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Boston, Massachusetts

One of America’s First Cities is Still One of its Most Thrilling

For its relatively youthful history, Boston packs a lot of pivotal history into its city limits. While cities throughout Europe and Asia have had millennia to write their captivating stories, Boston helped shape the course of what would become the United States of America in just under 400 years. And though it was among the first territories settled in the “new” country and continues to wear this heritage proudly, Boston is anything but a staid testament to the past. The city is alive with energy, thanks to nearly three dozen colleges and universities that teem with the leaders and innovators of tomorrow, as well as the bars, restaurants, cultural centers and sports events (oh, the sports!) to entertain them all.

A highlight of Crystal’s New England & Canada sailings in 2021, 2022 and 2023, Boston is a veritable playground for inquisitive minds and spirited hearts. It’s a city of firsts – Boston Common, America’s first public park – incidentally, the place the first organized football club kicked off in 1862; it’s home to America’s first university, Harvard, founded in 1636; the country’s first orchestra formed there in 1810; Boston is where Alexander Graham Bell spoke the first words over the telephone; and medical milestones from the use of ether to the development of the polio vaccine took place there.

Boston Old State House
Boston’s Old State House, at the heart of the Freedom Trail, juxtaposes the city’s history with architectural signs of progress.

Among its many nicknames, Boston is known as “the walking city.” And those looking for deeper walks through history will find clearly marked paths. The most famous of these is the Freedom Trail, which leads to the Old State House, considered to be the greatest representation of Colonial architecture; to the Corner Bookstore, where Thoreau, Hawthorne and Emerson met; the burial grounds of Paul Revere, John Hancock and Samuel Adams; and the Old South meeting House, where colonists gathered on the eve of the Boston Tea Party.

It’s not as though things have calmed much in Boston since that famous “party,” as the end of the American Revolution gave way to various, less war-like but no less remarkable events. The 19th century brought a literary boom that made Boston the birthplace of American literature, where the three aforementioned writers were joined in ranks by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Robert Frost, Louisa May Alcott and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

This was also when the city’s enduring love affair with all things sports began. From that first football club to the first Boston Marathon in 1897, Boston has lived and breathed intense competition of all kinds for nearly 200 years.  The 20th century brought this passion to new levels, as Babe Ruth led the Red Sox for five years until he was traded to the (gasp!) New York Yankees in 1919. This shrewd business move brought on what would be one of history’s longest spells without a World Series title for the Sox – known as the Curse of the Great Bambino. The streak was broken in 2004 after 86 years.

Boston’s story has been further colored by events both strange and scintillating, from a 1919 molasses spill that flooded the streets with a 15-foot wave of hot sugar, tragically killing 21 people, to the greatest art heist in history in 1990, when thieves absconded with works by Manet, Rembrandt and other masters that were never recovered. Yes, there is much to discover here, far too much to be included in one blog post.

So, we’ll leave it here for now, until we can welcome aboard for your journey to Boston, and you can discover for yourself.

Crystal Serenity and Crystal Endeavor sail voyages throughout New England, Eastern Canada, along the Eastern Seaboard and beyond in all-inclusive luxury. Plan your Crystal voyage today with added flexibility and peace of mind.

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