Boston and ALA

A few weeks ago I traveled to Boston for the annual American Literature Association conference. This is the second trip I’ve made solo to Boston!

A beautiful view of the Boston Public Library from my hotel room

It seems like every time I go to Boston all it does is rain, but I try to make the best of it. I chose to fly out of Raleigh at 6am on Thursday  (which meant I had to leave the house at 3am – gross) because my dissertation director was presenting at the conference. It’s been three years since I’ve seen him, so the early flight was worth it.

I’m usually pretty organized when it comes to travel, but I hadn’t figured out a way to get from the airport to my hotel. Oops. After about ten awkward minutes of standing in baggage claim, I decided the train was the cheapest, safest, and most effective choice. I’d like to apologize to the men (yes, multiple) I almost wiped out with my luggage.

Sometimes I procrastinate so much that the conference hotel gets booked before I can get a room, but I made sure to reserve mine in time, and I’m so glad I did! The Westin Copley Place was a beautiful hotel, and I kind of felt like a queen in the room!

Another plus about the hotel, especially in rainy weather, is that it connects to so many other buildings (Copley Place, The Shops at Prudential Center) that you can spend hours shopping, walking, and eating (and staying dry).

I could see the bay from my hotel window, so on Saturday it seemed like a good place to visit. And it was! The rain stopped for a bit and it was really nice to get away from all the people and noise for a few minutes.

The Charles River Esplanade was a beautiful location for a walk, and several runners and bikers had the same thought as me – to enjoy the break in the rain while they could.


Another part of Boston that I love so much is the old architecture, especially the brick

I couldn’t not eat seafood while in Boston. My first clam chowder was in Boston several years ago. This time, though, I was craving shrimp. After a ton of searching online, I thought my best option would be to hit Legal Seafoods on the harbor so I could also visit another part of Boston and view the infamous tea party ship. It was a fun surprise to see the Old State House when I came out of the train station.

Fun fact: The Declaration of Independence was first read to Bostonians from the balcony of the Old State House.

After a bite for lunch (see the next post!), I walked along the marina and made a stop at the infamous Boston tea party ship. Every time I see this ship I’m surprised at how small it is.

The first year I went to ALA I missed the walking tour of Poe’s Boston, so I was determined to do it this year. My conference presentation was scheduled to end ten minutes before everyone was meeting, but I was convinced I could make a quick change and sprint to the location.

Ya know Murphy’s Law? The one that basically says, if it can go wrong, it will? Yeah. Not only did every human in the hotel use the elevators at the same time, but my room keys became deactivated. Twice. Needless to say, I missed the walking tour again. I was hoping to find a self-guided tour or map online, but couldn’t; HOWEVER, I managed to stumble upon Poe’s statue once I finally found Edgar Allan Poe Square (weird that the statue would be in that location. Derp.)

And of course I can’t miss walking through an old cemetery.

 Since it was Memorial Day weekend, there were American flags everywhere!

In the middle of Boston Common is a memorial to soldiers who fought and died in the American Revolution. The Freedom Trail also goes around this area, which I highly recommend doing! Looking back at all the monuments and historic sites makes me want to go back with a more organized plan. The Freedom Trail even offers a Revolutionary Women Tour which I will certainly be doing on my next trip to Boston!

And I couldn’t leave without strolling up Beacon Street to see the beautiful Massachusetts State House!

The most amazing part of the trip and the conference was hearing Jamaica Kincaid read from her newest book! I teach her prose poem “Girl” in my World Literature class, so I’m excited to show my class the pictures of her. If you don’t know who Kincaid is, you should definitely look her up, it’ll only take you three minutes to read “Girl” and it’s worth it!

Boston is always a fun trip for me because I love how deep the history runs.

What are your favorite landmarks to visit or tours to take in Boston?

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Boston – the food – Biscotti and a Ph.D.

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