Sunday, July 24, 2011

Boston, Mass!!!

It started with a free rewards air ticket on Southwest Air that I had to use by July19...but where to go? I called my favorite traveling companion, my sister Jill, for ideas. She had just tracked a branch of our family to the Boston area, a part of the country neither one of us had ever traveled to and off we went. Neither of us had the time for a lengthy trip, but managed five days away. It took a full day to travel there and another to travel back, so we were determined to do as much as possible in our three full days in the city...and what a city it is!!

We started with the subway. In fact, in this city, there is really no need for a car. When boarding the subway in the Kendall Station, we noticed this lever that stated if pushed and pulled, it would operate a chime.

The chime was beautiful, hanging between the incoming and outgoing trains and it was obviously familiar to the children who caught the train here as they headed straight for the lever to operate the chime, as did their moms.

We exited the subway at the Boston Commons and started with the Freedom Trail, that followed the major landmarks in the city along a 3 mile path through the oldest parts of the city, dating back to the 1600's.

Simple to follow, the path follows either a red painted line, or more frequently, this brick patterned line through the sidewalks and cobblestoned streets.

We started with the state house with its beautiful gold dome, completed in 1798 located across from the commons.

Next was the Park Street Church, build in 1809, built adjacen to the Granary Burying Grounds.

Dating back to the 1600's, many famous folks are buried here, including Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin's parents, John Hancock and Samuel Adams. The headstones are all elaborately carved and easily read. At that time, most stones included cherubs and skull and crossbones as the colonists accepted the reality of death. Although there are several hundred people buried here, there are fewer stones. In the days of the depression, the WPA was told to line the old gravestones up in rows so they no longer correspond to the bodies below. In addition, the grounds were permanently wet with underground springs and in wet times, the bodies would float and move around so its no longer known exactly where the owners of the stones are actually buried.

This is the grave of Mary Goose, who folks mistake for Mother Goose. Her grave was covered with pennies.

As was Paul Revere's grave. Someone had added an American flag to his site, as well.

I'm wondering if the hand pointing upward was a reminder to the deceased as to which direction their soul should take...

Even an artist was recognized with a bronze plate. Art must have been valued even in a primitive community such as the colonies were in those years. Smibert emigrated from Scotland and painted in the style of the old masters.

Box seats in the old church...the boxes were held by individual families that brought their own hear into the box and the walls held the heat inside. Otherwise the church would have been unbearably cold in the winter.

The pulpit was elevated so that everyone could clearly see the minister and hear the sermon.

And this beautiful building was Boston's first skyscraper. Stunningly beautiful, it is dwarfed by the modern day skycrapers all around it.

This was the site of the first public school in the US and is commerated by this beautiful mosaic in the sidewalk.

This is the beautiful Old South Meeting House, again, dwarfed by nearby skyscrapers. This is where the Boston Tea Party originated from the oration of Sam Adams and Josiah Quincy.

Hidden in a nearby alley was this gem of an old bookstore. I could have spent an entire day in this store. As I entered, a man was closing a sale on a book for more than a thousand dollars, but most of the books were under $20. But it was amazing to hold books printed more than 100 years ago, when books were handcrafted works of art.

This was the resident cat in the store, appropriately solemn and quiet and only somewhat tolerating of the affectionate petting that came his way.

This is the old state house built in 1713. I meant to cross back across the street to get a better photo, but was distracted and was sorry not to get a better photo as the spire on this building is beautiful and framed with the gold leafed statues of a unicorn and a lion.

Faneuil Hall was built in 1742 and was the meeting place for American Revolutionaries where they debated the Acts and Laws imposed by England. Rebuilt in 1805, the hall is full of historic paintings from that era. However, the narrator of the tour program pointed out that only 1 to 3 people out of 10 qualified to be at the meetings. Property owners that were male and attended church every Sunday were the only citizens qualified to decide the course of history here.

Boston has a beautiful skyline and was one of the cleanest large cities I have traveled in.

Some of the tour buses conducted their tours on both land and water. They looked like floating boxcars in the water and this one tilted to one side. Not a ride I would opt for.

Old Ironsides, the USS Constitution is still commissioned in the U.S. Navy. The English thought it was plated with metal when their cannonballs bounced off the side.

Love the name of this boat. Someday I'd like to be sailing my own boat like this...

Quincy Market is across from Fanuiel Hall. The bottom floor is filled with restuarants on both sides of its long hall. It was pointless to choose where to eat. I wanted a bit of everything. The middle of the market contained a beautiful dome.

Not too far away was bronze sculpture planted in the street of smashed baskets, fruits and vegetables as if someone had dropped their groceries and had them run over before they could pick them up.

The North End's Italian neighborhood was celebrating saints and these crowns were strung across the streets.

The above photo is out of place and my laptop won't let me move it, but this is the ceiling of the Italian Catholic Church...stunningly beautiful...

A handmade pasta shop filled with all the things necessary to make an unforgettable pasta dish.

The rest of the church mentioned above. The church was filled with stained glass and everything inside was incredibly ornate.

St. Francis stands in a courtyard near Paul Revere's home.

Pews in the Old North Church, again partitioned for families.

Jane Stimpson may possibly be a very distant relative. The different names are for people buried in layers to conserve cemetary space.

This teapot has been steaming for more than a hundred years according to our trolley driver.

Our hotel room overlooked the Massachusetts Institute of Technology bookstore.

We spent an evening exploring Harvard and Harvard Square. The campus is beautiful and full of history. This is the library building.

The exit to Harvard Square filled with small restuarants and unique shops.

And the most amazing cupcake shop filled with the best tasting cupcakes I've ever had. Fo 50 cents, you could get a "shot" of their delicious icings!

There was such a variety of people and languages. I felt like I was visiting several countries at once. People were so friendly.

Music was being played everywhere we went and the variety of instruments were endless.

This guy looked like he was playing a mallet with a string but created beautiful sounds with his instrument.

On our last day, we rented a car and drove to Salem, Lexington, Concord and Walden Pond.

We didn't have much time to spend in the museums, which was a disappointment, but did visit the maritime museum which had an overview on the witch trials.

We ate at this amazing deli, apparently well known as Barbara Bush had eaten there. The food was good, but the service and the atmosphere was priceless as it immediately transported me to the 1940's era.

The deli had personable waitresses who joked and waited on customers they called by their first name. The cooking area was fully visible and the orders were shouted about like in a old movie.

An old fashioned scent store where you can mix your own "potions".

Salem was a charming town and I hope to have more time when I come back to explore the stores and museums.

Small stores in Concord were equally inviting in color and merchandise. Not a town to see in the few minutes we had. We were amazed how quickly you are in the country once you leave Boston.

Our last stop was Walden Pond made famous by Thoreau. An idllylic spot still popular with local folks to swim and soak in the sun. I saw Blue Jays and Cardinals flit through the branches and wished I had my long lens with me as these are the birds I miss from my childhood that do not normally live on my side of the Rockies

The next morning we were in the sky again and going home, already planning another trip back when time and money allow.