Boston: 3 Hidden Gems

by EdventureGirl / Apr 20, 2012 /
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Boston. A destination absolutely chock full of hidden odds and ends. For this reason,  Boston is one of my favorite cities. Every time I visit I discover another amazing location I knew nothing about, or had simply passed by before.

 

For example, Boston’s overlooked CITGO sign. Standing forlornly in the middle of a busy Boston street, it watches over the street vendors next to the Boston Red Sox stadium, the mouthwatering smell of roasting hot dogs wafting up to it. Pigeons coo and sparrows chirp as they mingle on the streets, picking at the occasional hot dog bun. Locals and tourists alike walk past the sign, some not even glancing at it, others gazing lovingly, and yet others simply looking slightly interested, but moving on quickly.

 

A minor tourist attraction, the iconic CITGO sign has been a part of the Boston skyline since the 1940’s. In the early 1980’s, an effort was made to take down the sign, but Boston residents opposed this action fiercely, and after some extensive renovations it still stands today, watching over the famous Boston Red Sox Stadium. It is know to the Boston Red Sox players as the C-IT-GO sign as they blast home runs towards it, and is revered by many Red Sox fans!

 

CITGO sign, Boston

 

But the CITGO sign isn’t famous just for its participation in the baseball world. It is also the largest sign in New England, has been the main object of two movies: “Go, Go CITGO” and “CITGO Dance,” and has been affectionately dubbed the “Neon God.” It is now considered a form of modern art. Also, runners in the grueling Boston Marathon welcome it as the 20th mile mark. It’s yet another interesting, but often overlooked Boston destination.

 

Another intriguing location in Boston is tucked away on Boston's Beacon Hill. The Scarlett O'Hara House is a beautiful two-story Greek revival building that blends fairly well with the London style brick town homes of the neighborhood. It’s in a quiet location,  and the house looks out on a little shadowy cemetery covered in lightly scented flowers.

 

Actually, the house doesn't really exist at all. Walk up and touch it and you will be amazed. In reality, this “house” is a three dimensional painting that was put in place more than thirty years ago. The O'Hara "house" was painted to conceal an ugly brick and concrete wall. The detail is exceptional, and a complete illusion is created. Residents of surrounding houses hang a wreath on the front door of the "house" each winter, and I noticed that the ornamental flower boxes below the "porch" are kept tidy.

 

But of all the weird, wacky places in Boston, Haymarket is my personal favorite. This market is Boston’s largest outdoor markets, and simply walking through it is a joy. Vendors cry out their wares and prices, waving fans over their heaping piles of produce to keep away the flies. Nearly every type of food you can imagine is sold here. Color bursts out from every direction, assailing the eyes with beauty. Bananas shine yellow, while ripe apples gleam ruby red from the stall across from them. Piles of soft peaches and crisp grapes sit alluringly in large pyramids of fruit and vegetables. A man walks by, hauling a slaughtered goat in a garbage bag, on his way to a stall. A few stray dogs follow hopefully.

 

Locals push by in crowds, searching among the steamy stalls for the best deals and foods, vendors lazily reeling in customer after customer. One, a grizzled old man, piles artichokes into a plastic bag and hands it to his client, screwing his eyes intently at the ceiling while adding the total in his head. “Ok, that’ll be six dollars pal.” The customer shakes his head, and mumbles in broken english “Only have five.”  The vendor shrugs, turning to another buyer. “Close enough pal, I’ll take it.” 

 

Haymarket, Boston

 

It’s always been like this here. Since around 1830, Haymarket has been open all day every Friday and Saturday from sunup to sundown. Some of the vendors that work here have spent their entire lives selling their produce to local Bostonians. If you want to visit the traditional side of Boston, Haymarket is the place to go.

These three places in Boston are just a few of many that make me name Boston as one of the worlds weirdest and wackiest travel destinations. You never know what you will find when you visit, but you can be assured it will always be different, fun, exciting, and utterly incredible.

 

 

Hannah Miller is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program.

 

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Hannah Miller

Comments (1)

  • Austin Weihmiller

    9 years 2 months ago

    I've never been to Boston. I now have three reasons to go! I love the sound of Haymarket. I love open air things like that (: You talking about that house made my think of this picture.. (Ok. The URL is way to long. I'm just going to post it on your g+ thing)

    Oh! By the way, love the writing itself. It flows nicely, and you have a strong voice. Can't wait for next piece!! (:

     

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