I work better with deadlines and best when the deadline is near. We are now into the second part of the Nieman year, and while it’s too soon to say the end is near, it’s getting nearer. To make sure I see more of Boston while we live here, I’ve put together my Boston To Do List. Most of the destinations came from paging through Maria T. Olia’s “Little Black Book of Boston."
Museums (there are many)
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum - When we moved, this was a top recommendation. I’ve saved museums for winter... so now.
Peabody Museum - I walked by this museum nearly every day last semester, but I have yet to visit it.
Harvard Semitic Museum - ditto
Gordon Parks exhibition at the MFA - I’ve been to the MFA twice. At $25, it’s pricy, but your ticket is good for a second visit in the next 10 days. It’s free after 4 pm on Wednesdays and stays open until 9:45.
JFK Presidential Library and Museum - After visiting the LBJ library last year, we would now like to visit every presidential library. Their main exhibition halls are under renovation until mid-March, so I’ll wait until spring.
Ship-related Activities (and actual ships)
Whale watching - after the seasickness on the boat to Provincetown, I’m concerned about how this will go. I figure I’ll take some Dramamine and ask someone to wake me up if there are whales.
Libraries and churches
Boston Public Library - It’s supposedly beautiful and I see there’s an exhibition on maps from imaginary literary landscapes opening today.
Trinity Church and Old South Church - these are both at Copley Square by the library and were recommended in the guide book, so I figure I’ll just pop in and take a look.
Christian Science Plaza, Mother Church, and the Mary Baker Eddy Library - the plaza looks lovely (maybe better in spring and summer), the church has one of the largest pipe organs in the world (13290 pipes), and there's a three-story stained glass globe (there’s a Groupon for it right now)
Boston athenaeum and skin book - Thanks to recent visitors, I’ve learned that the Boston athenaeum has a book about the highwayman James Allen, which is bound in his own skin (officially titled "Narrative of the life of James Allen : alias George Walton, alias Jonas Pierce, alias James H. York, alias Burley Grove, the highwayman : being his death-bed confession, to the warden of the Massachusetts State Prison”). This is weird and horrifying and I want to see it.
Mount Auburn Cemetery - I’ve been twice already, but it’s a huge, lovely garden cemetery. I want to see it in all seasons.
Great Molasses Flood plaque in Puopolo Park - the now-defunct Louisville theater group Le Petomane taught me about the Great Molasses Flood, but I didn’t realize it took place in Boston until the guide book told me about the plaque. If you’ve never heard of the Great Molasses Flood, check out this recent Boston Globe story
The Bunker Hill Monument - We’ve walked around the grounds at night, but I’d love to see the view from the top. You can climb the monument’s 294 steps for free.
Fairsted (Frederick Law Olmsted’s home & office) - Because he is responsible for Cherokee Park in Louisville, I love Olmsted, without knowing much about the man or his life. Now I can visit his home and learn more.
Back Bay Fens - Another Olmsted project. It’s looking a little rough at the moment, so I’ll wait until spring for this one, as well.
And finally, I would like to visit the Massachusetts State House, but I didn’t have a category for it. There is a wooden cod suspended from the ceiling in the House of Representatives, symbolizing the importance of the fishing industry. It is called the Sacred Cod. I must see this sacred fish.
Have I overlooked one of your favorite Boston-area destinations? Tell me about it!