Boston by Foot Walking Tour: The North End and Victorian Back Bay

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I really love my architectural walks.  I think in my previous life I was meant to be a builder or an architect of some sort.  I remember being a kid and looking at buildings, libraries, my school, restaurants, shopping malls from a pram’s perspective and wondering how they were made, who made them, why they were made etc.  For a lil kid – there was a lot of ‘deep thoughts’ happening.  There still are let me tell you.  😉

I know the City of Toronto does some cool walking tours but I haven’t attended one.  Mainly because the one’s I want to go on always fall on a Sunday and this girl always works on Sundays.   It’s my Monday in my world. 

Check out the City of Toronto’s Walking Tour’s here:  http://www.heritagetoronto.org/discover-toronto/walk  I’m determined at one point this summer to at least get to one walk or two in my hometown City of Toronto.

When I was in Boston I found a neat lil company by the name of Boston By Foot that offered cultural and architectural walks of Boston’s City Centre.  I decided to take two tours.  One of the North End and the other of the Victorian Back Bay.

The North End

America’s oldest neighbourhood is a delightful labyrinth of narrow streets and exotic marketplaces. The walking tour of the North End makes the perfect companion to the Heart of the Freedom Trail continuing on through second mile of Boston’s famous historic walk.

A gateway for immigrants from around the world, the North End is also home to the Old North Church, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, and the Paul Revere House. Isolated from the rest of downtown by the construction the old Central Artery in the 1950’s, the North End remains largely preserved from modern development.

Upon entering the North End, I was greeted by the new North End parks of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. Walking among the Italian markets and downtown Boston’s largest collection of colonial buildings, I heard the story of a changing neighbourhood from the time of Cotton Mather, to the exploits of Paul Revere, the rise of the Fitzgeralds, the fall of molasses and present day regentrification.

Victorian Back Bay

On this tour I learned about the filling of the Back Bay, the creation of the neighbourhood, and how this was enabled by the development of new technology in the mid-1800s. Designed to imitate the grand boulevards of Paris, the Back Bay is one of the few areas of Boston where the streets are straight and the sidewalks wide.

I joined my guide in front of Trinity Church and walked back in time to view splendid examples of Victorian architecture.

Boston’s Back Bay embraces one of America’s richest collections of art and architecture. The treasures of Back Bay and Copley Square include grand rows of Back Bay townhouses, Trinity Church, the Boston Public Library, and New Old South Church.

Check out Boston By Foot’s website here:  http://www.bostonbyfoot.org/

Regular 2012 Season

May 1 – October 31

There are different meet up times for each of the tours – check ahead online or at the time of booking.

Duration: 1 hr. 30 min.

$12 adults

$8 children (6-12)

I would suggest giving the Docent’s a lil tip – they work for free!  For $12 I guarantee you will get your walking and cultural dose worth and more.  You can tell the Docent’s truly enjoy interacting with folks and teaching about Boston’s glory.  Pay it forward and give them a lil something to let them how much you appreciate their time.  It will make them smile.  😉 

Thank you to Veronika for booking me on these tours as well as Michelle and Ellen for being amazing Docents while I was in Boston.  You made my trip an amazing architectural and cultural journey into Boston’s historical past!

Yours in travel,

Mel xo

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