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Have you ever been to Boston?

Kathryn to David src

Boston, Massachusetts is a Land Without Magic location featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the first episode of the first season.


During First Curse

Sent from the Enchanted Forest by the Sorcerer's Apprentice, Ingrid finds herself in Boston, where she waits for the right time to meet her third sister. ("Smash the Mirror")

Upon their arrival in the Land Without Magic, Pinocchio and the newborn Emma are brought to a foster home in Boston. When given the chance, Pinocchio flees the foster home leaving Emma behind. ("The Stranger")

After Emma turns sixteen, she leaves Boston and goes to Portland, Oregon, where she meets and falls in love with a man and conceives a child with him, which she later gives birth to in a minimum security prison in Phoenix. Deciding the best choice is to give him up so he can have a better life, she signs away her parental rights. At some point, she pursues a career as a bails bonds woman and stays in Boston. ("Tallahassee", "Pilot")

At the age of ten, Storybrooke resident Henry takes the credit card of his school teacher, Ms. Blanchard, and uses it to track his birth mother down. Hitching a ride to Boston, he shows up on Emma's doorstep and convinces her to come back to town with him. ("Pilot")

During Emma's stay in Storybrooke, she encounters a pregnant woman named Ashley. Emma encourages her to take control of her own future if she wants to raise the child herself. Inspired, Ashley steals back the adoption papers she signed and gave to deal broker Mr. Gold. Using her friend Ruby's car, she drives out of town with the intent to go to Boston, but begins having labor pains. At the hospital, Ashley delivers a healthy baby girl, Alexandra, and reconciles with her child's father, Sean. ("The Price of Gold")

Coma patient David awakens and quickly resumes life with his wife, Kathryn. One night during dinner, she excitedly reveals her acceptance at a law school in Boston. David is surprised the school is in Boston, though Kathryn suggests perhaps they could move there and start afresh. ("7:15 A.M.")

The diner waitress, Ruby, gets into a fight with her grandmother about her job. She quits, and packs up her bags to take a bus to Boston; a place Ruby has always wanted to go to. Several years back, Granny's heart attack prevented her from leaving. While waiting at the destitute bus stop, Dr. Whale tries to flirt and convince Ruby to come home with him, but he is stopped by Emma and Mary Margaret. After he is chased off, she explains to the two women her reason for leaving town, though Emma is doubtful the bus will come. Mary Margaret suggests Ruby can temporarily stay at her loft until she figures out what to do next. Ecstatic, Ruby happily follows them home. ("Pilot", "Red-Handed")

Kathryn discovers an affair between her husband and Mary Margaret. In anger, she publicly lashes out at the other woman, but comes to the realization what she and David have in a marriage has never been actual love. She confides this matter to her friend, Regina, and confirms plans to go to the Boston without David. Kathryn leaves behind a letter supporting David and Mary Margaret, but to keep the lovebirds from having a happy ending, Regina steals the letter away. During the evening, Kathryn drives out of town, but near the border, she mysteriously disappears and her car is left abandoned. Because of a behind the scenes deal between Regina and Mr. Gold, he agreed to have something terrible happen to Kathryn in exchange for a beneficial bargain.

A police investigation is headed by Sheriff Emma to search for clues piecing together where Kathryn went to. Emma finds Kathryn never showed up to the law school's first day of class registration, and there is no evidence showing she is in Boston. Ultimately, Mary Margaret becomes the prime suspect in murdering her, but all charges are cleared when Kathryn is secretly released by Mr. Gold and crawls her way into town. When found behind the diner, she is brought the hospital by Emma. ("What Happened to Frederick", "The Return")

August is on a mission to help Emma believe in magic by showing her the tree trunk in which she entered from the Enchanted Forest into this world. She thinks he is nuts, especially when August shows his "wooden" leg to her, which Emma is unable to see because of her disbelief in magic. Not wanting to deal with craziness and August's idea everyone needs her to save them, Emma takes Henry with her on the drive back to Boston.

However, Henry realizes what she is planning, and purposely makes her crash the car. At his insistence she cannot leave Storybrooke until the curse is broken, Emma temporarily puts a hold on her return to Boston. But, she comes to see only Regina has legal right to Henry as his mother, and therefore can't take him away. On the advice of Henry's therapist, Archie, Emma accepts Regina is Henry's mother and decides it's best she leave town alone. She tells Regina of her plans, though Emma asks to visit Henry from time to time. They come to an agreement and Regina sends her off with an apple turnover as a parting gift. While Emma is hastily packing up her things, she breaks the news to Henry of her leaving. Henry refuses to accept she is going and becomes concerned when he sees the apple turnover. As a last attempt to make her believe in the curse, Henry eats it and falls into a coma, which causes Emma to rush him to the hospital; delaying her leave. ("The Stranger", "An Apple Red as Blood")

Following David's break-up with Mary Margaret, he decides to leave Storybrooke for Boston and use the apartment Kathryn rented out. David asks her to give him a reason to stay, but Mary Margaret refuses and he prepares to go to Boston. On drive out of Storybrooke, the Dark Curse breaks. David has a flood of memories of his life as Prince Charming rush back, and returns into town to reunite with Mary Margaret, who he remembers as Snow White. ("A Land Without Magic")

After First Curse

After the Dark Curse is broken, Emma is persuaded by Mr. Gold to fulfill her future favor to him. His request is that she help him find his son. To be safe, Emma brings along Henry for the journey to keep him away from Cora. On the drive out of Storybrooke, Mr. Gold is protected from losing his Enchanted Forest memories because of a potion he created to use on his most precious object--his son's shawl. They arrive at the Logan International Airport in Boston. While going through airport security, Mr. Gold is asked to put his cane and scarf on the belt to go through the scanner. He objects to this; fearing he will lose his memory. Emma insists she won't let it happen. Mr. Gold removes the scarf and begins to feel his memories slip. He passes through security and Emma returns the scarf, which quickly gives Mr. Gold his memories back.

As they wait at their departure gate, Mr. Gold goes to the restroom and, in a fit of rage, pounds against the side of the stall. He cuts his knuckles, but is not able to heal his hand as magic use is not possible outside of Storybrooke. Later, Mr. Gold boards the plane with Emma and Henry. In his continued uneasiness, Emma assures him they will find his son. ("Tiny")


Notable Business


On-Screen Notes

Production Notes


Props Notes

Filming Locations


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.


  1. Henry and Violet, Kingswell Teen, May 2018, ch. Five
  2. "The Final Battle Begins".
  3. File:622Boston.png
  4. File:522HeWasnt.png
  5. File:101BusStop.png
  6. File:108ANewSheriff.png
  7. File:108BeenTwoWeeks.png
  8. File:109EmmaWithPaper.png
  9. 9.0 9.1 File:115GoHome.png
  10. Movies Filmed at Waterfront Station. MovieMaps. Retrieved on October 13, 2018. “Waterfront Skytrain, Vancouver, BC V6B, Canada (...) Once Upon a Time. Bus Station. Henry gets off the bus from Storybrooke here and gets into a cab to visit Emma in pilot episode.”
    Movies Filmed at Gotham Steakhouse. MovieMaps. Retrieved on October 13, 2018. “615 Seymour Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 3K4, Canada (...) Once Upon a Time. Restaurant Entrance. A man runs from Emma at the restaurant only to find she has booted his car in pilot episode.”
    Gittins, Susan (August 5, 2011). #YVRShoots – Once Upon A Time in Steveston Village. Vancouver Is Awesome. Archived from the original on October 13, 2019. “No one outside of production caught a glimpse of Once Upon a Time filming the fairy tale world scenes of the pilot, but a small crowd of people did watch Jennifer Morrison do a yellow-VW-bug-driving-scene on Seymour Street downtown in late March and then in early April (...)”
  11. 11.0 11.1 Gittins, Susan (October 21, 2014). SHOOT: ONCE UPON A TIME Goes Back to the 1980s with the Snow Queen (Elizabeth Mitchell) in Gastown Tonight. Hollywood North Buzz. “Update: Salamgundi's [sic] plays Boston circa 1982 in Shattered Sight for a scene of the Snow Queen [Elizabeth Mitchell] asking a "Psychic" (see the neon sign in the window)  where Emma is –the "girl not born yet." / Recognize the old style phone booth from the Motive shoot last week? This one is similar and suggests tonight's Once Upon a Time shoot goes back in time. Is Salmgundi [sic] in Gastown a 1980s/1990s flashback like earlier scenes on Granville Street [when the Snow Queen arrives in Boston] (...)”
  12. Gittins, Susan (February 17, 2016). SHOOT: ONCE UPON A TIME's Emma (Jennifer Morrison) & Her Swan Bug in Downtown Vancouver. Hollywood North Buzz. “Update: Boston 2010. Emma Swan buys her signature red leather jacket in this store. Her armor. / Once Upon a Time filmed Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) in downtown Vancouver traffic this morning in what appears to be a flashback. Her co-star in Firebird is her bail bonds mentor Cleo (Rya Kihlstedt), according to TVLine.”
  13. File:114PhoneRecords2.png
  14. File:202Maps3.png
  15. File:720ChessClub.png
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