Viva Varun: In Boston!

Answer to “Where am I?”: Boston, Massachusetts

“Cheers” was one of America’s most highly-rated comedy shows. It premiered in 1982 and ran for eleven years. Although filmed in Los Angeles, “Cheers” was set in Boston. Renamed “Cheers Beacon Hill” in 2002, the pub, which was founded in 1969, was originally named the Bull & Finch. It’s open for business and yes, I did partake in a jar or two of the local brew, Samuel Adams, but sadly no one at “Cheers” knew my name.

Congratulations to everyone who answered correctly on the blog, Facebook and Twitter: Josh S., C. Speranza, Sal, John, Christian, Heinz, Suchin, Michael, Dan, Allision, Craig, Angela, Fred, Edward, Scott, Wesley, David, Robert, Josh B. and Paul.

My favourite television character is Dr. Frasier Crane. His dry wit and sense of humour, his obvious lack of success with the fairer sex, his pomposity and his supposed knowledge of all things refined made every one of the 264 episodes filmed a delight to watch.

Looking back at his life though, I think that arguably one of his biggest mistakes was to abandon Boston and relocate to his hometown of Seattle.

My favourite time of year to visit the east coast of the United States is just after Fall (Autumn) and just before winter. So at the beginning of this month I flew into Boston to start what was a truly memorable visit.

Boston is the largest city in Massachusetts and is also the state capital. The city was founded on September 17th, 1630 making it one of the oldest cities in America.

Although originally inhabited by Native Americans, strict Puritanical Christians emigrated to “New” England and named Boston after the English city that is located in the county of Lincolnshire. In the 1770’s, the British Government tried to raise taxes in New England to untenable levels and this led to the American Revolution. Even those who know little about American history will know of the Boston Tea Party and the Battle of Bunker Hill, both events that are synonymous with the Revolution.

Boston is now one of the most prosperous cities in America. With world-renowned educational establishments like Harvard and MIT, newspapers like the Boston Globe and sport franchises like the Bruins (hockey), New England Patriots (American football) and Red Sox (baseball) it is certainly a city that also offers diversity like few others in the USA.

At just over 230 square kilometres in area, Boston is not a large city. Indeed it took me just fifteen minutes in a cab from Logan International Airport to my hotel, the Four Seasons on Boylston, which has views of the Public Garden and Boston Common, the oldest public park in the United States.

After my recent fairly negative visit to Philadelphia I was so excited by this trip to Boston and I was not disappointed.

From the “Make Way for Ducklings” bronze statues in the Garden, to taking the Freedom Trail (a four kilometre historical tour of Boston) and not forgetting a walk along the banks of the Charles River. Oh, and the shopping on Beacon Hill and the fabulous pizza at Upper Crust in Fenway. I had three terrific and fully-packed days in the dry chill of Boston.

One thing I did notice on my visit to Boston was that on every street there is a “highlight”. It could be a historic building, cemetery, church or monument, a statue or even just a gas-lamp. If you don’t keep your wits about you and your eyes open in this city, you will miss something of interest!

What a way to end the year.

All that leaves me to do now is to wish you a Very Merry Christmas, Happy, Peaceful & Prosperous New Year and safe travels for 2011!

-Varun Sharma

Varun Sharma is the host of Inside Luxury Travel – a television show that focuses on high-end travel. The show airs in over 160 countries, in 18 languages and is beamed into 390 million homes worldwide. He has now stayed in over 500 luxury hotels & resorts … and has in the past year flown in a fighter jet, gone diving – without a cage – in Tiger Shark infested-waters, had dinner with a dingo and has cooked with over 50 Michelin-starred chefs! He likes nothing better than playing a round of golf with his pooch Gemima by his side, cigar in mouth and flask of single malt Scottish whisky to hand!

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  • As a “local” (I live “just up the road” in Rochester NH) it’s always a joy to see work of and about one of America’s most historic cities.

    On a historical note, the “untenable” taxes you refer to amounted to around 3% of the average American’s income at the time – far less than our government takes from us today. It is (at least partially) a fallacy that the Boston Tea Party and American Revolution were about taxes. There’s a lot more to it than that.

    The Stamp Act, which imposed a surtax on anything and everything involving paper, from pamphlets and newspapers to attourney licenses and court documents to books and posters to land deeds and leases, was a brutal slap in the face to the colonists. Not only was it the first direct tax on the American people by the Parliament, it was accompanied by another law, the Writs of Assistance Act, which allowed British soldiers to enter and search the homes of the colonists, at their whim, without any kind of judicial oversight, to determine whether or not every piece of paper in the house bore the king’s stamp.

    Taxation Without Representation was indeed one of the major issues behind the revolution, but the Stamp Act itself would have been entirely toothless without the enforcement authority of the Writs of Assistance Act – which was the primary example of abuse of authority that led to the inclusion of the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

    It was the courage of men like John Adams and his brother Sam, like local silversmith Paul Revere, who spoke out against these outrages and miscarriages of justice, that give places like the Boston Common, Faneil Hall and the Old North Church and Boston Common (location of the famous Liberty Tree) the meaning that they have to American history.

    Thank you for sharing your experience and your photographs.

  • What a great post, I love cheers and to be honest didnt even realise it was a real place, never mind the fact that you could go and visit. I bet it felt weird walking through the door and not seeing all the guys from the show in there?

    With all the great universities and other institutions there the place looks very exciting, and home of the NE patriots as well as an added bonus. Love it.

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