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Back in the Back Bay

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Posted by Max Grinnell, guest blogger of The Urbanologist

A walk down Boylston Street any time of year reveals new details, moods, encounters, and a range of experiences.

You might stop in the Boston Public Library’s exquisite Copley Square branch to look over an exhibit, wander over to see a hare and turtle, or even meander towards the Commonwealth Avenue Mall to make your way along this finely kept public space.

As you’ll need a place to stay during your visit, whether it’s one night or one week, why not check in at the Charlesmark?

Charlesmark Hotel Boston

The Charlesmark welcomes you!

Located in a former grand residence built in 1886, this locally owned hotel offers a lovely lobby, including a bar perfect for relaxing with friends over a martini or perhaps a local beer (my own nod goes to Harpoon IPA).

Charlesmark Bar

Plenty of room at the Charlesmark bar

You’ll note that each of the rooms is uniquely appointed by designer Dennis Duffy with custom-made furniture and woodwork, which bring them together in a style that’s warm without being fussy or visually overbearing.

Every room also contains an elaborate stereo system, a movie library, flat screen TVS, and a range of other amenities.

Charlesmark Hotel Room

Like comfy beds!

As a bonus, visitors can wake up each morning and head on down to the lobby for a complimentary breakfast. There’s a nice mix of items, including bagels and oatmeal, and they also have the Boston Globe and the New York Times.

The lounge area here is an inviting place to plan out the rest of your day, as you figure out your stops in the Back Bay and beyond.

And where might you venture forth to start your Back Bay tour? I would walk a few blocks over to the Church of the Covenant at 67 Newbury Street.

Church of the Covenant

Inside the Church of the Covenant

This amazing structure was built in 1865 and it was entirely decorated by Tiffany Studios in 1894. Today, you can take one of the guided tours to see their celebrated Welte-Trippe organ and their Tiffany Windows, as well as learn about this remarkable place.

Tours are offered Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

After this architectural expedition, I’d suggest a long, leisurely walk along the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. This remarkable swath of gorgeous green, which was designed by Arthur Gilman, is lined with sweet gum, ash, maple, linden, and elm trees that offer succulent shade in the summer.

Commonwealth Avenue Mall

The verdant Commonwealth Avenue Mall

Since the mid-1880s, it has offered Bostonians and those journeying to the Hub a place to walk, sit, run, and converse with others.

You’ll also want to slow down and consider the nine sculptures and memorials along the Mall, including the Boston Women’s Memorial and Leif Eriksson.

You might be hungry by this point, so I’d recommend tucking into some food at the Met Back Bay over at 279 Dartmouth St; their bar menu is solid and they have a range of burgers named after cities that reflect the provincial culinary habits.

If you’re around over the weekend, I can also heartily recommend their brunch, which includes distinguished omelets and a California Hen House Hash, highlighted by chicken, roasted peppers, onions, and a fried egg.

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.

Photo at the top by Tim Grafft

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