I've never been on a Whale Watching cruise so this seemed like a good time to give it a go. The weather-forecast for Saturday was for rain showers all day and because it seemed unlikely this would disturb the whales it seemed like a good idea.
The trip lasts for three hours. It takes a hour to get to Jeffreys Ledge where the feeding is so rich for the whales that they can practically guarantee you will see something. You spend an hour there and then an hour to get back. Not bad!
New England Aquarium (more of this later) or Boston Harbor Cruises who join up with the Whale Center of New England so you not only get guides who know what they are talking about, you are helping with their research and hopefully some of the cost. I just wish I was a better photographer to have captured something amazing (and yes, it only occurred to me later that I could have used the video function).
The Chart House is right on the wharf where the whale cruises (and harbour cruises) go from and was so lovely and walm and welcoming (picture below). It is a chain restaurant and I realised, once I knew it was a chain, that I have been to the one in Alexandria, Virginia (where the food was also good and the restaurant lovely and cool on a really hot day). I would recommend it to you:
I hadn't really thought about visiting the aquarium again but it seemed like a good thing to do (to me and half of Boston I think) on a still rainy afternoon. I try to avoid anything a bit ugh in aquariums or zoos so I hurried past the piranhas, didn't even look where the octopus was and really kept an eye out for any sharks. It worked pretty well and I contented myself with the three types of penguin: Emperor, Rock-hopper and Little Blue, the fur seals and the giant sea turtle. It was really crowded in there but warm and the penguins are adorable (and live until they are about thirty, much longer than in the wild). Whilst watching the seals I did think about the whales and all the space they had - not sure that the seals are having such a good time.
The next day was grey and drizzly again so I changed my plans and went to the Museum of Fine Arts (again with a large proportion of Boston!) Last time I was there they were building the Art of the Americas wing and I was a bit miffed to pay $20 to see Monets etc.when I could see them for free at the National Gallery in London. This time the galleries were finished & I have to say they are really well done. In addition Dale Chihuly had an exhibition.
I don't know how I found out about Chihuly but I really admire his beautiful glass art. The exhibition wasn't too crowded so there was plenty of opportunity to take photos (it was fine as long as you didn't use flash) so I'll just give you an idea of his work:
|This is a boat full of (what looked to me like) glass sweets. It sits on a highly polished black surface so you have that wonderful reflection underneath.|
The Art of the Americas wing was also beautiful. It starts with the earliest American tribes on the ground floor, works its way up through colonial times including some beautiful samplers and over-mantel embroideries, through the nineteenth century and up to the present day. As well as pictures they had some beautiful silver pieces, some room sets and some lovely Tiffany windows. I think it is a really great place to go for a few hours and they have a lovely cafe right by the American wing where I had a delicious peach and goats cheese flatbread (!) and a nice conversation with the lady sitting next to me.
This picture to the left is from an earlier walk around the Harvard campus. It shows the entrance to Adams House which is where some of the 'upperclassmen' live. All of those houses were absolutely lovely.
So just one more entry to go on the holiday and then back to normal.
To get to the Wharf for the whale and other cruises take the blue line on the T to Aquarium and you are right there. This stop is also, surprise, surprise, the best one for the Aquarium.
You have the details for the Chart House and the cafe in the Museum above. The Aquarium/Harbour area isn't that far from Faneuil Hall, you could walk in about 10 minutes, which is full of restaurants of all prices and there is a Legal Sea Foods directly opposite the Aquarium which does lovely fried clams (yes, truly). Look out for the big fish outside!
The T will also take you almost directly outside the Museum of Fine Arts - take the green line to Museum and you are just across the road.
And the very helpfully named stop for Harvard is Harvard. This is on the red line. There is a good way to remember the lines - the red line is named for Harvard Crimson (their colour), the blue line goes to the harbour (or maybe officially it's for the airport?) and the green line I think is in honour of the 'emerald necklace of parks' but it also runs near Boston Common and Public Gardens.