Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Boston Continued . . .

Washingon DC and New York City were amazing but Boston was the city we were most looking forward to visiting on this vacation. The short version of the background story on this is Goldfish and I have known each other for about 15 years but it was on a long motorcycle ride, from Anchorage, Alaska to my hometown in Maine over the course of 12 weeks or so in 2006 that I started to realize that she was the best female friend I had ever had in those 15 years - lots of time to think on a 14,000 mile motorcycle ride - she was there helping me clean up my house when it burned to the ground, we went to college together for awhile, I had flown out to Unalaska to see her at one point. She was always open, honest, and loyal.

Over the winter in Maine I invited her back east for a visit; we drove along the coast, I showed her why I loved Maine so much, we weathered the Valentine's Day blizzard of 2007, and we went down to Boston on a whim, spending just a few hours there. When we went back to Maine and she flew back to Alaska, we both knew our relationship had changed, and Boston was a part of that transition. We were excited to re-visit those places from our quick visit and see more of the city, a city we both agreed was the only one we could ever imagine living for any length of time.

One of the things we love about Boston is the history and the architecture.

This is the Old North Church where on the night of April 18, 1775 the signal from Paul Revere shone to warn the country of the British troops' march. It is Boston's oldest standing church building, opened for worship on December 29, 1723 and still used today. When I see this picture I am reminded not of history but of our "North End Death March" to find an Italian restaurant for dinner, walking along the Freedom Trail with me desperately having to pee and Goldfish resolutely indecisive on where she wanted to eat. I knew I was in for real pain when she turned her nose up at a Rachel Ray recommended eatery, open and ready to serve with what I imagined was a fabulous restroom. Ahhhhh, the Death March . . . .

This is the Old State House, built in 1713 and the oldest public building still standing in the eastern United States. Now completely dwarfed by the surrounding skyscrapers, this used to be the the capitol of the colony. On July 18, 1776 Col. Thomas Crafts stood on the balcony and read the Declaration of Independence, a copy of which had just arrived from Philadelphia. This event is commemorated every year on July 4th with a reading of the Declaration. The square immediately below the balcony is the site of the Boston Massacre.

This statue of Benjamin Franklin stands in front of Old City Hall.

The Granary Burying Ground is the final resting place of more famous people than any other small graveyard in America. Within the two acres are the remains of three signers of the Declaration of Independence, nine governors of Massachusetts, the victims of the Boston Massacre, Benjamin Franklin's parents and Paul Revere.

This is the Massachusetts "New" State House, built in 1795. The dome was originally wooden shingles which apparently leaked badly. In 1802 it was clad in copper, painted stone grey for many years and finally gilded after the Civil War. The Boston Common is America's oldest public park and is also the start of the Freedom Trail. It was early evening when Goldfish and I got there; we were entranced by the Christmas tree in the Common.

This picture and the one below are of the outside of the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, and our favorite Christmas tree of all the amazing trees we saw on vacation.

On the afternoon before we left Boston we took the subway to the edge of town and toured the Samuel Adams Brewery. If you blow up the picture above, you can see the bald guy with the big beard that appears in all the Sam Adams commercials, working behind the copper vat directly above the tour guides red hat. The tour was well worth the effort to get there, I recommend it for anyone visiting Boston!

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