Thursday, January 03, 2008

Boston, MA

On Friday, a week before my birthday, we took the T into Boston city and met a tour guide for a piece of the Freedom Trail.

The Freedom Trail wasn't what I was expecting. I don't know why I was expecting something of a rugged path. (maybe because it is called a trail....) It doesn't really make sense I realize now. I was expecting to feel more like I was going back in time. Like it would all be in an old town area. But obviously Boston has remained a city today and built around its historical sites. And I sort of expected it to be more like Atlanta's Freedom path, but Boston's path is the city streets with a red painted line or red brick. It winds around downtown and up to the Old North Church and then up Breeds Hill.

We met a tour guide at Faneuil Hall because we were told it was much better to pay for a tour than do it on our own. And I guess it was a pretty good tour. But it was annoying to find out that the guide would only be with us for a fraction of the trail. And we couldn't always hear and didn't have enough time to take pictures. You know how it is. By the time we got to the Old North Church I was wishing we had just bought a booklet that we could have read to each other as we passed the sites. Another time.
Some pics from downtown:

The highlight of the city was the parks. We had lunch in Boston Commons after wading in the Frog Pond. I like frogs.

Then we wandered around and went to the Public Gardens, my favorite. It is just like it is in Make Way for Ducklings. It hadn't dawned on me that I knew this park until I realized I was walking in the brown and white drawings of McCloskey. Of course we saw the swan boats, and real swans. And some nice sculptures.

And then I remembered that Mother said there'd be sculptures of Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack and their mom. So we asked a gardener where they were. I was really hoping Michael the portly policeman would be there too with his whistle, but alas, he must have been on duty elsewhere.

Beacon Hill. This was cool to walk through. We departed from the Freedom Trail to see the famed rich neighborhood and admire the brownstones. It was fun to imagine living there and taking a book to read in the Public Gardens.
We returned to the Freedom Trail and visited Paul Revere's house. Then we went on to the Old North Church where Paul had ordered a light to be shone "one if by land, two if by sea." We didn't go in it because there was a long line plus we were getting tired. We visited the gift shop and got a kick out of t-shirts about the Tea Party.

We visited a lot of graveyards in this entire New England trip, and many were in Boston. Two were back downtown where we saw the graves of Paul Revere, Mother Goose, and I'm sure others I can't remember. and the graveyard of the Old North Church held Cotton Mather. It was most picturesque.
We were plenty tired of walking by this time, but we still had a ways to go and no easy access to transportation. So, we headed across the Charlestown Bridge. We stopped in the Boston National Historic Park and smiled to reminisce life in NPs last summer. We visited the park center and grinned at the rangers in their hats. We browsed the shelves while we waited for the running film to end. And when the people walked out, we walked in to see the next showing of the film, which I think was on the Battle of Bunker Hill. We didn't want to see the movie as much as we we really needed time to sit down and put our feet up. Besides it was nice and cool in there. So we sat and waited. We waited a long time, not complaining, nearly falling asleep. But when the clock passed the half hour mark and the video hadn't been restarted, we began to wonder if it ever would. So I sleepily wandered out and asked when they were going to start the film again. The rangers laughed to realize that we had been sitting in there all that have to pay for the film and then they start it for you. He told me he'd start it momentarily and just to pay on our way out.

So we watched the film...I honestly can't remember it at all, but I remember that my feet felt better after being up for a bit. And when we left, they told us that we didn't have to pay. I think they thought we were poor college students. That's nice.

We went on board the USS Constitution, and I was struck by how small it was. It was a fun place to take pictures.
From there we began the walk up Breeds Hill toward the monument of the Battle of Bunker Hill which looks so much like the Washington Monument that I'm not going to show you a picture. And for some reason I forget, we call that battle Bunker Hill even though it happened on Breeds Hill. When we arrived at the monument we were excited to notice that we came just in time: it would be closed in 15 minutes. Something about time closing in on one makes a body make a rash decision that otherwise wouldn't have made. The fact that we had just enough time to run up the darn monument made me say, "let's go" and we began to race up it. About 50 steps up it dawned on me that we had still a long way to go up, and I wasn't sure if my thighs would hold out. I forget now of course, but there were something like 500 steps. and we did make it, and took a picture to prove it:
And then we called a friend and managed to convince him to pick us up right at the monument and take us to dinner so our tired legs got to rest. We calculated it at one point, but I'm guessing now that we walked over ten city miles that day.

The next day was my favorite in Massachusetts, favorite by far.


angie said...

i LOVE that there are mini statues for the ducklings!!! that's awesome. did you ever read "The Trumpeter Swan" by E.B. White? that was set there, too. It's about a swan who has no voice but learns how to play the trumpet instead and plays for the swan boats. I loved it in 3rd grade! You must read it if you haven't yet!

kate said...

oh yes, i remember that. but when I think of North Dakota when I think of that. Is that where he's originally from maybe?

angie said...

the swan's dad steals a trumpet in montana...and camp kookooskoos is in canada, i think they have to fly over north dakota somewhere...i can't remember!:)