Design & Décor, Living with Style, Travel Notes

Springtime in Boston

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No sooner was I home from England than I scooted “up the road” to Boston with a friend to attend the much anticipated “Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill” tour. We were greeted by a brilliant blue day with a soft breeze that added to the pleasure of walking through these historic streets…Chestnut, Mount Vernon, Acorn, and Brimmer, to mention a few. It has been years since Jonathan and I lived in Back Bay, just a short walk to my friend’s new apartment with its bird’s eye view of the landmark Boston Garden…and the bridge with the iconic swan boats at anchor.

The Boston Garden, always a jewel in Boston’s crown, has well benefited from serious attention to the upkeep and maintenance over its many years. I adored having it in our “backyard” and the treat of any opportunity to walk through it.

No doubt as to what our first stop would be…a Boston friend’s enviably wide garden accessed by a pair of curved stairs adding to its charm and presence (notice the baby duck on the step). Not an easy undertaking given the rabbit and other rascally animals’ incursions this spring.

Well-considered details abound, starting with a neighbor friendly lattice wall punctuated with mirrored oval “windows”employing an ages old useful bit of trompe l’oeil. A single row of vivid chartreuse hakonechloa provides a stunning punctuation to the deep green lattice…

while welcome grass terraces are offset by stone and brickwork accents. But the piece de resistance is the owners’ collection of antique stone statuary, wall hangings, and seating that selectively bring this garden to another level of interest.

Given the exquisite weather, and the steep streets for which Beacon Hill is known, we were strolling at a leisurely pace that made it simple to photograph other details, like window boxes, front doors, and side gardens all sporting their spring best.

And of course the notable architecture of this colonial city, paired with inspired and well maintained wrought iron detailing.

At one brick mansion, the river rock driveway lets onto a pea gravel courtyard.

Eventually we came upon Louisburg Square, (also the Feature image) bisected with its own private park, and noteworthy as one of the most prestigious addresses in the city, situated between Mt. Vernon and Pinckney Streets. The Greek Revival houses around the square, designed and built between 1834 and 1847, reflect the rarefied privilege enjoyed by the 19th century upper class in Beacon Hill.

The central houses of the south-side are an interesting study for a gardener with their placement and pruning tweaks of the decorative tree.

And, we finished the day as we had started…with another bird’s eye view, this time of the gardens atop the rooftops of Boston…as seen from the incomparable Contessa restaurant. Boston has never looked better, how very good it felt to be back!

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About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

10 thoughts on “Springtime in Boston

  1. Well, you captured “that”to a “T!!” “That” is the Boston I luv to see…THANK YOU for the delightful transcriptions!! The trees make me think of ballerinas…dancing & posing. At it’s finest, indeed. franki

    1. Thank you, dear Franki, you have such a charming way with words…Happy almost summer, xB

    1. I kept thinking of you and Perry as I was writing this!! Miss you, it’s a glorious day in Newport…xxB


  3. Thank you sharing & letting us all live vicariously through you & your lovely photos! Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. One of my favorite cities! Lovely photos. We so enjoyed a brief stay in a wonderful Air BNB in the Back Bay Area before a cruise to Nova Scotia. The Back Bay is a perfect place to stay if you just want to put your tennis shoes on and walk the area.

  5. Oh Bettie, what a walk through memory lane. I lived in Boston’s Back Bay when I was a Flight Attendant for American Airlines.
    Spring is so beautiful…thank you for sharing your wonderful pictures with us. I wish I had taken the spring tour back then when I lived there.
    Wonderful memories…thank you, Vicky

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