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A Weekend at The Charles Hotel
Alese & Morton Pechter

A crisp Autumn day ... colorful leaves crunching underfoot, college football fever in the air! What a magnificent way to spend a weekend. Vacationing in Cambridge, Massachusetts was a delightful change from our Florida lifestyle. We had forgotten how breathtakingly beautiful the Fall foliage could be and found ourselves playing like kids in the fields of amber, red and orange fallen oak and maple leaves. Assorted size male and female rowing crews in their shells worked their way up and down the Charles River, young folks strolled the shore line, joggers ran by, tourists with cameras kept clicking away, young mothers with strollers walked by and students were everywhere. This is such an exciting, vibrant, historic and energetic setting.

We arrived via Delta Airlines and must say we were pleasantly surprised with our trip. We knew the flight would be fine but really dreaded going through the security system at the terminal in Florida. We had our one bag taken at curbside, went to the security check-through and moved very quickly through the short line and the checkpoint. We had packed carefully so we did not ring or buzz going through the x-ray and moved on quickly to our flight area. Once in Boston, our luggage arrived promptly and off we went to our hotel in Cambridge, about 20 minutes from the airport.

Our home-away-from-home in Cambridge was The Charles Hotel. Listed among the Preferred Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, it is known as Boston’s most original hotel. Located in the heart of Harvard Square and a short block from the Charles River, this Four Diamond award-winner is simple, stylish and smart. It was the perfect place for us as we intended to be at the Dartmouth/Harvard football game and could easily walk to the stadium from the hotel.

After check-in we went right to our room to freshen-up so we could begin our Cambridge adventure. Walking into the room we were overwhelmed with the spaciousness but quickly focused on the bed! THAT bed!! It was a king size, four-poster bed with the most luscious quilt duvets, down comforter and feather pillows ... just beckoning us to plop down and wallow in its supreme comfort. We did not want to move away from it.

In all our travels we have found the bed and bedding to be quite important. If we cannot sleep well, we will not be able to work, relax, vacation or enjoy our visit anyplace. At The Charles Hotel we found the perfect sleep companion ... a bed, mattress and linens that would allow us to be fully re-energized for our daytime activities. In addition, there were luxurious bath and aromatherapy personal products ... and fabulous relaxing music from the Bose Wave radio. Of course there were the bathrobes, TV and housekeeping services for anything that might have been left out of our packing.

When we could get ourselves off that remarkable bed, we toured the streets with their many shops and restaurants. We found books to read, anything and everything to buy, street entertainers and food from any nation ... all within walking distance. Dinners found us at a Legal Seafood; a popular local restaurant, The Red House and downing gourmet delicacies at the plush Rialto restaurant housed in our own hotel ...


The Charles Hotel. The Rialto has been awarded four stars by the Boston Globe and features an international cuisine enhanced with seasonal New England ingredients. For breakfast we preferred to remain at the hotel and engulfed ourselves in the ambiance and great food at Henrietta’s Table. This restaurant combines a New England Farmers Market with its “Fresh & Honest” meals.

While here, we just had to visit the Harvard Yard where most undergraduate college classes are held for the Harvard students. John Harvard’s statue graces the area and is such a photo-op that they have roped off an area for photographers to be able to snap their remembrances in front of the statue without hindering the movement of students going to and from classes. With the glorious weather and the park-like setting, there were students throwing frisbies, footballs and just “hanging out.”

Our activities took us into the city of Boston to track down a costume store in the heart of Chinatown. As this was Halloween weekend, a young lady in our party just had to have that special costume for the parties taking place around the campus. When we arrived at the store we were amazed to see a sign that noted they would be open till midnight, and a line of handsome looking young adults that curved all around the block several deep. Having made the trip this far, we ventured onto the line to wait our turn. Fortunately, it moved quickly and we were welcomed into the crowded, bustling shop in a little over five minutes. Certainly a new experience for us. Obtaining the necessary accoutrements for the occasion, we hurried back to our sanctuary in Cambridge at The Charles Hotel!

Though every weekend in this area is stimulating and exciting, this particular one was special for us. It was the time for old rivalries as Harvard was playing Dartmouth in football. We have allegiances to both schools through family members and so were ambivalent about the outcome of the game, but not so most who attended. The city, the streets, the stadium were filled with the green of Dartmouth and the crimson of Harvard. It seemed as if the entire city came alive with football fever as families paraded over the bridge that crossed the Charles River and onto the stadium grounds. Tailgate parties flourished, music filled the air, alums greeted friends and the enthusiasm of the students was evident.

Needless to say the game was exciting. Both teams had their chances and both scored with remarkable playing. A Dartmouth young man kicked a 50 yard field goal ... quite a feat for a college student.

The highlight for us was half-time watching the Harvard band and their spectacular twirler. What an amazing, beautiful, young lady, twirling three batons, tossing high into the clouds and not missing one catch. It seems that talent, beauty and brains do go together.

A visit to Cambridge means you are also minutes away from Boston where you can watch the Swan Boats in the Public Garden, do some discount power shopping, visit Fanueil Hall, take a Duck Tour which features water and street transportation in an amphibious vehicle or catch a Boston Pops concert at the Hatch Shell.

However, our choice was to remain in Cambridge, enjoy the luxurious relaxation The Charles Hotel provided and explore this area in more detail.

Harvard boasts extraordinary museums: The Harvard University Art Museums consisting of three museums that house more than 150,000 works, ranging from antiquity to the present. Four museums housed under one roof: The Botanical Museum, including the famed glass flowers exhibit; the Mineralogical and Geological Museum, the Museum of Comparative Zoology’s dinosaur skeletons and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology that houses one of the most comprehensive records of human cultural history in the Western Hemisphere.

If that is not enough there is the Hasty Pudding Theatre, the Sanders Theatre, the American Repertory Theatre and the House of Blues ... all within easy walking distance from the hotel.

We loved just spending time in Harvard Square, strolling through Harvard Yard and the John F. Kennedy park area and meandering along the paths that lined the Charles River. We arrived in the autumn for the football season but there are special events and activities that take place many other times during the year.

Though Florida beckoned us home again, we know we shall be returning to our “special” hotel in Cambridge, The Charles Hotel ... to enjoy the Autumn wonders of nature that are only found in this charming New England city. Incidentally, we loved the featherbeds so much we ordered a set for our bed at home!


Sidebar Information:

The Charles Hotel
Harvard Square
One Bennett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138




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