After nearly 9 months I can finally say that “No Access Boston” is finished. Not that I don’t have some things to do- like get a few more photographs, track down a couple of photo permission forms and proof the editor’s corrections. But in terms of actual writing- I’m done !
Some thoughts on the process? “No Access Boston: Beantown’s Hidden Treasures, Haunts and Forgotten Places” was a joy to write. It was a great opportunity for me to revisit some of my favorite Boston places of all time- like the Boston Public Library, Mount Auburn Cemetery and the Langham Boston . For this book I interviewed lots of experts and historians to really delve deep into the back story of each site.
Some of my favorite new (for me) places? There were quite a few, but I especially enjoyed visiting the Boston Athenaeum ( I’m a book geek) and taking the behind the scenes tour at Symphony Hall (because I am a classical music nerd too).
And total surprise? It has to be the Salada Tea Doors on Stuart Street in the Theater District, which I have walked by a million times during my college years and never noticed.
Among the truly amazing places that I discovered while writing are the Waterworks Museum and Brook Farm. Both places are in Boston and adjoin my hometown of Newton. The Waterworks Museum is located at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir in a grand H.H. Richardson-esque building and features a collection of steam-powered water pumping engines from the early days of the Industrial Revolution. It’s a scientific marvel that really is worth seeking out.
Brook Farm, which is located in West Roxbury, is the abandoned site of one of the country’s most well-known 19th century Transcendentalist Utopian communities. You’ll have to do a bit of bushwhacking to get a sense of the place- the remnants of the farm are hidden in the overgrown woods. Brook Farm is truly “no access”!
The one must-do “No Access” activity/site I would suggest visitors do in Boston? It’s got to be Boston’s Black Heritage Trail which is part of the Boston African American National Historic Site. Free 90-minute ranger-guided walking tours of 14 sites that relate to the city’s African-American history are offered daily from April through October. It’s invariably a small group, and the tour takes you through Beacon Hill, one of the city’s most charming neighborhoods. You’ll learn about the role of African Americans in the Revolutionary War, as well as Boston’s role as a center of the 19th century abolitionist movement , and the story of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment- the first regiment of black soldiers recruited to fight in the Civil War and made famous in the movie Glory.
There is certainly something for everyone in “No Access Boston”- but it is an especially good guide book for the intrepid traveler who doesn’t want to visit just the city’s typical tourist sites.
Look for “No Access Boston” to come out in May, 2019. In the meantime, I can’t wait to see what Globe Pequot’s art department comes up for the cover art design and hope to share it soon!