Parents’ insider guide to family travel: history around every corner at Four Seasons Boston

Parents’ insider guide to family travel: history around every corner at Four Seasons Boston

By on July 7th, 2012

Quaint brick houses and cobblestone streets. Seafood chowder. The Harvard Yard and Charles River. Home of the Red Sox. Though a big city with all the associated perks and distinctive neighborhoods, Boston, Mass. is a both a college town and a walkable New England metropolis on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s also one of the country’s oldest, founded in 1630 and steeped in American history. That said, Boston today is a youngster: 72 percent of residents are under 44.

Base the family at Four Seasons Hotel Boston for easy on-foot access to Beantown’s theater district—shopping avenues, eateries and waterfront. The hotel’s front yard happens to be the Victorian-style Boston Public Garden (America’s first park), home of the famed Swan Boat rides and Make Way for Ducklings statues.

In summer, pick a beach for a picnic and try out some water sports (sailing, cruising the Charles, kayaking, a sunset yacht cruise). In fall, the air is crisp and the autumn foliage is in full wattage. In winter, there’s skiing at nearby (Loon, Killington, Okemo…), ice-skating on Frog Pond in the Boston Common. Spring is best for strolls through the city’s manicured parks to see all the colorful flowers and blossoms in bloom.

Why go?

1. Education vacation: Four Seasons Hotel Boston is just next to the 50-acre Boston Common and the start of the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail, a brick-lined route that passes 16 historic sites.

2. Fenway Park: Are Fenway Franks really as good as they sound? You decide. The nation’s oldest ballpark is a 20-minute walk from Four Seasons. Take the kids on a Ballpark Tour or if the season is in full swing, don your Sox hat and catch a game live.

3. Culture: Pick a few and get started—40 museums, 60 colleges and universities. And since you’re there, take the kids to the Harvard campus in Cambridge. Catch a lecture, tour the campus, do some future-looking reconnaissance.

4. The Cape: You’re very near to Cape Cod and the islands—windswept beaches, the best of fresh New England seafood—so roll in a side trip. (It’s a 90-minute ferry from Boston to Provincetown or a 15-minute flight to Nantucket from Logan. Or rent a car for the quick drive, with a stop along the way at Plimouth Plantation).

5. Hollywood East: Boston is now “Hollywood East” and it’s not just Matt and Ben (Damon and Affleck of “Good Will Hunting” fame). Boston has played backdrop in dozens of hit movies recently: “The Departed,” “The Town,” “Gone, Baby, Gone,” “Mystic River.” Be on the lookout for starlets like Cameron Diaz, Salma Hayek, Adam Sandler and Mark Wahlberg… just another day in Boston.

What the kids will love:

*The accent: You’ve always wanted to try out that “wicked awesome” Boston twang; i.e.,“Pahk ya cah in Hahvahd Yahd.

*Four Seasons’ 8th floor pool, ideal for a chilly or rainy day, and other kid-friendly fun.

*A ball game at Fenway Park with mom and dad.

*The hotel’s new Passport Program. Kids get to explore the hotel to earn stamps in their Four Seasons passport, then win a prize at the end.

*Saturday (complimentary) cookie making classes in the hotel pastry shop. And that night, a midnight snack: kids get to sneak down to the 5th floor and “Raid the Fridge” (pajamas encouraged).

*A Swan Boat ride in the Public Garden. Or the Duck Tour on an amphibious vehicle that tours Boston by land and sea. In winter, skating on Frog Pond in the Boston Common, then warming up with hot cocoa in Four Seasons’ The Bristol Lounge.

What you will love:

*The lovely views of the Public Garden.

*The hotel’s New England-inspired décor.

*A signature martini at The Bristol Lounge after the kids are tucked in.

*Afternoon Tea, a Boston tradition, each weekend at the hotel.

*Babysitting services, arranged by the concierge, for that long-awaited night on the town. Boston’s best restaurants and nightclubs are right outside the front door.

*For families, half-off on the second Four Seasons room, if you want family time and private time.

Look for:

Swans in the front yard. Boston celebs Romeo and Juliet make a splash each May, signaling the unofficial start of summer in Boston. (The pair lives in the Public Garden Lagoon every year until the cold weather sets in.)

Eat this:

Dine in -
(Grown-ups) At The Bristol Lounge, kick off the evening at the raw bar. Graduate to farm-fresh salads and signature soups. But save room for New England seafood, house-aged steaks, homemade pastas and the “Best of Boston” Bristol Burger. Thanks to Executive Chef Brooke Vosika, the most tenured Four Seasons chef—The Bristol Lounge is a fave for guests and locals. Reserve your after-hours date here for martinis, cocktails, local draught beer and wine.

(Kids) Order from The Bristol Lounge’s Kids’ Menu: burger ($10), the Leaning Tower of Grilled Cheese ($7) and homemade Chicken Noodle Soup ($6). For dessert: the Brownie Sundae ($7) and More S’mores Squares ($7). Teens get their own menu. Favorites are the Petit Filet ($22), Grilled Chicken Breast ($18), Teen Burger ($16) and Seared Salmon ($18), plus the Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich ($8). On the reverse side of their menus: a Boston trivia and fun facts page.

Dine out -
(Families) While you’re in town, sample Boston specialties: clam chowder and Boston Cream Pie. For a home-style breakfast, try The Paramount on quaint Charles Street (we like the fresh banana and caramel French toast). For lunch, we suggest the waterfront Legal Seafood Harborside, in Boston’s most up-and-coming neighborhood (giving Baltimore a run for the money).

For dinner, your choice is the North End—to stroll, dine and take in the aromas and festive sounds. There’s Pizzeria Regina or wander into any spot on Hanover Street for tasty pasta. Follow that with cannoli for dessert at Mike’s Pastry or Modern Pastry.

Quincy Market is a great choice for a casual bite (Faneuil Hall Marketplace). After lunch, peruse the kiosks for a Boston souvenir.

(Grown-ups) The foodie scene here is heating up with celebs such as Todd English, Ming Tsai, Barbara Lynch and Lydia Shire. Book a babysitter through the concierge, then enjoy a date night at nearby Italian-American Mistral Bistro or Sorrelina in Back Bay. Across Charles to Cambridge are some foodie must-trys: Craigie on Main for French-inspired rustic, inventive Turkish at Oleana or Bondir, “sustainable modern American” featuring New England regional cuisine. Sushi lovers: O Ya, a 37-seat dining room with offerings many have lauded as “the most amazing sushi I have ever had.”

5 family to-dos:

1. Duck Tour: Climb on the amphibious, WWII-style Duck Tour vessel, guided by Boston Duck Tours. The staff are brimming with incredible Boston trivia (even locals would be surprised). Pass by Boston’s most famous sites, including the Bunker Hill Monument, Cheers Bar & Grill, the Hatch Shell, State House, TD Garden (home to the Boston Celtics & Bruins) and Newbury Street. Then, make a splash into the Charles River and cruise along while the kids get turns driving. Don’t forget to buy noisemakers—“Quackers”—and Quack along as you go.

2. Children’s Museum: The renowned Boston Children’s Museum? Don’t miss it. Ascend the New Balance Climb, then visit exhibits: the Construction Zone, PlayLab, Art Studio, Arthur & Friends, KidPower and the Japanese House. The Japanese house invites kids to take off their shoes and step inside a two-story silk merchant’s home from Kyoto. Outside the Museum, snap a photo in front of the giant Hood Milk bottle, an ice cream stand and snack bar that is 40-feet tall, 18 feet in diameter, and weighs 15,000 pounds. If it were a real milk bottle, it would hold 68,620 gallons of milk!

3. Aquarium: Seventy-plus exhibits featuring aquatic animals from around the world at the New England Aquarium. African penguins and the cownose ray. A four-story Giant Ocean Tank. A Caribbean Coral Reef. What else do you need? The Tank’s biggest celebrity is Myrtle the Green Sea Turtle. But also look for nurse shark, barracuda, stingrays, moray eels and the hundreds of colorful reef fishes. There’s an IMAX theatre and Whale Watch adventure outside aboard the Voyager III, departing from the Aquarium’s dock.

4. Freedom TrailThis 2.5-mile, brick lined route marked with a painted red line begins in the Boston Common and passes 16 historically significant sites: Benjamin Franklin Statue, Boston Latin School, the Old Corner Bookstore, the Paul Revere House, the Old North Church, Bunker Hill Monument and the USS Constitution. Daily tours led by 18th century costumed guides.

5. Raid the Fridge: Every Saturday evening, kids staying the hotel are invited to “Raid the Fridge!” From 7 to 10 pm, they flock to the 5th floor to pick out a complimentary late-night snack to take back in their room. (PJs welcome.)

Kids’ fun by age group—best for…

*Babies: Seeing all the fish, sharks, penguins and sea life up-close at the New England Aquarium. A Swan Boat Ride in the Public Garden, just across the street (snap a pic next to the Make Way for Ducklings Statues). A picnic: have Four Seasons pack one for your family. Spread a blanket in the Public Garden or Boston Common and enjoy a relaxing, sunny afternoon in the park.

*Toddlers: A day or afternoon at the Boston Children’s Museum. The amazing new playground—the best in Boston—nearby, along the Charles River Esplanade. Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln: 242 acres of walking trails, a farm stand, hayrides, cute and furry farm animals and native wildlife. Whale watching from the New England Aquarium docks.

*Kids 5-10: The Museum of Science: Butterfly Garden, Dinosaurs, bees; amazing gift shop, too. The Duck Tour by land and sea, including the chance for kids to drive the boat themselves. The Harvard Museum of Natural History: the Glass Flowers exhibit is always a hit. In wintertime, ice-skating on Frog Pond, a two-minute walk from the hotel, on the Boston Common.

*Tweens & teens: Shopping—and ice cream—on Newbury Street and the Prudential Center. The IMAX Theater at the Museum of Science. Live shows, including the “Lightning!” presentation, at the Museum of Science: indoor bolts produced by the world’s largest air-insulated Van de Graaff generator. A game at America’s oldest, Fenway Park, which turned 100 in 2012; plus, a behind-the-scenes Ballpark Tour.

Read more about Boston in Four Seasons Magazine

Read about Four Seasons Hotel Boston’s Kid-Kation package, which includes Make-your-own-sundaes with the Ice Cream Man. 

Post Author
David White

David White is the Four Seasons Hotel Boston concierge. A Massachusetts native, he earned a degree in Psychology and Jazz Piano from Tufts University and New England Conservatory. After starting in hospitality in Costa Rica, David returned to Boston and knew there was only one place he wanted to work: Four Seasons. David accepted a job as Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Boston, and the rest is history. “I had no idea just how much I would love being a concierge: it fit like a glove from Day 1.” Outside work, his hobbies include running on the Charles River Esplanade (David has run several Boston Marathons) and salsa dancing (he competes every weekend).

View all posts from David
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1 Response(s) to "Parents’ insider guide to family travel: history around every corner at Four Seasons Boston"
Back To School Breakfast Oatmeal Recipe (Video) says:
August 22, 2012 at 3:47 pm

[...] further ado, I introduce Executive Chef Brooke Vosika of Four Seasons Hotel Boston and his two [...]

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