Worldly Escapes in Boston

Want a vacation from our fair city, but don't have the time, or the money (or both)? There's still plenty of ways to escape Boston within, well, Boston. Sounds tricky, but we've figured out a few maneuvers that you can use when you're looking for a little refresher without dragging out your passport and emptying your wallet.

Updated: April 03, 2009

Bon Voyage, Staycation-Style!

Rooftop Pool at the Colonnade Hotel

120 Huntington Ave (Colonnade Hotel), Boston, MA 02116

Hey, you, sunglassed sunbather! So what if South Beach or Ibiza isn't in the cards? Hop into the Colonnade's rooftop pool for the whole nine yards: sultry people-watching, graze-worthy food and drink (Champagne tastes just fine in plastic, anyway) and a gorgeous 360-degree view of the Back Bay and beyond. Open 8am to 8pm daily, free for hotel guests and $30 for weekday walk-ins, the pool itself is decent for a splashy dip, but the focus is on the scene and stamina for sunshine.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

280 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115

Ms. Gardner (1840-1924) idiosyncratic philanthropist and patron, loved her European travels with her husband Jack so much that she decided to build a corner of Vienna right on the bank of Boston's Fenway. God bless her, for this bastion of breathtaking art is constructed like a grand Venetian palace, inch by gilded inch. Glean a bit of Italy while taking in the marble-rich courtyard or wandering through the hallowed galleries, rife with Ms. Gardner's tempestuous passion for great art.

The Hen House Wings 'n Waffles

1033 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02118

Despite the lack of molasses-dripping drawls or wafts of sassafras-scented breeze, you'll feel right in the midst of Deep South at Boston's best (and only) chicken and waffles joint. In this classic soul-food combination eatery, the waffle-butter-syrup-chicken-sauce centerpiece joins in cahoots with traditional barbeque and comforting sides like homemade corn bread. What else does a hospitable, belly-aching meal require but a cold Colt 45 and a waffle ice-cream sandwich? What, indeed.

Chuan Body + Soul

250 Franklin St, Boston, MA 02110

This spa takes "harmonizing your Wu Xing elements" to the next level. With sister locations in Hong Kong and Australia, Chuan adapts the workings of Chinese traditional medicine to the luxe world of modern holistic wellness. Uphold your jing (force), qi (vitality) and shen (mind and spirit) with a customized "balancing" treatment, Reflex Remedy or Tao of Detox escape package. Close your eyes, inhale the exotic aromatics and pretend you're on the other side of the world, uplifted by mysterious energies you never knew existed.

Arnold Arboretum

125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Delving into Jamaica Plain and visiting Harvard's Arboretum (the oldest public one in North America) is an unrivaled experience. Wander through the grounds and speak without words to the wise and mighty trees, shrubs and vines of every species; weave from the willows to the magnolias, the lilacs to the horse chestnuts. Joggers, dog-walkers and horticulture-heads are all welcome, and the grounds are open daily for free. Escape to a great place, courtesy of Mother Nature (and a healthy crew of botanists--thank them for us, please).