VOV: Boston

Friday, July 8, 2022

The Hyatt Regency Boston is located between the Theater District and the Chinatown section. We decided to walk to eat at one of the closer restaurants. First, we tried JJ Foley Bar & Grille- Nope – Standing Room Only. Went across the street to the Good Life – Nope – $20 cover charge each just to come in. Went around the corner to the Back Deck – Nope – 45-minute wait and no seat at the bar. Next – French Quarter – Maybe – 1 hour wait but you can sit at the bar and eat and drink instead. Okay – we’ll take it. Wait – a person whispers in her ear. “Oh, I didn’t know she had come in tonight.” To us – “We can seat you now at a table if you would like. Yes, yes we would.

The service was slow, but the food and drinks were good, and the server was a nice young lady doing her very best. She said it was her first week there. Bless her.

The area was so very busy for a Thursday night. Just couldn’t understand why. But it was made clear when we exited the restaurant and saw the line to get into the iconic Opera House to see the show – Wicked. Lots of excited people.

We walked to a CVS and picked up a few items and made our way back to the hotel. Wasn’t long before lights out.

I slept restlessly. I just couldn’t seem to get the temperature right. I was either kicking off the covers or pulling them back up. Even though I didn’t set an alarm for this morning, I still got up at 6:30.

The day started out with me receiving an email from HAL that construction would be going on in some of the highway tunnels that go between the airport and the cruise port starting this weekend. They wanted to let us know that we should take the HAL shuttle between the two or be sure to leave more travel time since taxis and ride share vehicles would be tied up.

I checked with the hotel concierge to see if the construction would also mess up the ride between here and the cruise port. He said we wouldn’t be going through any tunnels from here to the cruise port so we should be okay. I’ll worry about the construction getting to the airport once we get closer to disembarkation day.

Our only plan for today was to walk the Boston Freedom Trail from beginning to end. I have walked it before, but I never went over the bridge to Charlestown and the USS Constitution. Today we were going to do it.

Neither of us were interested in the hotel buffet breakfast so we walked to the nearest McDonald’s for a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit. Met a local police officer walking the beat and he said, “take care on your walk today.” Luckily, we had no problems today although we were approached several times by panhandlers.

We made our way to the Boston Common, America’s oldest public park, and the beginning of the Freedom Trail. Off we go. The path is clearly marked on the sidewalks, so we had no problem following it. However, I should have picked up a map at the Visitor Center just so we could have read more about the different places that we visited.

First stop was the Massachusetts State House. Designed by Charles Bulfinch, the ‘new’ and current State House has served as the seat of Massachusetts government since its opening in 1798. Holding the legislative and executive branches, it sits adjacent to the former site of the historic Hancock mansion. It was under renovation so we couldn’t get closer.

Next, was the Granary Burying Ground. It has approximately 2300 markers. Very somber to look at all these headstones that were so old you couldn’t read the inscription on them.

The Infant’s Tomb, where hundreds of children have been interred, is located near the central obelisk that marks the grave of Benjamin Franklin’s parents. Alongside the far wall, an elaborately embellished obelisk marks John Hancock’s tomb. Paul Revere is buried near the back of the Granary; a large marker placed in the 19th century stands by a smaller, older slate marker. Matching stones in the two front corners of the burial ground commemorate James Otis and Samuel Adams. Next to the stone for Adams is the grave marker for the victims of the Boston Massacre. On the right-hand wall is a plaque marking the tomb of Robert Treat Paine, the third signer of the Declaration of Independence buried in the Granary (the others being John Hancock and Samuel Adams).

Puritan churches did not believe in religious icons or imagery, so the people of Boston used tombstones as an outlet for artistic expression of their beliefs about the afterlife. One of the most popular motifs was the “Soul Effigy,” a skull or “death’s head” with a wing on each side that was a representation of the soul flying to heaven after death. Elaborate scroll work, poetic epitaphs, and depictions of the Grim Reaper and Father Time also adorn many headstones.

Next, was King’s Chapel and the King’s Chapel Burying Ground. It was founded in 1686 as Boston’s first Anglican church. The 1754 granite building still stands on the church’s original site: the corner of Boston’s oldest English burying ground.

Next up was the Old City Hall complete with a donkey for the Democrats and “footsteps in opposition” of the Republicans (I guess a replica Elephant was too expensive). It was home to its city council from 1865 to 1969 and was one of the first buildings in the French Second Empire style to be built in the United States. The Boston Latin School operated on the site from 1704 to 1748, and on the same street until 1844. Thirty-eight Boston mayors, including John F. Fitzgerald, Maurice J. Tobin, and James Michael Curley, served their terms of office at this site.

We then made our way to Faneuil Hall. It is often referred to as “the home of free speech” and the “Cradle of Liberty,” as Faneuil Hall hosted America’s first Town Meeting. Unfortunately, it was not open when we arrived. We did enjoy walking through Quincy Market and looking at all the food and souvenir vendors.

We came to an area that had a number of bars and restaurants including the Union Oyster House and the Bell and Hand Tavern. The Union Oyster House has the distinction of being America’s oldest restaurant. It is housed in a building dating back to Pre-Revolutionary days and started serving food in 1826. It has continued ever since with the stalls and oyster bar, where Daniel Webster was a constant customer, in their original positions. The Bell in Hand Tavern is famous for being the oldest tavern in the US and has been in operation since 1795.

Our feet were tired and hot by the time we made it to one of Boston’s beautiful green spaces. This particular space had some fountains that many children were enjoying. I decided to join them even if it was just to cool off my toes.

Up next was the Italian North End with Paul Revere and the Old North Church. There was a nice park that had plaques dedicated to people who helped America reach its independence.

Now it was time to cross the bridge over the St. Charles to Charlestown. It was at this point that I originally turned back but we crossed. We had a slight detour as they were working on part of the bridge, so they routed us a little differently, but it was not too much out of the way.

We eventually made it to the USS Constitution. Launched in Boston in 1797, USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat and earned her nickname “Old Ironsides” during the War of 1812 when she fought the British frigate HMS Guerriere.

We started in the visitor center where we had to go through metal detectors, and I had my purse scanned. We got a restroom break and enjoyed looking at the displays.

We then went outside and were able to walk onto the ship. It had 3 levels and the first thing I noticed was that the ceilings were very low. So low, that Chuck and I had to walk around all bent over. Very claustrophobic.

Once I took Chuck’s picture at the last marker, we turned around to make our way back.

The sun was out in force now and we were certainly ready for lunch when we got back to the Quincy Market area. We ate at the Green Dragon. I felt so sorry for the waitress. She was the only one besides the bartender in the front. She kept working as hard as she could – taking orders, bringing drinks and food, clearing the tables, and checking people out – all with a smile. Bless her. The place was packed. She forgot our place settings. I didn’t even ask her. I just went and got 2 sets out of the basket on the counter. The food was good, the drinks cold, and the air conditioning felt wonderful.

Once we made it back to the hotel, we had walked over 9 miles today according to my Fitbit. I gratefully sank my toes into some warm bathwater for a nice long soak. A good day.

Travel Trivia

Boston, Massachusetts

About 13% of Boston citizens commute by foot, giving it the highest percentage of pedestrian commuters in major cities of the United States.

The first post office in America opened in Boston in 1639.

The Boston Fire Department (1678) is the oldest in the United States.

The Boston Pilgrims won the first World Series over the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1903.

From May 15, 2003, to April 10, 2013, the Boston Red Sox sold out every home game at Fenway Park—a total of 820 games—setting a record in the sport’s world.

The Boston Public Library, the first public library in the United States, was founded in 1849.

Boston is the only state capital in the contiguous United States to have an ocean coastline.

The Big Dig rerouted Boston’s main highway into a 3.5-mile tunnel due to traffic congestion. The Central Artery (I-93)—designed for 75,000 cars—had over 190,000 vehicles pass over it per day. The project cost an estimated $22 billion with interest, making it the most expensive highway project in US history.

Boston Common, established in 1634, is the oldest public park in the United States.

Boston University Bridge is one of the only places in the world that a boat can sail under a train passing under a car driving under an airplane.

The oldest restaurant in continuous service in the United States is Boston’s The Union Oyster House, established in 1826.

On January 15, 1919, a 55-foot steel tank filled with 2,319,525 gallons of molasses ripped apart, releasing a 13,000-ton wave on Boston’s North End that destroyed nearby houses, vehicles, businesses, apartment buildings, and more. It took over six months to clean up and caused over 40 injuries and 21 deaths. Until it finally faded away in 1995, the smell of molasses still permeated through Boston on hot days.

*Trivia provided by Wikipedia and other Boston tourist documents.

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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