300 Hanover St.
Boston, MA 02113
Boston’s North End is one of those places where America’s history began. It is, however, about more than just Paul Revere, the Revolution and the Freedom Trail, as the North End’s Little Italy is the other half of the American story: that of the immigrant’s dream. For over a century and half it has been and still is the best place in Boston to get authentic Italian food. Dozens of family (and fancy) restaurants, pizza parlors, butchers and import stores offer as true a taste of Italy as can be found outside of the old country, and a day walking around that historic and charming area is good for the appetite. There are many places to grab a slice of pizza, a meal or a snack, all for well under $25, but many who do manage to set aside a few dollars for dessert, and the best dessert in Little Italy is found at Mike’s Pasty. In 1946 Michael Mercogliano founded his wonderful bakery on Hanover Street, right in the heart of Little Italy. His pastries and his cannolis in particular have long been considered the best in Boston. Mike passed away in 2012, but his tradition lives on at his original bakery (and two other stores, in Somerville and Cambridge). There is no better way to end a day in the North End than with a cannoli from Mike’s.
The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
11 Divinity Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138
A mere $12 (or less for children, students and seniors) buys entrance into an air-conditioned world of wonders – natural wonders – in the heart of Harvard University. The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology has four floors of dinosaur skeletons, taxidermied animals, arms and armor, steles and other Mayan artifacts and more. Its collections are world class and world renowned, and while some of the big draws are always there, the museum staff is very smart about changing things up with new and visiting exhibits from around the country and around the world. It takes at least a couple of hours to see everything in the museum, and longer for those who want to walk about or take one of the inexpensive tours of one of the nation’s most famous centers of learning.
1560 Boston Providence Highway
Norwood, MA 02062
Boston has its public and private golf courses, all of which are booked solid in the summer. For those who want a little lighter golfing fare, however, there is Monster Mini-Golf, on Route 1 just south of the city. For $9.99 for adults (and $8.99 for kids) players can putt around an 18-hole indoor course enlivened with animated, glow-in-the-dark ghosts and goblins and other spooky creatures. For those who still have a few dollars of their $25 left, there are banks and banks of arcade games to swallow up their quarters.
Minuteman Commuter Bikeway
Riding bikes and summer go together, but trying to bike around Boston on hot asphalt and with all of its traffic can be harrowing. Fortunately, there is a safer, cooler and more welcoming area for bikers – and it is free. The 10-mile-long Minuteman Commuter Bikeway begins in Alewife Station in Cambridge snakes along for Arlington, Lexington and Bedford. Known also as America’s Revolutionary Rail Trail, bikeway turns 25 this year, and along its winding paths are historical markers, picnic tables, benches, rest areas and exits that bring riders into the shopping and restaurant areas of the historic towns along the route.
2010 Day Blvd.
South Boston, MA 02127
The city of Boston is built around a harbor, and in the middle of that harbor stands a majestic fortress – Fort Independence on Castle Island. While its guns have long been silent, and its battlements are scaled by tourists rather than soldiers, Castle Island is worth a visit, and not just for its martial history. There are three miles of beaches and 22 acres of parks with numerous picnic grounds and playing fields all around the fort, and tours of the fort, as well as parking, is free.