Monday, July 15, 2013

Adventures in Boston Part 3

Day Four:

We slept in a bit, before heading out and exploring the city via the Freedom Trail. Before leaving Provo I put together my own information packet about all the places, and their history, along the Freedom Trail. Why yes I am a history nerd. Thanks for asking :)

1. The first stop was Boston Commons. We spent quite a bit of time walking around this beautiful park space, enjoying the beautiful greenery and watching people there. I love that the park is almost like a sanctuary in the middle of the city. Nice and quiet and peaceful. There's a park that connects to Boston Commons and has a beautiful pond in the middle of it full of ducks and the famous Swan Boats. We didn't pay to ride on the boats, but we did walk around the pond and enjoyed the beauty of it:

2. The next stop on the Freedom Trail was the State House building. The gold leafed dome was really interesting/pretty, and it's right across the street from Boston Commons.

This carving was right across the street from the State House. You know the movie, Glory, with Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington (totally an amazing movie. If you haven't seen it you should!!)? Well, this image is of the 54th infantry during the Civil War. They were the first all black infantry that the Union used during the war. And the movie, Glory, tells this story (well, as well as hollywood typically retells historical events).  Anyway, I thought it was pretty neat to see that. And you can bet I talked Tyson's ear off about it--and many other historical things, too, throughout the day.

 3 & 4 on the Freedom Trail was Park Street Church and the graveyard that is attached to it, the Granary Burying Grounds. I didn't get any pictures of the church--but I took a plethora of pictures of the graveyard. I don't know what it is about old cemeteries/graveyards but I love exploring them! This graveyard was so cool! Some of the headstones were so old and weather worn that you couldn't see writing on them anymore. Also, one of my favorite parts--the old ways of spelling words, i.e. lyes instead of lies. So fascinating! This graveyard housed the body of Paul Revere and even John Hancock (one of the signers of the Declaration!).

Paul Revere's tombstone

If you look closely you can see the spelling of the word lies, like "lyes." Also, isn't the decoration along the top (the skull with wings) kinda creepy/cool

5. King's Chapel and Burial Ground. This church was really beautiful and old! During the Revolution the church was closed and empty because it was used for Anglican services aka the Church of England. Thus, it probably didn't go over well with the revolutionaries to hold church services when the revolutionaries were trying to overthrow the tyrant King George. Another graveyard was attached to this church. This one was much smaller but it had John Winthrop buried there--the first Governor of Massachusetts and one of the founders of the first New England Settlement! I'm sure you all are just as fascinated as I was! Tyson could barely contain himself ;) 

Hello, John Winthrop!
Front of the King's Chapel
The back of the King's Chapel
6.  Benjamin Franklin Statue and the Boston Latin School 

Oh hey there Benjamin Franklin! 

 So the Latin School doesn't actually exist, but here's a cool mural in the side walk depicting stuff of it:

Pretty old Building close to Mr. Benjamin Franklin Statue
7. The Old Corner Bookstore.

This actually doesn't exist either. Well the building does, but apparently franchise food places are more important than history. And it was ironic that a Chipotle was housed there. I will tell you why: Tyson and I ate at a Chipotle in Las Vegas and hated it. Loathed it actually. It was "grosser than gross" (imagine a teen girl squad voice). So the fact that it replaced a piece of history was rather fitting. So both Tyson and I clenched our fists and shook them, cursing Chipotle's name when we spotted this travesty.

8. Old South Meeting Hall. Apparently this is where the colonists hatched the idea of the Boston Tea Party! I mean it was a seriously genius idea! Who doesn't want to dress up like Indians, jump on a ship and dump tea into the harbor? I know I sure would have! Actually I would probably rather drink the tea. Love me some herbal tea. Anyway, the building was pretty. We didn't go inside because we are cheap and didn't want to pay like 10 bucks.

While following the Freedom Trail-red-brick-line we saw a sign advertising a used book store. If you know me well you know I'm a sucker for used bookstores. I can spend hours in them. We only stopped for a minute, though. They had an awesome collection--floor to ceiling, books everywhere. It was also air conditioned, so it was a nice break from the awful humidity and heat. Also, they had a real cat inside. He was just sleeping in the window sill. So cute.

9 & 10 The Old State House and the site of the Boston Massacre.

So this is the Old State House. Pretty cool. And they have a subway stop in the middle of the building. Interesting. 

People used to stand on the balcony and give speeches--for example the Declaration of Independence was read to the people from this Balcony. Not a big deal or anything. Ahhh!! So much history. I can't handle it. Again, Tyson was thrilled by my ramblings :)

Here's the precise spot where the Boston "Massacre" happened. 5 Bostonians were killed in this spot by the British soldiers, which was a major spark that eventually led to the Revolutionary War.

But, don't think that the Bostonians were innocent. There is much debate about whose fault it was. My money is on the colonists, not the British. I know, gasp. But, do some research and you'd be surprised at how controversial this part of history is.

Here's another shot of the Old State House. I love the juxtaposition of the old buildings versus the new. So beautiful. Plus those rays of sunshine! Great shot, if I do say so myself :)
11. Faneuil Market

We had some fun here. There were a lot of cool street performers. Well one group was cool--some break dancers. The other street performer basically kept saying, keep watching and waiting and I'll eventually do something cool. All he really ended up doing was juggling. And we didn't stay around to watch much else. He was odd... 

We also stopped at Quincy Market, explored and debated on whether to get some food.

 We ended up deciding to go to Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. I've never been to one before. It was ok. I actually wish we would have gone somewhere else. The food was ok. The service was not great. And, they were out of a lot of food options so we were limited in our choices. We did get some cool souvenir glasses to take home with us. So I guess that's an upside. Here was our view while we waited quite a while for a table (which didn't make sense because there were hundreds of open tables):

After dinner and a break from walking we decided to take a pause on the rest of the Freedom Trail (we had walked over 7 miles exploring the city) and pick up the rest the next day. Before coming to Boston I researched about a bunch of places to try and one of the ones that had the highest ratings and most recommendations was this little Italian pastry shop in the North End. So we decided that we could pick up quite a few pastries and then head back to our hotel to relax. We were both very tired and sweaty. Man, I forget how humidity makes you feel. I mistakenly decided to wear jeans, and my jeans were very uncomfortable in the humidity. 

Anyway, on the way to the pastry shop we ran into the Boston Holocaust Memorial.  It was a very moving monument and I'm glad we stopped and took some time to take it all in. They have grates on the ground of each glass pillar that blows out steam. I think it is supposed to be reminiscent of the gas chambers. Anyway, it really got me thinking about all of the history. And after just getting done teaching Night during my student teaching, it was a really moving experience to walk through the memorial.

part of the memorial. The glass was etched with the victim's numbers 
the sunset from the memorial. 

Here is the pastry shop we stopped at, Modern Pastry. The line was extremely long, but moved pretty fast. We waited about 30 minutes to get our yummy pastries, but boy, were they worth it. It's a cute, little Italian run place. Probably the only downside was that they only accepted cash. Probably makes things easier for them. All the pastries on display were gorgeous! And by the time were were done ordering, our little pastry box probably weighed about 5 pounds, filled with delicious goodness.

 Walking to the T stop to get back to our hotel. Love the beauty of the city skyline:

Riding the Red line to the Alewife stop:

Holy Cannoli! But seriously. They were heavenly. We got 2 chocolate dipped cannolis with divine ricotta filling, 2 regular cannolis with chocolate custard filling and 1 giant (as big as my face) cream puff. They don't fill the cannolis until you order them, so they were nice and crisp and delicious.

What a beauty!
After both of us indulged in cannolis (I saved my second one for the next day) and part of the cream puff, Tyson and I were basically in a happy sugar comma. So, naturally we watched the Iron Chef and relaxed. It was a great day :)

I'll finish up the last of the Boston posts soon! To be continued...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Adventure in Boston Part 2

Day Three:

I decided that I'd do another installment bout our trip to Boston and take a break from teacher planning.

On our third day in Boston we left Cape Cod early to make it to Boston in time for one of the highlights of our trip... a Boston Red Sox game!! 

We got some yummy bagels and donuts at a local place in Cape Cod and then hit the road. It took about an hour and a half to make it to Boston. Driving in Boston is so crazy! There are so many freeways and highways crossing each other. I'm so used to just one freeway. It sure does make life easier just having only I-15 here. 

Anyway, we checked into our hotel in Cambridge--just up the road from Harvard, actually. Our hotel was super nice, and relatively quiet--so I'm glad that we were staying there for 3 nights. The Alewife T stop was about a 10 minute walk up the road, so it was super easy getting around the city. As soon as we dumped off our bags we headed to the T stop and basically followed the crazy, huge crowd going to the baseball game. To be honest, traveling on this subway really made me miss the well-organized system of the London tube. None of the subway stops had estimated time of arrivals for trains coming in--it felt like it was completely random. Actually I'm pretty sure it was. I never thought I would say I miss traveling on the London tube. Rant over. Anyway, it is nice to have public transportation, and I suppose it really wasn't that terrible. We finally got to the stadium and enjoyed all the fun stuff that was going on. We bought some baseball hats, and got into the game spirit! Tyson scored us some awesome tickets! And we were in the shade as an added bonus. We both had a lot of fun. There's nothing like going to a real baseball game! I loved all the traditions that the Red Sox fans have--like singing Sweet Caroline in the middle of the 8th inning. The Red Sox did lose (the only game they lost against the Toronto Blue Jays), but we still really enjoyed ourselves. :) 

After the game it was crazy getting back on the subway--so crowded! So we relaxed and just meandered our way back to our hotel. We stopped at a Trader Joe's and picked up some snacks and dinner to enjoy. I love Trader Joe's. We enjoyed salad, pizza (left over from the night before), belgian waffle carmel things (not sure what they are called, but they are delicious), pretzels filled with peanut butter, pita chips with hummus and of course my beloved Diet Coke. And we enjoyed a fun Iron Chef marathon while we ate good food. It was a good day!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Adventures in Boston Part 1

My dream to make it to the east coast was finally realized about a week ago. Tyson had to go to Boston for a business trip to meet with some clients and his work graciously offered to pay for me to go with him. I was ecstatic! The history nerd within me was freaking out! So much history waiting to be discovered and explored by me! How glorious :) Tyson was a great sport and listened to all my history nerd ramblings. I'm splitting up this post into a few installments because I have so many fun pictures to share!

Day One:

Mostly we just travelled. We had a layover in Philly, and our flight got delayed about 4-5 hours. It was awesome. Just kidding. It was actually terrible. Really terrible. Anyway, after weather issues (hurray thunder and lightning), and mechanical issues--we sat on a plane for over an hour only to find out it was a "bad" plane and we had to move to a "good" plane. We finally arrived in Boston about 1 AM (eastern Time). Then we had to drive to Rhode Island to get to our hotel. It literally poured and thundered the whole drive (only a few hours). Tyson and I joked that Rhode Island decreased their highway speed limit (I think it was like 45 mph) so that people could enjoy Rhode Island for a longer time. Basically you blink and you've made it through the state! Our hotel was awesome. Actually we were both disappointed that we only stayed one night in that hotel--I could have died in that bed.

We got yummy Philly Cheese Steaks in the philly airport. I was pleasantly surprised. I'm sure there are better places to get philly cheese steaks in the city, but we were limited whilst in the airport.

Day Two:

After about 4 hours of sleep we had to drive to Connecticut to meet with one of the clients. I read the Call of the Wild (one of the books I have to teach) in it's entirety, while Tyson worked his magic. I'm still not sure what he does. All I know is that people at work call him the wizard or something like that. Anyway, we left the client mid-afternoon and then had a 3 hour drive to one of my favorite parts of the trip--Cape Cod! We drove through 3 different states. Party. Anyway, we hit some traffic and we learned that Massachusetts loves to build narrow roads. But finally we arrived in Orleans, MA. 

Everything was so green. It's crazy.
Town center in Norwich, Connecticut.

We checked into our hotel that was seasonal place (only open during the summer months). And can I just say that the place we stayed was great. It was super cheap (for the area), and though nothing fancy,(and the beds were not as comfy as the place in Rhode Island) the people who worked there were super nice. Tyson forgot a shirt there, they called about an hour after we checked out and shipped it to our Provo address for free! How awesome is that? Anyway, I'm ahead of myself. We checked into our hotel, and figured out which beaches we were going to go to, because that was the whole point of going to Cape Cod. Come to find out most of the beaches require a sticker that you have to purchase to park there, or typically a 15 dollar/day fee. But luckily we were there a little late (around 6ish), so no one was there to check parking. We decided to go to Nauset Lighthouse Beach first. It was gorgeous! Beautiful soft sand, pretty views and an awesome, old lighthouse. The weather was a little rainy and wet, but we didn't let that stop us. It was still pretty warm and humid.

The Atlantic Ocean is cold!

The second beach we stopped at was called Head of the Meadow Beach. It's a beach that is famous for being a ship graveyard. Apparently there are lots of sandbars that ships get stuck in during storms. We tried to find some remains while we were there, but it was getting pretty dark. Also, we read later that many of the ships can only be seen during low tide and we were there during high tide. Anyway, if you look up the beach on google you'll see cool pictures of the abandoned ships stuck in the sand. 

Tyson's positions to take pictures were hilarious.  He was intent on getting good pictures for backgrounds on his comp/Ipad/iphone

I had to hop out of the car to get a picture of this sign. So funny!

After exploring the beaches we headed back towards Orleans to find some dinner. We ended up stopping at a local pub. And the food was excellent.Tyson enjoyed some fresh oysters all to himself. Apparently they were delicious. I don't get it. And the live band playing was most excellent... if you call screeching cats and dogs excellent music that is...

After dinner we headed across the street to enjoy a local ice cream shop that sold homemade ice cream. I got pistachio. Tyson got something with chocolate. It was so good. Definitely could tell it was homemade. Yum Yum. And as you can see by the picture below, humidity agrees with my hair quite well. ;) Hello Frizz!

We headed back to the hotel to get some much needed sleep. After all we were both functioning with only a few hours of sleep. I think we may have enjoyed some food channel shows before bed though. Gotta love food channel and the Iron Chef (we actually did this most nights while in Boston to wind down)!

I'll write installment two of our adventures in Boston soon!