Are you looking for an alternative to a Valentine's Day card? How about a delectable tour through Boston?

During the winter in Boston, it can be hard to get around. With construction, and snow, and construction- even when it is possible to get around, it is not always fun.

Fortunately, there is someone else who is not only willing to do the driving, but who also offers some pretty sweet destinations.

Starting this month, Old Town Trolley Co. (www.historictours.com/Boston) will once again be offering their famous Chocolate Tour, a three-hour ride through greater Boston's confectionary history.

"This area has such an identification with candy," says Old Town Trolley General Manager Matthew Murphy, "There is so much about the Boston area that links to chocolate."

From the NECCO wafer to the Toll House cookie (and, of course, the Fig Newton), the Boston area has been the source of some of the world's most beloved treats. And on this tour, you not only get to learn about the history, you also get to taste a whole lot of the results.

Among the stops are the Omni Parker House which, in addition to being the birthplace of the Parker House roll, was also the site of the creation of the famed Boston Cream Pie.

"There is also a lot of literary history," Murphy notes, citing historic visits by such great writers and statesmen as Edgar Allen Poe and President Kennedy (who actually proposed to Jacqueline Bouvier at table 4).

Having started (appropriately enough) as a Valentine's Day event, the Tour has expanded to run from early January through the end of April.

"Being this far north, we do have unique challenges that our other offices do not have," Murphy suggests. "Our sight seeing season basically is April through October, but, we are a year-round operation, so we were looking for ways to keep our tour conductors working and our clients happy."

And while the prospect of keeping a tour company running all year might pose a challenge, it was one that Murphy and his colleagues were willing to take on.

"We have had to be creative to come up with new products that hopefully appeal to locals as well as tourists," he says, citing such other popular offerings as the Halloween-time Ghosts and Gravestones Tour and the historic presentations related to the U.S.S. Constitution and the Boston Tea Party. "The biggest surprise to me in terms of its success has been the Chocolate Tour….Apparently, chocolate is more popular than I surmised."

Well, when you figure that the Tour takes guests to three of Boston's most beautiful (and potentially romantic) venues, it is hard NOT to love it!

In addition to the Omni Parker House, the Tour also stops at Top of the Hub (where the view is almost as amazing as the featured dessert) and the Langham Hotel's famous Chocolate Buffet, which offers around 30 different items ALL made with chocolate!

"The Top of the Hub treats our guests like royalty," Murphy says. "And the view is fantastic! They do a different dessert every week- so even if you go more than once, you will get a different tour. And the Langham has an incredible array of items!"

As the Tour has expanded, so too has the list of guests. People now come from all over to explore Boston's many sweet stops. And yet, as in so many other venues, the hometown residents make their presence known as well.

"It amazes me how many locals we see on the tour," Murphy says. "We get couples, but we also get a lot of groups of women who do it together as a girl's day out. We even had one person propose marriage on the tour!"

And why not? Where better to spend your own historic day than driving through the beautiful and historic streets of Boston, stopping every now and then for chocolate? It is truly a sweet experience for guest and host alike!

"I think that this tour is totally unique," Murphy says. "It is a great alternative to going to a matinee or a big dinner. It is indulgent and fun, and you learn something along the way! It is unlike any other dining or theatrical experience you can have in Boston- or anywhere else!"

The Boston Chocolate Tour departs every Saturday through April 26, 2008 at 11:30 Am and 12:45 PM from the Trolley Stop Store at the corner of Boylston and South Charles Streets in Boston. Gift certificates are available. For more information, go to www.historictours.com/Boston or call (617) 269 - 7010 .

Points and Prizes Keyword: COOKIE worth 50 points good through 02/03/08.

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