In June we went to Boston for a family vacation, and more importantly for my Overnight Walk that benefits the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. I brought along my husband and the two youngest kids as my cheering squad and support team. This is my second year participating in the Overnight Walk and I was incredibly nervous about this year. Not only did I have to arrange for someplace to stay while we were in town, but I also had to research things the family could do, stop and pick up the kids on from sleepaway camp on the way to Boston, and prep for what would be a very wet and cold walk.
Thankfully it all worked out. I arrived in time, the walk was wet but wonderful, and the family had a lot of fun.
The Overnight Walk
The AFSP walk raises funds, awareness, and helps reduce the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health issues. The organization does amazing work (just check out their company on charity navigator for more info) and it’s an honor to be a part of the walk. The walk is overnight to symbolize the walk from the darkness and into the light that those of us who have gone through (or those of you who have supported someone with) depression and other mental health issues have gone through on their journey. The walk is supposed to be 16-18 miles overnight, but due to the rain that was forecasted we walked a total of 14.5 miles.
It’s an amazing experience that starts with a moving Opening Ceremony where a variety of people stand on stage and their stories are shared. Every story was represented from the girl who considered suicide to the soldier who lost many friends and from the parents of a young man gone to soon to those who stand up for others just because they care.
The walk itself was held in Boston’s downtown area and the route took us through many areas of the city so we got to see everything from ships to the stadium and we even walked right by Cheers! It was really moving, too since a number of cheering stations were on our route but people stopped to cheer for us and thank us for walking, we even had a few people stop us to ask questions about the walk throughout the night.
It was pouring rain most of our walk after midnight and we ended up soaked, but every step was worth it.
I’m planning to walk again in NYC in 2016. You can donate or join my team here.
A Boston Family Vacation
What To Do In Boston
Boston itself is incredibly lovely and was a fun place to visit. There’s so much to see and do we barely made a dent!
It didn’t help that the weather was dreadful the day after the walk (more rain and so chilly), so we had to stick to indoor areas on the afternoon after my walk. We ended up visiting the New England Aquarium. Tip if you visit-buy tickets online, we did that while waiting in a covered area instead of making one of us get soaked standing in the rain.
On the day we were set to leave we took a long walk in the morning and saw the sights of the city. We walked along the Freedom Trail for a while, toured a few locations including Paul Revere’s house, and had more food (of course) before we headed home.
Learning about chocolate making the 1700’s way
I love walking in a city, so I really love that The Freedom Trail is there. Most locations are free with donations accepted, while several charge a small entrance fee. It’s well worth it to walk along such historic trails.
My only lament? We didn’t get to see nearly enough of the city, so I’m planning a return trip sometime next year.
Also take note, there are a lot of different types of walking tours. We saw a pizza walking tour and heard about another one our Audrey who is chocolate-obsessed would love, a chocolate tour of the city. While we didn’t partake in any planned tours they definitely piqued our interest for a return trip.
Where To Eat in Boston
The food scene in Boston was amazing. That was evident every step of our trip and I throughly enjoyed most everything I ate. Since I’m on a restrictive diet I was thrilled to find places that could easily accommodate my needs and still serve up great food.
CocoBeet: Located near City Hall this small storefront drew us in. They are essentially a juice bar, but also have a case filled with quick and healthy meal options. All their salads, cold-press juices, and even desserts are made from vegan ingredients. Definitely a must visit for a healthy snack, juice, or light meal.
Caffé Nero: This coffee shop has everything you want-lots of room to spread out, delicious coffee, snacks, pastries, and a great vintage industrial feel. They also have outdoor seating, though we didn’t get to take advantage of it.
Back Deck: This restaurant is supposed to look like you’re on someone’s back deck, and it definitely achieves mastering its’ theme and the menu to meet your ‘back deck’ menu expectations. My favorite part was how incredibly large the gluten-free menu was, and the kids’ menu was hefty as well.
Central Wharf Co.: We stopped in here after our Aquarium visit as we were cold, wet, tired, and hangry. The other nearby locations looked overpriced or were fast food joints across the street. This lovely sit-down restaurant has an old style feel with modern touches that is totally what I love in terms of decor. But it’s the food that really had us. $5 kids’ meals with oversized burgers and heaping helpings of fries? Yes, please. The adult meals were delicious and their menu was a bit unique casual American food, but with some twists. The cocktail menu looked fun, too though I had a local gluten-free beer. I took more than a few pictures here, because I loved the decor so much.
Where To Stay
Photos courtesy of DoubleTree
While visiting Boston we stayed at the DoubleTree in downtown. Technically it’s considered in Chinatown. I loved that it was with walking distance of the Freedom Trail and the area offered so much just a few steps this way or a block or two that way
The hotel itself is well-appointed but not incredibly large. I prefer a hotel of this size so I don’t have to spend long walking halls or waiting on elevators. It’s also attached to a local Y where you can workout. (my walk was enough of a workout for me!)
There were a few things we loved: The cookies at check-in were a nice touch for the kids, the Starbucks in the lobby offered much-needed caffeine, and the bar/restaurant area offered just what you’d want inside your hotel (a morning buffet or a pre-dinner drink would be perfect here).
More importantly the rooms themselves were lovely, quiet, and well-sized. They are newly renovated and modern with lots of room to spread out. We loved that there was a seating area and a desk space, a well-sized bathroom, and large and comfortable beds. Though, honestly I may be biased since I was exhausted!
We booked two rooms so the kids could have their own connecting room. It worked out lovely for our stay since I had to sleep in after the walk.
I’d love to hear your recommendations for things to see and do in Boston for our next visit and for other readers.
Disclosure: The DoubleTree graciously provided us with a media rate for our visit.