Whenever we do trade shows or go to out-of-town meetings, it seems that business travelers are single-handedly driving the world economy. Airports are filled with B2B poster ads by Fortune 100 companies, the price for everything is crazy high, and customer service reps appear to have gotten their training at Disneyworld.
A recent trade show we attended allowed us to experience Boston that way; as a coddled business traveler in deal-making mode. Here’s what we learned that can help you get the most out of Boston when you’re there for work:
It took us a few trips to over-the-counter restaurants such as Yankee Lobster to understand why the person taking our order never asked for our name. In our hometown of Atlanta, they normally hand you a decorative object to bring to your table so the runner knows where to deliver the food; or they’ll at least ask for a name to associate with the order.
We know this sounds like a persnickety detail, but we held up the line a few times hangrily asking, “Don’t you need our name? How will you find us?” In Boston, it turns out they prefer to holler the first name of the person associated with the credit card. That’s how you know your food is ready.
Good thing we weren’t borrowing my boss’s credit card. That would have been super-confusing.
It’s probably a faux pax to compare New Yorkers to Bostonians, but we’ll do it anyway. Bostonians are very direct. It’s definitely a blue-collar sensibility. And locals do not have time for all your preamble. They need to know exactly what you want. If your request makes sense, they’ll get right on it. If not, please think it through and get back to them.
Like many meeting facilities in the northeast, the Boston Convention Center is union-friendly (unions are a strange concept for southerners like us). That means when you’re an exhibitor you must let the pros do their job. Hands off the electrical gear, don’t build stuff yourself and be very clear with what you want from the workers. Time is not their friend.
New England produces 25% of the seafood in the USA, with Massachusetts delivering much of the lobster and scallops. Therefore, Bostonians define “fresh seafood” in a way southerners won’t understand. Tony Maws, chef/owner of Craigie on Main in Cambridge, Massachusetts says, “More often than not, the path of a fish from boat to store isn’t just point A to point B, as we might romantically envision. Instead, we should consider points C and D as well, and that probably includes myriad trucks, warehouses and refrigerators and all the hands that get them there.” In Boston, points C and D don’t exist.
When an intern on our marketing team bravely ordered the Treasure of the Atlantic at Rabias, we thought the lobsters were gonna pinch him.
Castle Island is a 22-acre (8.9 ha) recreation site and the location of Fort Independence. During a day off we hiked 2 miles from the Westin Boston Waterfront to Castle Island to enjoy shoreline views, see planes take off from Logan International Airport, rollerblade and bask in the very cool history behind one the Revolutionary War’s most pivotal sites.
During periods of rioting and unrest in Boston, British officials used Castle Island (then-named Castle William) as a refuge. The first real argument between America and Great Britain was actually about stamps – stamps on pieces of paper that King George insisted the colonists buy and use for basic things like documents, magazines and playing cards. When the colonists threatened to destroy all the stamps, guess where the British stored them? You guessed it; Castle Island.
So, imagine what a victorious moment it must have been for George Washington and his continental army when they finally took control of this spectacular island in 1776.
From the moment we spoke to our hotel receptionist, we knew we weren’t in Kansas anymore. When you hear a Bostonian say, “Park the car,” it sounds like “pahk the cah.” This totally charming quality of Boston originates from the English immigrants who aspired to be like British aristocracy. If you imagine the Queen of England pronouncing the word “large” you don’t hear much emphasis on the “r”. Two-hundred years later, that pretty much still applies.
The Boston dialect – which will remind you of Good Will Hunting and John F. Kennedy – hasn’t expanded far beyond New England for two reasons. First, immigrants who arrived after the American Revolution came from places other than England. Second, those newcomers could care less about sounding like royalty.
There is a palpable energy you feel when visiting place that is hundreds of years old. Somehow, the man-hours that went into building the buildings, creating the sculptures and paving the streets appreciated like a fine wine. The value of those peoples’ efforts has compounded over time and continues to linger in the air.
City officials in Boston have leveraged this principle to make Beantown the optimal stage upon which corporate travelers can build and maintain relationships with one another. It’s a great place to do business. So be sure to remember our fresh tips when you plan your next business meeting in “The Olde Town”.
Boston, a city brimming with history and seafood, was once a place associated almost exclusively with its sense of tradition. Those historic values still run deep, trickling into almost everything the city touches, but there is no doubt that Boston has made its name in the zeitgeist as well. Tourists are flocking to it now more than ever, and not just for the old-school clam chowder. They are attracted by the rare way the city is able to combine old and new to form an experience that hits all the right notes.
Countless options for inventive cuisine have weaved themselves throughout the vibrant neighborhoods, grabbing the attention from anyone searching for a casual outdoor café to a formal black-tie experience. There’s also a dynamic bar scene that caters to the modern need for atmospheric variety when picking a locale for libations. The lush parks, excellent sporting events, gorgeous architecture and great shopping shouldn’t be discounted either.
If you are planning a trip to Boston, it is the perfect place to feed your appetite for history, entertainment and, of course, food. There is something for everyone.
For the history buff looking for unique information on the Revolutionary War, the Freedom Trail should be the first thing on your list. The 2.5-mile red brick path walks you through 16 historically significant sites. If you love a tour, you can opt for a guide, clad in Revolutionary Era regalia, to walk you through a 2-3 hour trek that includes Paul Revere’s House, Old North Church, Old State House and many others. Check out the tour schedule here.
Carve out time to stop by the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, after your tour. This floating museum boasts an “all-encompassing, multi-sensory experience” that is fun for visitors of any age. The tour will last about an hour, and guide you through a variety of virtual exhibits, as well as more traditional museum exhibits. There will be ample opportunity to immerse yourself in the events that led to the American Revolution. When you’re done, be sure to stop by Abigail’s Tea Room to sample historic teas, or pick from the list of beers brewed in Boston, with the colonial tea ladies.
Exploring the Freedom Trail. Source: Instagram, @harr_lee
Looking to really see Boston? Jump on a Duck Tour. Board a “DUCK”, a WWII-style boat, and get ready for an exciting sight seeing tour of the city. You will get a taste of the history that made Boston “the birthplace of freedom,” cruising past sites like Boston Common and Copley Square. At the same time, places like Newbury Street and Quincy Market show the more fashion-forward side of the city. Suddenly, the DUCK will pop into the Charles River to give an astonishing view of both the Boston and Cambridge skylines.
Stunning views from a Duck tour boat. Source: Instagram, @tonywang_photography
For a culinary experience that is authentically Boston, head to the North End. Not only is this area full of charm, but it’s packed with delicious Italian restaurants that attract locals and tourists alike. Try Giacomo’s, one of the most beloved Italian restaurants in the city, if you’re up for braving the infamous line. Even though this isn’t a place for a long, leisurely meal, the food stands up to the cult following it has generated. Remember to leave your credit card at home, as they have a strict cash only policy.
Mama Maria, another one of our North End favorites, is as enchanting as the cobblestone street you walk down to get there. The ambiance is a little more relaxed than Giacomo’s—but the food is just as delicious. Their dishes are artful, taking traditional favorites and giving them an original spin that make the restaurant a must try.
If you aren’t an Italian fan or just want that Boston seafood experience, opt for Neptune Oyster. Served cold or hot, there is a reason their lobster roll is famous. If you are craving something raw, they have an extensive offering of both East and West Coast oysters, clams, and more.
Seafood pastas. Source: Instagram, @giacomos_southend
If you long for the smell of peanuts and cracker jacks, you will find your utopia at Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox. Known as America’s most beloved ballpark, Fenway remains one of the most celebrated sport’s destinations in the United States. If you want to really experience this slice of baseball history, sign up for the one-hour guided walking tour. You will have the opportunity to sit atop the world-famous Green Monster overlooking left field and visit Pesky’s Pole. The tradition and history of Boston are pulsing through the stands, making it impossible not to get swept up in that Boston Red Sox magic. Grab your tour tickets here.
The Red Sox play at Fenway Park. Source: Instagram, @fenwaypark
No matter who you consider yourself to be, Boston has something waiting for you. If your group is in need of transportation, call us at 617-848-1249 and our agents will assist you in booking the perfect bus or shuttle for your event.