Boston’s North End

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Photos by Hui-chen & MJ Klein, including FOOD PHOTOS!

As we head into this new year, we’re coming to a close on this series soon.  On our last day in New England I wanted to take Hui-chen to the North End, the famous Italian section of Boston.  Years ago I lived in the North End, on Charter Street and there were some things that I wanted Hui-chen to see, and also I wanted her to experience some of the delicious food that the North End is famous for.

Boston's North End

We turned on Commercial Street and headed into the famous North End of Boston….

Boston's North End

We drove around some to get our bearings, as it had been more than 10 years since I was in the North End.

Boston's North End

We saw signs for religious feasts that were coming later in the month.

Boston's North End

Boston's North End

And we saw political signs that reminded us of where we were.

Boston's North End

The North End is a nice walk from the downtown area of Boston.  I used to walk this every day when I lived here.

Boston's North End

We turned to drive up Salem Street, one of the central streets of the North End and characteristically crowded.

Boston's North End

The problem with visiting this area is a lack of public parking spaces on these streets.  Notice that the sign on the right says “Resident Permit Parking Only” meaning that we could park if we wanted to, but risked getting a ticket.

Boston's North End

On Salem Street is a very famous Boston landmark that I wanted Hui-chen to see: The Old North Church, of Paul Revere fame.

Boston's North End

Just as we were approaching the church, a group of cyclists went by.  Cycling is a great way to get around Boston.

Boston's North End

This plaque is on the Old North Church.  Do you know how many lanterns were on display that night, and for how long?

Boston's North End

The Old North Church is quite tall and an impressive structure when viewed from the street.

Boston's North End

Boston's North End

As was continued walking down Salem Street, we saw typical alleys such as this.  These streets date from times before the automobile.

Boston's North End

As we were walking along, Hui-chen took some shots of the interesting architecture, since we don’t have buildings like these in Taiwan.

Boston's North End

Boston's North End

We continued down Salem Street in the direction towards Boston downtown.  I had some place in mind to show Hui-chen.

Boston's North End

More architecture photos.

Boston's North End

Boston's North End

Boston's North End

On the right is a famous North End bakery: Bova’s, open 24 hours!  Our article is geotagged here.

Bova’s was there in the early late 70’s and early 80’s when I lived in this neighborhood.  I used to love stopping there on my way home to get some Italian pastries like cannolis, and almond cookies.  Bova’s is under the same family management as always, and they graciously allowed us to photograph the display case contents for our readers!

Boston's North End

Boston's North End

The first 2 cases are cookies and bread products.  The photos do not do the items justice!

Boston's North End

These are the more famous items they make.  On the second row center, there are various types of cannolis starting with lemon filling on the left, chocolate chips on the vanilla filling just to the right of the lemon, and then we see some chocolate shells all the way to the right.  I’m telling you, everything in this case is beyond description.

Boston's North End

This is the left side of that same case above.

Boston's North End

In the center shelf, on the left side are lobster tails, which are stuffed with the most delicious cream filling you’ve ever tasted.

Boston's North End

The right side of the above case.

Boston's North End

These are calzones stuffed with all sorts of excellent ingredients.

Boston's North End

Bova’s even makes pizza, by the slice.  Great for taking some with you on a walk into Boston.

Boston's North End

Bova’s also features deli meats and can make you a sandwich on their famous bread, baked right there.

Needless to say, Hui-chen and I got a healthy sampling of offerings from Bova’s and took them with us!

Boston's North End

Another shot of the outside of Bova’s.  If you visit the North End, you must go there!

Boston's North End

Hui-chen and I walked back to the car and decided to head over to Hanover Street, where the restaurants are.

Boston's North End

Parking was difficult, but we managed to find a place and then proceeded on foot to find a restaurant.

Boston's North End

We settled on the Cafe Pompei.

Boston's North End

Boston's North End

Boston's North End

The decor of the Cafe Pompei is nice.

Boston's North End

First up, soup of the day: minestrone.

Boston's North End

Next, my Chicken Parm with spaghetti.

Boston's North End

Hui-chen’s spaghetti bolognese.

Boston's North End

Despite some bad reviews (which we did not know about at the time) we found the Cafe Pompei to be quite good, and we’ve traveled to quite a few countries together, enjoying the food along the way.  In between courses, we ate some of the items we bought from Bova’s Bakery.  No one complained.  Behind us, people were conversing in Italian.  It was easy to forget that we were in Boston.

Boston's North End

After a fine meal at the Cafe Pompei, Hui-chen and I decided to walk around a bit more, but….

Boston's North End

Suddenly the floodgates of the heavens opened up and it started pouring!

Boston's North End

Just like our visit to Salem the other day, our visit to this area was cut short by rain.  We’ll just have to come back and visit the North End again someday!

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10 comments

  1. Pingback: MJ Klein
  2. The North End of Boston… a place that I very rarely go to.

    The nice thing about a lot of the restaurants and bakeries there are… they’ve been owned and run by the same families for generations. If you visited Boston 10, 15, 20, 25 or more years ago and went to one of these places back then… chances are everything in those places will smell and taste the same all these years later. And yeah… the pictures will never any justice… you really need to smell and taste the items in those cases to know just how good they are.

    As for the Old North Church… its 175 feet (53m) to the top of the steeple. The steeple was re-built in 1954 after it was destroyed by Hurricane Carol. Before then it was 191 feet (58m) tall. When it was re-built… they put the original weathervane from 1723 on the top. Hmmm… I’ll disqualify myself from how many lanterns were placed in the steeple and for how long (too easy for me). Since you went to Hanover Street… I’m surprised you didn’t take a picture of the Paul Revere stature there behind the Old North Church.
    mike01905´s last post ..New Years Eve in Boston – Ice Sculptures

    1. hi Mike. we always appreciate the additional information that readers like you contribute. thanks for the interesting info on the steeple. i wonder why it wasn’t re-built to the original height? perhaps the proximity to the airport had something to do with that decision?

      Bova’s Bakery was exactly like it was back when i was living in the North End. i moved out of the North End in 1981, and it was just like going back in time.

      Mike, we did take a photo of the Paul Revere statue that’s behind the Old North Church. the article was already heavily laden with photos so we decided to not include that one, but here is the photo on our Flickr site just for you: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thenhbushman/5321667455/

      btw your photos of the ice sculptures are very good. you’re getting used to the new camera, seems like.

      thanks Mike.

      1. I have no idea why the steeple wasn’t built back to its original height… but with the church being somewhat close to Logan… sounds like a good reason to me (although don’t think the direction between Logan and the Old North Church lines up with any of the runways).

        Also… if no one else “guesses” the number of lanterns and how long they were in the steeple for back in April of 1775… I’ll say why 🙂

        I know people that tell me their parents or grandparents have gone to certain places in the North End since they were kids… and the food at those places never changes. When someone owns a place in the North End… their kids get involved in the business… then years later their grand kids get involved in the business… and so on… while passing down all of the family recipes.

        I have a picture of the Paul Revere statue on my Flickr page in my “Boston Freedom Trail/Off the Freedom Trail” set that I did back in May of 2009…

        http://www.flickr.com/photos/mike01905/3546205944/

        I’ve had others tell me they like the ice sculpture pics as well. Like I said… I’m my own worst critic. I have some time to play around taking test pics and getting more use to the camera before the New England Boat Show in Feb (not sure if I’ll be going to that) and the World of Wheels in April (I know I’m going to that).
        mike01905´s last post ..New Years Eve in Boston – Ice Sculptures

  3. You would have to put up pictures of fantasic pastries. What torture. I need to go back to Boston and just soak in the aromas. Bet none of them are on my healthy heart diet. From your pictures that bakery may be the one Michael and Peichi would buy pastries and take home to Portsmouth. If so, I have tasted a couple of them on my first trip to visit them. I enjoyed seeing your pictures of places Michael and Peichi took me to see. Thank you.

    1. hi Carolyn. sorry for torturing you with those photos! it would be interesting to find out if you were indeed at Bova’s in the North End. my wife wants to go back someday again, and maybe you’ll have the opportunity to do so too. take care.

  4. OK… its been a week and no one has guessed how many lanterns were on display and for how long in the Old North Church’s steeple.

    There were 2 lanterns to notify how the British troops were coming into Boston (One if by land, two if by sea… made famous in the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem… Paul Revere’s Ride).

    As for the amount of time… some people say a minute… some people say less than a minute. It was a short period of time as not to draw attention to the British trrops that were already occupying Boston.
    mike01905´s last post ..New Years Eve in Boston – Ice Sculptures

  5. Oh those calzones and Lobstor tails with cream and all thos cakes. Lucky it is lunch time here as I am off to get a French bread, salami and tasty cheese 🙂

    As always great to see such beautiful old buildings.

    I have been to the odd restaurant where people have said it was terrible to find it much better than I have experienced elsewhere.

    Maybe a new chef…

    Thanks for sharing mate and I hope the eyes are getting better each day mate.
    Brunty´s last post ..Some of Australias Scumbags Jailed- Not Long Enough

    1. Brunty, they were really great. not too sweet like some things of that type can be. i’ve had the same experience with restaurants that you have. anyone can have an off day. we had a good experience in the Cafe Pompei even though the online reviews weren’t so kind. thanks Brunty and take care.

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