Day Outs in Downtown Boston and the Historic Seaside Town of Plymouth

Our US holiday was not over yet. We had a couple of day outs in downtown Boston and the historic seaside town of Plymouth. An unforeseen twist of events made this possible.

Some few days back, we’re having one of the best moments of our lives on the West Coast. California was splendid with its abundance of sunshine. An overnight stay and short tour of Las Vegas was a new experience for us. However, as the cliché goes “All good things must come to an end.” I would say that our first US experience on both sides of the coasts had been nothing but spectacular. So, with heavy hearts, we went back to Boston for our flight home to the UK.

A few days earlier across the globe, a volcano in Iceland erupted. The resulting ashfall covered a good part of Europe’s airspace. Many European airports shut down and flights were cancelled. This was the scenario on our supposed return to Europe. Now that’s not a pleasant way to end a great holiday so we’re worried and a bit apprehensive about what’s in store for us.

An overnight flight from LAX at Los Angeles and a stop-over at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport brought us back to Boston’s Logan Airport. Upon arrival, we immediately proceeded to the check-in counter for our flight to London. We were informed that our flight was cancelled. That confirmed our early fears and suspicion. However, our flight was re-booked in two weeks’ time.


This kind of situation was totally unexpected but we have to accept that it’s part of travelling. It meant only two things for us. First, we were stranded. Second, we have an unexpected holiday extension. I bet you know what we did next. Our only lifeline, I called my friend in Boston who hosted us earlier and who was happy to accommodate us again.

During these two weeks, we were able to explore Boston on our own and visited a couple of another high school classmates based in Long Island, New York. The most memorable bit was that our son officially became a teenager in the US. He was nagging us earlier to extend our holiday so he can celebrate his birthday in Uncle Sam’s land. His plea fell on deaf ears but he got his wish nonetheless. We also had the chance to visit the historic seaside town of Plymouth.

Here is the recap of the sights we’ve seen on our day out in Boston plus our trip to Plymouth. We covered a lot of ground in Boston during our Duck Tours. However, this time we toured the city on foot on our own sweet time. After all, Boston was called as “America’s Walking City.”

Beacon Hill and Massachusetts State House

Beacon Hill is a historic and predominantly residential area. Famed for old colonial brick row houses, it is one of the most expensive but desirable places to live in Boston.

Massachusetts State House, the state capitol and seat of government, is located in Beacon Hill. Its most outstanding feature was the dome re-gilded in 23k gold. The dome serves as the zero-mile marker for Massachusetts.

Massachusetts State House

Boston Common and The Public Garden

Located near Beacon Hill, the 50-hectare Boston Common is the oldest public park in the US. Various events such as gatherings, concerts, sports and even protests take place in this park. Being springtime, trees and plants are beginning to bloom giving the park a fabulous look. The landmark Parkman Bandstand can be found in the park and is used today for concerts, rallies, and speeches.

Boston Common

Parkman Bandstand
Parkman Bandstand at the background

The Public Garden, a large park adjacent to Boston Common was the first public botanical garden in the US. A popular feature and attraction are the Swan Boats, where tourists can sit on a boat pedalled around the pond by a tour guide.

Both Boston Common and Public Garden are equally stunning in autumn. Also, to find other things and sights you can do and see in a day in Boston, please do check out this post: What to Do With One Day in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

One of the finest memorial statues in Boston, the bronze equestrian statue of George Washington stands proudly in the park. Around the statue are beds of lovely, colourful tulips in full bloom.

Swan Boat at the Public Garden

Statue of George Washington at the Public Garden

Copley Square

Copley Square is a public square in Boston’s Back Bay area. The Square has a number of significant and important architectural landmarks which include:

  • The John Hancock Tower, a 60-storey glass building completed in 1976 is Boston’s tallest building.
  • Trinity Church, a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts which is involved in community service, Christian education and home to several high-level choirs.
John Hancock Tower and Trinity Church
John Hancock Tower dwarfing Trinity Church
  • Old South Church, a historic United Church of Christ congregation and is regarded as one of the finest High Victorian Gothic churches in New England.
  • Boston Public Library whose granite exterior of the building is generally classified as Italian Renaissance revival contains the library’s research collection, exhibition rooms and administrative offices. The world’s oldest annual marathon, Boston Marathon finishes in front of the library.

Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library

Day Out in Plymouth

On our penultimate day in the US, our generous hosts took us to the historic town of Plymouth. We had lunch at Isaac’s Restaurant located on the scenic waterfront whose huge glass windows offer amazing views of Plymouth Harbor and the Mayflower.

Plymouth Harbor

Plymouth was the final landing site of the first voyage of the Mayflower. It was established in December 1620 by English separatist Puritans who had separated from the Church of England. These settlers, known as the “Pilgrims”, left England to escape religious persecution and to continue the work of the Protestant Reformation. The Pilgrims named their new home after the seaside town in England where they set out.

Today, a full-size replica of the Mayflower, the ship which brought the Pilgrims to Plymouth is docked at the State Pier. The ship is open as a museum about the Pilgrims’ historic voyage.

Mayflower replica

Another point of interest is the Plymouth Rock Monument which shelters the famous Plymouth Rock. The rock was said to be the landing site of the Pilgrims and was inscribed with “1620”, the year of the Mayflower’s arrival.

Plymouth Rock Monument
At the background is the Plymouth Rock Monument

Plymouth Rock

Originally two ships sailed from England, the Mayflower and the Speedwell. It was discovered that the latter was leaking so they returned to England. The passengers were crammed into the Mayflower, set out again and arrived in America two months later.

This was a lesson for us which was really inspirational and an eye-opener. I can see the similar experience from the Pilgrims with our own. We had the opportunity to learn and relate fully well to their voyage. However, we don’t have to experience what they had been through because of modern technology. Nowadays, reaching or settling in a new destination is a mere flight away in a lesser amount of time.

Nevertheless, we trust that the struggles the Pilgrims faced to achieve freedom made an impression on us as we face our own challenges on this journey called life.

Have you had an amazing travel experience that was made possible due to an unforeseen twist of events?

Travelling to Boston & Plymouth (or elsewhere )? Book your flight, hotel, travel insurance & other travel needs here.

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Day Outs in Downtown Boston and the Historic Seaside Town of Plymouth


  1. Oh wow, a two-week delay on your cancelled flight! That’s intense! Can’t help nature though I guess. So fortunate that you had a friend in Boston though, and it sounds like you ended up having a fabulous time 🙂 I haven’t been to Boston yet but would love to get there at some point – your photo of Trinity Church against John Hancock Tower is a stunning juxtaposition of modern architecture against historic!

  2. I must have been living under a rock because I haven’t heard of that volcanic eruption till now. It must have been pretty annoying to see so many flights cancelled. I live in Los Angeles and I can understand why you felt sad to be leaving California behind. There is nothing like the perfect weather that we enjoy here year round. Boston is beautiful too and it seems you were lucky with the weather there also. I’ve seen the downtown area, but never been to Plymouth.

  3. Boston is such an incredible city. Honestly one of my favorite places to visit in the US. Sadly, I missed the Mayflower and it looks like I truly missed out. Guess it’s time to book a return trip. 🙂

  4. A 2-week delay in travel sounds like a long time! Do the airlines or travel insurance compensate you for that delay? Either way, two weeks of extra travel sounds fun! Massachusetts State House looks so impressive, especially with the gold dome! I love the image of old and new with the John Hancock Tower and Trinity Church. Plymouth looks nice and glad you got some lovely weather to experience it. Sounds like you made the most of your unexpected side trip!

  5. What an eye-opening experience! I’m glad you ended up enjoying your visit to the area! 🙂 Boston does look absolutely beautiful though. I would love to visit!

  6. I can definitely use an abundance of sunshine right now, it’s cold and cloudy here in Toronto. But the good thing about being in Toronto is how close it is to Boston. Although so close that city has been so high on my to go to list for so long. The contrast is the John Hancock Tower and the Trinity Church is awesome. Reminds me of here. Ok, I gotta get out there…

  7. Such great history over there on the East Coast. I have been wanting to visit Boston and Plymouth. I didn’t know they have a full-size replica of the Mayflower that is so cool! I have to plan a trip over there soon!

  8. A 2-week delay in travel sounds insane to me. I must be living under the rock for not knowing about this incident. I hope you got compensated for the delay. Even though you had a great time in Boston, I would have gone nuts. Love your airplane and tulip pics.

  9. Love that you had such a wonderful time in the States and that even an erupting volcano turned into a good time! The “worst” situations in travel often turn into exciting new opportunities. They make you think on your feet and find the good in situation. We missed the one plane a week that goes from Pemba Mozambique to Zanzibar and it turned into one of our most incredible road trips. Gotta roll with the punches! And thanks for the Boston tips, we need to go back!

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