Be A Tourist In Your Own City

A couple weekends ago Mother Nature finally agreed to bestow some nice weather on the city of Boston. Honestly it was about damn time. I don’t know what her problem has been. Maybe she really missed Big Papi in his uniform and just wouldn’t smile down on us until he returned. I don’t know, but I hope she stays happy.

Since the weather was so nice my best friend and I decided we needed to take full advantage of it. We’ve been living here for four years now, going to school, and we realized that we have never completed the Freedom Trail. So last Sunday we put on our comfy shoes, grabbed our cameras and headed out to be tourists for the day.

We decided to start at what is generally considered the end – the U.S.S. Constitution. We got there by taking the MBTA’s inner harbor ferry  from Long Warf to the Charlestown Navy Yard. It costs the same as taking the T but is way more fun. Plus you get to see Boston’s skyline from the Harbor which is really pretty.

Starting with the U.S.S. Constitution instead of in the Boston Common is a good idea if you really aren’t a tourist. Chances are you’ve been to The Commons a million times and if you end there instead, Park St is a generally more convenient T station to use to get home. Also Old Iron Sides is a relatively attractive vessel considering her age so she deserves a visit. (Plus, if you check-in there on foursquare you can earn the “I’m on a Boat” badge!)

The next stop on the Freedom Trail is the Bunker Hill Monument. My roommate and I have a tradition of climbing up all monuments, bell towers, and other tall structures if given the opportunity. We started it when we studied abroad in Europe and it has stuck. But be warned there are nearly 300 steps to get to the top and the windows will keep you from taking crystal clear pictures.

When you cross the bridge back into Boston  you will be in the North End. From this point forward the Freedom Trail becomes a lot more familiar. However, I don’t think that is a bad thing. To be honest it was refreshing to look at some of my regular stomping grounds from a different, more historical perspective. How many times have I marched past the Old North Church or Paul Revere’s House in my search for a new stunning pasta dish without even batting an eye. It is easy to take for granted the fact that America was born here.

I don’t think you have to an overly-sentimental history buff to enjoy the Freedom Trail. If you are, then you’ll be in 7th heaven but if you aren’t I guarantee you will find something to enjoy.  There are several cemeteries on the trail with graves predating the Revolution. If you aren’t feeling so morbid, the old style architecture juxtaposed with skyscrapers might make you stop and reflect.

In the end, if it’s a nice sunny day the Freedom Trail is at least an excuse to get outside for a couple hours and wander about. That red brick line will, at the very least, keep you from getting lost.

Times are tough, and if your a college student/soon-to-be-grad, chances are a 5-star vacation isn’t in your future. So instead of whining about how it’ll be ages before you get a vacation, take advantage of your surroundings. Boston isn’t the only place with treasures hidden in plain site. I’m sure your home base has some too.

Google Changes the Meaning of +1

I don’t know about you but when I see +1 I think of dates. +1 to me signals that a) I am allowed to or am bringing 1 extra person to an event I am attending or b) I am being brought as a +1 to someone elses event.

So when Google decided to make second foray into the social world (for their sake I hope this goes better than Buzz) I was instantly put off. I didn’t really take the time to read the articles heralding the newest Google innovation. Fast-forward a few weeks and I’m the only advertising student who still has no idea what this search +1 business is.

Thankfully ClickZ changed all that. They wrote this killer article that I just have to share with the world. It explains the whole thing in perfect English. Here it is: The Google +1 Button and What It Means for Marketers Read it, learn, be informed, prosper.