Boston chronicles: Copley Square & Old South Church

I will skip over the second part of our first day in Boston (Arboretum) and tackle Copley Square now. Because there is much to describe and share, I will break it into parts.

I will revisit the Harvard Arboretum, a beautiful green space we wandered through the previous afternoon, later.

The Boston Public Library, part of Copley Square, will get its own chapter, because library. 🥰 Visiting that library in person was one of the most fantastic experiences I have ever enjoyed. Just looking at the pictures now elevates my vibrational energy sky high!

We began our day with a homemade latte. The professor presented me with this:

Breakfast was scrumptious, but I will share my impressions of the home-cooked meals another time. For now, just know we enjoyed a lovely breakfast of mostly Swiss-inspired foods*, and then we walked through parts of the town of Brookline to the subway station.

*Our hosts were a lovely couple of Swiss (her) and Guatemalan (him) cultural backgrounds, and their home and food tastes reached beyond the afore-mentioned ethnicities and also included American Southwest (Los Alamos/Santa Fe in New Mexico) and Jewish.

The subway station looked more like a streetcar (aka tram or train) station in that it was above ground. It was not busy, although there were some passengers traveling in the train we hopped on.

Soon we entered a tunnel and went underground. The trip itself took maybe ten minutes but I don’t remember exactly… We chatted and I looked at things and people, taking in sights and sounds I stored in my brain to call up later for when my dormant fiction writing gene decides to reactivate itself once again.

I did not ask what the plan was. Normally I like to know ahead of time what we are doing. But my headspace on this vacation was completely different from my usual state: I was here as an adult with family members who were also adults, not my children. In the last 18 years I’ve only ever traveled with my family, never on my own, so that was refreshing albeit a bit strange. Simultaneously I took the opportunity to practice living in the moment rather than be a person who is always at least partially in charge, and this too was a welcoming change.

Side note 1: for a person who likes to drink coffee in the morning and spends the remainder of the day drinking water, I need to have regular and frequent access to restrooms. Not knowing where we were going or what we were doing used to worry me for this reason. Especially if I was in a foreign region.

However, we were in America! I’ve been to America many times before and the one thing I know for sure is that Americans like access to restrooms, food and drink. Since we were in a metropolitan city, I knew instinctively that I would not have any issues finding open restrooms and restaurant outlets selling food and drink.

This allowed me to relax and simply enjoy the wonderful and insightful tour-guiding skills of our host.

Side note 2: our host’s professor husband did not join us, citing some work he had to prepare for Monday. So it was just the four of us ladies; Mom and her friend, and my sister and I, who spent Mother’s Day tripping around Boston.

The subway stopped at Copley Square, described on numerous websites as “the definition of the city of Boston”. I can understand why; it is an absolutely stunning spot to spend time as a local and/or as a tourist. Even more so on this bright, sunny Sunday – Mother’s Day no less – in early-ish spring. And, when the bells in one of the towers began to toll, it just expanded the already amazing impressions.

This is what says about Copley Square:

Copley Square is one of Boston’s most architecturally significant and instantly recognizable public locations. This urban square is home to Trinity Church, the Boston Public Library, Old South Church and the Hancock Tower, among other important landmarks.

The square defines the city as the evolution of American architecture and urban design, from colony toward the sophistication of global European squares, moving creatively from Beaux-Arts style to International Style and Modernism.


We ascended the steps from the subway below and were immediately treated to architecturally pleasing scenery. I think I could have stood there, in that location, for an hour just gazing at the stunning surroundings all around me.

The first thing we saw was Old South Church.

We didn’t go inside this particular church, but next time I go to Boston I will take a day to just spend in some of Boston’s churches.

picture taken by Claudette Labriola May 14 , 2023 – Boston, USA

Here is a shot from the other side I found on wikipedia:

Wikipedia – Old South Church – Boston, USA

I send Wikipedia funds every year to help them keep the site active and accessible, and I always quote them as source whenever I use their site to supplement something of mine. Here is what they said about this church (paraphrased slightly):

Old South Church is also known as New Old South Church or Third Church, organized by a historic United Church of Christ congregation in 1669. The style is Gothic Revivial, designed by Charles Amos Cummings and Willard T. Sears and completed in 1873. Later, it was amplified by architects Allen & Collens between 1935 -1937.

The church is build in the Back Bay section of Boston and located at 645 Boylston Street on Copley Square. In 1970, it was designated a National Historic Landmark for its architectural significance as one of the finest High Victorian Gothic churches in New England. And, it is home to one of the oldest religious communities in the United States.


We wandered a few steps past the church and ended up on the square. When we reached the corner, I stopped and took this picture:

picture taken by Claudette Labriola May 14, 2023 – Boston, USA

See the bikes you can rent? We have them too in Toronto, but our bikes are green… but otherwise look exactly the same.

Behind me was a looming, long and again architecturally fascinating building. You can see the beginning of it in the above picture, top left corner.

At first, I didn’t know what it was; I was still mesmerized by the church and the tolling bells, and there was much to see. The long building had a looming presence, and looked almost like a courthouse to me. I didn’t spend a lot of time staring at it until after I gazed around the entire area and took this 360 degree video clip.

Only then was I able to tear my eyes away from the church and focus on some of the other landmarks. Turns out the looming, long building behind me was the Boston Public Library.

Stay tuned for the next part! And thank you for stopping by my blog.

Missed earlier parts? Here they are in order:


14 thoughts on “Boston chronicles: Copley Square & Old South Church

  1. Thank you, Claudette! I love the photos and your travelogue! I live in the U.S. but I’ve never taken the time to explore Boston — just passed through. I agree with Deb…old churches are stunning! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean, we have that in Toronto too, especially the touristy areas. But in Boston, in the few places I was, I didn’t see those signs. We ended up at Quincy Market later and they had food outlets and a large restroom in the basement. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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