Love That Dirty Water: 5 Things I Love About Boston

Boston Letters. All photos by Kate Spenser.
Boston Letters. All photos by Kate Spenser.

One year ago I moved to Texas after 28 years as a Massachusetts resident. I hadn't realized until I lived in one how different a sprawling Southern city feels from the compact Northern cities I'm used to.

I'm home for a visit this month, and yesterday, as I spent some time wandering through Boston, I was struck by just how unique Boston's vibe is, and reminded of how much I adore this city. So from the particular vantage point of a Massachusetts girl transplanted to the South, I offer you: 5 Things I Love About Boston (that I miss while I'm in Texas).

Downtown Boston is great for pedestrians - sidewalks, crosswalks, and generously timed crossing signals mean the pedestrian is always a priority.
Downtown Boston is great for pedestrians - sidewalks, crosswalks, and generously timed crossing signals mean the pedestrian is always a priority.

5. It's a Pedestrian City

Boston is one of the oldest cities in the nation, and because it's old, it's small - Boston was literally built for walking. Not only do you not have to drive everywhere if you don't want to, it's often inadvisable to do so - unless circling for parking for hours on end is your idea of a pleasurable afternoon! Not only is walking all over town great exercise, it's a great way to see the city.


For Walks in Boston, Kate Recommends:

Maps of the colorful T system - including the green, red, orange, blue, and silver lines - can be found in stations and on the trains to help you find your way around.
Maps of the colorful T system - including the green, red, orange, blue, and silver lines - can be found in stations and on the trains to help you find your way around.

4. The T

Sure, it's not running 24-7 and is known for its delays, but there is nothing like living without it to make you really miss good public transportation! When you don't feel like walking, you can get pretty much anywhere you want to go in Boston and beyond by riding the trains and buses operated by the MBTA - affectionately called "the T" by the locals.

One of the things I love most about the T is that it has character - each of the different color-coded lines has its own style of train, and it's not uncommon to spot a train with cars mixed and matched from different eras in T history, distinguishable by slightly different coloring or style. Though the tokens we used to ride the T in my childhood are a thing of the past, boarding the train with a Charlie Card makes the process faster for everyone! If you're visiting Boston, make sure you check out the MBTA's trip planner tool, as well as their handy list of apps for your iPhone, iPad, or other smartphone that make navigating the T a snap.

Most days you can find this ice cream truck parked at the corner of the Public Garden, with a scene from Make Way For Ducklings painted on the back! They've got great soft serve.
Most days you can find this ice cream truck parked at the corner of the Public Garden, with a scene from Make Way For Ducklings painted on the back! They've got great soft serve.

3. Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden

Boston Common and the adjacent Boston Public Garden are together one of my favorite places to spend time in Boston. I love to stroll along the paths lined with musicians or sit on a bench in the shade and people watch. I love to watch the city's youngest tourists pose with the Make Way for Ducklings statues and ride the famous Swan Boats (and yes, I've been known to join said tourists on a ride or two around the pond). In the spring, I love to go and see the baby ducks that have recently hatched and watch Romeo and Juliet, the garden's famous pair of childless swans, build their annual nest. Simply put, it's a great place to walk, lounge, relax, play, see, and learn.

The view from one of my favorite benches in the garden where you can watch the swan boats with the buzz of Newbury Street behind you.
The view from one of my favorite benches in the garden where you can watch the swan boats with the buzz of Newbury Street behind you.

Make Way for Ducklings - A Boston Classic

George Washington in the Boston Public Garden, showing his Bruins pride.
George Washington in the Boston Public Garden, showing his Bruins pride.

2. Sports Team Loyalty

There's truly nothing like a Boston sports fan. Just ask George Washington - he loves the Bruins so much he made himself an honorary member! When a Boston sports team is doing well, it's all you'll hear about. But even better, when they're not doing well, the fans stick by them. From 1918 to 2004, Red Sox fans kept the faith, every year, that this year could be THE year. We loved our Celtics in the days of Larry Bird, but we also loved them in the years without him (better luck next year, guys). With the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals this year for the first time in over twenty years, the city's got Bruins fever - but then again, we have Bruins fever every year. I love walking down the streets of Boston and seeing every third person wearing the insignia of the Sox, the Bs, or the Cs - or even all three!

1. The People

I love people watching in Boston. Sitting in the garden, watching people walk by, you'll hear languages and accents from all over the globe, mixed in, of course, with the Boston accent. Bostonians are known for their sarcasm and abrasive wit, and it's this Boston personality type that I miss the most living away from here.

The Boston Accent and Sarcasm at its Best in "Good Will Hunting"

More by this Author


Comments 15 comments

Husky1970 5 years ago

I love this hub because I, too, love Boston. I spent 5 years there as a college student many years ago and make at least 5-10 trips in every year. I completely agree with your reasons to love Boston. Also, Fenway Park, the Colleges, Quincy Market, the Waterfront, the MFA (see my hub on Art in Bloom), the Greenway, the North End, etc. Love that Dirty Water. Voted up and awesome.


lmongeau 5 years ago

I really think Matt Damon should always speak with his Boston accent. Cutest poor smart guy ever.


cate p 5 years ago

I have read all three of your new pieces on three distinctlydifferent topics and have enjoyed them all. Keep it up!What about my favorite place in Boston: the MFA and its amazing new wing. Check it out--you will be inspired write about it for sure!


Kate Spenser profile image

Kate Spenser 5 years ago from Austin, TX Author

Thanks, Cate! I haven't been to the MFA since they've finished all the renovations, but you're not the first person to remind me that I ought to check it out while I'm up visiting!


Letisha 5 years ago

I really enjoy reading what you have to say Kate! Now I want to visit Boston even more! You rock my socks :)


Na Na 5 years ago

Makes me want to go to Boston.


SueO 5 years ago

This article really makes me want to visit Boston, someplace I've never been.


cate p 5 years ago

And you forgot about the amazing views of the city and the low flying planes going into Logan from a boat out on Boston Hahbah


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

From Boston to Austin....quite a change in atmosphere.


bohemiotx profile image

bohemiotx 5 years ago from Tyler, TX

This is nice. I'm a native Texan who grew up in Dallas, lives in Tyler, and envies those who live in Austin. Plus I'm an Aggie. I'm glad Boston is compact and public transpo. is good.


Kate Spenser profile image

Kate Spenser 5 years ago from Austin, TX Author

Jaye, you've got that right! There was definitely an element of culture shock to that move! Bohemiotx, glad you enjoyed the hub - I'm still adjusting to life in Austin but I'm starting to find great places here in my new city!


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 5 years ago from Northern California

Great great Hub! I can't wait to visit now! I almost did on my trip to New York this summer but didn't make it out. I love that this Hub has original photos... I need to do that more myself :)


Kate Spenser profile image

Kate Spenser 5 years ago from Austin, TX Author

Thanks, glassvisage! Boston is a great city because it's awesome to live in AND awesome for visitors. Glad you like the photos, too - that was one of the most fun parts of doing this hub, was taking the pictures!


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Hello, Kate!

Nov. 12, 2011--12:30 a.m/cst

GREAT read. Voted up and away. You have a great talent for writing and presenting a topic. Thanks for sharing. Love your style. And I am honored to FOLLOW you. Sincerely, Kenneth Avery from a rural town, Hamilton, in northwest Alabama that resembles Mayberry, that sweet little town on the Andy Griffith Show. Keep up YOUR great work. And that title, Love That Dirty Water is by one of my favorite bands, The Standells who were around looooong before you were. Thanks for the kind memory!


pod4477 profile image

pod4477 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Awesome Hub! Being from Massachusetts I love reading anything Boston and you nailed it with all the things I love about the city. Plus we got the Cup! Look forward to reading more from you.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working