In the 25 years I’ve lived in Boston, I’ve stepped on more dog excrement than cobblestones. I’ve never followed around a man wearing a tricorn hat and carrying a musket. I can’t recall ever bringing out-of-town guests to the Union Oyster House. Also, I’ve always believed that Faneuil Hall should install a plaque which reads “George Washington didn’t shop here, and neither should you.”
Yet according to nearly every travel book, magazine story, blog, and podcast about visiting Boston, these are considered essential pieces of the city experience.
It’s time someone said it, so it might as well be me. The Boston that exists in travel guides — all historic with incessant references to crates of tea bobbing nearby in the harbor — is a construct of infertile imaginations. It is simply a lazy amalgamation of what people who live outside Massachusetts think tourists should do.