Birthday at the beach: Winthrop

Last weekend I had my first birthday in America.  Away from the summer drizzle in the UK, I headed to the beach for the day with a few girlfriends. We drove 30 minutes from one side of the city of Boston to the other, our destination: Winthrop Beach.

Located in the small town of Winthrop, the beach remains a secret destination to many; a place visited by the locals unlike the tourists of nearby Revere Beach.  There are lots of colourful beach houses with painted doors, large open decks and potted plants in the carefully tended front gardens.  The beach itself has lovely soft sand at one end (near the lifeguard) and a wildlife reservation for nesting birds at the other.

We soaked up the sun, went swimming in the ocean and walked along the beach.  Back in the day Winthrop Beach was a site for clam digging and lobster fishing; now the only digging activity that goes on requires a bucket and spade

On our way back to the car, the girls and I popped into the local marina to take in the view of the Boston skyline across the bay.  I thought the name of the boat “Outsider” was quite apt all things considering.

Winthrop Beach is open all year round from dawn to dusk.  The nearest T-stop is Orient Heights on the blue line – take the Paul Revere bus service to the beach (map). (Probably best to drive there and park on the ocean front)

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What to do with friends in summertime Boston?

Revere Beach in July

This weekend some very good friends came to visit Boston. Ali and Dan, like me, made the big JUMP across the pond seven months ago; moving from our north London neighborhood to the USA. Both are rather good writers and have kept wonderful online journals of their antics in Philadelphia (visit Ali’s blog here and Dan’s blog here). Needless to say, the three of us have a lot in common and I was really looking forward to showing off my new stateside city.

We spent most of the weekend outside on bikes or at the beach. Here is a selection of things we did:

Friday

Saturday

  • Rent bikes from UrbanAdventours (prices start at $35 per 24hrs). We cycled four routes stopping off where something fun took our fancy:
    1. Aquarium- along the Charles River Reservation- MIT…
    … Stopping at Massachusetts Avenue Bridge to take in the view of the Boston skyline.
    2. MIT – along Massachusetts Avenue- Harvard Square…
    …Stopping at Harvard Yard for ice cream while basking in the sun of the historic university grounds.
    3. Harvard Square – along the Emerald Necklace bike path (Back Bay Fens section) – Longwood Medical Area…
    … Stopping at the rose garden (see earlier post) and Harvard Medical School.
    4. Longwood Medical Area – along the Emerald Necklace bike path (Brookline section) – Jamaica Pond…
    … Stopping at the boat house by Jamaica Pond to watch the swans on the water.
  • Wander around the Italian Quarter in the North End and dine at Nico’s where violent gangster movies are screened during dinner!
  • Nip into Matt Murphy’s at Brookline Village for a night-cap.

Sunday

  • Walk through the Boston Public Gardens
  • Grab lunch at the Parish Cafe on Boylston Street where the best sandwiches in Boston are served.
  • Paddle in the water at Revere beach while eating ice cream

Revere Beach

On the railroad – to Philadelphia

This weekend I hopped on the train and headed down to Philadelphia.  I was looking forward to visiting friends there who also made the big, crazy move from England to the USA.

The journey from Boston to Philadelphia only took 6 hours – cruising at 125 miles an hour and at 65 feet above sea level.  I love travelling by train as you get to see lots of different parts of the landscape that are easily missed when flying.  The route from Boston goes along the coast until New York, where the train moves inland.  For most of the journey I had views of the Atlantic ocean; lined with beautiful sandy beaches and small shipping ports.

I passed through the New London harbour… very different from St Catherine’s docks in London, UK.

I went through Stamford and New York. (There are plenty of photos but I have chosen not to include them on this post as they were even darker and murkier than that of New London!)

After New York, the train driver livened up the journey by giving a running commentary.  When he’d finished highlighting the sights such as Hell’s bridge and various football stadiums, he made a very important announcement:

“A bag of marbles has been left in the café cart.

Has anyone lost a bag of marbles?

Has anyone lost their marbles?”

An hour later and I was glad to arrive at my destination – 30th Street train station, Philadelphia.

Train tickets can be bought on the Amtrak website.  Early bird advance tickets between Boston and Philadelphia cost $59 each way.