Looking for some unique gifts for the loved ones in your life? Whether they live in Boston or are planning an upcoming trip, we have you covered with some historical and fun-filled gift ideas!
1. Craft Beer Advent Calendar
Upgrade your childhood advent calendar to a 21+ box of fun! This Twelve Days of Christmas set comes fully loaded or you can make your own with a customizable 24-day box. If you're local to Boston, Boston Bottle in the North End will also be selling their own versions. Our tour guide Rachel is bestowing this present on a lucky friend!
2. Ye Olde Tavern Tours Gift Certificate
There’s always more to learn about Boston’s history! Whether someone is a life-long resident or new to the city, they’ll love Ye Olde Tavern Tours’s walk down the Freedom Trail. Our history-educated guides know their stuff and make history fun! Along the way, guests will try three different New England craft beers at historical taverns to round-out a great experience. Take 20% off all gift certificates now until Monday, December 2!
3. Gaining Ground
Brian, our tour guide interested in maps, recommends this coffee-table worthy book about Boston. From beautiful images to interesting history and engineering lessons, you’ll keep your friends and family learning about a city that is both historic and ever-changing.
4. Boston Tote
Walk the city in style – and never get lost – with this Boston map tote bag. Tour guide Brooke uses this bag for her groceries, but you can also stash snacks for a Freedom Trail walk, or bringing your favorite book to read in the Common. No matter how you use it, you’ll feel like a true Bostonian with this over your shoulder!
5. DIY Boston Creme Pie Cupcakes
We love beer, but we also love sweet treats too. Our tour guide Kelly is especially enthusiastic about Boston Creme Pie, so she recommends these DIY boxes from a New England company. It comes with instructions and pre-measured ingredients to pair with kitchen staples. Boston Cream Pie was first created at Boston’s Parker House hotel, so you can bring a little bit of Boston cheer to all your holiday celebrations.
6. Boston in the American Revolution
Books are making a comeback and this is THE Boston history book – for all ages! Boston in the American Revolution provides an interesting and accessible history, with a lot of fun along the way. It has a helpful guide that links present-day Boston with historical events and focuses on some key players that every American should know.
7. Boston Tea Party Candle
If the history lover in your life loves some self-care too, check out this candle of black tea, seaweed, and driftwood. Elizabeth, our tour guide who also works as an historical interpreter for the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, will be gifting these this year. Everyone can use a little R&R after the holidays – make their relaxation revolutionary.
8. Trident Booksellers Gift Certificate
Our tour guide Kristen loves this local bookstore! There’s truly something for everyone at Trident – from events, to delicious food and local beer, and fun gifts. Or just cozy up to the bar with a good book! This versatile gift card (digital or mailed) won’t disappoint.
9. Boston Sports Trivia Game
The city of champions has had an historic run in the past two decades. Do you know any die-hard fans who thinks they’ve followed it all? Test their knowledge with this entertaining sports trivia game. Trust us, they’ll learn something!
10. New England Snack Basket
Spice up the traditional holiday snack basket with this New England tailored fare. You’ll get some maple sugar candies, cranberry pepper jelly, gummy lobsters, and so much more… all locally made of course!
1. Holiday Pop-Up Bar
We love festive holiday drinks at Ye Olde Tavern Tours! If you do too, we might see you at a Miracle pop-up bar around Massachusetts. This popular event started in NYC and now spreads holiday cheer worldwide, including the Marlowe Hotel in Cambridge, Mystic Station in Malden, and the Citizen in Worcester. Given Boston’s history as a major rum producer, we recommend the “Bad Santa,” a rum-based cocktail with citrus, spices, and coconut! Open the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas.
2. Boston Common Tree Lighting
Boston is not short on holiday cheer when it comes to lighting up the city. If you want to see one of the biggest tree lighting ceremonies in action, head to the Visitor’s Information Center on Boston Common on Thursday, December 5th from 6-9pm. There will be refreshments, music, and (of course) Santa until the lights start coming on around 7:55pm. Over 80 trees throughout the Common and Public Garden will be lit up.
Also, while you’re in the area check out the historic neighborhood of Beacon Hill. Quaint Charles Street will close down to cars from 6-9pm. You can get a start on your holiday shopping and enjoy the carolers!
3. Ice Skating on Frog Pond
The Boston Common gets festive during the day time too – check out the frog pond for some ice skating! Open at 10am every day over the winter (except some holidays), adults skate for $6 and children (under 58 inches) get in free. You can also rent skates and skating aids.
4. Boston Beers + History
Start the holiday season off right with Ye Olde Tavern Tours! We’ll take you down the Freedom Trail, serve up some New England winter beers, and teach you about Boston’s history, including an epic snowball fight that ended in the…you’ll have to join us to find out!
5. Santa Speedo Run
If a Turkey Trot sounds like a bit much for you (a whole 5K?!), we have the perfect holiday training regimen--the Santa Speedo Run! On Saturday, December 14, join a group of runners/drinkers on a one-mile run through Back Bay, which starts and ends with libations. One minor detail: Most of the runners will only be wearing speedos and Santa hats! While the costume isn’t necessary, they do recommend dressing in holiday cheer and helping out the Play Ball! Charity, which you can do as a spectator as well.
6. SoWa Holiday Weekend
We love the South End's SoWa market (short for South of Washington St.) on any Sunday, but it’s especially festive during the holidays. It will be open in the evening on Friday, December 6 and all day December 7 and 8 for a special holiday weekend. It’s always full of art, shops, and food, but to get into the holiday spirit there will be ice sculptures, handmade gifts, and holiday DIY workshops as well!
No visit to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts would be complete without seeing the 3,000 years of history housed in the Art of the Americas wing. Covering four floors, you can tour North, Central, and South America in just a couple of hours… but our favorite exhibits feature Revolutionary-era Boston! The museum is open seven days a week, with free admission (donations always welcome) Wednesdays after 4pm.
1. John Singleton Copley’s famous portraits of Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Joseph Warren, and Mercy Otis Warren
Copley painted these players in Revolutionary Boston as events heated up in the late 1760s and early 1770s (to learn more, join us on a Freedom Trail tour)! Copley was born in Boston and was the town’s preeminent portrait painter, but he married a loyalist and set sail for London in 1774, never to return. Our podcast, Beer Makes History, episode #7 talks more about Copley and the men and women he painted.
2. Paul Revere’s Sons of Liberty Bowl and other metalwork
Made of silver and engraved in 1768, this bowl honors the “Glorious Ninety-Two,” members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives who refused to rescind a letter they signed protesting the Townshend Duties of 1767. You’ll find more of Revere’s work encased nearby this national treasure.
3. 18th-century Furniture
You'll have serious design envy when you see some of the gorgeously intricate furniture pieces. The MFA has several different items that were created in New England and are in amazing condition. This bookcase and desk will make you want to take out some paper and quill and write an actual letter.
4. “The Athenaeum Portrait” of George Washington
You'll be able to spot this painting pretty easily--you've definitely seen it before. Artist Gilbert Stuart first painted George Washington in 1795. Martha Washington liked the painting so much, she asked her husband to sit for another portrait, but Stuart left the painting unfinished so he wouldn’t have to part with it. This image of Washington appears on the one-dollar bill.
It's the most wonderful time of the year, for beer! We love pumpkin beers--we highlight our favorite below--but there's a bountiful harvest of other Autumn beers and wanted to share our favorites.
1. Jack's Abby Copper Legend
This seasonal beer is dangerously smooth in its taste. Jack's Abby only makes lagers and this one is malty and balanced. It's 5.7% ABV, but you wouldn't know it--like we said, it's smooth. It's only available until the end of the month, so grab it now!
2. Downeast Pumpkin Cider
Okay, so this one isn't a beer, but a cider. And it's delicious. On our tours we often serve Downeast Original Blend, but join us this time of year to try our favorite seasonal cider. This pumpkin cider is insanely delicious. It's hard to oversell it. It's not overly pumpkin-y--the most prevalent notes are chai spices.
3. Harpoon Flannel Friday
This is the beer equivalent of needing a flannel as the weather gets cooler. Hoppy and malty with a gorgeous amber color, we recommend drinking this beer while cozying at home or in Harpoon's beer hall in Boston's Seaport District.
4. Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale
Pumpkin beers are ubiquitous these days, but Shipyard was making pumpkin beer before it was cool. This beer is a cult favorite in New England and bonus points if you put a cinnamon sugar rim on your glass.
5. Night Shift Awake
Porters are a wonderful beer to drink in the late fall. Appropriately named Awake, this porter is brewed with coffee and that'll be obvious before you even take a sip. It's a robust 6.7% and with its hints of chocolate, it's a delicious way to finish off a hearty dinner.