Visit Boston with the family
Built at the water’s edge (planes land just a stone’s throw from the shore), the capital of Massachusetts aims to be welcoming and affordable: you can explore it on foot and with strollers without difficulty! Far from the clichés that stick to American cities of its size, it offers an astonishing landscape. Here the streets are not straight, the old buildings rub shoulders with huge buildings, stretches of water and many, many green spaces where young and old can frolic and carry out many activities. Everywhere, the colonial past and the American Revolution are reminded to tourists and locals. To discover the history of this New England icon at your own pace, follow the Freedom Trail, a discreet red line that criss-crosses the streets and indicates key places via plaques.
Impossible to go to Boston with little ones without take a Swan Boat ride (pedal boat surmounted by a giant swan), a real tradition that dates back to 1870! Things to do at the Boston Public Garden beforego for a drink at Nine Zero, the bar of a hotel designed for families. Here, the message is clear and displayed in full: Life is a fiesta. To the extent that children are allowed (not to say encouraged) to draw on window panesunless they prefer a game of pinball or a board game in the small dedicated room…
After this relaxing break, offer your tribe a cultural session at the Museum of Fine Arts (Museum of Fine Arts). Electronic guides designed for children aged 6 to 10 will allow them toapproach the works with enthusiasm, thanks to the program’s three friendly characters: Lucia, a high school journalist, Steve a 10-year-old adventurer and Malone, an art detective. For the youngest – or if you don’t want to rent tablets, you can download activity sheets before your visit to the museum website (several themes are proposed). Once there, your children will have to spot characters and/or details, while gleaning crisp anecdotes! A good way to cultivate their appetite for art! And if your youngest is dragging his feet, don’t hesitate to ask for a stroller on site, their loan is free.
Please note: back-mounted baby carriers are not permitted. And if you are breastfeeding, you can settle in a quiet room, on request.
Two other places not to be missed with your kids: the New England Aquarium where sea lions, seals, turtles and even the world’s smallest penguins are sure to entertain your tribe. But the temple of the bout’chou remains the Children’s museum which, as its name suggests, has been completely designed for them. They will be able to play there, experiment and enrich their scientific, environmental, artistic, cultural knowledge… A little paradise located in the south-east of Boston.
Addresses to discover
Have lunch at Faneuil Hall Market in the heart of historic Boston. All the cuisines of the world are served here to take away. You can taste them in the heart of the building, on large convivial tables.
A getaway to Provincetown, Cape Cod
Among the treasures of Massachusetts is Provincetown, a pretty town located on the tip of the Cape Cod peninsula. To get there from Boston, three solutions: by road, then count about 2h30 (over here the ideas to keep the little ones busy in the car), by sea via a ferry (90mn) or by air, with Cape Air (30 mins). THE game that will occupy your merry troop during the journey via these two means of transport? The whale hunt ! Several dozen cetaceans evolve near the coast of Cape Cod. It’s up to you to have a keen eye for spot this majestic sight.
Once there, take the time to savor the local sweetness of life. Stroll along the main street and appreciate the colorful wooden houses, the kindness of the shopkeepers and the inhabitants, but also the wacky decorations of the storefronts and gardens… As for the children, they will marvel at the incredibly stylish mailboxes before having fun on the beach.
On the excursion side, you can climb to the top of the Pilgram Monument with the tallest (116 steps to climb) to contemplate the city, its bay and its surroundings. You’ll also learn about Province Town’s key role in American history in the tower museum.
Less physical but just as rich in sensations and discoveries: the Art’s Dune Tours. A big car immersion on the beach and in the dunes (be careful, it shakes!) where you will see some of the 19 sharps, key elements of the local cultural heritage. Either small houses built with makeshift elements where there is neither electricity nor running water, and whose rental lease runs for 20 years. The modern-day Robinson Crusoes are here! Between two freshwater holes where cranberries grow, the driver will tell you that many artists have taken up residence there for a break. Among them, Marlon Brando, Jackson Pollock, Tennessee Williams… A break at the top to enjoy the view will allow the little ones to stretch their legs and do some rolling balls along the sandy slopes!
During your stay, don’t forget to download the iPtown app on your smartphone to get the key addresses in the city.
Where to stay
At the Crowne Pointe Inn & Spa, a 140-year-old resort high above downtown. It offers very nice amenities (swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, hammam, etc.). The lobsters in the small lounge will occupy your tribe while you interact with the friendly staff. In the early morning, their plastic counterparts will take over and start vibrating as soon as your pancakes are ready! Something tells us your kids will love it…
The address not to be missed
The Sage Inn restaurant. Chef Lucia Garnica’s menu is simply to die for! Even the most resistant to oysters will appreciate those of the chef, accompanied by a cucumber emulsion. The opportunity to make your children taste it?
Explore The Berkshires
With its mountains adorned with conifers, The Berkshires form a veritable green lung in Western Massachusetts. Located 2h30 from Boston and 3h from New York, they offer a nice base for all those who wish to relax for a weekend (or more). Here, family activities abound. In Lenox, a resident told us that she liked to do picnics with your little ones on the Tanglewood property, where you can enjoy the sunsets while attending a musical performance from late June to mid-September. This green setting hosts the Boston Symphony Orchestra every summer and many other artists (Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett have confirmed their presence this year). “Hancock Shaker Village, with children, it’s also great because they can learn a lot about the agricultural world, approach the animals and even see their babies depending on the season” she added before specifying that she also liked to take his tribe to one of the 7 parks equipped with zip lines (accessible to children from the age of 7), to the orchards where they can pick fruit or even go to one of the many museums in the region.
Among them, don’t miss the Norman Rockwell Museum which retraces the life of the illustrator via his most famous paintings and magazine covers. In parallel, temporary exhibitions of other illustrators follow one another (program to be found on the site www.nrm.org).
And if inspiration suddenly takes hold of your budding artists, they will be able to exercise their talent in the Creativity Centera space designed for young children where everything they need to create is waiting for them… Before displaying their creations on the walls!
Impossible to explore The Berkshires by skipping the MASS MoCA, the largest museum of contemporary art in the United States. Located in North Adams, this former electrical appliance factory gradually became home to artists from nearby Williams College, the prestigious art college, as industry left. This museum exclusively houses temporary exhibitions (they last a minimum of one year). And if you’re worried about not understanding the subtleties of the works, don’t panic! Several dozen guided tours are organized every day
At the heart of the MASS MoCA is a space for children where works and fun activities merge around a theme leading to reflection. From June 20 to May 16, 2016, they will be able to reflect on the feeling of compassion with the exhibition Welcome to My Shoes. To help them, guides trained in the supervision of children will be present and will wait for them at the Kid Space Art Bar.
An impressive and splendid museum, which is definitely worth a visit! Note: every summer, for a month, musicians from all walks of life come to play in the galleries, thus giving a new dimension to the works on display.
Between two exhibitions, take a detour to the Premium Outlet Shopping in Lee, to the south. Clothes, shoes and perfumes from major brands are offered at bargain prices.
Addresses not to be missed
L’Gateways Inn hotel in Lenox. This charming residence built in 1902 by Procter (one of the two founders of the multinational corporation Procter&Gamble) offers 11 rooms in a bucolic style. Hosted by a host undeniable culinary talents (breakfast is NEVER the same), the hotel has other great assets such as the small lounge where the musicians take turns on Thursdays, a beautiful courtyard and an impressive staircase which is said to be one of the most photographed in the United States. More info on www.gatewaysinn.com
The Orchards Hotel in Williamstown. After strolling the aisles of the art galleries and/or merchants, you will appreciate the tea time on the terrace as much as the swimming pool and the rooms with their huge beds!
More info on www.orchardshotel.com
The restaurant at the Weaitleigh Hotel in Lenox. Feast your eyes and taste buds in this establishment built in 1893, a replica of the Florentine palaces of the 16th century. If the rooms are reserved for the privileged (their prices oscillate between 875 and 2200$/night – the hotel was rated 5 stars in the famous American guide Forbes Travel), the menu of the Library (the former library) offers dishes around $20. And if you are a fan of gourmet menus, those offered in the Dinning Room (where the view is breathtaking) are delicious. From $135. More info on wheatleigh.com.
Restaurant Mezze in Williamstown. A real good address located on the heights of the city, where chef Nicholas Moulton makes it a point of honor to transform ingredients from local farms and operations (wines included). Exquisite and ethical, we approve!
Getting to Boston
An airline that pampers families? Inevitably, we validate! Since last winter, the Irish company Aer Lingus offers a special tribe offer: Family First. A formula guaranteeing in particular priority boarding (with pre-boarding for babies and strollers), a half price on checked baggage and choice of seats for 2-11 year olds.
From France, you will make a stopover in Dublin in order to establish entry formalities on American territory before returning directly to Boston. Which, concretely, will save you the stamping of the little ones in the queue for the immigration services once in the United States. A valuable time saving !
Flights from 279€.
Conditions to be found on www.aerlingus.com