Boston and Maine Vacation Recap {Guide to Family Friendly Eats}

A guide to visiting Boston and Maine along with kid-friendly restaurant and hotel suggestions the whole family will enjoy.
Boston Street Oyster HouseEarlier this month, our family of four flew across the country to introduce baby Jacob to my husband’s side of family who are all born and raised in Bah-ston.

Boston FamilyThey are an incredibly warm, loving, Italian American family that doesn’t pronounce their “r’s” and cooks enough food to feed a small army at every meal.

Jacob's FlightAnd that’s exactly why we decided it was worth it to juggle four flights, two connections and many missed naps and flight delays with our 2 year old and 6 month old. Jacob loved looking out the window during his first ever flight.

Della Croce BoysWe spent the first half of our trip in Peabody, 10 miles north of Boston, staying with my brother in law Brian and his wife Jenn.

Ash and KyleTheir son, Kyle (on the left), is a year older than Asher and they always get along like two peas in a pod.

The Blue Ox Lynn - The Lemon BowlIf you’re ever north of the city, you must head to The Blue Ox in Lynn. The tuna tartar was the best I’ve ever had and I am still dreaming about the homemade pickles and house made crispy potato chips.

Friends at Rubin's - The Lemon BowlAside from seeing family, I will use any excuse to see my old college friends. It’s hard to believe we graduated from Boston University 12 years ago already!

College Friends and Kids - The Lemon BowlMany of us have kids of our own now and in fact, one of my dearest friends Briana had her second boy the very same week that I had Jacob. There is really never enough time with these people but I am happy to say, KT, the pretty red head to my right is visiting me in Michigan next month and I can’t. freaking. wait. PS: She works at Harvard. She’s wicked smaht.

Boston at DuskAfter spending a couple days north of the city, we headed downtown to check in to the Copley Marriott for the remainder of our trip. Centrally located in Copley Square, it is kid-friendly and offers stunning views of the back bay. When I graduated from Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration, Marriott was one of the first brands to hire me for my first real job. I ended up working for Marriott hotels for 7 years. It’s an amazing company and will forever have a special place in my heart.

IMG_4982Special bonus? My girl Kelley from Mountain Mama Cooks happened to be visiting Boston the very same time we were in town and ended up staying at the same hotel. This was our second time meeting in person but this time I got to meet one of her boys. My oldest son actually hugged him when he saw them and even called Kelley Mom at one point. Don’t ask…

Copley SquareSpeaking of Copley Square, the summer after my junior year I had just returned from studying abroad in London and decided to stay in the city to intern at the Boston CVB. During that time, I was able to learn about all of the hotels, restaurants and cultural attractions throughout the Boston area. I hardly made any money at all but every day I got to head outside and eat lunch outside Trinity Church. I could stare at the reflection into the Hancock Tower for hours. It is simply stunning.

North End - Antico FornoOf course, aside from friends and family, our trip back to the East Coast is always about the food. Oh, the food… it pains me to think about the nine years that I lived in Boston and took for granted being a quick taxi or T ride away from authentic Italian food in the North End or a big platter of steamers and fried whole belly clams. Photographed above: our Father’s Day dinner at one of our favorites, Antico Forno in the North End.

IMG_5087While West Michigan does have a lot of incredible authentic Mexican, Asian and Lebanese food, one thing we are lacking is Italian food and good seafood. With that in mind, we tried to eat those two cuisines as much as possible during our 5 day visit.

IMG_4854One meal I won’t soon forget is the impossibly delicious, yet simple Lobster BLT from Alisson’s Restaurant in Kennebunkport, Maine. You see that mug in the background? My husband’s clam chowder was served in it. Perfection, right?

Woodman's of Essex - The Lemon BowlSpeaking of seafood, this beautiful feast is from Woodman’s of Essex located on the coast, about an hour north of Boston, has the BEST clams in the world, hands down.

IMG_4953We also are incapable of visiting Boston without having a meal at Legal Seafood’s. Their clam chowder has been served at every single Presidential Inauguration for who knows how long. They have all of the classics from lobster to steamers to fried clams and more. Plus, Mama can have a cocktail with her girlfriends who also happen to be free entertainment for flirty toddlers. Win Win! (Thank you Kristin!)

Brown StonesOur last day in Boston was spent as a family walking around and soaking up the beautiful weather and warm sunshine. We even traced back the steps of our very first date when my husband and I met in December of 2001. It was a freezing snowy day and I needed to find a scarf. He pretended he didn’t mind spending the entire day shopping and went in and out of countless shops as we walked down Newbury Street, through the Public Garden, on to the Boston Common then through Downtown Crossing all the way to Faneuil Hall.

IMG_4932When my husband and I were dating and living in Boston, I knew we would end up in Michigan but always dreamed of returning to Boston later in life and showing our kids where their parents met.

IMG_4988It is hard to believe my dream has come true and I pinch myself every day when I think about how lucky I am. Heading back to Boston is always a reminder of how blessed we are and I can’t wait to do it again soon.

IMG_5042Have you ever been to Boston? What are your favorite things to do and eat? I would love to hear from you.



  1. Susan says

    Wow! The only time I’ve been to Boston was in 1977 when I was working for John Hancock. The one place I know I ate was the Union Oyster House – where I went because my mother used to go there when she was in college. Even though my visit was a working one, I remember enjoying the city greatly. Glad you’ve had such a great visit.

  2. says

    Fun post. I am a West side woman and have zip concept of what it is like back east. I have changed pllanes in Ny and Washinton DC. I have spent some time in Florida, but I don’t count that as east coast. That’s south—-borderline south. Going back east is on my bucket list.

  3. says

    Such a fun and nostalgic trip! We’re roadtripping there for July 4th! I can’t wait for Mudgies’ annual lobstah rolls so I’ve been dying to have a proper New England Lobstah roll (bun & all) as well as quahogs!

  4. Linda Johnston says

    Oh, LIz — my dream trip! I’ve written before when you mentioned Saugus because we moved here to Flower Mound, TX – north of Dallas – when our boys were 6 mo and 3. We thought we’d go back to Topsfield or close by and it may never happen but that’s ok. We visited in March and went to Woodman’s – of course – and downtown, and Quincy Market etc. just for nostalgia sake – kids weren’t with us this time and they were sad. My older son is starting college next month at Univ of TX – he is a baseball player so our family dream is to watch him play on the Cape one of the next few summers in the Cape league. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to fime a trip and have my new friend from MI on the cape, eating whole belly clams with me while watching Kyle play ball! Dreams are what keeps us going every day . . . thanks for all your posts. You would love to see how many of your recipes wind up on my table and everyone know’s they are from Liz :) I even bought Zatar!

    • says

      Wow Linda thank you so much for this sweet post!! That’s so cool that you were there and just went to Woodman’s and Quincy Market. We did the same.. you can’t go to Boston and not have a Faneuil Hall experience. :)

  5. says

    I used to live 2 blocks from that Copley Marriott– such great memories of that neighborhood! Love that you brought your kids back there… I’d love to do that some day as well (when we have them) since that’s where my hubby and I met too!

    Giacomo’s is one of my favorite restaurants in Boston, but it’s always super crowded in the North End. They have a South End location (on Columbus) that is off the beaten path and never nearly as crowded. Highly recommend it– and the lobster ravioli!

  6. says

    I ADORE Boston, and can’t wait to return there soon with my family. :) My son and I visited there for about 3 days in 2009. It was an amazing travel experience- we did a little of Boston, went to Plymouth Plantation, saw Plymouth Rock, visited Cape Cod, and then got to experience Salem the day before Halloween- talk about crazy! But we definitely didn’t get enough time in Boston proper- it was pouring the rain down the day we had planned to do the Freedom Trail, so we had to cut it short. Your post is making me watch to reach out to Boston tourism asap. 😉

  7. says

    I’ve never been to Boston, but when I do go I plan to eat lots of lobster and clam chowder! The seafood definitely looks delicious.

    I’m also surprised to hear you don’t really have Italian restaurants in West Michigan. It seems they are everywhere these days.


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