Review: JFK Library in Boston with Kids


JFK library

Today is the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. I thought I’d commemorate the date with a look at his legacy, or at least his library. I visited the JFK Presidential Library and Museum last summer on my Boston trip.

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The library opened in 1979, in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. If it’s not on the University of Massachusetts Boston campus, it’s in the same area, and the bus takes you through the campus to get there. Originally it was supposed to be on the Harvard campus, but for a variety of reasons (including Cambridge residents not wanting in there!) they changed the location. The library was in planning from when JFK was president. At that time there were only 4 other presidential libraries. Continue reading “Review: JFK Library in Boston with Kids”

Review: Boston Harbor Islands – Spectacle and George

One of the hidden gems of Boston are the Boston Harbor Islands. If you have an extra day (or half day) on your trip, consider going. There are 34 islands in all, 24 with archaeological activity on them. Not shockingly, Native Americans used these islands before we settlers did, for hunting, farming and other activities. You can visit 12 of the islands. This is part of our Boston series.

boston harbor

Even their recent history is interesting. The country’s oldest lighthouse was first built here in 1716, though the British burned it down  in 1776 and rebuilt in 1783. That makes our own Sandy Hook lighthouse (built in 1764) the oldest working lighthouse in the United States. You can tour the lighthouse on Little Brewster Island on a different boat tour, along with two other lighthouses.

The popular Spectacle Island is only a 15 minute boat ride from Boston’s Long Harbor. On the way, Continue reading “Review: Boston Harbor Islands – Spectacle and George”

Review: Harpoon Brewery Tour in Boston

After touring the Sam Adams brewery in Boston (review here), I heard about Harpoon Brewery, another local stop. Fortunately for me, it was just down the street from the Seaport Hotel where we were staying in the trendy Seaport area.  This time I did not go and drink alone, but rather went with my husband who had just finished a week-long course on immunology, and clearly needed a very big beer. By the way, this is part of our Boston series,

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The plan was to take a tour of Harpoon, hang out in their brew pub and then head to the airport a few hours later. Unfortunately, we arrived around 1:30, but the tours were already sold out until 4:30 or later (a common occurrence apparently). Oh well. Fortunately they had a very large bar and rows of long wooden farm tables to park ourselves, though the waitress kept walking right past us (or not at all – it WAS busy and a Friday afternoon) that I finally had to go to the bar to order from there.

Harpoon 7

I’ll tell you a little about the brewery first, Continue reading “Review: Harpoon Brewery Tour in Boston”

Review: Sam Adams Tour in Boston

While I’ve been to Boston a number of times, I’d never gone on the Samuel Adams brewery tour. It’s free, with a suggested $2 donation which goes to charity. Here’s what I learned on the tour! And by the way, this is part of my Boston series, and I’ll be doing a post on Harpoon Brewery as well – another Boston tour stop.

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I read about how popular this tour could be, and how in summer and on weekends it could fill up really quickly. Since I had another agenda for the day, I got there in time for the first tour of the day – a Wednesday at 10 a.m. By 10:30, I was swilling beer. And hadn’t had breakfast. You should eat breakfast first. Continue reading “Review: Sam Adams Tour in Boston”

Review: All Six Attractions in CityPASS Boston

I recently spent a week in Boston while my husband was at a conference and my kids were at camp. My goal was to do as much touring as possible (in addition to seeing some family and friends). Last time we were there as a family, we contemplated getting a CityPASS, which gives you admission into four attractions for about half the price of paying individually. We ended up not going that route last time, but CityPASS was kind enough to give me one to try this time (I liked it so much that I’m not an affiliate). Between the two trips, I’ve now been to all the attractions offered by CityPASS (four are included – and for one, you have a choice between a free visit to one of two museums, and a discount at the other). This is the first in a series on Boston.

Here’s a review of all the attractions.

Skywalk Observatory at the Prudential Center

The Skywalk Observatory at the Prudential Center

While we tried to go to the Skywalk at the Prudential Center last trip, it was closed for a private function. And you’ll want to go on a clear day. I made it this time, and thought it would be very touristy, but I ended up loving it. It’s the tallest building in Boston (perhaps all of New England), at 50+ stories up. Included are audio tours for both kids and adults, and they were very informative. I ended up listening to both the kids’ tour and adult tour, in the name of research. The kids’ tour even gave information not always included in the adult tour. I learned a lot. Continue reading “Review: All Six Attractions in CityPASS Boston”

Where to go during the New Jersey Teachers’ Convention

Those of us with kids in New Jersey public schools look forward to a two day school break in November, for the teachers’ convention. You can either sit around at home, or take off in the car or on a plane for a family trip.

It’s not too late to plan something! If you haven’t yet thought of what to do, I rounded up some great links to vacations in driving distance of New Jersey, provided by seasoned fellow bloggers and travel writers. Let me know where you plan to go!


For a staycation, here are some ideas for local fun. See a Broadway play. I’ve got reviews of Matilda here  and reviews of Mamma Mia here. See all my Broadway reviews here.

Continue reading “Where to go during the New Jersey Teachers’ Convention”

Boston – What the Kids Like to Do

We had a plan for what we’d do and see in Boston. It was educational. It was cultural. It was physical ( lots and lots of walking).  The highlights for the kids, however, were not the ones we planned for them. They did not love the Freedom Trail. They did not love seeing Daddy’s alma mater and hearing fascinating stories of the building donors and founders. Here’s what they’ll remember from Boston:

#1. These are doors leading into and out of the Boston T stops. They open in a funny way – going in, then up. The kids found this endlessly amusing.

#2. The vending machines. Our hotel (the Midtown Hotel) had an endless supply of interesting vending machines, like this one that Continue reading “Boston – What the Kids Like to Do”