Weaving past Boylston Street shoppers, my tour guide Wayne Levy dispenses historical trivia. “Did you know that the Boston Public Library opened in the mid-1800s as the first free, public city library in the US?” he says. “Did you know that Trinity Church is considered one of the 10 most significant buildings in the US by the American Institute of Architects?” No, I didn’t. We turn left toward the Public Garden and Levy mentions how Back Bay’s cross streets from Arlington to Hereford feature the names of British earldoms. I didn’t know that either.
Then, as we move toward the gold-domed Massachusetts State House, Levy poses questions you don’t typically hear on city tours. “How’s the pace?” he says. “How about a 4-mile route that follows part of the Freedom Trail, then crosses the Charles River for a view of the Boston skyline?” The nine-minutes-per-mile pace is slow, but perfect for easy conversation and sightseeing. The planned course provides a good mix of historical sites and scenery. And that was exactly what I wanted on my first running tour of Boston.