Back to Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com


In what seems like a lifetime ago, Younger Me moved to Boston with $300 in her pocket and a dream to escape the constant abuse and suicidal ideations that were the norm in her home.  She moved in with two friends once she made it to the city (after the airline lost her luggage and she had to use that $300 to buy necessities).  The three women lived in a one-bedroom apartment infested with cockroaches and mice, and the sewage would occasionally back up into their bathtub.  Younger Me shared a busted air mattress on a hardwood floor and eased her anxiety with Pepto Bismal (because she didn't know anxiety was a thing).  There were fun times for sure, but mostly if it was free.  It was still a struggle with survival, but one that helped Younger Me grow and see herself with a new perspective.

And while she didn't get to live that life as long as she would have liked, it helped motivate and remind her that she could do hard things, make her dreams a reality, and accomplish more than she thought.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

When my beloved Irish boyband, Westlife, announced they were touring the U.S. for the first time, I knew I needed to see them in Boston. Going back felt like one of those full-circle moments when life presents these magical reminders of how far you've come.  I owed it to myself to go back with fun as the mission and to remember who the fuck I am.

In today's post, I'm sharing our first day in Boston as Sean and I explore downtown!




📸Picture-Heavy Post

- I bought the items in this post. All opinions presented are my own and without influence. This post contains affiliate links and I make a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. -
Before we get started, I am 5'9", typically wear a 18/20, wear a 40B bra, a size 11 wide shoe, and my measurements are 46/49/55.

Back To Boston series:


It's been five years since I flew on a plane.  As someone with extreme flying anxiety (that I constantly have to work on), I was incredibly stressed by the idea of this trip. I was thrilled when Sean told me he used credit card points to get us First Class seats for the journey!  Because of my anxiety and being a fat woman on a plane, going First Class took an astounding amount of stress out of the entire process for me.  We also got approved for TSA Pre-Check before our trip, which also helped me picture the process as much easier.  And it was.  I highly recommend getting Pre-Check.

Aside from a few tears at take-off (instead of a full-blown panic attack), I eased into the flight and kept myself occupied.  Even at that moment, it didn't seem real that I was actually embarking on this trip.  I decided from there on out I had to live completely in the moment to enjoy and appreciate every little second.  I reminded myself of how hard I have been working towards my goals, especially related to this vacation.  I pushed myself to look for the happiness, fun, and love I deserve. 

I did all the work to plan and prepare as much as possible.  And then I let go.


Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Travel Day - PDX to BOS) - DivineMrsDiva.com
What I Wore on Travel Day:
LIVI Recycled Soft Tunic Hoodie - Lane Bryant
Compression Leggings - Rainbeau Curves
Fresh Foam Arishi V4 - New Balance


Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Travel Day - PDX to BOS) - DivineMrsDiva.com
I hate flying, but love the bird's-eye view and being above the clouds.
I also started Main Character Energy by Jamie Varon while on vacation. 
It was a delightful read!  (The 3rd photo is somewhere over Lake Michigan.)

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Travel Day - PDX to BOS) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Travel Day - PDX to BOS) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Airplane snackies & a chicken and squash meal!  The burrata was a surprise touch and so yummy!
We've been gluten-free and dairy-free mostly this past year, so we were ready to chow down!




Exploring Downtown Boston




Despite a long travel day prior, we woke up at a decent time and were excited to get going.  Practicing an earlier sleep schedule this past year helped us acclimate to the time change and make the most of our days.  Sean used the Dunkin' Donuts app to order coffee and breakfast bites for us.  Dunkin' has some little breakfast "wraps" and avocado toast that make for a decent bite.  I enjoyed their coffee much more than Starbucks because it wasn't as sweet.  The closest Dunkin' was next to the hotel and had our online orders ready within minutes.

Because Westlife was playing at the MGM Music Hall at Fenway, I wanted to be within walking distance of the venue, which is why we chose to stay at Hotel Commonwealth.  

The hotel is right off the Kenmore T stop, across from the CITGO sign, and just a short walk to Fenway Park.  The staff was friendly and the room was spacious and clean.  Upon arrival, we were given reusable water bottles that we refilled in the lobby.  This was a pleasant surprise, especially considering we usually have to stock the little room fridge to stay hydrated.  The room had a nice Drybar blow dryer and a Conair clothing steamer like the one I have at home.  This was also my first time at a hotel with a towel long enough to fit around me.  As a plus-size woman, I was very excited about that!  There are also a variety of food options within short walking distance, though we mostly ordered take-out from Tsuro Ton Tan, an udon noodle place within the hotel building.  The Wagyu beef noodles and deluxe sukiyaki were so tasty!!  But I'm getting ahead of myself...


Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Hotel Commonwealth) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Hotel Commonwealth is just across the street from the CITGO sign. 
When I lived in Boston, I knew I was halfway home once I passed the sign.
I did indeed run on Dunkin' while in the Northeast.  I actually prefer it to Starbucks now.

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Hotel Commonwealth) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Hotel Commonwealth) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Hotel Commonwealth) - DivineMrsDiva.com
I appreciated the bottle of water and the ability to refill it, but my biggest gripe about the hotel was that the frosted bathroom door was no longer frosted - and right across from the giant mirror in the room.

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Tsuro Ton Tan) - DivineMrsDiva.com
The Wagyu beef noodle & Deluxe sukiyaki from Tsuro Ton Tan


If you plan on riding the T (the subway in Boston) more frequently, you'll want a Charlie Card.  Sean picked ours up at the Star Market just past Fenway on our first morning.  When I lived in Boston twenty-four years ago, taking the T was a daily occurrence (also a bus or two to get to work).  I was a little rusty at first and had to double-check with an attendant that I was going the right way.  There was always at least one attendant at the stations.  They are pretty direct with information but kind, so don't hesitate to ask for directions if you get lost or confused.  Once I showed Sean how it all worked and we took our first ride, we got the hang of it quickly.


Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston - DivineMrsDiva.com
What I Wore Exploring Downtown Boston:
Hoodie - Torrid thrifted from Poshmark   /   Mid-Rise Seine Skinny Jean - Universal Standard
Fabric Mix Hooded Blazer - Torrid    /   Fresh Foam Arishi V4 - New Balance
Tartan Scarf - Heritage of Scotland   /   Belcourt Crossbody - eBags   /   Knit Cap - Amazon

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston - DivineMrsDiva.com
Sean's First T Ride


We made it from Kenmore to the Haymarket stop not too far behind schedule for the day, which made me very proud.  The weather was chilly and so windy!  Overall, we really lucked out with the weather our entire trip and had clear, chilly, sunny days for the most part.

Our first main stop was the Boston Public Market to look at the food options and vendors.  We had high hopes of eating our way through the city and trying ALL the clam chowders, but we just couldn't fit in all the things we wanted.  It was still mid-morning at the market, so it was rather quiet.  We bought some things we could take back to the hotel, like popovers from the Popover Lady (which we had with breakfast the next day) and flavored nuts from Q's Nuts (which we snacked on throughout our trip).

We stopped to talk to the person at the Q's Nuts booth because he looked like a cool '70s rockstar with long lavender hair.  He was a vibe and I had to go say hello!  I'm so glad I did because he was friendly and let us sample any flavor that struck our curiosity.  Apparently, Stevie Nicks really digs these nuts too.  Their original recipes are vegan and gluten, soy, and dairy-free.  They use organic cane sugar and chocolate.  The Maple Bourbon Pecans were my favorite, but the Bananas Foster Almonds were a close runner-up!


Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Boston Public Market) - DivineMrsDiva.com
A quiet morning at the Public Market


We left the Public Market and headed to Union Oyster House, America's oldest restaurant, for lunch.  Sean and I shared the clam chowder, crab cakes, and lobster ravioli.  If you are sensitive to gluten and dairy like we are, this is when our digestive enzymes came in handy!  I wondered how these enzymes compared to Lactaid, and they did a fine job.

While I wouldn't encourage you to order the clam chowder because it's pretty basic, the crab cakes were thick and delicious and the lobster ravioli was creamy and rich.  I am not someone who even likes lobster, but these were scrumptious. (I don't think they go hard on the seasonings on anything here, so it's more about the ambiance and experience than the food.)  Our server, Jonathan, was so sweet and quiet.  I'm not sure if his day started out crappy or if our kindness helped him along, but he started to loosen up a bit by the end of our visit and wished us well on our journey when we were done.


Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Union Oyster House) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Union Oyster House) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Union Oyster House) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Union Oyster House) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Union Oyster House) - DivineMrsDiva.com


From there, we headed to Faneuil Hall to look around at the shops and food options.  We were saving this area for later in the week to explore with my former Boston roommate and friend who was coming into town for the concert.  Onward we went, meandering the streets of Boston, following some of the Freedom Trail to historical points we viewed in passing.  There was the Old State House and the site of the Boston Massacre, along with the Old Corner Bookstore that I joked was Ye Olde Chipotle now.  We checked out the Old South Meeting House and the Irish Famine Memorial.

I've always told Sean how easy it is to navigate Boston on foot.  Everything is close together and you can't really get lost.  It was one of the things that made me feel more confident if I got off at the wrong T stop by accident when I was younger.  Where you need to be is usually not that far away.  We passed these historical locations multiple times as we roamed shops looking for a beanie for Sean (the wind was wild!), picked up an Amazon purchase from a locker downtown, and popped into a cannabis shop to see how the experience compared to back home.

Apex Noire Cannabis has friendly staff, but they are small compared to the shops in Washington State.  Apex focuses on carrying local brands.  We purchased a few edible options because cannabis is my anti-anxiety/anti-depression medication.  While the ones we picked up worked well for getting some good sleep, they weren't beneficial for me during the day.  Sean found some more energizing edibles (I use my laser bong at home) that did end up helping me take the edge off for the rest of the trip.


Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Our tasty choices from Q's Nuts & what we picked up at Apex Noire

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market) - DivineMrsDiva.com
There are so many food options lining both sides of the Quincy Market building!
There is a place with delicious tacos towards the front entrance (I don't remember the name) that I still wish I had been able to eat more of. 
Lots of lobster roll/clam chowder options as well.  The dome in the center is quite lovely.

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Pigeons are really so beautiful.

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com
The Old State House & site of the Boston Massacre

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com
They just commemorated the anniversary of the Boston Massacre the week prior.

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Ye Olde Chipotle (was once the Old Corner Bookstore, constructed in 1718) & the back of the Old State House

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Old South Meeting House

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Benjamin Franklin attended the Boston Latin School as a child.  Old Benj has a statue here.

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com
The Boston Latin School, founded in 1635, was the oldest public school in America.
The mosaic marks the location of the original schoolhouse.

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com
The Irish Famine Memorial
Nearly two million people fled Ireland to attempt to stay alive.  In 1847 alone, 37,000 Irish refugees landed in Boston, on the edge of death and despair, impoverished and sick.  Native Bostonians didn't want these foreigners in America and the Irish were forced to live along the waterfront in damp cellars and overcrowded hovels.

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com
These buildings are just a corporate building & a Marriot hotel, but we thought they looked really cool.


While we meandered the streets, Sean and I shared an Irish Cream Latte from The Well Coffee House.  It's right next to the Old State House and gave us a boost for the rest of our walk.  We made it to the old headstones of the King's Chapel Burying Ground just before closing.  I LOVE old cemeteries.  I sweet-talked security into letting us make a full trip around the graveyard before he locked up. (I was quick and thanked him kindly.)  Aside from the intense wind, the weather was absolutely beautiful, so we continued our walk down Tremont Street, sipping our coffee as we made our way to Boston Common, America's oldest public park, established in 1634.  We touched cool-looking trees and made friends with squirrels all over the park.  The squirrels would stop to greet me.  They could sense I was a friend.  (You may not know that I have been befriending my backyard squirrels and have regulars I have named.)

The most beautiful spot in Boston is the Public Garden, the first public botanical garden in America.  It's pretty bare in March, but the blue sky, city views, and drooping tree branches still make it a lovely and peaceful area.  We spent the rest of our afternoon enjoying nature, taking photos, and appreciating the space away from so many people.  Then we headed to the Arlington T stop and back to our hotel.  Dinner was those yummy udon noodles I told you about earlier. The Wagyu beef bowl was my favorite!  It was so comforting, warm, savory, and delicious.  I hurt my knee bouncing around the city streets, so Sean and I were excited to prop our feet up and rest.

Our exhaustion was well-earned because we had a fun first day in Boston!

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com
King's Chapel Burying Ground

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Granary Burying Ground

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Massachusetts State House

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Trees from Boston Common

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com
This is the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in Boston Common.
When I lived here long ago, this was all grass.  My roommate & I came here on the 4th of July to sit on the monument to watch fireworks and listen to the sounds of the Boston Pops Orchestra from the Hatch Shell.

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com
July 4, 2000
Sitting on the above monument watching fireworks

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com
The Public Garden was our favorite spot in Boston

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com
The squirrelios LOVED me!!

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Back To Boston: Exploring Downtown Boston (Freedom Trail, Public Garden) - DivineMrsDiva.com
I appreciated that the trees were labeled so I could learn what types they were.
This statue in a drained fountain was hilarious to me!  I said, "They're having fun!" LOL



Do you have any favorite Boston locations/restaurants/activities?


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