We recently visited with Larry Meehan, VP of Tourism for Boston, when he was in Montreal with a delegation to promote Boston and Massachusetts to the Montreal travel trade. The province of Quebec (and Montreal in particular) is the most important market for Massachusetts outside the U.S.

The first item of business for Larry was to inform us that the “Big Dig” is completed. This was the $20 billion infrastructure project to route major roadways and highways in the city underground. Distances that used to be measured in 30 minute increments are now timed in 5 minute segments.

The drive from Logan International Airport to downtown that used to take from 60 – 90 minutes is now just 15 minutes.

Where a tangle of expressways used to clog the city centre, Boston now is proud to claim the largest downtown park in the United States – The Rose Kennedy Greenway. The public infrastructure investment has resulted in private investment, especially in the hotel sector. Mandarin, Oriental and Fairmont Hotels all have new facilities, the latter at the Fairmont Battery Wharf.

Visitors can walk from pedestrian-friendly Newbury Street to the Charles River riverfront parks or from charming Beacon Hill to the downtown Boston waterfront, where the 40-mile Boston Harborwalk awaits as well as the 27-acres Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Boston’s most popular visitor attraction, the Freedom Trail, is a walk-through-history trail. At the mid-point of the Freedom Trail is Boston’s most popular café district – Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

Visitors can walk to museums, attractions – or hop on a Trolley that loops through the city. The Boston public transit system-easily understood by visitors with its five-color lines that connects hotels, attractions, shops, convention centers, and different neighbourhoods. Logan International Airport is connected to downtown through the brand new Silver Line.

The Silver Line also connects Logan international to Amtrak South Station.

Water, rail, and coach transportation in Boston is convenient. It is easy and inexpensive for the visitor staying at a hotel in Boston & Cambridge to tour the Boston Harbor Islands, Cape Cod (Provincetown), Salem, and Quincy by fast ferry. Larry noted that Cape Cod is just a 90 minute fast ferry ride, and easily accessible. You can also take a day trip by coach to the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets, Foxwoods, MGM Grand or Mohegan Sun Casinos. All of which are also low cost and convenient.

Baseball fans can time a Boston trip to coincide with a few Boston Red Sox games at the legendary Fenway Park. Depending on the season, Boston is also home to the Boston Bruins hockey club, The Celtics basketball team, and the NFL New England Patriots are located in nearby Foxborough.

There are many cultural events and museums, from the Boston Pops (special outdoor concerts during the summer), to the world’s largest collection of Renoir and Monet paintings. The six day Harbor Fest celebrates the era of tall ships, with 38 vessels in port from July 6 – 13; including our own Bluenose from Nova Scotia.

There are a variety of tours, including Culinary Tours, Irish Pub Tours, and very interesting Harvard University tours which are conducted by students. City Passes are available which let you visit six major attractions on one reduced rate ticket.

Boston is home to The Boston Beer Company, brewers of America’s oldest brand – Sam Adams. Brewery tours are available. Golfers don’t need to go into withdrawal – there are 408 courses in Greater Boston.

Norwegian Cruise Lines has a weekly cruise from Boston to Bermuda aboard the Norwegian Spirit.

We did this voyage a few years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Our one regret was that we didn’t build in time for a pre or post visit in Boston. Whether it’s for a long weekend getaway, en route to a cruise or a tour of Massachusetts, take time to see why Boston is a favourite for so many Montrealers.

Travel Planner Boston is easily accessible by car, a comfortable 6 hour drive. There is a wide variety of airline connections, including direct flights on Air Canada. The Boston Tourism Bureau has an informative website: www.BostonUSA.com or a live person toll free: 1-888-SEE-BOSTON (1-888-733-2678). Bon Voyage!

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