fun to hear from you. You are much more into genealogy than I am–I wish my grandmother (Lydia Bowen Wright) was still alive–she did a lot of research into her line and would’ve known about your questions, maybe. I’m going to send you email.

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