Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Boston - Day 2, Beyond Walden Pond

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, a friend is about to go to Boston. I'm excited for her! Boston is one of my favorite places, and the area is positively dripping in United States history. I hope you'll accompany me down memory lane for this retrospective look, from 2002. This is my relatively unedited travel diary, so it's detailed in weird places and skimpy in others. But I've added links so you can read about the history easily. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 28

We slept in this morning, so we got a bit of a late start and missed breakfast at the hotel. After a hasty stop at McDonald's (I know, I know...), we drove around Milford so my husband could locate the building where he'll be working tomorrow. And then we headed east in search of adventure:

Walden Pond, Concord, MA
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
 First stop, Walden Pond. The big surprise for me was how big it was. It's no pond; it's a lake! The water is lovely, and I was also surprised that there's a public beach with lifeguards and everything. I guess it has lost some of its solitude since Henry David Thoreau's day, but I was still expecting it to be a lonely spot, hidden away from civilization.

Thoreau quote, Walden Pond
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
The area where Thoreau's cabin was is some distance away from the beach, in the woods near what's called Thoreau Cove. There's a big pile of small rocks, some painted, that people have left as a memorial tribute. So I guess it's okay to do that, if you're so inclined.

At the gift shop, I gave serious thought to purchasing “Simplify, Simplify” shirts for the kids, then realized that would “Complicate, Complicate” my packing! That thought made me chuckle to myself.

Old North Bridge, Concord, MA
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
Next, we headed to Concord proper, starting our Battle Road tour at Old North Bridge, where “the shot heard round the world” was fired. What a bucolic, lovely spot. A more serene location would be difficult to find. It's seriously hard to imagine a battle happening here.

Civil War buffs having fun.
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
There happened to be a Civil War re-enactment going on, which was interesting to watch. We have those back home, too, but it seems strange to me to have Civil War re-enactment in California, where no Civil War battles were fought. On the other hand, Californians did go east to fight, so there you go.

"Thoreau" was in character.
Photo by Chris.
All rights reserved.
Oh, and “Thoreau” was there, too, chatting with folks. My husband engaged him in conversation for some time and seemed engrossed. What fun it would be to “become” a character from history, but how much homework you'd have to do! It isn't just researching your particular character's style of dress, mode of address, and life, but also studying his or her know what was going on in the day locally, nationally, internationally. That's a lot of information to master and incorporate.

Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women
here. Concord, MA
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
We poked around Concord for a while and saw homes of famous personages in American literature, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, and others. Isn't it interesting that they all worked in this one town? And, wow, the homes here are amazing. If I took pictures of all the great old houses, I'd not be able to afford the film [Yes, film. This was before I had a digital camera. I took a lot fewer photos back then!]. It's mind boggling. And a brief stop to gaze at some photos on a realtor's window was also mind boggling, as well. Ouch! A rock-bottom fixer-upper was $600,000 [in 2002], with others ranging into the $2 - $3 million area. But you can totally pick up a cute place for a million and a half [in 2002].

That's me with the
Minute Man. Lexington, MA
Photo by Harry.
All rights reserved.
We followed Battle Road through Minute Man Park to Lexington, passing “just a couple” of landmarks along the way, such as the spot where Paul Revere was captured by the British during his midnight ride. The Minute Man visitor center is very cool, with a fascinating film about the events of that day in April, 1775. They do their very best to present the patriots' view of the tyrannical British rule, robbing British subjects of their rights. Incendiary stuff! If you were a loyalist back then, I imagine you'd have called the patriots dangerous revolutionaries, or even terrorists.

When we got to Lexington, there was a huge downpour. We got soaked, as our umbrella was in the car. But it was a nice, warm sort of refreshing rain, so it didn't matter.

Harvard U
Photo by Chris.
All rights reserved.
At this point, it was too late to go to Salem as we had planned, so we headed to Cambridge and Harvard University. So, I guess you could say I went to Harvard. It's huge, with lots of charming old brick buildings, beautiful lawns, and huge trees preventing decent picture taking of said buildings. Naturally, we went to the shop to look for souvenirs.

We ate some very tasty Thai food at a little place in Wellesley on the way back to the hotel. I'm still working on the commuter train thing, and there's a thunderstorm going on at midnight (another treat, as we don't get many of those at home). All in all, a very satisfying day!

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