While they may be less flashy than the big city hotels, there are some charming mansions and bed and breakfasts in Boston offering quintessential New England hospitality by the Charles River, great for exploring highlights of the city such as Newbury Street and Fenway Park. From a former student house at Harvard to a pair of houseboats moored at Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston Harbor, check out the best bed and breakfasts in the Massachusetts capital of Boston.
This one-time family home was converted into accommodation for Harvard students in the 1920s. New owners came in and found the youngsters a bit rowdy, booting them out and converting the premises into the friendly hotel it is today. With an old-timey feel, Irving House at Harvard is the type of place where guests mingle in the parlor poring over the free newspapers. That said, there’s a thoroughly modern approach to energy, with LED lighting, solar panels and a focus on recycling and composting. You get fresh fruit, scones, cakes and pastries for breakfast.
Embrace tradition with a stay in The Gryphon House, an old-school B&B inside a turn-of-the-century brownstone. The eight suites are individually furnished, but each comes with a gas log fireplace and a wet bar. Families should opt for the largest room, the North Tower, which has views of the Charles River and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus. Start your day with the continental breakfast, before exploring the surrounding Back Bay neighbourhood. There you’ll find designer boutiques, art galleries and cute patio cafes along leafy streets, not far from early 19th-century landmarks like Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library.
You’re assured of an elegant and intimate stay at 14 Union Park in one of Boston’s most popular neighbourhoods, South End. The brownstone townhouse has been extensively updated to provide private bathrooms and modern comforts while retaining its historical detail. If the trendy, nearby restaurants aren’t enticing enough, foodie paradise Back Bay is just a short walk away.
Built as a wedding gift for the daughter of a wealthy Boston tobacco merchant, this 14-room mansion retains the decor and architectural details from when it was built in 1907, including an elegant staircase. You’re about two miles from the center of Boston, easily accessible via the T subway, and just minutes from Coolidge Corner, a pedestrian friendly neighbourhood full of independent cafes, shops, boutiques and restaurants. The larger Samuel Sewall Inn, Bertram Inn’s sister accommodation, is just across the street.
The Green Turtle takes up two houseboats right in Charlestown Navy Yard, with views across Boston Harbor. You can stay in a modern houseboat with two queen suites or a 45ft (14m) motor yacht that holds two queen staterooms. Combined, both boats can accommodate up to 10 people. While the B&B won’t leave the dock during your stay, you’ll be close to Boston’s North End, home to numerous Italian shops and restaurants, or you can always take a water taxi to a harborside joint.
Across the Charles River in Cambridge, Prospect Place is a historic, graceful bed and breakfast within walking distance of two of the the most elite colleges in the US, MIT and Harvard. Each guest room is unique in size and layout, decorated with tasteful antiques that represent the home’s Civil War-era history. The shops and restaurants of Central Square and Harvard Square are nearby and numerous museums and attractions are easily reachable on public transport thanks to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
Sam Murray contributed additional reporting to this article.
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