For Democrats, Stars and Bars
It would be a mistake to plot your Boston itinerary too precisely; this is a city that rewards walkers. Centrally located Faneuil Hall makes a good starting point to take in the North End, the waterfront or the Downtown Crossing shopping district. You'll have to navigate around the rubble left over from the Big Dig, but the paths are well marked and it's a relief not to have to walk under a highway any longer.
North End, Waterfront
In the North End, the Italian neighborhood that abuts the harbor, follow your nose. Pizzeria Regina (11 1/2 Thacher St.) serves so-so pizza, but it can't be beaten for feeding a hungry crowd. Going up a notch, try the Daily Catch (323 Hanover St.) for fresh seafood over pasta served in a frying pan or Bricco (241 Hanover St.) for a California take on Italian cuisine. Keep your eye out for dark sedans; Bill Clinton never misses a chance to pick up cannoli at Mike's Pastry (300 Hanover St.) when he's in town.
If you haven't got a motorcade, don't try driving down Hanover Street; locals watching European soccer matches in the bars and cafes tend to spill out into the traffic.
Amble into the Old North Church (193 Salem St.) and you might catch guide Scott Evans mentioning that Gerald Ford returned to the church made famous by Paul Revere's ride to open the 1976 bicentennial celebrations. Evans and other volunteers also have the inside skinny on the fate of the first two steeples and some of the 1,100-plus figures buried in the 37 tombs in the crypt below.
From his downtown office in the JFK Federal Building on New Sudbury Street, Kennedy can spot the North End's Garden Court Street where his mother, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, was born, and nearby Ferry Street where his grandfather grew up. For Kennedy, 72, virtually every neighborhood holds family memories.
"There is not a view like that in the world where a political leader can look out and see where his parents and grandparents were born," he said.
Wander a few blocks from the heart of the North End and park yourself on a bench. You are gazing out into the very same harbor where the revolutionaries dumped tea in 1773. George H.W. Bush blamed Dukakis for the polluted waterway and Weld jumped in a few years later to prove it was clean. Even with that precedent, swimming is not advised.
Better yet, escape the city heat on a boat. The Boston Harbor Islands (www.bostonislands.org) are just a few miles offshore, but temperatures there run several degrees cooler. Swimming is permitted at several of the islands, as well as hiking, fishing and bird-watching. Many have the basic necessities for a good picnic -- grills, tables and restrooms. Take one of the longer excursion boats and you may even catch a glimpse of whales.
A bit farther down the waterfront sits the Barking Crab (88 Sleeper St.), one of the few places in the city where you don't need a jacket and tie to enjoy fresh seafood. (The other is Jasper White's Summer Shack at 50 Dalton St.) Sit at one of the picnic tables and keep an eye out for indicted mobsters coming out of the new John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse.
Just beyond the waterfront and South Station is one of the best-kept dining secrets in Boston: Les Zygomates (129 South St.), a reasonably priced French bistro with live jazz and good wine. Call for a reservation, and your friends will think you are really cool.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company