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Boston Authors' Favorite Places in the Hub

Tourist season is in full swing here in Boston. (Heck, we even had an Alaskan walking the Freedom Trail yesterday.) So we thought it would be nice to share with you some of our Boston authors' favorite places in "the hub of the universe."

You can find out more about Beacon's books on Boston and its rich history at

Book cover for A City So Grand by Stephen PuleoBook Cover for The Paradise of All These Parts by John Hanson MitchellBook cover for Banned in Boston by Neil Miller

Stephen Puleo is the author of three acclaimed books on Boston's history: A City So Grand: The Rise of an American Metropolis, Boston 1850-1900, The Boston Italians, and Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919.

My outdoor choice is Castle Island in South Boston. Great place to walk anytime, but particularly with the onset of Spring when the ocean air smells great and a hot dog at Sullivan's is the perfect reward for circling the whole Sugar Bowl. 

Castle_island_bpl_mapHot Dog From Sullivan's, Castle Island, by Rob Bellinger

Castle Island Map from the Boston Public Library's Flickr Stream. Hot Dog and Pleasure Bay photos by Rob Bellinger, used by permission.

The historic spot is the Old South Meeting House. Though there are many wonderful spots in Boston to experience its history, anytime I'm in this church, I can practically feel the place pulsating with 5,000 angry colonists on the eve of the Boston Tea Party.

Old South Meeting House from the Boston Public Library's Flickr Stream

And of course, the North End touches me personally in a way no other place in Boston does. All three of my immigrant grandparents lived there, my dad was brought up there, my parents dated at restaurants in the neighborhood, and the Italian experience is still vibrant and unrivaled. I feel comfortable there always, at one with my past, whether walking the crooked, narrow streets, spending a few minutes inside St. Leonard's Church, or enjoying dinner with friends. I've never lived there, but it's always felt like home.

IMG_0892 IMG_0891 St Leonard's Church, North End, Boston
Photos of North End by Jessie Bennett. Photo of St. Leonard's interior by wgdavis on Flickr.
John Hanson Mitchell is the author of The Paradise of All These Parts: A Natural History of Boston. concentrated much of his earlier early work, including, most famously, Ceremonial Time, on a square-mile tract of land known as Scratch Flat, located thirty-five miles northwest of Boston. He is the author of numerous books and editor of the award-winning magazine Sanctuary, published by the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Mitchell lives in Littleton, Massachusetts.

Not an easy question, actually, there are so many favorites, but two stand out:

The main one is probably the little warren of cobblestone streets in the North End between the Copp's Hill Burying Ground and the Paul Revere Mall and Hanover Street. I don't even remember the names of the streets and enjoy very much getting lost there.  

The other is whichever quiet corner of the Public Garden is least occupied. Both these spots have an Old World flavor you don't find in other American cities.   

IMG_0954 IMG_0951
Photos by Jessie Bennett.
Neil Miller is the author of Banned in Boston: The Watch and Ward Society’s Crusade against Books, Burlesque, and the Social Evil. He teaches journalism at Tufts University.

Do Cambridge or Somerville count? Two of my favorites are: True Grounds Cafe in Ball Square, Somerville-- the best scones and most artful lattes in town. Also Porter Square bookstore in Cambridge, a wonderful independent bookstore with a warm atmosphere and a great series of readings.

True_grounds_cafe Porter_square_books
Photo of True Grounds Cafe from interactivesomerville on Flickr. Photo of Porter Square Books from their website.
Editor's note: I don't usually chime in with my own opinions, but I have to add that Beacon Hill is one of the most beautiful places in the Boston area, and it's an absolute joy to work here, especially in the springtime. Here are a few photos of my favorite spots, including, of course, Beacon Press headquarters! -- Jessie
Acorn_street Beacon_press
Photo of Acorn Street from Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau on Flickr. Photo of Beacon Press from Wikimedia Commons. Photo of Beacon Hill in the springtime by Jessie Bennett (using Instagram).