What I Love About Boston’s Back Bay

Part 1

This is the second in a blog series “What I Love About ….”  covering unique residences, shops, restaurants, and experiences found in the upscale neighborhoods of Boston.

There’s so much to share about the unique and exquisite Back Bay neighborhood! So I will break it down into three parts:

Part 1: Back Bay’s vibrant residential life
Part 2: “Off the beaten path” restaurants and shops
Part 3: Favorite buildings and their histories

Part 1: Back Bay’s Vibrant Residential Life

Back bay house 1 back bay house 2

Back Bay is one of the US’ early “planned communities” and remains one of the most elegant and wealthy urban neighborhoods in the nation. Well-preserved, 19th Century brownstones offer grand single-family homes to sleek pieds-a-terre.

Some facts that I find interesting are:

ArlingtonThe “alphabet” of streets – Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester and Hereford. All are one-way, each running in opposite directions. There is a 3-syllable, 2-syllable, alternating naming convention as well! (Exception: Gloucester Street)

“Living on the sunny sides of the streets”: It’s all about light in New England: on Beacon Street, it’s even-numbered residences that get southern light. For Marlborough and Commonwealth Avenue, the odd-numbered residences are the most sunlit.

DartmouthAccording to the US Census Bureau, more than half of Back Bay commuters walk to work. I have loved walking to work for almost my entire career.

Few other major cities offer commuters the convenience of home to an international airport in 20 minutes. Let alone only a couple of hours to great skiing and less to the beach!

Public AlleyTwenty-two alleys connecting the “alphabet” streets have only numbers. Alleys were designed to move service deliveries to the back of the house, reducing congestion on the main streets. Now, alleys are where coveted parking places can be found in Back Bay, offering the convenience of keeping a car in an urban neighborhood.

boyleston streetBesides the attractive historically significant architecture, the combination of shops, plentiful restaurants, and historical homes makes Back Bay a vibrant community with a great quality of life.


This is the 2nd in a series of “What I Love About…”  For more on Boston’s Back Bay, stay tuned for parts 2 and 3.

Amy Donovan Amy L. Donovan – Amy comes from a successful career as a marketing professional, with tenure at Boston’s leading financial services firms. She is based in the firm’s headquarters in Post Office Square in Boston. She can be seen walking her spirited West Highland Terrier around the city.