âHappiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is.âMaxim GorkyA sunny Saturday spent by many children and parents at the Frog Pond within Boston Common in Boston." data-caption="âHappiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is.âMaxim GorkyA sunny Saturday spent by many children and parents at the Frog Pond within Boston Common in Boston." data-credit="B Tal/Flickr">
Welcome to our summer series of family friendly getaways. First up, Boston, a town known for its Ivy League pedigree, lobster rolls and of course it's battles, revolutions and tea parties. It is also a fantastic urban getaway for a traveling family looking for great food, culture, and maybe even a visit to the ball game.
Luxe: There are few hotels more synonymous with luxury than the Mandarin Oriental. This particular property feels both intimate and grand. It's the type of place where the front desk staff greet your child by name. They also have a beautiful tradition of welcoming you at check-in with an in-room tea service. And always keeping their littlest guests in mind, ours were served milk and cookies and kitted out in a tiny and tiniest (for the baby) robe for after bathtime. Be sure to take a spin in the Tesla courtesy car, not a bad way to get around town (especially if your children are fans of Batman).
Boutique: XV Beacon is a wise choice for both location and cool factor. The rooms are large and comfortable, like an English bachelor pad. Their soaker jacuzzi tubs produce an epic bubble bath, and the customized concierge service goes above and beyond. Our baby came down with a cold and fever during a recent visit and the team sent up some therapeutic bath salts specifically formulated to reduce congestion. Be sure to take advantage of their luxurious Lexus courtesy car for a little sightseeing.
Here is a custom 48-hour itinerary for young families visiting Beantown:
Breakfast: Bar Boulud. Mom and dad are sure to quell their cravings for all the fine breakfast classics here, but your tots are treated just as regally. Kid-friendly versions of any breakfast items are made to order. Standouts are the silver dollar buttermilk pancakes and French toast sticks.
Boston is a world class city full of incredible museums, but the Children's Museum is really the crown jewel for visiting families. Plan to spend at least a few hours exploring and discovering.
Lunching: A stone's throw from the museum is Sportello. Grab some bar seats along the large and winding counter (after all, "Sportello" is Italian for counter service), and prepare to savour the decadent onslaught of flavours. Chef Barbara Lynch really flexes her Italian muscles preparing classics from the most local and seasonally sourced ingredients -- it's hard to resist her traditional bolognese. And guess what? The team is willing to accommodate your pickiest eater with a fresh take on basic palette pleasers too.
Snack time/Coffee time:
Barrington Coffee-- the beans are roasted at their facility in the Berkshires and beverages brewed in-house are rich and pungent. There is a small selection of locally sourced muffins, scones and pastries if the little ones need sustenance.
Playdate/Afternoon activity: Stop by the fire hall on Boylston St. Built in the late 19th century, it is still operational today. If the team of firefighters are not out on a rescue, they are happy to show your wee ones around. Right across the street you'll find the Prudential tower for a chance to get a great birds eye view of Boston from the Skywalk observatory. Tip -- if you dine at Top of the Hub you get the same view without a ticket price. Go for dessert or an adult beverage.
Early dinner with your tots:Durgin-Park is a quintessential Boston dining experience. Serving up classic New England fare since the pre-revolutionary days, it is located in Faneuil Hall, a marketplace and meeting hall dating back to 1743.
Get a sitter for a night out: Opt for some beautiful hand-crafted cocktails or sip some small grower champagne at Drink. After your aperitif's, head to Mei Mei for modern Chinese-American fusion run by two Beantown siblings.
Brunching: Depending on how late your evening stretched, you may need something stronger than coffee to fuel your day. If your visit falls over a Sunday don't miss brunch at Mistral Bistro, the elegant dining room and bountiful spread will woo your wee ones and the mimosas are just what the doctor ordered for bleary-eyed parents.
Morning activity: If the weather is nice, head to Boston Common and bring a frisbee or ball and gloves (it is the home of the Red Sox after all) or stop by the Tadpole playground next to the Frog Pond for a good romp.
If the weather is less savoury, be sure to hit the Boston Public Library, the new Children's Library is flooded with light, color and plenty of books, as well as cozy corners to curl up in!
Lunching: Pizza in the park is a quintessential Boston pastime. Stroll along Charles St and stop in at a classic Boston pizza joint, Upper Crust. Grab a couple pies to-go and enjoy them in the common.
Snack time/Coffee time: Tatte, a black and white French Cafe on a cute cobbled street in Beacon Hill is a charming and delicious stop for a mid-day caffeine fix (or a meal). All baked goods are made (with love) in house and are definitely worth writing home about.
Playdate/Afternoon activity: The ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art Boston), located on the Boston Waterfront, the sweeping harbour views, inviting lawn (be sure to run your kids around before or after your visit) and contemporary and airy architecture paired with the colourful art make this museum a great destination for families. On the last Saturday of the month is the ICA Playdate, an opportunity for the whole family to create art projects, get inspired and take a kid-friendly tour of the galleries.
Early dinner with your tots:Neptune Oyster. You won't find a better place for seafood. A must-order that will surely please the whole family is their famous Neptune Johnny Cake (really, who doesn't love a pancake of any kind?) -- a cornmeal flapjack served with a pile of smoked trout a dollop of honey butter and sturgeon caviar for good measure. Word to the wise: this place is always packed (for good reason) so take advantage of your children's dinner hour and go early -- don't say we didn't warn you!!
Get a sitter: Night out for mom and dad should start in Boston's hipster South End at The Butcher Shop for beautiful wines by the glass and some serious cured meats and pickled goodness. You could easily wile away the night here, but stop by the Beehive to quaff a quick libation and listen to a live brass band.
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