‘How d’ya like them apples?’
On my birthday at the end of last year, I flew to Boston! It’s a place I felt like I was already familiar with through films, music, and of course the instantly-recognisable Boston accent. It turns out, Boston has a pretty good vegan scene going for it too! Here are some of my highlights..
Boston Common & Good Will Hunting Bench
So one of my favourite things to do while travelling is scope out the filming locations for some of my favourite movies – I did a whole trip to Astoria and Cannon Beach to check out some of The Goonies and Twilight filming locations, check this out here.
So naturally, my first mission was to find the Good Will Hunting bench where Robin Williams gives that famous speech to Matt Damon. To refresh your memory, here it is:
“So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that.
If I ask you about women, you’d probably give me a syllabus about your personal favourites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy.
You’re a tough kid. And I’d ask you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, “once more unto the breach dear friends.” But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help.
I’d ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms “visiting hours” don’t apply to you.
You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you… I don’t see an intelligent, confident man… I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you’re a genius, Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my fucking life apart.
You’re an orphan right? You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally… I don’t give a shit about all that, because you know what, I can’t learn anything from you, I can’t read in some fuckin’ book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I’m fascinated. I’m in. But you don’t want to do that, do you sport? You’re terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.”- Robin Williams, Good Will Hunting (1997)
Amazing film, and you can find a lot of the filming locations around the Boston area, but this was one I had to find. Honestly though, it wasn’t easy, I used a mixture of blogs and websites to make 100% sure I found the right bench, but the great news is – there are much worse places to be searching for something than the glorious Boston Common (especially in autumn).
My best advice to find the bench is to check out the blog ‘Live the Movies’ here. Unfortunately, there isn’t a sign or plaque marking the bench, but you can find a map from this website that makes it easier. Obviously, there are a lot of benches which all look the same, but if you look out for the suggested landmarks behind you, you should have the right one. When you get there it’s the kind of place you definitely need to take a moment.
Vegan eats in Allston
I stayed in the Allston area while I was here and thought it was a really cool little neighbourhood. What makes it extra great is there are a lot of vegan food spots, too. One thing I definitely didn’t expect to find was vegan grilled cheese – but you can grab this at Roxy’s Grilled Cheese! I tried the Vegan Rookie Melt (Daiya cheese & tomato) and the Buffalo Tofu Melt (Daiya cheese, buffalo tofu, lettuce, tomato, house made ranch) and both were amazing! Plus this is a really great place to chill out too, and they play good music.
Another unlikely spot that has vegan options is the Allston Diner. If you’re looking for a traditional American diner experience – this is a great option. I was pleasantly surprised to see a whole vegan section to their menu, too. I had The Ultimate Vegan Breakfast, and it was basically what you’d expect – American diner food done vegan. More vegan points for Allston.
100% vegan places in Allston include [FoMu] (plant-based ice-cream joints), Grasshopper (vegan Asian restaurant and takeaway) and Whole Heart Provisions, which is where I got this:
Another restaurant I’d definitely recommend is Veggie Galaxy which is a vegan/vegetarian diner in central Boston. This place was ultra cool and the food was amazing – all American Diner classics…but without the meat!
Wicked Smart at Harvard!
There aren’t many Universities that I’d usually take the time to go and visit, but Harvard is absolutely one of them! I’d recommend signing up for a free tour by a Harvard student which are pretty frequent, so that you know what you’re looking at instead of walking around aimlessly (the grounds are pretty big). There isn’t a tonne else to do in the area (I found a couple of book stores) so it makes sense to head more towards the downtown area afterwards.
Go Red Sox!
You can pay for a tour of the Red Sox stadium, or you can check it out for free while having a drink at Bleacher Bar…your move, chief.
So Boston was a really fun place to spend a few days! It’s also a great place to start off in the states because you can get very cheap flights from London (I flew in November and a one way ticket only cost me £140!). Plus with less than six hours to fly there – it’s well worth even just spending a few days here and heading home. Thanks for being cool, Boston!