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Out and About Around the Fort Point Channel

History

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Posted by Max Grinnell, guest blogger of The Urbanologist

To spend time in and around the Fort Point Channel in Boston is to learn about the transformation of a truly unique city neighborhood.

On the far side of Congress Street, you are surrounded by memories of the past, with the nearby august brick warehouses that have been repurposed into artist lofts, retail concerns, and a range of other uses. As you walk across the Channel, you will encounter the Boston Tea Party & Museum, the Harborwalk, and, of course, the billowing, ship-like forms writ in glass that comprise the InterContinental Boston.

It’s a fine place to have as your headquarters as you spend a few days exploring this corner of the Hub.

Fort Point entrance

The very fitting entrance to Fort Point Channel by Kindra Clineff

An Urban Resort of Note

As one side of the InterContinental Boston looks graciously out on the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway, the other side affords wonderful views of the Fort Point Channel and beyond. This elegant hotel was designed by the Elkus Manfredi Architects firm, and its curving forms reference the three-masted ships that used to ply the Boston Harbor.

Along with a raft of accolades, the InterContinental affords an experience that is truly all encompassing in its service and attention to detail. The commodious lobby offers a range of original art that rotates on a regular basis, along with a well-stocked gift shop. There are several different sitting areas, too, for those who enjoy watching the flow of different folks come in and out on their way to one of the hotel’s three restaurants: Miel, RumBa, and Sushi-Teq.

Looking In

Looking in at the InterContinental Boston

In my own estimation, I must recommend the breakfast at Miel first and foremost. The sliced fruit and berries plate is perfect to share with a friend and the bakery basket is a nice accompaniment, as it offers a trio of pain au chocolat, croissant, and a range of other choices, including a muffin or freshly prepared scones. I can also vouch for the french brioche toast and the exquisite Belgian waffles. Miel has to-go items as well for the morning, and, of course, you should not miss the chance to have dinner in their private dining room, which features a chef’s table made from a 1,000-year-old olive tree.

Of course, you might also have breakfast delivered to your room, as the accommodations are suitably luxurious and one may be less inclined to leave such surroundings at all. There are three types of rooms here, and they all include amenities, such as large work desks (yes, business may call during your visit), soaking tubs, bathrobes, and expansive views which may call for a glass of wine or two at sunset.

A room with a view

A room with a view, to say the least

And you’d do well to check out some of their special packages that can include a visit to their spa or a trip to the nearby Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.

While the rooms are lovely, there’s another wrinkle to the InterContinental Hotel that may also grab the attention of the curious visitor: the 150,000 marvelous bees that are part of their rooftop apiary. The apiary was installed in 2010, and since that time, their delicious honey has been used in cocktails at Miel, RumBa and Sushi-Teq, along with a range of other culinary offerings. While visitors can’t visit the apiary, it’s a rather neat feature to have at the hotel.

Apiary

Bees buzzing atop the InterContinental Boston

A Walk Along the Water

In any type of weather, a walk along the Fort Point Channel will reveal different aspects of the area’s history and culture. The Harborwalk can be joined right outside the hotel’s waterfront entrance and visitors can also download an audio tour that provides profiles of local artists, details about movies filmed in the area, and, of course, lobster rolls of note. For more sights, the truly ambitious visitor can peruse their extensive guide to the art and sculpture, which includes dozens of different pieces from East Boston to Dorchester.

Tea Overboard, If You Please

Located over on Congress Street, just a toss away from the InterContinental, the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum is well worth an hour or two of your time. While some might be skeptical, the entire experience is authentic, engaging, and uses a variety of technology to tell the story of this very famous revolutionary act.

Tea Party Museum

The Tea Party Museum on a clear day by Tim Grafft

Visitors are guided along by live actors as they board the Beaver and the Dartmouth (the two celebrated tea-bearing cargo ships), where they learn about the events of December 16, 1773. Inside the museum, visitors will find the Minuteman Theatre, which plays an 11-minute, multi-sensory film that does not disappoint. At the conclusion of the tour, you can also check out the gift shop and pause for a beverage in Abigail’s Tea Room.

A World of Rums For Your Consideration

As you wander back over to the InterContinental, you should make sure and make a stop at RumBa for close consideration of their rums, crudites, and other enticements. Considering New England’s long association with the particular spirit, this nod to local history is a perfect fit.

The rum list contains a number of old favorites (Sailor Jerry, anyone?) and a number of other lesser-known gems, including the Ron Pampero Anniversario from Venezuela and local favorite Bully Boy, which is made just a few miles away. You might do well to bring in a few pairings from their “Bites” family, too, as the guacamole accompanied by plantain tostones or the ahi tuna tostadas provide the right balance to a rum prepared neat or with some of the usual suspects.

Max Grinnell is a writer based in Cambridge, MA, who writes about cities, public art, geography, travel, and anything else that strikes his fancy. His writings can be found online at www.theurbanologist.com and he tweets over @theurbanologist.

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