Boston: top 10 things to do in Fort Point and Seaport - Halong Junk Cruises

Boston: top 10 things to do in Fort Point and Seaport

Flour Bakery, Boston, USA
Flour Bakery, Boston, USA.
Photograph: PR

Flour Bakery and Cafe

Close to the Boston Children’s Museum and just off buzzing Congress Street is the sweet satisfaction of Flour Bakery and Cafe. It was founded when Harvard-educated management consultant Joanne Chang swapped spreadsheets for cakes and cookies to became a pastry chef. Chang opened her first bakery-cafe in Boston’s South End in 2000 and the second in Fort Point, in 2007, and says the intention with each of the (now four) shops is they become a part of the fabric of their neighbourhood. The motto here is, “Make life sweeter … eat dessert first!” and it’s an easy ethos to buy into. You’ll probably still end up deliberating long and hard over which cake to order, though. But if it helps, the sticky buns with caramel and pecans ($ 3.50) are justly famous, the chocolate melt macaroons ($ 1.75) slip down well with an espresso, and the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting ($ 5.50) will sate anyone’s sweet tooth.
12 Farnsworth Street, flourbakery.com. Open Mon-Fri 7am-8pm, Sat 8am-6pm, Sun 9am-5pm

Trillium Brewing Company

Trillium Brewing, Boston

Photograph: https://www.facebook.com/trilliumbrewing

Lean against the impressively solid bar at this family-owned brewing company during its tasting hours and you’ll get the chance to savour samples of up to three of its brewed-on-the-premises ales. If you like what you sup – and on our visit the note-perfect selection was a Belgian-style house IPA, the tropical-slanted Dry Stack Batch and the sturdy but smooth Pot & Kettle porter – then you can buy a glass or take some away in bottles or ‘growlers’. Though the building was acquired four years ago, the tasting room has only been open for 18 months. The site had to be cleared of Big Dig dirt from Boston’s public works highway project but there’s a local-legacy touch that comes from knowing the wood for that solid bar was donated by a place around the corner.
369 Congress Street, trilliumbrewing.com. Tasting room hours Tues-Thurs 4pm-7.30pm, Fri midday-7.30pm, Sat midday-6pm

Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

Boston Tea Party Ship, Boston

Photograph: Robert Hull

If a family-friendly activity floats your boat then indulge in some American revolutionary behaviour at a museum that’s on Fort Point Channel. The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum reopened in June 2012 following an impressive renovation, and its hour-long group tour is led by actors dressed up in 18th-century garb. It paints a vivid, though fun, picture of a city’s frustration at ongoing “taxation without representation” under King George III. And explains why, on the night of 16 December 1773, Bostonians gave vent to their anger at this by throwing crates of tea overboard from ships. Naturally, you exit through a cafe and a gift shop that sell tea – it’s not water-damaged, though. Part of the annual re-enactment is now ticketed as the city makes a bigger spectacle of the event with a waterfront viewing area. If you’re tempted, the InterContinental Boston hotel, which overlooks the museum, offers Tea Party packages from $ 299.
306 Congress Street, +1 617 338 1773, bostonteapartyship.com. Open daily (winter/spring) 10am-4pm and summer/autumn 10am-5pm. Online tickets $ 22.50 adults, $ 13.50 kids

Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (ICA)

Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art

Photograph: Alamy

When it opened in December 2006 in a prime Seaport spot with views of the harbour and the financial district skyline, the ICA was the first new art institution built in the city in nearly 100 years. The gallery/museum – designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro – keeps a fresh focus, too, with exhibitions and projects from artists including Ragnar Kjartansson, Adriana Varejão and Christina Ramberg, and in displaying work in a range of media. It organises group visits, offers regular free tours and film nights, puts on music events and talks, and has a superb resources room with a superlative view. Inside and out, its clean lines and fresh feel give freedom to the art to express itself and for the public to enjoy a relaxing space to take it all in afterwards.
100 Northern Avenue, icaboston.org. Open Tues-Sun 10am-5pm. Admission $ 15 adults, under 17s free

Fort Point Arts Community and Grand Circle Gallery

Boston Summer Street Bridge and Wharfs
Summer Street Bridge and wharfs.
Photograph: Robert Hull

Fort Point has an artistic heritage and it is one that is kept going by numerous galleries in the area. This includes the Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC) gallery on Summer Street that, along with its exhibition space, also puts together public art displays, such as the recent Shimmer piece on the Congress Street bridge. FPAC has its own store, called Made in Fort Point, which exhibits and sells artists’ work out of a new location on A Street. For a travel-inspired look at art and photography, the Grand Circle Gallery has an extensive collection of vintage travel posters that make for an entertaining stop-off. The helpful staff take time to explain what’s on show and are handy for local tips, too.
FPAC Gallery, 300 Summer Street. Open Wed-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat midday-4pm. Made in Fort Point store, 315 A Street. Open Mon-Fri 11am-6pm, Sat-Sun midday-4pm. Both at fortpointarts.org. Grand Circle Gallery, 347 Congress Street, gct.com/community/grand-circle-gallery. Open Wed and Fri midday-6pm, Thurs midday-7pm, Sat 10am-5pm. All admissions free

Stroll the Harborwalk – or take a water taxi

Boston Harborwalk near Childrens Museum
Boston Harborwalk near the Childrens Museum.
Photograph: Robert Hull

The Boston Harborwalk encompasses shoreline, beaches and wharves as it wriggles around the edges of the city, helping to reinforce its credentials as a walkable metropolis. The segment of the Harborwalk that takes in Fort Point and the Seaport waterfront opened in 2005 and guides you past the Children’s Museum and the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse towards the ICA and on to the 5,000-capacity Blue Hills Bank Pavilion venue. It also brings you close to the three-floored wonder (with retractable roof) that is Legal Harborside, the new flagship restaurant for Legal Sea Foods. If strolling’s not your thing then you can explore the rest of the harbour area by calling a water taxi. Ring from a mobile or the public phones at pick-up points around Fort Point, including the InterContinental Boston hotel and the Seaport World Trade Center.
bostonharborwalk.com. Water taxis: massport.com/logan-airport/to-and-from-logan/water-transport/, fares from $ 10

Sportello

Sportello Gnocchi, Fort Point, Boston
Sportello gnocchi with mushroom ragu, peas and cream.
Photograph: Susie Cushner

Chef and restaurant owner Barbara Lynch hails from South Boston and is a star of the local and national food scene. Sportello is her attempt at blending a menu of Italian-inspired food with a design ethic that puts an engaging, though not overly formal, spin on the classic diner. It works perfectly: the atmosphere is affable not austere, the service fast and friendly, and the food, which you can see being cooked as you sit up at the counter, bursts with bright ideas. The Heirloom Tomato Salad with mozzarella, basil and corn relish ($ 15) is zingy and bright, and the potato gnocchi with mushroom ragu, peas and cream ($ 22) is a velvety delight. You may also want to pop downstairs to another Barbara Lynch joint, Drink. At this cocktail bar there is no menu. Instead, you describe what tastes you like and a concoction is crafted just for you.
348 Congress Street, +1 617 737 1234, sportelloboston.com. Open daily 11.30am-11pm

Boston Children’s Museum and the Hood Milk Bottle

Boston Children's Museum

Photograph: Alamy

Boston’s Fort Point/Seaport district may be hot property right now but kids and families have been coming to the Children’s Museum in this location since 1979 – and to the museum in its previous incarnations ever since it was “birthed” in 1913. Still, the current property enjoyed a $ 47m renovation in 2007, so it’s no slouch in design and interactivity terms. The focus is on science, culture, environmental awareness, health, and the arts, but what underpins the experience is the emphasis on “hands-on engagement and learning through experience”. Or, if you prefer, having fun. For a sweet treat as you leave (to reward good behaviour – adult or child!) stop at the Hood Milk Bottle. It’s a 40ft tall milk bottle … from which they sell ice-creams and snacks.
Museum Wharf, Congress Street, bostonchildrensmuseum.org. Open daily 10am-5pm (Fridays till 9pm). Admission $ 14 adults and kids aged 1-15, kids 0-12 months free

Row 34

Row 34 in Fort Point.  House made Bucatini with clams and garlic crumbs

Photograph: Lane Turner/Boston Globe via Getty Images

In a city where seafood is a zealously debated topic, it’s a testament to Row 34’s success that asking people what they think of this oyster house often brings just smiles of satisfaction. Oysters take top billing, of course, while it pays to explore the menu’s lettuce cups ($ 12), which are an Asian-influenced dish that sees the oysters wrapped in leaves with pickled vegetables. The warm buttered lobster roll ($ 24) is a thing of crustacean perfection that will elicit purrs of pleasure or just moments of contented contemplation. The restaurant’s name comes from the farm where the bivalves are harvested, and which happens to have 34 rows of oyster racks.
383 Congress Street, +1 617 553 5900, row34.com. Open Sun-Thurs 5pm-10pm, Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat 4.30pm-11pm

Harpoon Brewery

Harpoon Brewery Boston, MA

Photograph: Alamy

Out towards the more industrial-looking fringes of the Seaport area is Harpoon Brewery, but fear not, there’s nothing to worry over – other than the sheer amount of brews that will face you at this beer-hall-style brewery and bar. IPAs, rye IPAs, white ale, summer, autumn and winter beers, fruit beers, ciders and a Boston stout are all often on the menu. Decision-making becomes much clearer (before inevitably getting more fuzzy) if you grab a spot on one of the brewery tours – which cost $ 5 and take around 50 minutes.
306 Northern Avenue, harpoonbrewery.com. Beer hall open Wed-Sun 11am-7pm, Thurs-Sat 11am-11pm. Brewery tours, Mon-Wed midday-5pm, Thurs-Fri midday-6pm, Sat 11.20am-6pm, Sun 11.30am-5.30pm

For trips to Boston and Massachusetts visit bostonusa.com and massholiday.co.uk. For more information on holidays in the USA, visit DiscoverAmerica.com

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