High Life

Eighteen secrets of Beacon Hill

oganPhoto: Susan Ogan

L

et’s face it: Few places say Boston like Beacon Hill, with its picturesque narrow streets, brick sidewalks, gaslights, and red-brick, Federal-style rowhouses. As famous as it is (past and present residents: John Kerry, Red Auerbach, Louisa May Alcott, Robert Frost, Michael Crichton, Sylvia Plath, Carly Simon, David Lee Roth, GE CEO Jack Welch, Daniel Webster), Beacon Hill holds innumerable secrets. For one thing, this most stylish and elite of neighborhoods once was home to much of the city’s freed black slave population, making it a center of abolitionism. Beacon Hill’s African Meeting House on Joy Street provided a pulpit to the likes of Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, and Sojourner Truth. For another, it as once much higher, one of three hills (hence “Tremont” Street) leveled for landfill; Beacon Hill’s original height is marked by a pillar on the east side of the State House. The hill itself, of course, was named for a beacon that once stood at its peak to guide arriving mariners. Here’s your guide to great secrets of Beacon Hill:

1


A former speakeasy with wings so cheap it can’t be legal
 

2


A treasure chest of vintage jewelry and more
 

3


A little-known museum with secrets of its own
 

4


A shop that makes shoe-buying fun
 

5


A Common-side museum to the New England Puritans that you never knew existed
 

6


Where to feed your craving for bear, alligator, python, yak, and other exotic meats
 

7


How to get inside a house on Beacon Hill
 

8


A synagogue that’s a museum to Boston’s Jewish heritage
 

9


A hidden garden in the midst of crowded Beacon Hill
 

10


Where JFK hung out
 

11


Getting inside America’s largest private library—and one of its greatest art collections
 

12


A fancy Beacon Hill restaurant with half-price desserts, if you know when to go
 

13


Boston’s other freedom trail
 

14


An 18th-century homewith a décor you won’t expect
 

15


The home of the last actress Abraham Lincoln ever saw
 

16


A little bit of Montmartre on Beacon Hill
 

17


Where to find brunch pretty much all day
 

18


Where on Beacon Hill the celebs live (and lived)
 

Leave a Reply