Are you one of those people who insists that travelers venture outside of downtown? I certainly do.
What do you tell people they should eat, see, and do when they tell you they’re coming to Boston? Assuming they asked, because only horribly annoying people offer unsolicited travel advice (“You absolutely have to try the P.F. Chang’s in Houston,” someone once informed me unprompted).
But what if they really are looking for tips? After all, the internet is only good for leading wanderers toward shameless advertorials, so as a local maybe you can help. And to those ends, should you lead them toward historic Quincy Market and the gorgeous Rose Kennedy Greenway? Or steer them clear of the collegiate crowd that gathers in the bars around that area to shout lines from Seth Rogen movies at each other over Nickelback and picklebacks?
Given the task of playing tour guide, do you send them down the Freedom Trail and to that silly Boston Tea Party museum? Or do you recommend a road less traveled like the Black Heritage Trail around Beacon Hill? How about the nearby Boston Journalism Trail?
Are you one of those people who insists that travelers venture outside of downtown? I certainly do, and often tell friends to train it out to Eastie or Jamaica Plain, especially if they are looking for eclectic cuisine served from behind a counter, as I do when I’m on the move.
Do you still tell people visiting the area to check out Harvard Square? I don’t, unless they’re looking for an ATM or passing through on their way to or back from Somerville or Central Square.
What about our natural beauty? Do you ship ’em up to Gloucester for lobster? What about the Cape for crabs? Or the Blue Hills for an unparalleled panoramic view? And I shouldn’t forget the Boston Harbor Islands, even though I’ve only made it out there once in 20 years of living here. I mean, I’m no commodore or captain; still, I encourage people to experience Boston from one of the many available kayaks or cruises if that floats their boat.
I don’t typically steer welcome wagons, but I have been circling this topic for a while since next week the Dig is hosting friends from all across the country for the annual Association of Alternative Newsmedia convention. I have some ideas about attractions they may want to seek out, but mostly I’ll tell them what I tell anyone who wants to know what’s up around these parts—read the Dig. If you can’t find a show to watch, a hill to climb, or a gallery, record shop, or bookstore to browse in our pages, then I guess you will be happy to know that there is a P.F. Chang’s one block away from Boston Common.
I recommend the lettuce wraps.
CHRIS FARAONE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.