Week 4: Taking a Break from Lab: Going into Boston!
Doing research at Harvard has its perks. Okay, yes, there’s the big “H” attached to
the name of your lab, but more importantly there’s Boston across the Charles River. Being in Boston during the summer months is an experience not to be missed. Though humid and warm, summers in Boston are a time when people are much more chill and relaxed. The weekends are spent roaming around the city, taking walks by the glimmering waters of the river,
going to free events, and enjoying the company of friends.
Here are some of the highlights of my summer:
1. Watching Fourth of July Fireworks from Harvard Bridge
Boston is arguably one of the best places in the US to be on the night of July 4. The firework show, with the Boston Pops Orchestra playing along, is truly spectacular. Starting from 8:00am in the morning, people start marking their spots by the Hatch Shell in order to get the best view possible of both the fireworks and the show. This year, Jennifer Hudson and the cast of Mamma Mia joined the Boston Pops for a fantastic musical program.
to deal with the crowd.) The clouds rumbled up ahead, but only until the fireworks went off did the rain begin to fall. It was a surreal experience as water pounded against our upturned faces, the fireworks shooting up into the dark, hazy sky, and the Boston Pops’ melodic strings rising to a climax.
2. Biking to Walden Pond
Two weekends ago, I went on a bike trip to Walden Pond. It's a twenty-mile trek from Cambridge to Concord (where Walden Pond is located), and it took me about 2.5 hours. I'm not the most physically fit person, and it got a bit rough by the end of the trek, which was deceptively hilly. However, being able to bike in Boston is definitely something to take advantage of (you can book bike tours of Boston through Urban Adventours).
In order to get to Concord by bike, you take the Minuteman Trail. Originally, this straight, gorgeous path, shaded by trees, was a railroad track. Abandoned, the track was converted to a bike trail by the state of Massachusetts.
Walden Pond itself is beautiful. By the time we got there, the freshwater pond had been warmed by the sun, and the beach area was covered by blankets and people lounging about. Around the pond, there is a trail (about 1.5 miles) that leads to the rubble remains of Henry David Thoreau's cabin. It struck me how Walden Pond is not treated as a tourist attraction but instead as a place to relax with family and friends-- it had the feeling of a beach rather
than a historical landmark.
Walden Pond is also accessible by commuter rail ($7.25 a ticket). A trip there is a great way to escape city life for a day.
3. Hiking in the White Mountains
Located in New Hampshire, about 1.5 hours away by car, the White Mountains are wonderful for skiing and hiking. Fueled by GORP (Good Ol' Raisins and Peanuts-- and lots of other goodies), my friends and I made our way through trees, over rocks, past streams and waterfalls. Up 4,000 feet, the view from the top of Mount Osceola was breath-taking.
Other than these fun things, Boston has tons of free concerts that take place in the Hatch Shell. There is also Shakespeare in the Common, in which the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company performs a play around the end of July to the beginning of August in the beautiful, green setting of Boston Common. For indoor enjoyment, Boston has the Boston Aquarium, the Museum of
Science, and tons of art museums. There are cannolis and delicious Italian food in the North End, high-end dining by Prudential Center, and (near and dear to my heart) cheap Asian eats in Chinatown. Moreover, on the Cambridge side of the River, Harvard Square is a lovely place to
wander around from shop to shop or to study in one of the many cafes.
The streets of Boston are always bustling with youthful energy. Taking time to explore this walk-able city is definitely a must for anyone visiting the area! As a Harvard student who gets easily trapped in what we call the "Harvard Bubble," having this summer to take advantage of the lively city around me has been a blast.
About the Blogger
Stephanie Wang is a pre-med student at Harvard who just can't get enough of the hard sciences. This summer Stephanie is participating in PRISE, The Harvard College Program for Research in Science and Engineering, which is in its seventh summer. What is she most passionate about: learning new things, frisbee, poetry, every kind of apple, and people.