Beacon Hill & Charles Street, Boston
As Boston is a city to simply walk round, one of the nicest areas is Beacon Hill. It's certainly one of the most affluent and prestigious addresses in the city - and amazingly, it's only a couple of miles from the Downtown area. Heaps of distinguished 19th century town houses, narrow streets (head for Acorn St, Boston's most photographed strteet), window boxes, ivy-clad brickwork and little cafes. As it's just north of Boston Common and close to the Freedom Trail, easily reachable for a little wander.
Beacon Hill is a 19th-century downtown Boston residential neighborhood situated directly north of the Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden. Most people think of city living as anonymous and isolating. But this cozy enclave, filled with nearly 10,000 people, is more like a village than an anonymous city. It has a rich community life, with neighbors knowing neighbors and everyone meeting on the Hill's commercial streets and at its myriad activities.
Approximately one mile square, Beacon Hill is bounded by Beacon Street, Bowdoin Street, Cambridge Street and Storrow Drive. It is known for its beautiful doors and door surrounds, brass door knockers, decorative iron work, brick sidewalks, perpetually-burning gas lights, flowering pear trees, window boxes, and hidden gardens. Its architecture, mostly brick row houses, includes the Federal, Greek Revival and Victorian periods, as well as early 20th-century colonial revival homes and tenements. The architecture is protected by restrictive regulations that allow no changes to any visible part of a structure without the approval of an architectural commission.
Beacon Hill contains a South Slope, a North Slope and a Flat of the Hill. Charles Street is the neighborhood's main street and is filled with antique shops and neighborhood services. The Massachusetts State House is at the top of the Hill overlooking Boston Common.
Charles and Cambridge Streets are Beacon Hill's commercial streets. Charles Street is known for 40 antique shops, home decorating shops, delectable food shops and several good restaurants. Cambridge Street offers good restaurants, as well as two gas stations and a supermarket, now undergoing construction in Charles River Plaza. Both streets offer many unique neighborhood service shops, including one of the few independent pharmacies - Gary Drug - left in America. Cambridge Street is also the home of the venerable Massachusetts General Hospital.
As everyone else has written I too have read that Acorn Street is the most photographed street in the USA and yet we stll came across it by accident. Acorn Street is on the Hill behand Charles Street. When we arrived dusk was falling and the gas lights had come on. As it is not mentioned in many of the guide books it is not surprising that so few touristt were around when we were there.
This is a memorial designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens in honor of teh Union Army's 54th Massachusetts Colored Regiment and Col. Robert Gould Shaw. This unit was the 1st made up of free African American soldiers as depicted in the movie Glory.
Before you ever come to Boston, I'm betting that Beacon Hill is how you picture the whole place to look. It's really just the most beautiful neighborhood in the city.
However, I'd like to throw my 2 cents in and criticize it for being too homogenous. Again, typical Boston!
I love Beacon Hill. As a matter of fact, just as soon as I finish my stint in Europe I plan on relocating there for half of the year while I do my writing. It dates back to the early 19th century and nearly all of the houses are either Federal, Victorian or Georgian styles. It is a National Historic District and extraordinarily quiet to be in downtown Boston. As you can see from my front page, I have an entire album dedicated to the area. I love to just walk around and take pictures. If you walk slowly and look hard you can see tiny little gardens stuck here and there throughout the neighborhood. This is my favorite part. Some are no bigger than the interior of my car and some are in obscure places, like balconies, but they all fascinate me.
Charles Street is a quaint little road lined with Antique and Specialty shops. We visited a great little Wine and Cheese store called DeLuca's. A great place to window shop or maybe even pick up a special souvenier.
Now, you gotta wander through Beacon Hill, right?
All those Boston images - cobblestone streets, narrow avenues, leaning townhomes, and buckling sidewalks - that's Beacon Hill, my friend! Sure, there are some tough hills and confusing side streets, but just foray into the hood and discover this charming neighborhood. It's Boston, after all, and you can't get THAT lost.
FYI: bricks are very slippery when wet. Use caution!
Boston's wealthiest referred to themselves as the "Brahmin" class, named after the wealthiest English colonists of India, who lived like royalty in palaces with servants. There may not be any Indian palaces, but Beacon Hill still boasts a number of gorgeous brownstones owned by the oldest Boston families - and I'm sure it's the home of many servants to this day. Charles Street is beautiful bordering on overly precious - take a stroll down it, from Beacon St. to Storrow Drive, but then turn off, squeeze in your butt and abs, and take on some of Beacon Hill's notorious HILLS while oohing and aahing the historic brownstones. Make your way northeast towards Beacon Hill Pub and grab a cheap beer in a cool bar to end the day.
Fashionable center of elegant Beacon Hill. "Little Women" author Louisa May Alcott lived here in the 19th century; supposedly this was the first neighborhood in the United States to witness door-to-door Christmas Caroling. Currently the Square is home to a certain well-known ketchup heiress and her Vietnam-veteran husband; you might catch them in their SUV tooling out of their guaranteed parking spot.
Beacon Hill is a historic neighborhood in Boston. It is a great place to take a walk and look at the beautiful architecture which is governed by strict guidelines. Make sure you pay attention to detail here - there is lots of it. This is also a very close community where everyone knows everyone.
You can visit the State House here, or see where some of the wealthiest people in Boston live. There are also some museums to look through.
If I were to live in Boston this is the area I would want to live in. The only problem is I'm sure this is one of the priciest areas, too. It's just a really cute neighborhood in the city that is really well kept up, beautiful, and exactly what you expect Boston to look like.
...preferably during the summer or early fall! It's just lovely architecturally and the people who live around here are quite chic, etc.
It's very old, older than most places in this country, so is worth seeing!
Walk along and shop Charles Street, the elegant main street of the neighbourhood. Lined with classic Georgian brick buildings holding classy restaurants, antique stores, and other unique businesses, Charles Street is primarily quiet but still interesting. It gives off the feel more of an overdeveloped village street than a major street in a great metropolis. The Charles Street Meetinghouse at Charles and Mount Vernon is a neighbourhood landmark, and the (supposedly) original 7-11 store is up a few blocks from there.
Admire this quiet, historic neighbourhood, one of Boston's priciest areas and justifiably so- the neighbourhood is filled with intact 18th and early 19th century rowhouses and mansions built for Boston's wealthy. Cobblestone streets on hillsides and a distinctive redbrick federal style flair characterise this area. In many ways, the gaslights, the brick sidewalks, the brick houses all summarise the general image many people have of Boston. Of particular interest are Acorn Street, a narrow, cobbled way that draws more photos than any other site in Boston, Charles Street, which has great restaurants and antique shops, and Louisbourg Square, the creme-de-la-creme of New England real estate, where houses are most expensive in Boston. The square was modelled after Georgian examples in London, and has a definite Belgravia or Bloomsbury feel to it. Since Beacon Hill is right on the Freedom Trail, I'd say it's a must to wander through there. Perhaps even pick up the African American History Trail, which shows off some of Boston's lesser known historic sites on the neighbourhood's north slope.