A CITY REDEFINED
Boston’s Adaptations During COVID-19
by Madi Babine
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Home to the largest property theft in the world, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum fills its halls with grand artwork and a stunning courtyard. Opened in 1903, the museum was considered at the time to be one of the finest private art collections. Her collection includes a medley of paintings, sculptures, textiles, furniture, ceramics, silver, books and other objects that will keep you in the museum for hours. Walking inside and through the glass hallway, you are greeted with beautiful greenery and artwork in the courtyard. The courtyard is filled with various plants and flowers all dependent on the season. There are nine seasonal displays, and September to November features vibrant chrysanthemums. Three stories tall, the building takes you through a series of rooms, each very different from the other but equal in beauty. Some of the rooms include a Spanish cloister, Chinese Loggia, Macknight Room, Dutch Room and many more. Some of the rooms also include a view of the courtyard through its archways. The museum is unique with its contrasting rooms, plentiful artwork and beautiful scenery of the courtyard. The courtyard also provides a nice natural light and liveliness to the museum.
Although COVID-19 forced the museum to shut down for a bit, it is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Tuesdays. Tickets should be purchased ahead of time online to ensure a spot in the museum. Luckily, BU students are members and can enter the museum free of charge. Masks are required at all times, and there are various hand sanitizer stations. Also, an audio guide is available to take you through the tour.
Castle Island offers a variety of activities all within 22 acres of land. Open from sunrise to sunset, the island features Fort Independence, which was built in 1634 as a defensive mechanism for the Boston Harbor. It is a granite bastion fort and is considered one of the oldest continuously fortified sites of English origin in the United States. There are tours that run throughout the day to get the full experience of the fort. In addition to the historical aspects of Castle Island, there are stunning views of the water and Boston airport. It is mesmerizing to simply sit in the grass and watch the planes take off. Grab some food before, and this makes a great picnic spot along with a nice breeze from the water. The island also has a beach, which is great for evening hangouts with friends. You can walk or bike around the Harborwalk as well. There are maps around the island to guide you around and allow you to experience all it offers. For some amazing food—fresh lobster rolls, fried clams, ice creams, sodas and more—check out Sullivan’s. Be sure to maintain social distancing, and wear your mask in places you cannot keep your distance.
Established in 2004, Neptune Oyster has definitely made a name for itself in the Boston food scene. Although it is stationed in a small and tight-fitting space (just 37 seats), it is an extremely popular New England seafood restaurant, and you are guaranteed to have to wait upon arrival. Although they take no reservations, and the line can be particularly long, it is worth the wait for the spectacular food. Their menu includes nine varieties of oysters, fried clams, mussels, fish and their most popular dish: their lobster roll. Well-liked dishes include the lobster Caprese salad, oyster “piggybacks” (crispy deep-fried oysters served with Berkshire pork and pistachio aioli) and the Maine lobster roll. The restaurant has been nominated for countless awards, and has been named America’s Best Oyster Bar, Best Boston Restaurant, among other accolades. Located in the North End on Salem Street, Neptune Oyster is open every day from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays and 10:30 p.m. on weeknights. The raw bar status is open until 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends. Masks are required until seated at your table, and Neptune Oyster also offers carryout via online ordering through their website.