Getting our WITS about us: Women in Travel Summit 2015
Okay, we couldn’t resist the pun. But we’re so excited to be a part of the 2015 Women in Travel Summit (WITS) in Boston, Massachusetts. This will be our first travel conference, and we can’t wait to connect with other members of the community.
In the spirit of looking ahead to our trip to Tara’s hometown of Boston for WITS, we’re highlighting a little about some of Tara’s favorite offbeat Bostonian spots, the Go Girl Travel Network (the organization that began WITS), and, of course, the conference itself — and a special discount that WITS is offering Weekend Wanderlust participants!
Offbeat Boston Haunts
Hi guys, Tara here! Trust us, these locales are more likely to be hidden down a cobblestoned alley than on the front page of a Boston travel guide. It’s hard to pick just a few of my favorite places in Boston, and if you get hungry I highly recommend you check out Santarpio’s Pizza on your visit to my hometown. Come join us in the birthplace of the American Revolution, as we celebrate our connection as innovative women in the world of travel!
Looking to slake your thirst at a place where revolutionaries once schemed? Not only does The Green Dragon Tavern sound like it’s been plucked right out of The Lord of the Rings, it really has this rich and tangible history. The original Green Dragon opened its doors in 1654, and is said to be one of the spots where Paul Revere, Daniel Webster, and John Hancock frequented during the American Revolution. It was a place where men tucked their hats down low and murmured news of British troop positions, a place where the news of the battles of Lexington and Concord was shared, and undoubtedly a place where people who needed a drink could find one beneath the shade of a dragon’s wing.
Although there are two historic Bukowski’s Taverns in the Boston area, the one that brings back the most memories for me is my old haunt in Inman Square, Cambridge. Just down the street from the venerable Harvard University, Bukowski’s attracts a lot of late night quirky clientele. The dual taverns are named after Charles Bukowski, German-American poet and prose author with a definite, ah…penchant for the dark side of humanity. Alcohol and night life bubble over in his novels, and at Bukowski’s Tavern you can sample an exhaustive beer list that includes American microbrews and famous staples from around the world. Their Belgian beer list is especially impressive. One of the most incredibly fun (and monetarily dangerous) beer adventures at both Bukowski’s locations is the “wheel of beer”, where you get what beer you land on and you must pay for it even if you don’t care for it. Risky, yes, but how else would I have enjoyed a bottle of Aecht smoked beer from Germany? It tastes like liquid bacon, and goes fantastically with Bukowski’s grilled hot dogs, served well into the wee hours. Bukowski’s surly attitude and great selection make it a really fun place to hang out in my favorite city.
This museum holds a special place in my heart. The Harvard Museum of Natural History (HMNH) broods over historic Oxford Street, adjacent to Harvard Square, in a building named after Harvard’s renowned 19th Century zoologist Louis Agassiz. Creaking wood floors and an old world feel add to the allure of this museum, which houses the collections of the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) and the Harvard Herbarium. The adjoined Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology rounds out this powerhouse of science museum brilliance. A big reason why I love this museum is that I volunteered there for three years when I was in high school. Every free weekend day, and weekdays during the summer, my parents would drive me down to Cambridge so I could help teach elementary students about zoology, wax philosophical about the ancient coelacanth or the birdlike raptor dinosaur Deinonychus, set up teepees, and write education kits for museum outreach. Needless to say you have to visit the HMNH. Tell the glass flowers and the hanging whale skeletons I said ‘hello’!
Boston City Pass holders can access the HMNH as a part of the museum circuit, and admission is free year-round to military veterans and Harvard students with one guest. It’s also open to Massachusetts residents every Sunday free of charge. Parking can be limited but metered spots are available on Oxford Street, and the Boston Metro (T) Red Line is a short walk at Harvard Square.
Another mind-boggling Harvard University museum lies within the Harvard Center for the History of Medicine, and is home to a host of medical and anatomical curiosities. The Warren Anatomical Museum houses the collections of hundreds of years’ worth of medical history, from anatomy records to academic papers and leaflets from a time when the human body was mostly a mystery. The Warren Anatomical Museum is perhaps best known for its display of the skull of Phineas Gage. Gage was a railroad worker who suffered a traumatic skull injury in 1848 when a nearly four-foot-long tamping iron, rocketing upward from a small explosion, passed cleanly through his head. Remarkably, Gage survived the incident and lived for another twelve years, although his significant brain damage caused quite a change in his personality. The tamping iron and Gage’s skull are one of many medical wonders at the Warren Anatomical Museum. The Museum is located in downtown Boston in the Longwood Medical area; it’s free to the public and open Monday through Friday. You can find directions here.
Have you heard about the Boston Molasses Flood? Or the mysterious murder mysteries that spooked Bostonians in the 1900s? From smallpox to body snatchers and bank robberies, this walking tour gives visitors a sneak peak into the side of Boston that most tourists never quite get to uncover. Boston by Foot offers a number of walking tours for all ages and interests, but my favorite topic–the Molasses Flood that coated streets of the North End in 1919–is one that gets special treatment in the Dark Side of Boston Walking Tour. I can’t imagine drowning in hot molasses, but it happened to several people in that great disaster. They say there are still a few basements in the historic North End that smell strangely sweet. Just like molasses.
The Go Girl Travel Network
Now that we’ve dipped out toes into the heady historic whirlwind that is Boston, let’s chat a bit about the Women in Travel Summit. What a great backdrop for a network of people who are passionate about travel!
WITS was created by the Go Girl Travel Network, which serves as a community for female travelers. According to their website, they currently connect 10,000 women from 110 countries. In a world where travel is more accessible and affordable for women than ever before, we think this is fantastic.
The travel network connects these world-savvy women through Twitter chats, published articles, and Meetup groups that are hosted around the world. You can even take a look and find a meetup group near you. In fact, Houston is having its very first Meetup tomorrow, and we can’t wait to go!
The very first WITS was held in March 2014, in Chicago, Illinois. This year, the conference is being held in Boston from March 27-29, 2015 at the Revere Hotel Boston Common. The conference is open to all female travel enthusiasts, whether they are bloggers or not. If you haven’t committed to getting your WITS in Boston, you’re in luck — tickets are still available through their website.
For participants, sessions fall into one of three main categories: Blogger, Entrepreneur, and Traveler. Whether you’re looking for writing tips, monetization strategies or tips on how to be a more savvy traveler, WITS has a ton of great opportunities. And we’re super psyched about this year’s keynote speakers, Kate of Adventurous Kate and Dina Yuen of Asian Fusion.
Participants also get snazzy laptop bags, courtesy of Samsonite.
Exclusive WITS 2015 Discount!
We’re thrilled to announce that the WITS committee is jumping on board with our Weekend Wanderlust linkup!
As part of the weekly linkup, we co-host a Twitter chat every Thursday at 6pm CST with A Brit and a Southerner, Carmen’s Luxury Travel, Justin Plus Lauren, and A Southern Gypsy. Topics have ranged from urban travel to packing lists to bucket list items, and they are an amazing opportunity to connect with other part-time travelers.
This upcoming week, on December 11th, the WITS team will be offering a 10% discount code for tickets to WITS 2015 – available to those who participate in the chat! All you have to do is follow the hashtag #WeekendWanderlust at 6pm CST on December 11th and join the conversation!
We hope to see you there!
Will you be attending WITS? What’s your favorite Bostonian offbeat attraction? Let us know!