Historic building now a Boston hotel

Travel Smarts

July 05, 1998

In older cities like London and New York, it's not unusual for a building with a lengthy history and unlikely provenance to morph into a hotel. A recent transformation is in Boston, where the Harborside Inn opened late last year.

As befits its location 300 yards from Boston Harbor, the eight-story granite-walled building started life in 1858 as a warehouse across the street from the Custom House at McKinley Square. More recently, it housed a spice, candy and syrup company. In fact, when the previous occupants moved out a decade ago, they left a tank brimming with 2,000 gallons of molasses.

"We had to bring in blowtorches to remove it," said Mark Hagopian, an owner of the hotel and of the Newbury Guest House in Boston.

The building was gutted and outfitted with 54 rooms, many displaying exposed brick and granite walls. To evoke the building's past, the hotel has hardwood floors, Oriental rugs and queen-size sleigh beds or four-posters made from cherry. Historic photographs of Boston adorn the granite lobby.

There are no porters or room service, but a cafe serves beverages and a free buffet breakfast. Room rates -- $125 and $145 for a single, $135 and $155 double -- include local calls and use of the inn's compact fitness room. For information, call 617-723-7500.

Philly's famous fans

You may not have a reason to visit Philadelphia, but Oprah Winfrey, Kevin Bacon and Nicole Miller will give you one. Two new brochures from the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp., the Celebrity's Guide to Philadelphia and Philadelphia's Book of Temptations, offer visitors suggested itineraries put together by celebrities and lists of events and hotel packages.

Oprah suggests a run through Fairmont Park, accommodations at a Rittenhouse Square hotel, dinner at the Garden and a show at the Annenberg Theater. Nicole Miller recommends shopping at King of Prussia Mall and Franklin Mills, dinner at Striped Bass and a movie at the Ritz Theater. Kevin Bacon prefers dinner in Chinatown, a concert at the Tower Theater or the Electric Factory and then clubbing at either Smoke or Palmer.

Hot new restaurants, cultural life, history and kids' stuff fills the pages of Philadelphia's Book of Temptations. Highlighted spots include Peddler's Village, Antique Row in Center City, Reading Terminal Market, the Avenue of the Arts and Manyunk. For free copies of either brochure, call 888-GO-PHILA.

Software to the fore

Golfers no longer have to search endlessly for the perfect course or for directions to get there. Drive!, the new interactive golf course information guide and road atlas available on CD-ROM and marketed by Green Grass Software Corp., provides more than 15,000 course locations, their times and dates of operation, greens fees and specific directions on how to get to each one. Also provided are course descriptions, yardage and slope, and tee-time reservation information. Maps can be printed and, for future reference, the Golf Bag stores information on favorite courses and lets you keep notes. Course searches can be based on anything from club names to amenities. It can be bought for $29.95 by calling 800-562-4653 (fax , 630-893-0455). Orders can also be placed online at www.greengrass.com.

Groceries when you get there

The last thing eager vacationers in Ocean City need to worry about are groceries and how long the lines will be at stores. O.C. Pantry Service to the rescue. This service does the waiting in traffic and searching for items for you. Call the 24-hour hot line (877-641-FOOD) before you go, and your groceries will meet you rTC at your vacation home. MasterCard, Visa and American Express accepted.

Rail trails

For summer and fall travelers, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and the National Trust for Historic Preservation are highlighting "10 Historic Rail-Trails" across the country. Those included are: the Bizz Johnson Trail in California, the area that spawned the legendary Paul Bunyan and Babe and the Blue Ox, and Katy Trail State Park in Missouri, the longest rail trail in America. For information about these trails, or to plan a visit, check out the U.S. Trail Information Center on the web at www.railtrails.org.

Pub Date: 7/05/98

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