Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Safari #90: Boston Public Garden Swan Boats

In the seven years I've been a Bostonian, I have never taken a Swan Boat ride in the Public Garden (smh, and you're probably shaking yours too). 

Now I can say I have, and I can also say that it was really enjoyable.  I should have done it a long time ago.  The weather was perfect and the ducks and nesting swans were enjoying the lagoon just as much as we were.

The Boston Swan boats have been continuously running and operated by the Paget family since 1877; the boats are a uniquely Boston experience, and for $3 per person ($1.50 for children), it's accessible to anyone who wishes to partake.  It's an easy activity for families, seniors, and visiting guests.

My Tips
  • Visit the Gibson House First.  Back Bay residents from the 1860's did not have sprawling back yards for a reason - the Public Garden was created for strolling and time spent outdoors.  The Gibson House will give you a great look into the lives of wealthy Boston residents through architecture, decoration, and daily living.  When you're done touring the house, visit the Public Garden and take a Swan Boat ride to do exactly as they did.
  • Don't Let Waiting in Line Make Your Decision. Waiting in line for a swan boat ride is fairly common and may turn those away who think they'll be waiting a long time.  On the day of my ride, there were close to 30 people in front of me, but it only took 15 minutes or so to get onto a boat.
  • Pack a Picnic.  If the weather is nice and you're able to plan ahead, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the Public Garden like a Bostonian does.  On the day of my ride, it was awesome to see so many people out enjoying the garden.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Safari #89: Gibson House Museum

Boston's Back Bay neighborhood is filled with historic homes, and after recently moving there in September, my fascination with them has continued to grow.  My little apartment hardly resembles what was once a true Back Bay gem.  The sealed fireplace, crown molding, and empty chandelier medallions allude to a time that once was; a time that the majority of Back Bay residents haven't known. Until now.

The Gibson House Museum, located at 137 Beacon Street, highlights Back Bay life from 1860 to the mid 1950's.  The house is frozen in time still bearing many of it's original decorations, artwork, room arrangements, and technology (such as the central heating system).
Central Heating Chamber

Tours are guided and take place on the hour at 1, 2 and 3pm Wednesday through Sunday.  The tour takes less than an hour and admission is $9 for adults and $3 for children under 12.  Please visit the website for more information about tours and pricing.

My Tips
  • Have Family Visiting From Out of Town?  Take them to the Gibson House Museum and then on a short stroll to the Boston Public Garden.  Depending on the weather, take a Swan Boat ride too.  It's the perfect way to showcase Boston's most popular neighborhoods.
  • Dress Wisely.  The Gibson House was designed as a winter home as the Gibson family spent most of its time in Nahant during the summer.  If you are visiting in the summer (like I did), be sure to wear cool clothing as the house is not air conditioned.

Calling Bells - Similar to Downton Abbey!

**Gibson House Museum image kindly borrowed from Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibson_House_Museum.  All other images are my own.