The BLOG: Lifestyle

The best way to spend your Boston stay-cation

If your time or budget has already been spoken for this summer, planning a “stay-cation” in Boston is an easy and exciting option that can add sparkle and splash to an average day in a big way. Without committing a monumental amount of time or spending a king’s ransom on travel expenses, stay-cationers touring the city can indulge their eclectic curiosities in Boston’s concentric circles of academic, cultural, recreational, and sporting venues.

In 1858 Oliver Wendall Holmes declared Boston “the Hub of the Universe” because, in his opinion, the area surrounding our golden domed State House was the commercial and intellectual center of the solar system. He couldn’t have imagined how much more dynamic those same 48.3 square miles would become over the next 158 years.

Spend any time in the heart of the city and you’re bound to see colorful WWII-style amphibian-landing vehicles of the Boston Duck Tours rambling between iconic sites. As the con-duck-tor explains the significance of each venue, tour-riders cruise past postcard-perfect landmarks which include the elegant Swan Boats, the magnificent Boston Public Library and our sparkling State House to name just a few highlights of the tour. Rolling repartee of the con-duck-tor makes the hysterical history lesson unforgettable.

Duck Tours depart and return from three city hot spots: the Museum of Science, where technology and science spark creative minds, the Prudential Center, where the chic shop, and the New England Aquarium, where the penguins dress to impress and tentacles take hold of everyone’s imagination. Tour departures from any of the sites will tread similar but not identical routes across cityscapes. All however, include a splash into the blue-ribbon cool, clean, sailable, and swimmable Charles.

Once on the river a panoramic vista of the city spans Boston’s historically saturated city trails, as well as centers of academic excellence, local and international commerce, and a mecca of medical marvels. Inside the amphibian craft, surrounded by ecosystems of bio-diversity, tourists can appreciate the landscape that has played a leading role in transforming our nation’s relationship with the world.

The Duck Boat Tours have been used as stages to celebrate the Bruins, Celtics, Patriots and Red Sox after they’ve won the Stanley Cup, NBA Finals, Super Bowl, and World Series, respectively, bringing additional fame and glory to the Hub. What is less well known about these rolling party pontoons is that they also enrich our cultural landscape philanthropically.

The company is on a corporate mission to “quack-quack give back” by focusing on charitable donations to clean water, education and veterans. They support the Charles River Watershed Association that strives to improve the water quality and recreational usage of the Charles. Additionally they participate in presentations sponsoring the educational and entrepreneurial interests of local business, children, teachers and senior citizens. They also demonstrate a strong commitment to support the needs of veterans.

At the conclusion of the 80-minute tour, service members past and present are welcomed to autograph the ceiling of the tour-boat as fellow riders applaud. More than just symbolic recognition, the Duck Boat Tours honor veterans by offering discounted tour rates to military personnel and their families. The tours also help sponsor the Run to Home Base initiative of the Red Sox and Mass General, which offers care to victims of combat stress and brain injuries. Additionally they help to fund The First Corps of Cadets Museum which houses the first Confederate Flag captured in the Civil War as well as weapons fired at Lexington and Concord, and a pike from the Mayflower with many other historically significant artifacts.

Another heartfelt sponsorship of this company is the NEADS program. NEADS — or National Education for Assistance Dog Services — pairs veterans with highly trained assistant dogs. The program that began supporting military service personnel in 2006 has coupled 92 service dogs with veterans requiring assistance with prosthetics, daily functioning, and social interactions.

If stay-cations are a part of your summer vacation plans, hopping aboard a Boston Duck Tour will deliver a fascinating overview of history, a few on-landish, river-side belly laughs, and the opportunity to see the Hub of the Universe from a memorable, postcard-perfect vantage point. The tour, like any vacation experience, has the power to be restorative and transformative. As the co-duck-tors say, it will even quack you up!

Contact Diane Kilgore at [email protected].