A day in Boston
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I had flown into Boston the day before but had no time to sightsee. I was there on business but gave myself one day to see this historic town. I had booked a hotel up in Andover, MA, which put me close to where I was working. I asked the receptionist at the hotel the best way to get into Boston in the morning, and he told me to head south and then take the subway into the city, as to avoid traffic and parking and the nightmare I had experienced the day before trying to drive out of Boston. It was not an easy task!
I left the hotel at about 8:30AM, thinking I would miss the traffic into the city. I made a quick stop at Walgreens to get an umbrella, and then jumped on the highway.
I got off the highway and drove another couple minutes to the subway stop. The hotel receptionist had saved me from having to spend more time in traffic and dealing with parking, so I was very happy. It would have cost $32 to park my car in the city for the day, but I was able to park it at the subway stop for $5, and the subway tickets cost $2 each way.
I jumped on the orange line into Boston and headed downtown. After 6 or so stops, I got off the train and walked right into Boston Common. There on Trimount Street modern tall buildings meet the old Boston Common area, it was really a neat sight. The sky was overcast and it looked like rain, but it was my only day in Boston...I was not going to let that stop me. Actually, it was quite warm and I was bummed that I had brought my coat to carry around. Soon enough I would be happy that I had it. I went to the visitor center and got information on the Freedom Trail tour. After talking with the lady a bit, she offered me the student discount and that sold me on the tour.
He took us through Boston Common and explained to us the history of the area, that there were three hills there at one point and that those hills had been used to fill in some of the harbor area that is Boston today. I'll get into that some more in a minute. We walked to the state building before heading towards the old cemetary in the heart of the city where many of our famous founders are buried. It was a bit creepy seeing the large amount of tombstones in such a small area. We learned that the bodies of the dead had been dug and redug over time, and that the tombstones themselves could no longer tell you exactly where someone had been buried.
There are a couple exceptions to this, and I alluded to those exceptions earlier. The first famous gravestone we saw belonged to John Hancock. From there, we walked over to the tiny grave that belonged to a certain Paul Revere. While this original grave was small and almost unnoticeable, a larger memorial was placed next to it after the "Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" was published in the 1800's. A large stone in the middle of the cemetary marked "Franklin" leads people to believe that Ben was buried here as well, but this actually marks the burial place of his parents. Benjamin Franklin is actually buried in Philadelphia. In the corner of the cemetary is one gravestone marking the burial place of the 5 men killed in the Boston Massacre.
From there we followed the Freedom Trail through the streets of Boston until we came to the road that now runs above the spring that used to supply water to the people of Boston. Why it's covered up now I am not sure. We continued to the area where the Boston Massacre took place. The area is now an intersection in the middle of a busy traffic area. The story goes that colonists provoked British guards with repeated verbal abuse after having spent too much time in the pub. The British guards took the abuse, but there is a large gray area about the actual firings.
From there we went on to Quincy Market. The skies were growing ever darker and the rain started to fall very lightly to the ground. The guide explained how Boston had grown over the years, soil was physically transplanted and much of the harbor was filled in. All of Quincy Market was once water. In fact, that area where the Boston tea party took place is now all on land. It was here that our tour guide left us with a few more stops on the trail ahead. I thought that was a little strange but I continued on my own. By this point it was raining more heavily and I had to pull out my umbrella.
I debated getting some food in Quincy Market but decided to press on. Leaving the ladies from my group scratching their heads and trying to figure out what they wanted to go, I headed toward the Old North Church and Paul Revere's house. I had a good map, but also there is a red line painted on the sidewalk that takes you right to each site, it's really nice! I made it to Paul Revere's house but chose not to go inside...what is there to see anyway? I hope I didn't miss a lot. From there, I walked to the Old North Church. The view as you approach it is spectacular! I only wish I could have had a nicer day. To imagine the lanterns hanging in the tower though gave me chills!
From there, the Freedom Trail took me to another cemetary.
I made it to the U.S.S Constitution, and right as I boarded my umbrella turned inside out and the metal frame creaked and cracked.
The walk was not long, but my umbrella beginning to break down and the rain intensifying made it interesting. By the time I made it to the monument, I was pretty soaked - and then I walked around the entire thing one time before figuring out where the entrance was - d'oh! It was after I went inside that I realized I could climb to the top - some 294 steps! I figured the view would be worth it, but once I got to the top, there were nothing but hard to see through windows.
I walked from MIT back across the river to Fenway Park. The sun had come out a bit but it looked like the game was going to get rained out for sure. That didn't stop the fans from coming out, though. From there I took the metro back into town and ate dinner at a nice seafood restaurant. I had to try some clam chowder and then some great fish from the area. That gave me enough energy to see a bit of the city at night before heading back to my car.