For Democrats, Stars and Bars
If you paid attention in high school history class, you know the architectural highlights of Beacon Hill: the State House, the Park Street Church and the Old South Meeting House. But Kennedy recommends seeking out lesser-known historic delights, such as the African Meeting House (8 Smith Court). It was in the 1806 church that the Union recruited "colored" soldiers for the legendary 54th Regiment, though contrary to popular lore, it was not a stop on the Underground Railroad.
"You can hardly find it on Beacon Hill, but it is just enormously interesting," Kennedy said.
In the shadow of the State House sits the nation's oldest public park, the Boston Common, with its ballfields, food vendors and dog walkers. Just beyond is the more refined Public Garden, home to the Swan Boats and the "Make Way for Ducklings" sculpture modeled after the popular children's book.
Since you're in the neighborhood, see if the Kerrys are dining at one of their regular spots, such as Hamersley's Bistro (553 Tremont St.), the Federalist (15 Beacon St.) or Locke-Ober (3 Winter Pl.). Local med student Vanessa Kerry says she and her dad head to Gyuhama (827 Boylston St.) for sushi. If you haven't got the Kerry-Heinz bank account, walk down the hill to Charles Street and get a bite at the Sevens (77 Charles St.), Figs (No. 42) or Torch (No. 26).
Like Washington in recent years, Boston has experienced an explosion of high-end restaurants. The big-name chefs to seek out include Todd English, Lydia Shire, Jasper White, Gordon Hamersley and Michael Schlow. If you're on an expense account, hotel concierges will happily direct you to the priciest -- often overpriced -- restaurants.
The terminally hip park themselves in the cafes and bars in the vicinity of ultra-chic Newbury Street on the stretch from Arlington Street to Massachusetts Avenue. People-watch -- or be seen -- from the open windows at Sonsie (327 Newbury St.) or Vox Populi (755 Boylston St.).
For a taste of the new political culture, head to the South End, an easy stroll from the hotels in Copley Square. Some of the most innovative cooking in the city is taking place in the now fully gentrified, very gay-friendly neighborhood of Victorian buildings. You can spare yourself a bit of embarrassment by not confusing the South End with Irish, working-class Southie.
At Bomboa (35 Stanhope St.), a Brazilian restaurant that segues seamlessly from quiet cocktail hour to thriving dinnertime to after-hours hot spot, the bartenders mix up killer tropical drinks, loaded with freshly crushed mint leaves and plenty of lime. Take a friend, portions are huge.
On a recent Saturday night, a giddy bachelorette party, complete with a ridiculously adorned bride-to-be, suddenly found itself mingling with an equally boisterous table of men. Just back from the annual Gay Pride festivities, they too were celebrating marriage. Massachusetts, remember, was the first state in the nation to sanction gay weddings.
No Massachusetts political junket would be complete without a trek across the Charles River to the "People's Republic of Cambridge."
Tip O'Neill's home town is a city of squares, each with a distinct personality. One of the simplest ways to sample Cambridge is to head straight up Massachusetts Avenue through each square. Most correspond with a stop on the Red line of the subway, or the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which locals have simply abbreviated to the "T."
Start at Kendall Square, home to MIT, and work your way up through Central, Harvard and Porter. For creative ethnic food, try the Cambodian-French combinations at the Elephant Walk (2067 Massachusetts Ave.) or upscale Cuban at Chez Henri (1 Shepard St.).
Just beyond Porter Square is Verna's (2344 Massachusetts Ave.), the humble bakery where O'Neill regularly stopped for a doughnut, or crull-ah in local parlance. (Even before you reach the city limits, it's obvious this is doughnut territory. Whether landing at Logan airport or arriving via the Massachusetts Turnpike, Dunkin' Donuts is there to greet you.)
In the heart of Cambridge, of course, is Harvard, its brick and ivy enlivened by resident skateboarders, strollers and street musicians. Pick up souvenirs at the Coop; your hometown paper at Out of Town News, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, plopped dead-center in the square; and a bit of culture (cul-chuh) at one of the half-dozen university museums.
Many of the eateries in and around Harvard cater to the student budget. Some of the better ones include Bartley's Burger Cottage (1246 Massachusetts Ave.) with its signature sweet potato fries, John Harvard's Brew House (33 Dunster St.) and the always-crowded, always-fun Border Cafe (32 Church St.). Quieter, more elegant fare can be found at Sandrine's (8 Holyoke St.), the cozy Harvest Restaurant (44 Brattle St.) and UpStairs on the Square (91 Winthrop St.), where Kerry campaign chairwoman Jeanne Shaheen escaped for a civilized glass of wine and dinner during her stint at the JFK School of Government.
On sunny days, the locals line up at Darwin's Ltd. (148 Mount Auburn St.), a gourmet sandwich shop that packs the best picnic in town. Take your goodies to the banks of the Charles to watch the crew teams and Frisbee tossing. Or for a quieter repast, continue down Mount Auburn Street to commune with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in the park in front of his house (105 Brattle St.). That's how uber-Democrat Donna Brazile got back her sanity after the 2000 election.
Ceci Connolly is on the National staff of The Washington Post.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company