Boston - May 2-11, 2014
This vacation trip is another of our travels to a destination too far to use the RV in the time we have available. Besides, we read that one would have to be crazy to try to drive in Boston -- well, some might argue that at least one of us meets that qualification.
We flew to Boston Logan International and stayed at the Doubletree Hotel which we chose to be outside of the downtown area, but nearby and close to a subway T station. This strategy worked great for us. We found the T to be an excellent method of getting around the city to all the historic sites and it gave us an up-close view of a cross-section of Boston residents and visitors. The Bostonians were very friendly and helpful and we enjoyed our conversations with many of them.
Even though the T is convenient, to see all the sites, you have to do a LOT of walking! We got our 10,000 steps in every day, I'm pretty certain.
We had a wonderful time in this historic city. Everywhere we looked were buildings from the 18th and 19th century that were maintained in excellent condition. In addition to all the buildings relating to the Revolutionary period, we learned that there are many from the late 1800's that are prime real estate.
We will certainly have fond memories for a long time of our Boston vacation.
[Friday] We got up early at 5 AM in order to avoid the peak of the rush-hour traffic to Bush Intercontinental Airport to catch our 10:15 AM United flight to Boston's Logan International Airport. We arrived in Boston at about 3:15 PM and caught the hotel shuttle to the Doubletree Hotel in the Bayside Area. We could actually see the airport across the bay from our hotel window. After getting settled in, we rode the "T", Boston's subway system - our planned transportation medium for this trip, in order to become familiar with it. It worked OK for us after a little help from the locals.
Click on the small photos to enlarge them.
[Saturday] After breakfast at the hotel (we were in a B&B room, so we did this every morning), we rode the T to the Science Park station. At the Museum of Natural Science we caught the Boston Duck Tours for our first look at the Boston area. The vehicles are WW II DUKW vehicles that travel on land with wheels, but with the flip of a gear, can operate in the water as a boat. We rode through the historic areas, then out into the Charles River for a look at the city from the water.
In the afternoon, we went to Copley Square and spent the afternoon exploring the area around the historic square. We saw Trinity Church, The Old South Church and The First Church of Christ Scientist. We walked along Boylston St. past the Boston Marathon finish line and saw where the bombs went off in 2013.
We then walked through the historic Boston Public Library - very beautiful inside and out. We then walked along Dartmouth St. and then along the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, a 32 acre city park running along the center of the street.
We rode the T back to our JFK/UMass home station. We stopped by the local Star Market and picked up some fruit to snack on.
[Sunday] We started the day at the Park Street T station to check out the Visitor's Center. We then spent the entire day walking along a portion of the Freedom Trail, a red brick line that runs through the city past 16 of the major historic sites from the American Revolutionary War period. The total length of the trail is only about 2 1/2 to 3 miles, but we only made it from the Boston Commons (America's oldest public park) to the Old State House (c. 1713; the center of many key events of the Revolution) this first day. We saw the Park Street Church (founded in 1809), the Granary Burying Ground (Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin's parents and John Hancock are here.), the King's Chapel & Burying Ground (founded in 1686, was the first non-Puritan church in the colonies) and the Old South Meeting House (c. 1729; started the revolution with the Boston Tea Party in 1773).
[Monday] We continued our walk along the Freedom Trail from the Old State House (c. 1713; Housed the colony's government and was the site of the Boston Massacre in 1770.) to the USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides" - Launched in 1797, the oldest commissioned warship afloat today). The ship was closed on Monday's so we toured the USS Constitution Museum located nearby. Along the route, we saw Faneuil Hall (c. 1741; "The home of free speech" - Hosted America's first Town Meeting.), Paul Revere House (c. 1680; The oldest remaining structure in downtown Boston.), The Old North Church (Lanterns in the steeple signaled that the British were coming for Paul Revere's ride in 1775.), and Copp's Hill Burying Ground (Increase Mather, the man who hung the lanterns on the night of Paul Revere's midnight ride is buried here.) Then we rode the Water Shuttle that the T operates from the Constitution to the Boston Long Wharf Station. We then rode the T rail line to Quincy Station and ate dinner at Quincy Market.
[Tuesday] In the morning we took a student guided tour of the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The young lady gave us and the small group we were with (everyone else were non-US visitors) a well balance look at the campus life. The MIT campus looks fairly modern compared to other areas of Boston (actually, MIT and Harvard are in the city of Cambridge). Some buildings like the Stata Center are like something from outer space. We learned a little history of famous "hacks" by MIT students over the years, such as placing a campus police car on top of the Great Dome.
After a snack lunch in the MIT engineering building, we traveled to the Harvard University campus. Unfortunately, since it was near the end of the school semester, they were not doing student tours, but we were given a self guided tour guide that we used with no difficulty to see the very historic campus. Harvard is the oldest university in the US, according to some reports. Looking at all the buildings we saw on the walking tour, they will get no argument from me. The architecture is beautiful.
[Wednesday] Today we toured the USS Constitution, "Old Ironsides" as it was known back in the 1790's. It is the oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat. The National Park Service conducted the tour and their docents (dressed and acting the parts) were excellent. They made the sailor's daily activities on this 18th century ship come to life for all in attendance. It was hard to believe the small ship was home to about 500 people for a 3-month at a time period!
After completing the Constitution tour, we went to the Massachussetts State House and took a self guided tour of their "new" capitol. As are all the state capitols we have seen through the years, it was impressive.
Tonight we attended the baseball game at Fenway Park (the oldest ballpark in the US) to see the Red Sox beat the Cincinnati Reds 4 to 3. Boston fans are "crazy"! We enjoyed the game and seeing how fun-loving fanatic fans seem to help the home team win. No such luck in Houston.
[Thursday] Today we went to the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. These are replicas of some of the type of ships that were in the original tea party. They gave us a tour of one of the ships and a guided trip through the Museum. It is pretty touristy, but worth doing.
Afterwards, we went to the Prudential Center to the Skywalk Observation on the 50th floor. This is the tallest building in Boston, and gives a good view of the entire area.
Tonight we were fortunate that the Boston Pops Orchestra was performing and we attended their performance. It was the first performance of their "The Very Best of Boston POPS Spring 2014" series. They were excellent - of course!
[Friday] We went to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The building was built by Mrs. Gardner to be a museum to display the art collection of world importance that she acquired during her lifetime. The collection includes paintings, sculpture, tapestries and decorative arts. In 1990, thirteen of the museum's works were stolen (including Rembrandt's The Storm on the Sea of Galilee); the high-profile crime remains unsolved. Excellent museum!
Afterwards, we went to the Gibson House Museum. It is a time capsule of Back Bay domestic life from the late-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries.
Then it was on to the Nichols House Museum. This old home educates visitors by providing a unique glimpse into the domestic life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries on Boston's historic Beacon Hill.
[Saturday] This morning we rode the bus from the JFK/UMass station to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, which is located on the Univ. of Mass. campus. The museum was very good and covered his and Jackie's lives from birth up until his assassination in Dallas. On our trip to Dallas several years ago, we toured the JFK Museum that is in the old Texas Book Depository in Dallas.
In the afternoon, we took the NPS Boston Harbor Islands Tour boat to Spectacle Island and Georges Island mainly to get a quick look at the islands and a view of downtown Boston from the boat. Since it was their last trip out that day, we didn't get off the boat, except for a quick 5 minutes on Georges Island.
[Sunday] We needed something not far away from the hotel that we could do before the left for our flight back to Houston, so we rode the T Red Line to Braintree Station and return, then to the Ashmont Station and back. After lunch at the hotel, we caught the hotel's 2 PM shuttle to Logan for our 5:20 PM flight back home. The flight was uneventful and we got back home around 10:30 PM, tired.
This draws to a close our short visit to Boston. We hope you enjoyed the photos and brief descriptions of our activities. God willing, join us again soon for another vacation adventure.
Goodbye for now,
Lawson & Kay
God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19 - HCSB)