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Time to consider Boston for a Christmas holiday

Time to consider Boston for a Christmas holiday

Despite manic warnings from some in the Fox News chattering class, the Christmas season is alive and well in the US.

From Thanksgiving, an American holiday celebrating the secret joy of gluttony, to New Year’s Day, the country is awash in all forms of Jesus’ birthday celebrations.

Christmas joy, from holy to secular, is perfectly distilled in cities. In 2010 December, New York Times columnist David Brooks said the following:

‘In the city, you’ve got trees for sale on the street. You’ve got the vendors selling hot chestnuts. You’ve got the Christmas windows…’

While Brooks was talking about New York City, the principle is universal. The Big Apple might be the biggest light when it comes to Saint Nick celebrations, but Boston offers the same holiday cheer minus the fervid pacing.

While the city is smaller in population, Boston is still a metropolis so expect lots of impatient stares if you’re slow at the Dunkin’ Donuts counter (the unofficial coffee provider for the town). Boston should be considered if you want a stress free, and memorable, December holiday.

The trip to the capital, and largest city, of the US state of Massachusetts is relatively easy for those across the pond. In a little over six hours, you can be sitting at Gillette Stadium watching the American football team New England Patriots. Can’t understand the country without gazing at burly men play with the pigskin. Plus, you’ll learn why many gay, and straight, American men would do anything to spend a night with quarterback Tom Brady.

A more practical reason to consider Boston is it’s hotel boom. There’s everything from chains, boutique properties, and extended stay facilities. According to some figures, there will be approximately 2,200 new rooms in the next three to four years.

I’m biased, but the Fairmont Copley Plaza should make the list of possible places to stay. The 383 guest room hotel is across the street from the Boston Public Library, steps away from Copley Place Mall (shopping!), near Newbury Street (more shopping and restaurants!), and a block away from a subway and train station.

What makes this hotel special is Catie. The 8-year old Labrador Retriever is a former guide dog who now earns her keep as a ambassador. She’s up for walks and runs, greets guests, and appreciates a rub behind the ears. Plus, there’s some US law about Labradors being official Christmas dogs. There isn’t of course, but the cutie has her own email address. How can you not love a sweet looking dog who is up on technology?

The Fairmont was originally built in 1912; to celebrate its anniversary, there was a $20 million (€14 million) restoration project. The money was spent  remodeling guest rooms and suites, adding a rooftop health club, and a  restaurant called OAK Long Bar + Kitchen.

For those dog haters out there, the Langham is a good alternative. A stay there is to relive the city’s past because the building is Boston’s former Federal Reserve Bank. Built in 1922, it was officially made a hotel in the early 1980’s.

Parts of the old remain. Two original N.C. Wyeth murals are where they were first painted. There is also a collection of antique New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) maps. Lastly, the Federal Reserve seal is all over the hotel restaurant called BOND.

The 318 room and suite hotel is also known for what it calls ‘Tiffin at The Langham.’ This is an afternoon tea, from 2pm to 7pm, served with finger goods, scones, and pastries. Lovers of chocolate will certainly want to consider the Saturday afternoon chocolate bar. Every sweet dream is fulfilled, from chocolate croissant bread pudding to whoopie pies. Better call to make reservations.

Another reason to consider the Langham is its proximity to Boston’s historic sites. It’s walking distance to the Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile brick lined route that chronicles some of that 1776 unpleasantness between the US and Great Britain.

Follow the bricks and discover the Old State House, where representatives from the Massachusetts Bay Colony debated British rule and taxation, to the Old South Meeting House; in that building a crowd hatched an idea to dump tea in Boston Harbor.

If this is going to be a traditional Christmas trip, then forget the history and attend a performance of The Nutcracker. For 50 years the Boston Ballet has brought audiences to their feet. This year’s Nutcracker run begins  on 29 November and ends a month later. According to the Boston Globe the 2012 production, by the first professional repertory ballet company in New England, packed the Opera House and made record revenue.

If none of the above have you booking your flight now, then consider this: Boston is the gateway to the New England States, where marriage equality prevails. All can be easily reached by car or public transportation (bus/train). Next week GSN will point to places to consider in New Hampshire and Maine.