A Historical Getaway in Concord, Massachusetts

For a city that has more than 300 years of US history embedded into its past, it is a historical attraction that you won’t want to miss. The town was incorporated in 1635 and was Massachusetts’ first non-tidal water town. On April 19, 1775 it was the site of one of the most significant battles of the American Revolution as it was the battle that kicked off the war and eventually led to independence of the United States. Also home to multiple literary legends, the history and culture of the town have been well-preserved over the years, making Concord an ideal destination for history and literary loving visitors. For some of the best attractions, food, and lodging in town, read on for everything you need to know about Concord, Massachusetts!

What to See

Minuteman National Historic Park

Minuteman National Historic Park - Concord MA

This park is most well-known for its association with April 19, 1775, the opening of the American Revolutionary War. Within its boundaries you can find structures that stand in honor of the events of that day, such as the North Bridge, Minuteman statue, and the Grave of British Soldiers. Take a stroll through the park to get a history lesson while also enjoying the fresh air.

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  • The grounds are open daily, sunrise to sunset
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  • Free
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The Old Manse

The Old Manse - Concord Massachusetts

The residents of this significant piece of American history were originally the Emerson family, who watched the Battle of Concord from their home as the Revolutionary War began. It later became the home of Nathaniel Hawthorne before becoming a National Historic Landmark.

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  • Hours
    • Saturdays & Sundays, March 16–April 19: 12pm–5pm
    • Tuesdays–Sundays, April 19–October 31: 12pm–5pm
    • Saturdays & Sundays, November 1–December 29: 12pm–5pm
    • Monday, May 25: 12pm–5pm (other Mondays by appointment)
  • Admission Rates
    • Members: Free
    • Nonmembers:
      • Adult $10
      • Child (6-12) $5
      • Senior $9; Student (with valid ID) $9
      • Family (2 adults and up to 3 minor children) $25
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  • Hours: Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset
  • Admission Rates: Free
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Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House

Louisa May Alcotts Orchard House

If you were ever a fan of or have heard of Little Women, the Orchard House will be especially of interest to you. This is the home where the Alcott family lived for many years, and where Louisa May Alcott wrote the book in 1868. You can join a guided tour if you want to see the inside of the home, which has been conserved to be nearly the same as it was back in the 1800s, and you will also learn more about the Alcott family’s interesting past. Plan for at least an hour to complete the tour.

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November 1 – March 31

  • Monday – Friday: 11:00am – 3:00pm (Last tour at 3pm)
  • Saturday: 10:00am – 4:30pm (Last tour at 4:30pm)
  • Sunday: 1:00am – 4:30pm (Last tour at 4:30pm)

April 1 – October 31

  • Monday – Saturday: 10:00am – 4:30pm (Last tour at 4:30pm)
  • Sunday: 1:00pm – 4:30pm (Last tour at 4:30pm)
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  • Adults: $10.00
  • Seniors (62+ years) & College Students (w/ID): $8.00
  • Youths (ages 6-17): $5.00
  • Children under 6 & Members: Free
  • Family Rate (2 Adults & up to 4 Youths): $25.00
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Main Street

Main Street - Concord Massachusetts

This one will be impossible to miss, as it will probably be one of the first things you see when you arrive. Main street is in the center of town, and is one of those streets that makes you feel like you are right at home. It’s lined with small shops (including a cheese shop!), bookstores, restaurants, and more.

For more details on the Concord attractions I had the opportunity to visit, check out Journey Through Time: Concord in the Colonial Period.


Other Highlights I Missed Because of the Season and Lack of Time

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Ralph Waldo Emersons Grave - Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Photo by Bill Ilott via Flickr.com

Every once in a while you come across famous cemeteries that have become popular tourist attractions. Sleepy Hollow Cemetery is one such place. The cemetery holds around 10,000 grave sites, many of which you may recognize the names. One of the more common areas visitors are interested in seeing is the Authors Ridge, where famous Concord residents Henry Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and more are buried.

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  • Hours: Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset
  • Admission Rates: Free
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Concord Museum

This one I was especially disappointed that I had to miss out on, as my train was leaving before their off-season opening hours. It holds some of the oldest collections of American history artifacts and brings Concord’s past to life, one that played a major role in shaping the future of the United States.

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January – March

  • Monday – Saturday: 1:00am – 4:00pm
  • Sunday: 1:00pm – 4:00pm

April – December

  • Monday – Saturday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sunday: 12:00pm – 5:00pm
  • Sundays in June, July, and August: 9:00am – 5:00pm
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  • Adults: $10
  • Seniors (62 & over): $8
  • Students (18 & over with valid id): $8
  • Children (5-17): $5
  • Children under 5: Free
  • Active Military (with valid id): Free
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Ralph Waldo Emerson House

Ralph Waldo Emerson House Concord

Many of Emerson’s famous works were written in this home, like Nature in 1836 and Self Reliance in 1841. The house remained in the Emerson family until Emerson’s son Edward died in 1930. Upon his death, the Ralph Waldo Emerson Memorial Association was established, turning the home into a museum that still operates today. With the exception of the study, all rooms remain exactly as they were since the restoration of the home after a fire destroyed part of the building in 1872.

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April 24 – October 26

  • Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10:00am – 4:30pm
  • Sunday: 1:00pm – 4:30pm
  • Monday Holidays: 1:00pm – 4:30pm
  • Closed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday

October 27 – April 23: Closed

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  • Adults: $8
  • Seniors and Students (under 17): $6
  • Children under 7: Free
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Walden Pond

Replica of Thoreaus hut near Walden Pond

Photo by ptwo via Flickr.com

From 1845 to 1847, Henry David Thoreau lived at Walden Pond in an attempt to get closer to nature. The time he spent living there served as the inspiration for his book Walden. Today locals and visitors alike enjoy the outdoors at Walden Pond with activities like swimming, canoeing, hiking, fishing, snowshoeing, and more.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
—Henry David Thoreau, Walden

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  • 5:00am to a half-hour after sunset, year-round
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  • $8 MA Vehicle, daily parking fee
  • $10 non-MA Vehicle, daily parking fee
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Patriot’s Day Battle Reenactment

Patriot's Day Battle Reenactment Concord

Photo by Lee Wright via Flickr.com

If you’re looking for the “place to be” to celebrate Patriot’s Day (mid-April), there are festivities going on throughout the Concord area the entire weekend. With over 60 key events being reenacted, you’ll be taken back in time to 1775 to commemorate the opening battle of the American Revolutionary War.


Where to Stay

Concords Colonial Inn

Although you’ll have a handful of options to choose from of places to stay in Concord, I highly recommend Concord’s Colonial Inn. It is not just your average hotel. At the Colonial Inn you’ll be taken back in time to an important era in the history of the town, and your room will be equipped with an interesting summary of the changes the inn has seen over the years.

Rates vary depending on the time of year, but since I was traveling during the off-season I was able to snag an appealing rate of $126 per night using my AAA member discount. Check it out for yourself and book your stay today!

Where to Eat

Helen’s Restaurant has been a Concord favorite since the early 1930s, when it was opened by Russian immigrant Helen Denisevich. While the restaurant has evolved over the years, it now serves a combination of old and new while still welcoming both visitors and locals to continue the strong community in Concord. I ordered the Avocado and Tomato Melt (get the sweet potato fries – they are to die for), but whatever you do make sure to top off your meal with some of Helen’s homemade ice cream!

Keep in mind that they only accept cash, something that makes me love Helen’s even more. It truly reminds you of an older time when things seemed much simpler.

Ice Cream at Helens - Concord MA

How to Get There

Located just 20 miles west of Boston, it’s a convenient town to visit if you are in the area. I found it easiest to take the train as Concord is served by the MBTA commuter rail, or you could also take the commuter bus. If you have access to a car you can take the state highway Route 2 that runs right through Concord, or it is also accessible by Routes 128/95 and 495.

If you end up taking the train, it’s a quick 10-minute walk into town. I highly recommend walking the distance to really enjoy the beautiful homes and architecture along the way.


*Be sure to check the attraction’s website for the most up-to-date information on hours and pricing. 

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A Historical Getaway in Concord Massachusetts

A Night of History at Concord’s Colonial Inn

Located at the center of the town square, Concord’s Colonial Inn has witnessed hundreds of years of history in the making outside its front door. I was looking forward to exploring the history during my visit to Concord, but I was even more excited when I discovered that I could spend the night at the Colonial Inn, a building that has seen the town and the community develop over the years.

Concords Colonial Inn

History of the Inn

The inn was originally three separate buildings, with the oldest one dating back to 1716. During the events of April 19, 1775 that kicked off the American Revolutionary War, the property was the home of Dr. Timothy Minot who helped care for the wounded that day after the battle at North Bridge.

The property was then purchased by John Thoreau in 1799, the grandfather of Henry David Thoreau. In 1835, Henry’s family moved in with his aunts and for the following two years that was his home while he was attending Harvard College.

Parts of the inn were used as a store until Daniel Shattuck converted the store to a home in 1850. He eventually deeded the property to his daughter Frances in 1861 for “$10, love, and affection.”

In 1885, the home became a boarding house, and then four years later it was purchased by Judge John Keyes at an auction. It was first named Thoreau House, but it became The Colonial in 1898 and the Colonial Inn in 1900.

Concord Independent Battery name register

Members of the Concord Independent Battery were welcomed on April 19, 1900, their names inscribed on the guest registers

The inn saw many significant figures over the years such as Franklin D. Roosevelt. Even when a horse and buggy was the most common mode of transportation, guests still visited the Colonial Inn from all across the nation and around the world.

The Room

I was greeted by the welcoming front desk staff member upon entering the inn, and felt the colonial charm present throughout the building. After checking in, the receptionist was kind enough to walk me all the way down the hall to my room.

Bedroom Concords Colonial Inn

It was a small but cozy room, perfect for myself as a solo traveler to the area (note: they do have different types and sizes of rooms if you are traveling with others). They should also provide you with a code for free WiFi when you check in, so you can surf the web or get some work done if need be.

Bedroom Colonial Inn

The bathroom had all the necessities, and it had one of the best showers I have ever used. There is a possibility that may have had to do with the fact that I was in full on conference mode during the past weekend in Boston, but the shower felt glorious!

Bathroom Colonial Inn

Everything was extremely crisp and clean, and I had a nice quiet stay during my one night in Concord. Rates can vary depending on the time of year and what type of room you stay in, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that AAA members receive a discount. Guess they’ve stepped it up from the horse and buggy days!

Haunted History

What would a historic inn be without a haunted tale to go along with it? While no one can say for certain if a ghost haunts the Colonial Inn, many guests of Room 24 have told spooky tales of their stay at the inn. The stories began with newlywed couple M.P. and Judith Fellenz from Highland Falls, New York. They checked in to Room 24 of the inn for their honeymoon in 1966. It wasn’t until two weeks later when the innkeeper at the time received the following letter from Judith:

“I have always prided myself on being a fairly sane individual but on the night of June 14 I began to have my doubts. On that night I saw a ghost in your Inn. The next morning I felt too foolish to mention it to the management, so my husband and I continued on our honeymoon. I wondered whether or not any sightings of a ghost had been reported or if any history of one was involved in the history of the Inn.

The incident sounds very melodramatic. I was awakened in the middle of the night by a presence in the room—a feeling that some unknown being was in the midst. As I opened my eyes, I saw a grayish figure at the side of my bed, to the left, about four feet away. It was not a distinct person, but a shadowy mass in the shape of a standing figure. It remained still for a moment, then slowly floated to the foot of the bed, in front of the fireplace. After pausing a few seconds, the apparition slowly melted away. It was a terrifying experience. I was so frightened I could not scream. I was frozen to the spot . . .

For the remainder of the night, I could not fall asleep. It was spent trying to conjure a logical explanation for the apparition. It was not a reflection of the moon as all the curtains were completely closed. Upon relating the incident to my husband, he said the ghost was included in the price of the room.”

Since then, many other guests of Room 24 have claimed to experience the same type of paranormal activity, and the inn has been featured on a number of paranormal investigation television shows such as SyFy’s Ghost Hunters.

While I didn’t have any paranormal experiences during my stay at the Colonial Inn, I did get to experience the literary and revolutionary history that is embedded in the inn’s past. It was fascinating to stay in a building with such strong historical ties and to spend a night in the charming town of Concord, Massachusetts. I would absolutely return to stay at the Colonial Inn again, and would highly recommend it for a interesting getaway from Boston!


Journey Through Time: Concord in the Colonial Period


During my last visit to Boston I decided to take the opportunity to do an overnight trip to one of the city’s surrounding towns. When I zoomed out on the map, Concord caught my eye. A small town packed with loads of history? I was sold! Although it was just before Patriot’s Day (when more of their attractions open and places have longer summer hours), I still enjoyed journeying through Concord’s history during my short stay there!

Minuteman National Historic Park

Although I didn’t get to do much walking through the park because it was cold and snowing, I did get to see a few of the park’s historical highlights.

Minuteman Statue

The Minuteman Statue seen below was erected in 1875 for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Concord and is made of melted civil war cannons. It was the winner of a monument contest and was created by Daniel Chester French, who later went on to create the statue of Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., among other works of art. The Minuteman statue is now the logo for the National Guard, and can also be found on the 2000 Massachusetts quarter.

Minuteman Statue

Minuteman Statue

North Bridge

One of the sites I was most looking forward to seeing during my visit to Concord was North Bridge in the Minuteman National Historic Park, and it lived up to my expectations! This bridge is a famous site in the Battle of Concord, which kicked off the first day of battle in the American Revolutionary War. The British actually opened fire earlier that day on a company of militia in Lexington, but many people still dispute which is considered the true opening of the war.

North Bridge

North Bridge

Who actually fired the first shot is still a mystery, but it became known as the “shot heard round the world” due to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem “Concord Hymn,” written in 1837. The opening stanza of the poem is inscribed on the base of the Minuteman statue.

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The Americans ended up winning their first battle of the Revolutionary War, an embarrassing loss for the British since they were fighting mainly Minutemen, independently organized colonists (many of whom were farmers) that were ready to fight at a minute’s notice.

Battle of Concord

Although there have been a number of restorations of the bridge, it still occupies the same space where the “battle bridge” stood in 1775. Seeing the North Bridge gave me those chills that all you historical buffs will understand when you see a historical site in person that you previously had only ready about in textbooks. Standing on the same grounds where the war started that brought the United States freedom is a truely indescribable feeling to experience.

Concord River

Crossing the North Bridge takes you over the Concord River, which was beautiful in snowy March, so I can only imagine how stunning it must be in the summer months! Nathaniel Hawthorne once pointed out the irony of the North Bridge spanning the Concord River, as the word Concord means peace and harmony. Present day Concord fits that description, but that certainly wasn’t the case back in the late 1700s!

Concord River

Concord River

Grave of British Soldiers

Near one end of North Bridge you can find a gravestone marked with the following stanza from the poem “Lines” written by James Russell Lowell. There are in fact two soldiers buried here who died after the Battle of Concord.

They came three thousand miles and died,
To keep the past upon its throne.
Unheard beyond the ocean tide,
Their English mother made her moan.

Grave of British Soldiers

Grave of British Soldiers

The Old Manse

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s grandfather, Reverend William Emerson, built this house in 1769-70 and it still stands as a significant piece of American history. On April 19, 1775, family members watched the Battle of Concord from their home as the Revolutionary War began. However, The Old Manse was present through more than just fighting. The home also played an important role in America’s literary and cultural revolutions.

The Old Manse

The Old Manse

About 60 years after the battle, Ralph Waldo Emerson moved into the house and went on to write Nature in 1834-35 while he lived there, a pamphlet that laid the foundations for American Transcendentalism. In 1842, Nathaniel Hawthorne rented the house and wrote a collection of short stories called Mosses From an Old Manse that gave the house its nickname, which is a Scottish term for “minister’s house.” Eventually, in 1966 The Old Manse was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.

The Old Manse Concord

The Old Manse

Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House

Now a historic house museum, the Orchard House was originally two homes (dating back to around the late 1600s or early 1700s) spread across 12 acres of land that were purchased by Amos Bronson Alcott in 1857 for $945. Eventually, the smaller tenant farmhouse was moved by Mr. Alcott to the adjoin the rear of the larger manor house, creating one large single home. On the grounds was also an orchard of 40 apple trees, hence the name “Orchard House.”

Louisa May Alcotts Orchard House

Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House

Orchard House is most prominently known for being the home of Little Women, and where Louisa May Alcott wrote the book in 1868 on her “shelf desk” in her room that her father built for her. Her father encouraging her writing would have been looked down upon by many during that time period, as it was a very male dominated world. In fact, Louisa’s initial work was published under the name A.M. Barnard because female writers were taken much less seriously than male writers at the time.

Living in Concord gave Louisa the opportunity to frequently visit and learn from other famous writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, who also happened to be good family friends with the Alcotts.

Orchard House

Touring the Orchard House truly takes you back into time as there have been no major structural changes since the Alcotts lived in the home and about 80% of the furnishings on display were owned by the family. The guided tour not only shows you the mementos that were important to the Alcotts, but it also introduces you to all the family members (the people the characters of Little Women were based upon).

There were no photos allowed to be taken inside during the tour, but you can view photos here from the Orchard House website. I knew I would be cutting it close on timing by doing the tour, but I decided it would be worthwhile even if I only got to join for a portion of it. Unfortunately, I did have to duck out early to catch the train back to Boston so I didn’t miss my flight home. I stayed until the last possible minute and actually ran the entire way back to the train station (after stopping at the hotel to pick up my luggage) just so I could enjoy as much of the tour as possible.

If a good historical trip sounds appealing to you, Concord is the perfect destination that is full of interesting US history! I only wish I could have spent more time there or visited in the summer when more attractions were open. However, no matter when you visit you are sure to feel like you stepped into a time capsule and went back in history to Concord in the colonial period.

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Journey Through Time - Concord in the Colonial Period

5 Places I Crave to See Again and Again

Don’t get me wrong, there’s something enticing about traveling to a new place that you have never been to. But sometimes, there are those destinations that you continue to feel drawn to long after you have left. There’s something pulling you back there and you hope that one day you’ll have the chance to return.

When I heard about Booked.netTop Destinations to Go There, I was thrilled to write this post. Highlighting 5 of my favorite destinations I want to return to… how would I choose?! After careful debate, I finally made the decision.

Drum roll please…

Edinburgh | It's The Little Things

Edinburgh, Scotland

This one came with no hesitation. I fell in love with Edinburgh the moment I stepped off the bus in front of my hostel. It’s a beautiful city, with Edinburgh Castle situated right in the middle of everything. Take a hike up Arthur’s Seat and overlook the entirety of Edinburgh… now we’re really talking. Just when I thought Edinburgh couldn’t get any better! Plus, the people are great! Bunches of friendly people all around definitely make for a great place to return to.
Switzerland | It's The Little Things

Zurich, Switzerland

This was a teaser for me. I visited Zurich for one day during a layover… and I have wanted to return ever since. It’s a city with it’s own special charm. Located on the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich, it’s the perfect place to explore a large city while being able to enjoy the beauty of the scenery overlooking the lake. And, of course, there’s the chocolate! My single day in Zurich went by so quickly, but it has made me long to return back ever since.

Boston - North End | It's The Little Things

Boston, Massachusetts

Oh, the history! Boston drew me in at first sight. The old cobblestone streets, the glorious food in just about every restaurant in the North End, and the deep history that has shaped Boston into the city it is today. This is a place I could return to over and over again. Boston has so much to offer, and did I mention the food? I challenge you to find bad food in the North End. Cannot wait until I get to return here in the spring!

New Orleans | It's The Little Things

New Orleans, Louisiana

Maybe this one doesn’t count (I’ve already been to NOLA twice..), but I do still want to go back here. The lively streets with jazz music wherever you go, the mouthwatering Cajun food, and the voodoo vibe and history that is ingrained into the culture. Oh yeah, how could I forget? The hurricanes are a big perk too 🙂 New Orleans is a great place to visit, and I always find new parts of the city to explore every time I return. It is a unique place, with a charm and mystery that draws me in every time.

San Diego | It's The Little Things

San Diego, California 

Sunny days, costal living, and variety are a few perks that come to mind when thinking about San Diego. A place with fantastic weather is always a great place to visit. Located right on the coast, a view overlooking the water is the place to be. Plus, there is so much to do in San Diego, and it is such close proximity to many other main cities and activities, such as Los Angeles and Tijuana. The Gaslamp Quarter offers a great place to walk around and also has some tasty eats. Plenty to do on any day of the year, it’s a great place to revisit!

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So you’ve heard mine. Now it’s your turn. I’m dying to know- where are the top 5 places you just cannot wait to return to? I nominate Spicy Road, Travelling Penster, Snow in Tromso, Emily Luxton Travel Blog, and Valerie & Valise to join in on Booked.net – Top Destinations to Go There, and share the pieces of the world that drew you in.

Taste Of Italy In The North End

Our final full day in Boston was May 8th, and it sure was a delicious one. This post is basically all about food, so if you are hungry… you have been warned. We spent the entire morning on the North End Market Tour by Michele Topor, and it was one of the best parts of our entire trip. We got to learn all about Italian cuisine, cooking, and using authentic ingredients. You get to visit all different kinds of shops and taste various ingredients, while also having an expert foodie tour guide that knows all about not just cooking but the history of Italy and its food and wine culture as well.

Being Italian, this tour was extremely interesting and I learned a lot of new tips and history about cooking and Italy. As long as you have an interest in Italian food I think anyone will highly enjoy this tour, and it is one that I would definitely recommend if you are ever in Boston. Since the tour travels in a big group there is not much time to make any purchases in the shops that are visited, but my family returned to many of the shops after the tour. I will highlight some of my favorites of the different places we visited.

Our first stop was Maria’s Pastry Shop. You have to have dessert first, right? We got to taste many delicious homemade sweets here, and this is also one of the places we returned to afterwards. One of my favorites was the freshly made crispelle that you can see in the picture below. It is an egg-dough pastry filled with honey and nuts. They also have “Boston’s Best Cannoli,” which they fill to order, and many more tasty homemade treats!

Maria's Pastry Shop



Next stop was… drumroll please… The Pasta Shoppe!!!! This day sure was starting off right. First dessert, now pasta?! We learned about finding authentic olive oil and balsamic vinegar and their correct uses. They had tons of different homemade pastas and various Italian meats. They even sold Sopressata, which my family makes homemade. And of course there was plenty of tasting! We returned back here to pick up some pasta, which I am planning on cooking next week!

Pasta Shoppe


One final stop I would like to highlight is Polcari’s Coffee, a family owned business that has been around since 1932. They are a grocery store that supplies numerous authentic ingredients, beans, spices, and much more, many of which you cannot find anywhere else in the area. Once again, we made sure to stop back here to pick up a few items.. one of them being some licorice sticks! Yes, they are actually sticks. They are taken from the licorice plant and the flavor is extracted from these sticks to create the popular licorice candy most people are familiar with.

Polcari's Coffee

Italian Grocery Store

Inside The Store

Eating Licorice Sticks

Eating Licorice Sticks

After being surrounded by and talking about food all morning, we headed to lunch at Quattro, a new North End restaurant that just opened in March. More amazing food of course!


After more walking and a short rest after lunch, we decided to have dinner at Trattoria di Monica. Being our last meal while in Boston we discovered it really is nearly impossible to find bad food in the North End. Just about everywhere you go will have great, fresh food.

Trattoria di Monica

Caprese Salad with Prosciutio

Caprese Salad with Prosciutio

To work off our dinner we went down to the harbor and walked along the water. It was a beautiful night with beautiful scenery, and to top it all off we ended the night with some gelato and then prepared for our flight the next morning.

Boston Harbor IMG_2890

Overall, going to Boston was a great trip and definitely someplace I would love to return to. I would mainly like to return to try all the restaurants we were not able to eat at during our short time there! If you will now be eating something after this very foodie-style post, buona appetito!

Little Matters,