when we arrived, we decided to take a water taxi from the airport across the harbor to our hotel. because hello....where else can you take a water taxi?
we took the obligatory duck tour later that afternoon and got a brief history of the entire city. it also gave us the basic layout. boston looks very spread out when looking at a map, but when you are actually on foot (or in a duck truck), we found out that it's not spread out at all! it's not called america's walking city for nothing!
after dinner in little italy (one of many!), we had to jump in line at mike's pastry to find out what the fuss was all about. it was packed! after a short wait, i ate my first cannoli ever, and well....i am a fan of the cannoli!
the next morning we set off on the freedom trail. we bought a little book in boston common that told us about each stop with many detours along the way. the first stop was the massachusetts state house. it was designed by charles bullfinch, the leading architect of his day, and this was not lost on chase. i don't know why the boy went to med school because he is enamored with architecture. he likes to ride by a house and tell me why that window placement is wrong or this spacing here or there is not correct. so he really enjoyed the state house. i thought it looked cool, and i wished the dome hadn't been under repair!
we took a little detour over to the beacon hill area. it's called beacon hill because way back in the day a beacon was placed on top of the hill as a sort of alarm. it was a tall wooden pole with a bucket of tar at the top. if they were attacked, the tar would be set on fire as a visible call for help. they never used it. and today, beacon hill is the "premier" neighborhood in boston. it was a cool place with it's brick sidewalks and unique houses.
park street church used to be a granary. it was converted into a church and during the war of 1812, they stored gunpowder here. it's been called "brimstone corner" ever since. another cool fact was that on these steps, the hymn "america" (or "my country tis of thee") was sung here for the first time.
along with cannolis, i found out that i am a fan of graveyards. who knew?!? in this burying ground next to park street church, there are several governors, several signors of the declaration of independence, ben franklin's parents and even mother goose.
i just found reading the headstones fascinating. they weren't afraid to tell stories or write poems, and each and every stone had this skull with wings on it. i found out later that this is called the death head. seems like you'd want something not so sketch looking on your headstone, but who am i to argue? this was obviously the thing to do back in the day because everybody had one.
while on the trail, we passed the omni parker house hotel. they lay claim to the boston creme pie and parker house rolls. since we don't often turn down food, we decided to go in and try them both. i didn't think the pie was all that great. being the original, i wanted it to be awesome, but it was just ok.
HOWEVER, we discovered the updated version at a different location! hello, boston creme pie! it was so good, we went back the next night for another one!
this is the old state house. the declaration of independence was read from this balcony.
faneuil hall was just down the street. it was the meeting house and market back in the day. up on the top of it, there is a grasshopper made of copper and gold leaf. nobody know why peter faneuil chose to put a grasshopper up there, but during the war of 1812 it was used to screen for spies. if someone didn't know the answer to "where does the grasshopper fly?" he was arrested for being a spy!
the oldest street in boston.
paul revere's house was the next stop. we went inside for a look around. it was a very modest 2 bedroom house. did you know paul revere had 16 children??? we were told that no more than 8 kids ever lived there at a single time, but nonetheless, i don't think i'd care for sharing a 2 bedroom house among 10 people!!
just down the road was the old north church. this is what some consider boston's most famous landmark. it is the church that paul revere warned of the british troops' coming by the signal lantern. it wasn't him that actually climbed up there on that night, though. it was his friend.
down the street is the narrowest house in boston. it has nothing to do with the freedom trail, but i took a picture anyway. it is 6 feet deep and 10 feet wide!! chase wouldn't even be able to lie down in there! it was built out of spite for a neighbor to block his view or something like that. how's that for revenge?!
we made our way over the river (on foot) to charlestown all the way to the bunker hill monument. "don't fire 'til you see the whites of their eyes!" it's funny what you remember from elementary school!
we climbed all 294 steps to the top. let's all take a moment and give thanks that chase is still with us. i wasn't sure he was going to make it up that spiral staircase. and then when he nailed his head at the very top on a concrete slab, i thought for sure he was a goner. but he survived, and we had some great views of the city.
right down the way in charlestown, is the last stop on the freedom trail....the u.s.s. constitution aka "old ironsides." once we declared our independence, we needed our own navy. the constitution was one of our first vessels and was undefeated in battle.
we toured an aircraft carrier in san diego, and i was amazed then that that thing was able to float much less maneuver around anywhere. same goes with this thing. i just don't get it!!
standing on yawkey way
the green monster
sitting on the green monster
we were told that we must not miss out on the sam adams tour. it was more like "here's some information" than a tour, and i learned all about barley, hops and yeast. we tasted different types of barley. the one used to make dark beers almost made me hurl. nasty, nasty stuff. and we smelled different types of hops. for the record, more hops than not smell like horse crap. i'm not sure how on earth somebody came up with the idea to put all that together and make beer, but props to them. after walking through the brew room, it was followed up with a so-called tasting of different beers. tasting obviously means different things to different people. in this case, tasting means drink however much you want. and did i mention that this was all free?? i don't know how they keep the college age crew out of here??!?
since we got all liquored up (not really.....i drank more root beer than beer because the hops. the hops smell bad. horse, remember? i have a very sensitive sense of smell, but even if i didn't i'm not sure i could drink it after smelling that.), we decided to do something smart people would do the next day!
hello, boston public library!
this place could have been a museum rather than a library. aside from marbled everything and some other artistic stuff i don't know about, it just had room upon room of books. one gigantic room was the nothing but the collection of some guy that hoarded joan of arc books. what a strange dude. it was very cool, and i'm glad we took the time to walk around and check it out.
we also had a lobster roll for lunch one day. my sister-in-law had us afraid to try one because they had eaten one that was terrible the year before when they were in boston, but we had to try it because that's just what you do in boston! and i think they just went to the wrong place because this one was yummy!
i also crossed the finish line of the boston marathon. i don't even look tired, do i? it was a piece of cake. i had to dodge a few buses to get the picture, but i figured that was easier than actually running 26 miles!
we also walked over to where the first bomb was during this past marathon. they were still fixing up the outside of the building.
it was a little strange that they didn't have anything to mark the spot (i had to ask a waiter at the cafe next door), but he said they wanted everything to get back to normal. there was a general memorial down the street in copley square and there were all these prayer ribbons on the fence at a church just down boylston street.
we made it over to where everybody knows your name, but since we had plans shortly thereafter we didn't venture in. we just opted for a photo!
the plans we had involved this guy.
and ok...yes, that odd looking thing could probably give me nightmares if i looked at it long enough. but y'all....the blue man group puts on the BEST show! i can't even begin to explain what it is that they even do, but if you are ever in a city that has a blue man show do yourself a favor and go! it was so much fun. we laughed for an hour and a half! and then we had a dance party at the end!
our last day there, we went over to cambridge to visit harvard. harvard was not what i expected at all. it's located all over the town instead of all on one campus. each school has it's own dorms, eating facility, classrooms, etc. all right there in one little pod. the math people may never even see the history people. it just seemed weird to me. but maybe that's because everybody in that town had an IQ about 400 times higher than mine. sing with me....one of these is not like the other!!!
(it was cold that day. thank goodness for the athleta store (pure awesomeness) and the new pullover!
the harvard library.
"enter to grow in wisdom" or just stand there to get a picture!
so there you have it. we really enjoyed walking all over this city, and i really, really enjoyed a break from fixing 3 meals a day, cleaning up after those meals, washing clothes, etc! thanks to the grandparents for taking over kid duty! maybe next year we can conquer everest!