Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Boston - Day 6, Charlestown

In 2002, my husband was called to the Boston area on business. Lucky me! I was able to tag along to this beautiful city, so full of history and atmosphere. I hope you enjoy my relatively unedited travel diary:

Thursday, August 1

North End, Boston
Photo by Chris.
All rights reserved.
It's Thursday already. Amazing. How does time go by so quickly? I took the train in to Boston, intending to head straight for Bunker Hill, but I couldn't resist a saunter through the North End again. Once is not enough. I love that neighborhood. It's earthy and real, and its rich heritage permeates the considerable atmosphere.

I wanted to stop at the Green Dragon for an ale, but it was early yet. Plus, I had a lot to do. The walk from South Station to the North End is very quick, if you don't stop all over the place and take a bunch of detours – which, I believe I just mentioned, I did. How could I help it? I might never be here again, and I wanted my senses to be saturated with the sights and sounds and smells. Is that so bad? No, it is not. It's the reason we travel, right? To be saturated in the wonderfulness of the places we go. [For the previous day's North End sightseeing, see “Boston –Day 5, The Freedom Trail.”]

Bunker Hill Monument
Photo by Chris.
All rights reserved.
After my meanderings, I headed across the Charlestown Bridge on my way to Bunker Hill ("Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes") without having lost my bearings. I considered this to be quite an accomplishment, given the jigsaw puzzle layout of the streets. Just on the other side of the bridge is City Square Park (formerly Market Square), which is where Paul Revere started his famous midnight ride. In the old days, before lots of construction obstructed the views, you could see Old North Church from the square. One if by land, two if by sea...

How about this one?
Photo by Chris.
All rights reserved.
I started up the hill, and there was another lovely neighborhood! So many lovely neighborhoods, so little time. Twenty-some years ago, we drove through Boston quickly while on a one-week driving vacation from Chicagoland (so, clearly, we weren't able to spend a lot of time). This neighborhood was very run-down then, with trash everywhere. But not now. Wow! There's lots of construction and renovation going on, and the whole ambiance of the area has changed for the better. It's been reborn and renewed.

It being another hot, muggy day, I had my doubts about actually climbing up inside the monument, some 275 steps or so. But, hey, there I was, and the park ranger assured me that a rescue squad would come for me if I needed help. So...up I went! I did great for the first 75 steps, but then I had to stop to breathe every 25 steps or so. I caught up with some other people, though, so we all encouraged each other. Happily, the climb part of the tower was cooler than outside; but, when we reached the top, it was a virtual steam bath that smelled like a locker room. A men's locker room. Don't ask me how I know that, okay? Perspiration was streaming down my face. But the view! The view was worth the climb. And going back down was a breeze.

Aboard the USS Constitution
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
I had made up my mind to head back over to Cambridge to find some souvenirs for the kids, so, again, I wasn't going to tour the USS Constitution. But then there was this nice couple from Missouri resting at City Square, and they asked me if I knew which direction the ship was as I walked by. I gave them the information they needed, and they were so excited about seeing "Old Ironsides." And I knew I would regret not having gone, too, so I went. The ship is still commissioned and staffed by Navy personnel, all of whom seemed delighted to be assigned to such great duty. There was major maintenance going on, so we were only able to see the top two decks. It was well worth practically having to disrobe at the security checkpoint. The buckle on my belt set off the alarm, so I was worried about the metal zipper on my shorts setting it off on the second go-through, but it was fine. Whew.

I took a ride on the “T” (subway, metro, underground). The Orange Line from North Station to the Red Line transfer station to Harvard Station. No problems, no confusion, easy as pie! They use tokens, which are $1 (at least, they were then). A person takes your dollar at the window and hands you a token, which you put in the gate coin slot. So, why not just have the gate take dollar bills? Or why not have machines dispense the tokens? Must be a union town or something.

Right on the other side of that gate...
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
Harvard University is huge, with tons more buildings than we saw the other day. And that's just for the law school. I should probably have felt intimidated by all that combined brain power. How amazing it would be to study there.

Oops! A quick check of my watch revealed that I had just half an hour to catch my train back to the suburbs. I jumped on the Red Line to South Station, making it there with time to spare. Turns out it only takes fifteen minutes to get to South Station from Harvard Station. You never know when you'll need that information.

Boston Tea Party "site"
Photo by Chris.
All rights reserved.
I forgot to mention that first thing this morning, when I got off the train, I went to the “official” Boston Tea Party site, but it was closed. So, I walked by the “actual” site, but it was part of the Big Dig. It wasn't a promising start to the day, but all's well that ends well. And it did end well!

I picked my husband up at work, and we ate dinner at “Mango,” a Thai place in Milford. The food was excellent. Our waitress asked if I'd been to Thailand, since I ordered my soup in Thai instead of English. I took that to mean she was able to understand my pronunciation. That made me feel good. But she probably says that to all the tourists. And no, I haven't been to Thailand. Yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I read all messages and would love to hear from you.