Hanover Street is the main strip of the North End and Boston's "Little Italy". The street seems to be lined from end to end with Italian restaurants, many quite expensive. I came across to me as Boston's version of New York's Mulburry Street except that there are still Italians living here.
The North End is also the location of a couple of Boston's most important historical monuments. Paul Revere's House is just off of Hanover Steet while the Old North Street Church is just around the north end of the Hanover Street itself.
Historically, prior to the revolution, the residents here used to be predominately Tory but they emigrated to Nova Scotia after the war. The neigbhorhood then became popular with free blacks until the end of the 19th century when Italians immigrated here. Other immigrant groups also settled here but the Italians always dominated and the neighborhood evolved into Little Italy.
Fondest memory: I enjoyed wandering through the Italian neighbourhood in the northern district. Tons of great little Italian cafes and bakeries to be discovered. Don't be afraid to walk off the main streets - the best kept secrets are hidden away (or so it seems!)
The residents of the North End are infamous for the festivals the hold in honor the patron saints of different regions in Italy. These festivals, also known as feasts, have been taking place for over 90 Years. They take place during the summer on weekends. Residents and visitors pour into the streets during these celebrations.
I am posting the 2006 schedule, when the 2007 schedule becomes available I will update the information.
July 2, 2006
Maria del Graze Society
July 9, 2006
St. Rocco Society
July 16, 2006
St. Domenic Society
July 28 - 30, 2006
St. Joseph Society
Battery & Hanover Streets
August 4 - 6, 2006
St. Agrippina di Mineo Society
Battery & Hanover Streets
August 11 - 13, 2006
Madonna Della Cava Society
Battery & Hanover Streets
August 17 - 20, 2006
95th Annual Fisherman's Feast of the
Madonna Del Soccorso di Sciacca Society of Boston
Fleet & North Streets
August 24 - 26, 2007
87th Annual Saint Anthony's Feast of
San Antonio Di Padova Da Montefalcione, Inc.
Thatcher & Endicott Streets
August 27, 2007
St. Lucy Society
Thatcher & Endicott Street
September 10, 2006
Santa Rosalia Di Palermo Society
Fondest memory: I have been to the St. Anthony's Feast, it is absolutely amazing.
Next along the Freedom Trail is Paul Revere's House. It was built in 1680 and is the oldest building in downtown Boston.
Fondest memory: Located at 19 North Square, it is open to visitors.
For information phone:
Another must-see in Boston is the North End. Once an Irish enclave (Rose Kennedy was born here), the North End has become the center for Italian culture in the Boston area. Italian restaurants, bakeries, Mom & Pop grocery stores and pastry shops abound here. Get the best canoli at the Modern Pastry shop on Hanover Street, and go to Mike's Pastry for the ambiance (also on Hanover). My favorite restaurant in the North End is Piccola Venezia, right next to the Modern Pastry. It's unpretentious, affordable home cooking!
Catholic feasts are celebrated in the streets. The best time to experience a feast is at night, when the streets are all lit up and decorated. The oldest and most spectacular feast is the feast of the Madonna Del Soccorso, also known as the Fisherman's Feast. See this url for feast schedules and information:
Getting to the North End is tricky by car. It's best to take the T and/or walk. It's about a 15 minute brisk walk from South Station, or 5 minutes from Faneuil Hall or the Haymarket. From Faneuil & Haymarket, just follow the signs. From South Station, take Atlantic Ave to Commercial Street or Public Alley 101. Then take your first left and walk a block or 2 to Hanover Street. Hanover is the center of activity in the North End.
See also my North End travelogue!
Fondest memory: My transplanted European friends go to the North End when they feel homesick. They say the little markets, cafes and bakeries make them feel at home again.
Favorite thing: This brick-paved plaza gives the crowded neighborhood of the North End a precious stretch of open space between Hanover and Unity streets. Laid out in 1933, and originally called the Prado, its central point is Cyrus Dallin's equestrian statue of local hero Paul Revere, which was originally modeled in 1885.
Copp's Hill Burying Ground
Boston second oldest burying ground, founded in 1659. It serves as a resting place for the merchants, artisans and craftspeople that worked and lived in the North End. It is also a resting place for thousands of free blacks that lived on the north side of the burying ground. Since it overlooked the Charles River, British used the site in 1775 during the Battle of Bunker Hill to train their cannons on Charlestown.
Location: Bordered by Hull Street
Open hours: Spring-Fall 9am-5pm, Winter 9am-3pm
Getting there by “T”- Take green line get off at “North Station”
Perhaps one of my favorite areas in Boston is the North End, perhaps the best example of an Italian neighborhood in the U.S. I even think it is the oldest. Just walk through the streets of the North End with it's Italian markets, narrow streets, small city parks and that garlic aroma from all those Italian restaurants. You can easily imagine that you are in a small neighborhood in Italy. If fact, walk down some of the smaller side streets and you are more likely to hear Italian rather than the English langauge.
Fondest memory: One night we were in the North End in front of some restaurant waiting for a table and just watching some of the people go by. Well, this big Italian dude dress all in white came strolling down the street with two other big dudes all dressed in black right behind him... Anyway, the host from the restaurant we were waiting in front of comes out with a chair sets it down in the street for the dude in white who he referred to as Angel. Angel lights up a cigar as the two dudes in black took up positions behind him again. There he sat smoking his cigar...very suspicious...
Favorite thing: Boston is a great place for American Revolutionary history. Paul Revere definately falls into that category, as he rode through the night declaring "The British are coming" with the warning "1 light in the North Church if by land, two lights if by sea".
Visit the historical sites everywhere! See as much as you can ..... there are brochures out there and tour ducks, etc. I suggest walking from the Long Warf to the North End and finding a nice Italian resaurant to sit down and have a nice dinner or drink. Or find an Italian bakery and get a yummy dessert. A whole box even. No regrets!
Fondest memory: Dinner in the North End on my first date with my husband, Bill.
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