A diary of my visit to two cities in the center of the founding of my country: Boston and Philadelphia Oct. 14 - 24, 2005

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

October 24, 2005 – Two more Presidents

It took me almost an hour to go the 5 miles or so to Monticello. I took the “scenic” route…through town….twice. That’s what happens when you don’t ask for help. As soon as I asked someone, I was there in 10 minutes.

Monticello is beautiful. I know I said that Mt. Vernon was beautiful. Monticello is a different view entirely, but just as gorgeous. The house is a lot different. Jefferson spent 40 years building his house. He studied a lot of architecture and implemented both classical designs and some of his own ideas into his home. There are a lot of little inventions that make the house interesting. There is a clock in the main foyer, with a face on the inside of the house in the foyer, and on the outside on the front porch. Both sides tell the same time and are run by the same mechanism, located in the house. The mechanism involves several weights that hang down on either side of the room. The clock is close to the ceiling. The weights start the week at the top of the room, close to the ceiling next to the walls, and end the week under the floor (Jefferson had to cut a hole in the floor to allow them to hang properly). They slowly pull down all week to make the clock run. At the end of the week the clock is wound, bringing the weights back up to the ceiling. It is all over my head, but that is the best explanation I can come up with.

Jefferson’s front room had a collection of Indian artifacts, sent back by Lewis and Clark on their expedition west. He had several animal antlers, and other scientific specimens. His private museum was one of the first two museums in the country.

Jefferson’s house is octagonal in shape. I think this was for space reasons, but I don’t remember. (My mind is quite full of facts.) His bed was built into an opening in between his bedroom and study in order to conserve space. He had daughters, a sister, and their children living with him. They said that he had about 27 people living there most of the time.

Another high-tech aspect of his house is the presence of dumb-waiters in his dining room. These lifts enabled bottles of wine to be brought up from the cellar, directly below the dining room, without leaving the room. He also had two indoor outhouses (inhouses???), which was highly uncommon.

Jefferson chose the location of Monticello because of the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In order to maintain the view, he had many of his outbuildings (kitchen, storage, slave quarters, cellar, etc.) built underground, with a tunnel connecting them to the main house. Jefferson owned four farms in addition to Monticello. He was an avid farmer, involved in the day to day operations of the farm. He wrote a five volume encyclopedia on the state of Virginia, much of which was devoted to the agriculture of the state.

Jefferson and Washington both loved their homes, and preferred to be there instead of in Washington or Philadelphia. There service to our country was just that…service. They served because of their passion for freedom and desire for America to be great. They gave up much personal gain for their service. Jefferson died with $100,000 of debt, extremely high for that time.

Visiting the homes of the first three presidents was fascinating. All three homes were very different, as were the men who lived there. They all knew each other well, even if they did not always like each other. Jefferson and Adams were great friends during the Revolution. They served in France together during the war, negotiating for help. Jefferson was Adams’ Vice President, though not by choice. Adams won the election and Jefferson came in second, making him Vice President. Later, the Constitution was amended to allow for separate elections for President and Vice President. It was during their Presidencies that they represented different political parties and were bitter enemies. After they were both retired to their homes, their mutual friend Benjamin Rush, also a signer of the Declaration, tricked them into resuming their letter writing. They remained great friends until their death.

Ironically, Jefferson and Adams died on the same day, within hours of each other. The day was July 4th, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

I left Monticello and drove about five miles to Ashlawn, the home of James Monroe, our fifth President and signer of the Constitution. I didn’t have time to drive the 30 miles to Montpelier (James Madison’s home). I only spent an hour or so at the Monroe home, but it was small and that was all the time needed. One of the rooms in the house had its original wall paper! It was actually painted cloth that was hung on the walls. It looked great, especially considering that it is almost 200 years old. Incidentally, James Monroe also died on July 4th, but it was several years after Adams and Jefferson. After the tour, I had visited the homes of five of the first six Presidents in ten days.

I drove the two hours back to Dulles airport and flew home, arriving around 10:00 PM. I was tired and my feet were sore. I had a marvelous trip that exceeded my expectations. I was able to see more than I had planned, and I learned a great deal. On my last day, I walked 10, 164 steps. It is great to be home and in the 21st century.

October 23, 2005 – First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen

Today was another crazy day. I walked 14,112 steps, but I only went to one place!! Well, one attraction, I should say. I covered a lot of miles, mostly driving.

I was picked up by a taxi at 7:00 AM and taken to the AMTRAK station. I’ve never ridden a train anywhere, so that was fun. I had no idea the station was so close to where I was staying, so I ended up getting there an hour and a half before my train. I checked in early, and checked my bag. I had a Dunkin donut and coffee for breakfast. I just have to say, Dunkin Donuts are good, but they don’t hold a candle to Krispy Kreme.

I arrived at Union Station in DC on time. I don’t remember what time that was. I think around 10:30. Unfortunately, my baggage didn’t. The only thing they could tell me was to come back at 6:10 that night. I told them that I was leaving DC and not coming back, but they told me I had to. Oh well. It’s a beautiful day. No problem. The rental car process worked out well. The attendant gave me detailed instructions on how to get out of downtown and to Mt. Vernon. I appreciate all the direction help I received so much. The only downfall is that I’m not very good at following the directions people give me. It took me a while to get out of downtown. I had to do some backtracking, which is dangerous on one-way roads. Haha. I finally made it out of town onto Mt. Vernon parkway. The drive is so beautiful. The drive is along the Potomac River. There were a few yachts on the river, and people running and biking along the river. It was a sunny day…perfect for a Sunday drive. I think I enjoyed that drive just as much as any part of the trip!

I arrived at Mt. Vernon to crowds! It was harvest day, and I think there was some special for families, because there were kids everywhere. They had a lot of special exhibits going on around the farm, such as soap making, candle making, straw doll making, wheat threshing, etc. The mansion tour was pretty interesting, but really the outdoors is what is impressive about Mt. Vernon. George Washington chose a gorgeous riverside spot to build his home. The view of the Potomac is too beautiful for pictures. I’ve seen so many, but none could have prepared me for that view. I don’t think Americans had anything to worry about when they were wondering if Washington would seek a third Presidential term and more power. I think, if anyone could have seen his home and land, they would have had no worries as to his future plans. I cannot imagine choosing a life of the stresses of President over the beauty of Mt. Vernon.

The Mansion certainly seems small, for a mansion. Don’t get me wrong. It is a big house, but you would think a plantation house would be bigger. It was grand for the period. The graves of Washington and his wife are located on the side of the mountain. The grave was being built when Washington died, so he was temporarily buried in another location and then moved when the burial vault was completed. He and Martha are buried side by side.

Washington loved farming. He had a complex crop rotation plan on his farm, where he had 7 different plots of land. Each plot would grow wheat for a couple years, then some sort of fertilizer plant that would be plowed back into the dirt, then sheep would graze, providing additional fertilizer, and several other things. He was able to maintain a productive farm in this way.

After Mt. Vernon, I drove the beautiful drive back to DC. I love DC. Even though I was just returning to Union Station to hopefully pick up my bags, just driving across the Potomac into the city is exciting to me. I found Union Station without too many difficulties. There was some parking on the street available too, since it was a Sunday evening, so I parked and went inside. I had to wait a while, but when the 6:10 train was unloaded, there was my suitcase!!! Yeah!!!!! I was relieved. Losing ten days worth of clothes, even if they were mostly dirty by now, would not have been good.

By now it is starting to get dusky. I asked a visitor’s guide person at Union Station how to get to Charlottesville, Virginia, where I was staying. He told me to get on I-95 South and look for the Charlottesville signs. Well, that was easy enough, but once I got on I-95 I was a little nervous. What if there weren’t any signs? I didn’t have a map, so I called Mom to have her look it up on the atlas. My Mother is the queen of maps. She can navigate to anywhere from anywhere. She got me there!! There is a little drama though. Her directions included multiple state highways in the middle of nowhere. It was a Sunday night, so even the little gas stations in little towns along the way were closed. And…da, da da, daaaa…my cell phone was almost out of batteries. After a long 2 hour drive on the “scenic route” I arrived in Charlottesville. When they say scenic, they mean it. The last ten miles or so were through mountains, curvy, hilly, tree-ey, etc. It looked beautiful. I wish it had been daylight so I could have seen it. I just had to imagine the leave colors, the rivers, the sky, etc. Of course, I had to ask or directions to my hotel once I finally arrived in Charlottesville. I knew the hotel bordered the University of Virginia, but I had no idea how expansive UVA is. I went to little Campbellsville, remember? I found the University, drove around and around, and finally checked in at the McDonalds. They pointed me in the right direction (I was about a block away), and I checked in around 9:30. Whew, what a day. I took a hot shower and went to bed. I wanted to be at Monticello by 8:00 the next morning.

Despite all of the driving I did, I still managed 18,033 steps. I walked a lot at Mt. Vernon. I wanted to see the views from every angle.

October 22, 2005 – Renoirs, Cézannes and Van Gogh’s, Oh My

Saturday morning was another rainy day, but it takes more than a few showers to dampen my spirits. Saturday morning was a relaxing time. I had a full breakfast at the B&B. I sat with a lady who is a professor at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. She was doing theatre research in Philadelphia. It was nice to have a conversation with someone…it had been a while!

I had 10:00 AM tickets to the Barnes Foundation, an art museum just outside of Philadelphia. I had no idea where it was, so I took a taxi. Of course, the driver had no idea where it was either. He called someone though, and found out. It’s a good think I had the address! Anyway, it was in Marion, a suburb of Philly. Entering the museum was a breathtaking experience. It is not a typical art museum. Dr. Barnes was a collector of art for educational purposes, and built a house in a residential neighborhood to house his collection. He had a small living space, the majority of the building being reserved for art. The art was hung on the walls in a seemingly random matter. Each wall had many pieces, from floor to ceiling. On one wall, I counted 27 paintings! That particular wall had smaller paintings. Most of the walls had about 10 – 15 works of varying sizes.

The most incredible part of the experience was the collection itself. The Barnes Foundation has 180 Renoirs and 60 Cezanne’s!! There are more Renoir and Cezanne paintings than in all of the museums in Paris combined. It is amazing. Just imagine being in a room surrounded by Renoir paintings. Everywhere you look, there are rows and rows of Renior’s works, along with many Cezanne’s, some Van Gogh and Picasso, add a Matisse here and there, and a couple Cassatt’s, and Titian’s. I was in art heaven. I stayed for about 3 hours and tore myself away. My eyes can only handle about 3 hours of art. There were no plaques on the walls describing the painting and listing artist, date, etc. There was a tiny nameplate on the bottom of each painting with the artist’s last name, but that was it. They had a few “maps” in each room to help you figure out what the paintings were, but there were usually being used by someone else. Anyway, it was a strain trying to read all of those nameplates.

I walked around Marion looking for the train station in the rain. I found it, after about a half mile walk. Not too bad. I took the train back to Philadelphia and finished up my schedule.

I wanted to visit Library Hall, where, according to my guidebook they have an exhibit including William Penn’s original charter of Pennsylvania, an original copy of the Declaration of Independence, and Benjamin Franklin’s will (along with other things). I found Library Hall and it was locked. Across the street was Philosophical Hall, with a sign saying that the exhibit is there. Unfortunately, that door was locked as well. The only way to get to the exhibit was to go back through the Independence Hall security and enter through the park. Getting through security takes about 20 minutes, but I had the time and really wanted to see the exhibit so I did it. It was pretty good, except Benjamin Franklin’s will wasn’t there. I don’t know where it was. Maybe whomever called in the bomb threat a couple days before stole it. Hmmmm…I think I’m on to something!!

The exhibit was small, so it didn’t take too long. When I was finished I walked down to Betsy Ross’s house to buy a couple souvenirs that were heavy. I didn’t want to carry them around the day before. Just for the record, the Betsy Ross house has one of the best gift shops I saw.

I walked down the street from Betsy Ross’s house to Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continuously inhabited residential street in America. It is a cute little alley of row houses, one of which is a museum house, showing how they were lived in in the 1700’s. The rest of the houses are privately owned. I took the tour of the museum house. It wasn’t that big of a deal. I had been through so many house tours over the past 8 days that I think I can pretty much conduct a 1700 house tour even if I’ve never been in the house before. Seriously. I know what a brick of tea looks like, a cone of sugar, a fire bucket, a toaster, a fireplace shield, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

With that, I had finished everything on my list for Philadelphia except the Old St. Joseph church, the oldest Catholic Church in Philadelphia. One of William Penn’s unique ideas in his charter is the freedom of religion. He allowed any religious domination to build churches and meet in Philadelphia. It is still evident as you walk around and see the variety of churches. There is much more variety than in Boston. Since it was a Saturday, I decided to go to their service at 5:30. It was only 3:30, so I went back to my room for a little rest and relaxation. I started packing for the next morning, and then went to church. Old St. Joseph’s was a simple Jesuit church. The mass was rather short and simple, but it was good.

After church on my way back to my room I stopped by a nice little Italian restaurant called Pizzicata. I was starving since I hadn’t had anything since breakfast. They had lentil soup. Yum. It was nice and hot…perfect for a cold rainy day. Of course, since I was starving, the soup wasn’t nearly enough. So, I had a four cheese pizza. That was delicious as well. Top it off with a cup of coffee and I was ready for a good night’s sleep. I needed one, since I was leaving at 7:00 the next morning.

Last day in Philadelphia: 13,698 steps, 5.62 miles My feet aren’t hurting anymore, they are numb.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

October 21, 2005 – I made it through the day with no evacuations!

This morning I slept in a little. I left the B&B at walked to a few places on my schedule. None of them opened until 10:00, and it was only 9:30, so I kept walking. I ended up at the United States Mint. This is proof I love my brother David. You can’t tour the mint without a tour set up by your Representative, so I knew I couldn’t take a tour. I wanted to go to the gift shop though, to see if they had anything worth buying. The security guide said that they don’t allow cameras or cell phones, so I couldn’t get in. I was about as far as I could be from where I was staying without leaving the historic area, so I didn’t have time to go back, drop off my stuff, return to the min, and then go back to pick up my stuff. So, I was out of luck. Except, I have a nice smile and am not afraid to ask for help. (I learned that in Boston.) I walked around the corner to a hotel, smiled at the lady behind the desk, and asked if there was any way they could keep my cameras and cell phone. She said sure, so I left everything and went back to the mint. The security guard let me in this time, only to tell me that the computers were down in the gift shop so I couldn’t buy anything! I must have looked pretty disappointed, because he told me to go on in and try anyway. I did, and was successful.

By then, it was 10:00, so I started walking back toward the Betsy Ross house. I passed the Arch Street Meeting House and stopped there. A very nice lady gave me a tour and explained all about the Quaker religion. I must admit, I learned a lot. I didn’t know much about Quakers. Apparently there are Quakers in Nashville.

After the Meeting House, I finally made it to Betsy Ross’s House. I did the audio tour, which was excellent. A lot of audio tours just read what is already written on plaques, but this one added a lot. And, as always, the people in the house were full of interesting information. I didn’t realize that Betsy Ross sewed flags secretly during the Revolutionary War. She had to do it in her bedroom on the second floor of the house so that the English soldiers wouldn’t see. She would be convicted of treason and likely hanged if they ever found out. It is even likely that soldiers were quartered in her house at various points during the Revolution. She continued making flags until she went blind several years before she died. I believe she lived to be in her 80’s.

Next on the schedule was Franklin Court. It was pouring rain, and I needed to use an ATM machine, so I stopped at a little diner called Old City Pizza. I used the ATM, and decided that it would be polite to buy something. Plus, they had cherry cheesecake. Mmmmm. I love cheesecake, especially cherry. So, I had a piece and cup of coffee. It was one of the best pieces of cheesecakes I have ever had in my life. Seriously. It was melt in your mouth good. It was even better than MY cheesecake…but I’m sure it was a lot more fattening.

Ok, enough with the food breaks. On to Franklin Court!! Franklin’s Court is an interesting tribute to such a multi-talented person. His house was destroyed without any detailed descriptions recorded. So, when they were going to rebuild it, they would have had to make many assumptions. Instead, they built a “ghost” structure where the house would have been. There are no walls, just a frame where the house and print shop would have been. There are pieces of the foundation that had been unearthed. They are displayed on the ground under glass. Underground there is a museum. They have many of his inventions on display. My favorite was a chair that transforms into library steps. Very useful. They have a sunken state with little figures that act out various political debates that Franklin had. He really was a incredible man, with multiple inventions, a print shop that utilized many of his inventions, he started the first fire insurance agency in Philadelphia, a writer, postmaster general, writer, and of course, politician and diplomat. It makes me tired just thinking about it.

The fire insurance was interesting. Back then fire was a common occurrence. Every house was required to have two fire buckets with the family name painted on them hanging by their front door. If there was a fire, everyone had to grab their buckets and run to help put out the fire. After the fire was out, they took roll to make sure every family helped. If someone was missing, they would get a “strike.” If a family missed three fires, then they would not be helped if their house caught on fire. For families that had fire insurance, the company would pay all of the families that helped put out the fire.

I spent quite a while at Franklin Court. It was hard to hear for a while because some obnoxious school groups came through. Seriously, I don’t know why these chaperones don’t seem to care how their kids behave. They don’t even ask then to stop screaming in a museum. It is a totally accepted behavior. There weren’t any school groups in Boston, but they are all over Philadelphia.

After Franklin Court I walked over to Society Hill, a neighborhood with upper class houses. There are two houses to tour there. The first one is the Powell House. Mr. Powell was the first mayor of Philadelphia after the Revolution. The Washingtons lived next door for a couple years, while George Washington was President. The Powell House was an example of one of the wealthiest families in Philadelphia. Mr. Powell inherited 90 houses and rented them. Their house is an example of Georgian architecture, another symmetrical style. They had fake doors in their house to preserve symmetry.

The second house was the Physick House. Mr. Physick was a doctor, one of the more prominent surgeons in Philadelphia. He operated on Chief Justice John Marshall twice. The Chief Justice needed a third surgery, but Mr. Physick wasn’t able to perform it. John Marshall died in the Physick House during that illness. On the day of Marshall’s death, the Liberty Bell rung and cracked.

I got a taxi after seeing the Physick House and went to the Philadelphia Art Museum. (No, I didn’t run up and down the steps like Rocky, so don’t ask.) I was tired, so I decided to just check out the Impressionist section and leave afterward. They had a pretty good collection. They have one of Monet’s water lily paintings, which is beautiful. They had many Cassatt paintings as well. After the Impressionists, I decided to walk through the older sections. They had some beautiful old pieces, specifically some illuminated paintings from the 1400’s. I ended up staying later than I thought. I stopped by Old City Pizza on the way back for dinner (I was famished) and had another Cheesesteak. I had this one with mushrooms. I made it back to my room by 9:30 and went to bed.

18,033 steps

Thursday, October 20, 2005

October 20 - The Signings

This morning started with a delicious little breakfast. In Boston, I always left the Inn before breakfast, since I wanted to be downtown by 8:00. Here, since I’m already in the middle of everything, I have time to eat a little. I had a nice fresh muffin, yogurt, and a great cup of coffee. I was ready for the day!

I started by walking to the Independence Hall Visitor’s Center. I had to buy tickets for a tour to Independence Hall. You have to get there early, because they sell out for the day by noon, usually. I wanted to make sure to get afternoon tickets, for schedule purposes, so I was in line at 8:30 when they opened. The closest time I could get to my 1:30 schedule was 1:45, which was pretty good. So, I picked up the tickets and went for a walk. First stop was Benjamin Franklin’s grave in Christ Church burial ground. The cemetery wasn’t open yet, but his grave is right by the sidewalk, so you don’t need to enter. After the cemetery, I walked the three blocks to Christ Church. Christ Church was the first Episcopalian Church in America, but it was still Anglican during the Revolution. Many of the signers attended church here. George Washington’s pew is marked (I sat in it!), as well as the pews of Benjamin Franklin and several others. The font where William Penn was baptized in London was brought to this church. Bishop White was the first Bishop of this church.

After the church, I walked a few more blocks to a street with several colonial homes, including the Todd House, where Dolly Madison lived when she was Dolly Todd, and the house of Bishop White. I took a tour of the Todd and White houses. The Todd house was first. It was actually a recreation of the house, not the original building. It was decorated as it had been, with furniture from the period. Dolly’s first husband died of yellow fever. It was after that that she met James Madison in this house. They were married a year later. She served as first lady when James Madison was President, but she also served as First Lady during Jefferson’s presidency, since Jefferson’s wife had already died.

The Bishop house is still the original building and rooms, with much of the original furniture. The Bishop house is an example of one of the more wealthy houses of Philadelphia. My favorite part of the house was the library (surprise, surprise). They also have a real indoor bathroom!

After the two houses, I walked across the street to the Polish Heritage Museum to check out my ancestor’s role in history. They had information on Poland’s constitution which was put into place a few years after ours. They also had tributes to various Polish citizens who impacted history, such as Marie Curie, Gen. Kosciuszko, and Pope John Paul II.

I still had some time to kill before my 1:45 tickets for Independence Hall, so I went by Carpenter’s Hall. That was fitting, since the first Continental Congress met there for a few months before they moved to Independence Hall. They have several chairs there that were used during the first Continental Congress, including the President’s chair in which Alexander Hamilton sat.

By the time I finished with Carpenter’s Hall, I was pretty hungry. Since I still had about a half hour before I needed to get in line for Independence Hall, I stopped for a bowl of chicken noodle soup. Mmmmm. It was pretty cold today, so it was a good time for chicken noodle. I think I’m over the whole “skip lunch” plan. I think I may need a little food energy. Haha.

Believe it or not, the line to get through security for Independence Hall was the first real line I’ve had to stand in this whole trip!!! It was a doozy. There were at last three school groups in front of me. It took about a half hour to get through. After you get through security, you walk through the pavilion that houses the Liberty Bell. They have a long walkway with exhibits on the history of the bell and its repairs, and the bell is at the end of the hall. There were so many kids that I didn’t stop at the bell for very long. You can see it from the street, so I decided to wait until later.

I walked over to Independence Hall and the ranger asked me if I was on the 1:30 tour. I told him I was on the 1:45. He said that they had an opening on the 1:30, so I was able to go on that one. It is a good thing too, as you will read in a minute. The tour of Independence Hall was great. It wasn’t very long, but it included the room where the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution were debated and signed. It is incredible to be in the place where so much was decided. After the tour of the central portion of Hall, I went to the West Wing of the Hall where original copies of all three documents (Declaration, Articles of Confederation and Constitution) are on display. They are not the signed copies, but they were original copies printed for distribution. One copy was Washington’s and has his written corrections on it.

As I was looking at the documents, another exiting thing happened…a bomb threat!! Yes, the entire park had to be quickly evacuated. Two days of evacuations in a row….how strange. I promise I didn’t have anything to do with either one. As I was evacuated, I found myself at the border of Washington Square, so I thought I’d be spontaneous and explore. There is a tomb for the unknown soldiers of the Revolutionary War in the park.

By the time I took pictures of the monument, the park was back open. I had to go through security AGAIN, but there were no school groups in front of me this time, so it was quick. I went for a tour of Congress Hall, which is the building where Congress met for the first 10 years. In that Hall, both Washington and Adams were inaugurated. The inauguration of Adams is particularly significant, as it is the first time in modern western history that power was transferred from one person to another through an election process in such a peaceful manner.

On the other side of the park is Old City Hall, where the Supreme Court met while Philadelphia was our Capitol.

All of that wore me out, so I decided to make my way back to my room, even though it was still only 4:00. I had a night tour scheduled, so I wanted to rest my feet for a few minutes. I passed the Second Bank of the United States on the way, though, so I stopped to visit their portrait gallery. They have a collection of portraits of many who were instrumental in the founding of the United States, as well as prominent citizens of the state of Pennsylvania. Most of the portraits were done by Peale.

After the Second Bank, I had dinner…a Philly Cheesesteak! It was better than I was expecting.

I rested for a while and then went to a night tour called Lights of Liberty. It was a great tour. They give you headphones and you walk through various places in Independence Park as they tell you the stories of the Revolution. They project images on walls of the buildings to further dramatize the events. It is unique, interesting, and more in depth than a lot of tours. I would highly recommend it.

Well, I’m back in my room and ready for bed! Tomorrow night will be another late one, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to post. I’ll try, though!

Oh yeah, did I mention my step count for today was 21,179? Not bad!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

October 19, 2005 – Intro to Philadelphia

I arrived in Philadelphia at 11:00 and went straight to the B&B where I’m staying. I arrived and got checked into my room by noon. This B&B is really cute. It is the Thomas Bond House, and it is a part of Independence National Park. The building was originally the home of Thomas Bond, the man who started the Philadelphia Hospital with Benjamin Franklin. The only problem is that there is no high speed Internet here (yes, I asked this time). So, I’m not sure if I’ll get pictures on.

The first thing I did here in Philadelphia was walk to the Graff House, where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. Philadelphia is a lot different from Boston. The streets are all straight and perpendicular to each other. It makes it a lot easier to get around. Also, since my B&B is in the park, I am super close to everything. I should be able to cut down on my steps a little. I only walked 10,402 today. But, then again, I started at noon.

The Graff House was okay. It wasn’t the original building, and they didn’t have any original things, so the main attraction was just the location. I read the Declaration there. I hadn’t read it in a while, so it was a good opportunity.

After the Graff House I walked to the visitor’s center for Independence National Park. They have a movie called “Independence.” It was okay, but a little weird. The theme was the ghosts of the founders came back in current time and told you the story of the writing of the Constitution. After the movie I walked to the National Constitution Museum. I stopped at a bakery and had a pretzel for a snack on the way.

The Museum was pretty good. You basically walk around a circle and study the original writing of the Constitution and all of the amendments. They have some good displays, such as a chair from the Continental Congress, a signed copy of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and several letters from Jefferson and Madison. They also have a copy of the Constitution printed in a newspaper the first time it was printed.

The only adventure today was when the fire alarm went off in the Constitution Museum. There were a couple school groups there, so it was probably one of the kids. We had to all leave and then re-enter. It was kind of annoying, but it cleared out the kids.

After that I walked back to my B&B. I walked past the Free Quaker Meeting House, so I stepped in for a look around. The Quakers were a peaceful people who did not believe in fighting. The Free Quakers were a group that separated from the Quakers because they wanted to be involved with the Revolution. Betsy Ross was a member of the Free Quakers that met at this house.

By then it was five o-clock. I walked back to my B&B and then went across the street to the City Tavern for dinner. Dinner was great. I had sausage, mashed potatoes and sour kraut in honor of Oktoberfest. Their homemade mustard is good….but not quite as good as the Gerst Haus in Nashville. The City Tavern is a historical site as well. It was a Tavern that was often frequented by the delegates to the Constitutional Convention. It was also the location where Washington met his troops to say farewell after the Revolutionary war.

It was a relaxing dinner, and now I’m ready for bed. It’s 7:00, but I am exhausted and have a big day tomorrow. Good night!

To all who are worried about my safety

I am in the airport waiting for my flight to Philadelphia and thought I’d make a few minutes to dispel any worries some of you may have about my safety. Boson seemed like a safe place. Of course, I was mostly out in the day, but even in the evenings everywhere I went was well lit and populated. There was only one time when I felt like I was in danger.

I was walking through a dimly lit tunnel connecting one underground train station to another. It was a long hallway with several turns, preventing you from seeing very far in front of you. I was walking briskly through the tunnel. It was around 8:00 at night. I glanced down for a second and my heart skipped a beat. There, about 1.58 inches from my left foot, was a gigantic cock roach. In case you aren’t familiar with gigantic cock roaches, 1.58 inches is well within their striking range. Seriously. This guy had probably lived in the damp tunnels under Boston for centuries. He probably took refuge there in 1775 to escape the march of the Royal Army. The moment was terribly frightening. The instant I saw it, my other foot (right) had already left the ground to take its next step, thereby rendering my left foot completely immobile for about 1/3rd of a second. That fraction of a second was the moment I was most in danger in Boston.

On my next trip, I’m leaving the pepper spray home and taking a travel-size bottle of Raid instead.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Beautiful Minute Man National Park

A Tavern on Battle Road

Me at the Old North Bridge.

October 18 - The Shot Heard Round the World

Today was an adventure. The start was crazy. I had to get to the airport to pick up my rental car, in order to drive to Lexington, and then later, Concord. Getting to the airport was no problem, but it took a little longer than I had expected. Once I finally arrived at the rental car pickup, I figured the rest would be smooth. No such luck. I got through the paperwork and got to my car and drove toward the exit. The exit guy wouldn’t let me out, because the paper said I was supposed to have an Explorer and I had a Mustang (convertible! Yeah!). So, I had to go back to the office to get the paperwork fixed. Of course, there isn’t anywhere to park, so I just had to park in front of the office. I showed the lady the problem, and while she was fixing it, a big bus came by and started honking. My car was in his way. A Hertz guy outside took the keys from me and moved it, but told me to wait right there so he could give the keys back to me. While I was waiting for him, the lady came back out with the corrected paperwork, so I was good to go. Well, until I left the parking lot and realized I had left my bag in the office. So, I had to return AGAIN to get that. Finally, I was on my way. I never would have guessed I’d have more problems in the parking lot of the airport than on Boston roads!!!

I arrived in Lexington around 9:45, only 45 minutes late. No problem, it is supposed to be a laid back day anyway. My left food/leg is hurting and swollen, so I planned on resting it today. I succeeded at that…I only walked a measly 11,573 today…less than 5 miles. There are several things to see in Lexington. There is the Battle Green, where the Royal Army fired upon the minute men, the first shots of the Revolution. There is also the Tavern (Buckman Tavern) where the minute men waited for the soldiers, the house (Hancock-Clarke House) where John Hancock and Samuel Adams were staying when Paul Revere arrived with The News, and another Tavern that I did not have time to see. There was a tour for the Buckman Tavern at 10:00, so I was just in time. They asked if I could move the tour forward 15 minutes because they had a school group ahead of me, so I walked around the Battle Green before the tour. The tour was pretty good. It lasted about 30 minutes or so. After that, I walked to the Hancock-Clarke house. That same school group beat me there, so I had to wait a while for a tour. It was good foot resting time.

That tour was good as well. Really, the history of some of these buildings is more interested than the buildings themselves. One thing that this house had was the pistols from Gen Pitcairn (Royal Army). He fell off of his horse at some point during the battle and lost the pistols. Another interesting thing about the house is that it has been moved twice. One widow who owned the house wanted to tear it down. The Lexington Historical Society was able to purchase the House from her…but not the land. They moved the house across the street. After she died, her daughter inherited the land. When she died, she left the land to the Historical Society, so they were able to move the house back to its original location.

That was it for Lexington. Next I wanted to drive to Concord along Battle Road. This is the road that the Royal Army marched down to search Concord for weapons and ammunition. After their brief encounter with the Minute Men in Lexington, they continued down this road to Concord. Paul Revere, of course, rode down the same road a couple hours in advance of the Army. The location where he was captured is on the road. There is a monument to him, Dawes and the other guy (I think his name starts with a P) where he was captured.

Anyway, of course I started out on the right road toward Concord. I just picked the wrong direction. Luckily, I had the top down and it was a beautiful New England Day. I didn’t stress, because, after all, this was my laid back day. I stopped at a….you guessed it….Dunkin Donuts for directions. Of course, I purchased another pumpkin donut to pay for the directions. They pointed me in the right direction (where I came from) and I was off again. This time I made it to Battle Road. I stopped at the Visitor’s Center at one stop. They have a great multi-media presentation on the Army’s march to and retreat from Concord. As they tell the story in narrative/movie fashion, they have a clock that shows the time of the events. They also have a map with lights showing the paths of the Royal Army, the Minute Men, and Paul Revere, Dawes and the other guy (I think his name starts with a P). It was a great way to tie all of the events and places together.

After the Visitor’s Center, I decided to walk down the trail (The actual Battle Road is a trail. A real road runs parallel with several parking stops). So, instead of driving to the next stop (Paul Revere’s capture spot) I decided to walk. It was a beautiful walk, but a little longer than I had expected. My foot was killing me by the time I got back to the car. It was a nice walk, though. There were several interesting things on the path, including a burial spot for some British soldiers, Paul Revere’s capture, and several houses. I continued in car to the next few stops. One Tavern had a demonstration of musket loading and shooting.

Eventually I came to the end of the Trail….the Old North Bridge. This is where the Minute Men stood up to the Royal Army and someone fired the “shot heard round the world.” The Bridge has been replaced six times, but it is still neat to look at the river area around it. It really is a beautiful setting. I stayed there for quite a while. I hope my pictures turn out. It was sunny, a characteristic of this trip!!

At 4:30, I left and drove a couple miles to the home of Louisa May Alcott. It was the house where she grew up and wrote Little Women. At 5:00 I had dinner in downtown Concord at Colonial Inn. Mmmm…it was good and relaxing….just what I needed before the drive back to Boston in the dark.

The return of the rental car went smoothly. I made it back to my little Inn and am ready to go! Tomorrow, I say goodbye to Boston and hello to Phildelphia! I’m going to go pack now. If I it isn’t too late when I finish, I just might post some pictures.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Old State House

This balcony is where the Declaration of Independence was read to the people of Massachusetts.

Me and the General

Oct. 17th – Politics Schmolotics!!!

After finally getting on a train and making it back to downtown Boston, I started the day at the Old State House. What a historic building!! (Of course, I could say that about most of the buildings I was in today, but that doesn’t make it any less applicable about this building.) The Old State House was the capitol of the colony of Massachusetts. There were many debates there over the ideas of independence, including James Otis’s speech against the writs of assistance. The Boston Massacre happened directly in front of the building, and the Declaration of Independence was read from it’s balcony for the first time to the people of Boston. It is now a museum of Bostonian History. I stayed there for about an hour and a half.

After that, I was planning on visiting Faneuil Hall, which is a block away from the Old State House. The Hall was closed for a private event until 2:00, though, so I had to change my plans. (Plans are meant to be changed, right?) I walked down the street to the Old South Meeting House. What a historic building!! This was a Congregationalist Church which also happened to be the largest meeting place in Boston before the Revolution. Because of this, many meetings were held here. This church is where the Patriots planned the infamous Boston Tea Party. After the British took over Boston, they burned the pews and books, brought in dirt, and turned the Church into a riding stable. When Washington saw the church after the British had evacuated Boston, he was appalled at the lack of respect shown the colony’s religious buildings.

When you leave the Old South Meeting House, you are across the street from the location of Benjamin Franklin’s birthplace. The house is long-gone, but there is a bust of him in the window. I snapped a couple pictures and was on my way. The next stop was the New Massachusetts State house.

The new State House was built in 1795 when Samuel Adams was Governor. It is a very historic building. Paul Revere presided over its building, and it was designed by Charles Bulfinch. Boy, have I heard about Charles Bulfinch a lot in the past three days. He was a prominent architect in Boston in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. He also helped with the design of the US Capitol in DC. He designed the Otis house that I toured yesterday. The State House was pretty impressive. I visited the rotunda, great halls, and the Senate and House chambers. I tried to get into a committee session to compare the politicking of Mass with that of Tennessee. I walked around and finally found the committee rooms…in the basement. I didn’t want to just start opening doors, so I found a security guard and asked him if there were any committees in session. He pointed out a room and told me to go around the corner and walk in the door labeled B-1. I walked around, found the door and opened it. It was the door directly behind the committee chairman’s seat!!! Thankfully, there was no committee in the room. If there had been, that would have been very embarrassing. After that, I decided I wasn’t meant to observe a Massachusetts legislative committee session, so I walked back out.

By now it was around 1:00. I had to wait until 2:00 to see Faneuil Hall, so I stopped at a Dunkin Donut place for a snack. Dunkin Donuts are a historic institution in Boston. There are Dunkin Donuts ALL over. I’m serious. There is a Dunkin Donut place on every corner. They even have them in the T stations underground! I think the DD to Human ratio in Boston is around 1 to 14.6. I stopped for a quick pumpkin donut and then walked over to Faneuil Hall. They didn’t open the Hall for tours until 2:15. It was pretty cool, though. I think I would call it....historic. There was a park ranger who talked about the history of the Hall. Like the other park rangers, she was great. Faneuil Hall is also known as the “Cradle of Liberty.” The ground level is a market, and the second level is a meeting place. This hall was the location of many debates about over the “Cause of Liberty.” In fact, the Boston Tea Party started here, and then moved to the Old South Meeting House when too many people showed up to fit in Faneuil.

After Faneuil, my schedule was complete. It was 3:00, and I had completed my entire Boston itinerary. Believe it or not, Katie Wallen was forced to do something waaaay out of her comfort zone….be spontaneous!! Never fear, she was able to step up to the challenge. Yesterday at the Adams’ farm, the tour guide mentioned that John Adams book collection is located in the rare book room of Boston’s public library. I checked out my map, and Trinity Church is located near the library. I had thought about visiting the beautiful church, but I didn’t think I’d have time. So, I started walking in that direction.

I walked through Boston Common and Boston Public Gardens, two parks. The Public Garden has an awesome statue of George Washington. I took some pictures and kept walking. There are a lot of statues in Boston. Statues everywhere.

I arrived at the library and found the rare book room. It was incredible. All of the books are behind class, but you can still see them really well. They had a few of John Adams books lying open so that you could read his notes and inscriptions from the authors. The room had at least several thousand of Adams books. They also had a collection from one of the earliest ministers in Boston. His collection is equally impressive. He had a copy of John Eliot’s Algonquin Bible, the first Bible printed in the United States in the 1600’s. John Eliot learned their language, created a written language, translated the Bible, and had in printed. The library was a treasure.

After the library, I walked across a plaza to the Trinity Church. The church is gorgeous.

After the church, I was pretty much worn out. I took the T back to Qunicy Market to get some dinner and came back to the Inn. I think I’ll be going to bed early tonight. I’m certainly glad that I’ll be driving tomorrow. My legs are getting a little sore. After all, I walked 19,216 steps today. That’s almost 8 miles.

That’s all for today! Tomorrow is Lexington and Concord!

Picture - Revere's Grave

I have tons of grave pictures, but I'll spare you most of them. This is, of course, the humble resting place of Paul Revere.

Picture - "One if By Land, Two if By Sea"

Oct. 17 – Boy, do I feel sheepish

Well, I have a confession to make. I’m not even sure if I should tell you what dumb thing I did. I can’t even imagine the ridicule I’m going to receive. I am humble enough to handle it, though.

I arrived back in my room tonight early (6:00). I was setting up my laptop, and a Inn brochure caught my eye. It says, “You can also enjoy the modern convenience of free internet access…” I asked the girl at the desk, and sure enough!! The rooms are all equipped with high speed Internet access! I even have the right connection cord in my laptop case! So, I will be posting some pictures, now that I have graduated to the real world of "high speed."

Speaking of high speed, aren't public transportation systems...specifically underground ones...supposed to help speed up the moving of people??? It didn't work this morning. I waited for 8 trains before one had enough room to squeeze in one more sardine. It is a good thing I was trying to leave early!

Picture - canons in the USS Constitution lower deck

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Oct. 16 – windy

Yeah! I got one picture on there!

When I left this morning, there was a wind advisory. They weren’t kidding!! It could almost blow you off your feet! I like wind though. It’s a lot better than rain. I’m not carrying an umbrella tomorrow. Yeah!!!!

Thanks to everyone who is praying for the days to go by slowly!! It is working!! I have been savoring every minute, I haven’t felt rushed, and I have done more than planned. I am ahead of schedule which means I will be able to spend extra time at key locations tomorrow.

Katie with the rose bush Abigail Adams brought from Europe

October 16, 2005 – "The Adams Family" or "graves, graves and more graves"

Did I say something about 18,000 steps today? Make that 22,276 steps. That works out to be a little over 9 miles. My feet are feeling pretty sore. So sore, I might take a break from this blog to take a hot shower.

Thankfully, the rain was gone today. I walked out of the building to sunshine!! I felt like singing….Oh what a beautiful mooooorning…you get the picture. My plan for the first half of the day was to visit Quincy, the place where John Adams is from. Truthfully, John Adams was the biggest draw to Boston for me. He is quickly becoming my favorite US President. He is certainly one of the most underrated Presidents.

It took about 45 minutes to get to Quincy. Quincy is a little town just East of Boston. It is at the end of the T, thankfully, so I didn’t have to drive or be creative with transportation in order to get there. I arrived promptly at 9:01, just in time for the first Adams tour of the day at 9:15. (See, all of you cynics of organization??? It pays off!) I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was the only person on the tour!!! It was by far one of the best tours I have ever been on. Of course, part of that is because I have so much respect for the Adams family. Anyway, the tour takes you to three houses related to the Adams. The first house is where John Adams was born and grew up. It is the oldest birthplace of a President still standing. The house is modest, as most houses were in the 1600’s. It was larger than most, as John Adams Senior was very active in society and hosted many political and religious events in his home. He owned 25 chairs….way more than was normal in those days.

After John Adams married Abigail, they moved to a house next door, given to them by John Adams Sr. It was small also, but John had built several “state-of-the-art” features, such as a brick oven next to the fireplace instead of inside it. This house is where John Quincy Adams was born. John Adams also had a room that served as his office. It was in that room that he had his first law cases, including the defending of a British soldier involved in the Boston Massacre. He and Abigail suffered much criticism over that case, but he insisted on defending the soldier. He wanted the world to see America as a country mature enough to follow the letter of the law without letting anger and emotions interfere. In this room is also where John Adams drafted the Constitution of Massachusetts. This Constitution became a model for the United States Constitution. In fact, our Bill of Rights are worded almost exactly as the first section of the Constitution of Massachusetts.

After seeing the two small houses, the tour takes a ride to the big house. This is the House where the Adams lived during John Adams’ presidency and retirement. John and Abigail both died in the house. The bed where Abigail died, the chair where John died, and the bed where their daughter Abigail died of breast cancer are all in the house. The house is full of furniture and other items belonging to the Adams. In fact, there are no replicas in the house…everything is original. It is amazing to walk through and see everything from so many generations. (The Adams owned and used the house until the early 1900’s, when it was donated to the United States). The tour guide was great. He knew so much about all of the pieces in the house, and of course I had the opportunity to ask many questions since I was the only one on the tour! The tour lasted about an hour, and included rooms on the first and second floors of the house. I’m not even going to start talking about all of the things I saw, because I do need a little sleep tonight. The tour also included a tour of the library that John Quincy built next to the house, after he lost half of his book collection in a fire. The library is made of stone. It currently has about 14,000 books, although only about 7,000 of them belonged to John Quincy.

Afterwards, the guide let me wander around the grounds to take pictures. Abigail brought many plants over from Europe with her, including several lilac bushes and a rose bush that are still in the garden. I have a bunch of great pictures. I’ll try to post some, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to with this Internet connection. (And, I’m not about to walk another 1,000 steps tonight to find wireless, so don’t even think about suggesting it.)

The tour was wonderful. I can’t say enough about the tour guides. The lady at the two small houses and the man at the big house were very knowledgeable and passionate about history. They did a great job, especially since I was the only one on the tour!!! I think it will remain the highlight of the trip.

After the official tour, I walked around the town of Quincy. The Hancock cemetery is there, which is the place where John Hancock is not buried. (gotcha). He is actually buried in the Granary Burial Ground in Boston, which I visited later. Anyway, I walked around the cemetery for a while. Call me strange, but I enjoy walking around cemeteries. It is fascinating to read the inscriptions honoring so many honorable people. They had American flags next to all who had fought in wars (mostly the War of Independence and the War of 1812).

I walked around for a while, past some churches and a great library. Well the building was great. It was closed so I couldn’t see inside. There is a lot of neat architecture in Quincy. The last place I visited in Quincy was the church where the Adams are buried. John Adams was instrumental in building this particular church, but he died a couple years before it was finished. After it was completed, John Quincy requested that his parents be moved to a crypt below the church. They were, and after John Quincy died, his son requested that he be moved to the crypt below the church. So, both Presidents, father and son, are buried below the church along with their wives. I was able to see the crypts. The rest of the church tour was good, but not fascinating.

After all of this, it was about 1:00. I stopped by a coffee shop to get a cup of coffee and scone and boarded the train. I figured I could afford to stop and purchase the snack since I wouldn’t waste any time eating it. I had a 30 minute ride back in to Boston, so I wanted to make it productive. Thanks to planning, I knew that I had to be on Beacon Hill at the Harrison Otis Gray house by 2:00 for a tour. I studied the map on the Train, and miraculously turned in the right direction out of the T station in Boston. It was about a half-mile walk to the house, and I found it right at 1:50. Perfect.

The Otis’s were friends of the Adams. They were one of the most wealthy families of Boston, and their house it an example of the federal era of design. I like it. It is very symmetrical. They even have false doors in some of the rooms to preserve symmetry. That’s my kind of house.

After the tour, I walked around Beacon Hill for a while. I took some pictures, hopefully not of John Kerry’s house. I didn’t have anything else planned and it was only 2:45, so I decided to walk around the historical areas and see whatever was around. I walked past the State Capitol, which I will tour tomorrow. I then walked past the Old Granary Burial ground and decided to go ahead and do that, since it is early on my list for tomorrow. It is a good thing, because I had a little under an hour schedule for it tomorrow, and it took me an hour and a half to go through it this afternoon. What a graveyard. The Burial grounds contain graves of Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin’s parents, Paul Revere, Peter Faneuil, the victims of the Boston Massacre, John Hancock, and others. I repeat, what a graveyard.

After the Old Granary Burial ground, I walked down the street to the King’s Chapel Burial ground. This is where Gov. John Winthrop is buried, and William Dawes, the other man who rode to Lexington to warn that the British were coming.

By the time I finished there, it was almost five. I walked over to Quincy Market to do some shopping, since they stay open until 6:00. By then, I was pretty worn out, so I decided to go back to my little Inn for the night. I already had decided that picking up my laptop and finding wireless was out of the picture. My feet hurt.

So, here is where the adventure begins. I got on the T and decided to get off two stops early (near Fenway Park). I knew it was a busy place, so I figured I could walk toward where I was staying, find somewhere to eat along the way, and then be close to “home.” Well, I walked out of the T stop, and the restaurants were closing. So I started walking “toward” my little inn. About 20 minutes later, I was not seeing any familiar streets, or any eating establishments other than noisy bars and really nice restaurants (the kind you DON’T walk in wearing jeans and carrying two cameras around your neck). I stopped at a little store to get some help. I’m getting really good at stopping at little stores to get some help. Well, he points out that I am really near the Prudential Center, which apparently has a variety of restaurants. I look at the map….hmmmm….the Prudential Center. That is not near where I’m staying. That is in the OPPOSITE direction from where I am staying. I went the wrong way!! (I know, I know, nobody is surprised at that. See, I’m handicapped. I HAVE to plan meticulously, because it is guaranteed that I am going to pick the wrong direction 80% of the time and lose time). So, I took his recommendation and went to the Prudential Center. It wasn’t part of my plan, but it was good.

By this time, I was pretty much famished. I had made it from 8 – 6 with one small snack and one bathroom stop. I needed some nourishment. And, I’m not talking about “soup and salad” nourishment. I’m talking about meat and carbs. I found it at the Prudential Center. I stopped at a rotisserie p[lace and had ¼ of a chicken, mashed potatoes and yams. Mmmmmm. I ate it ALL. In all honesty, I’m still kind of hungry. It’s 10:00 though. I’ll have to actually have some breakfast in the morning.

After eating at the Prudential, I decided I should go up to the top, since I was there anyway. It would have been neat to see during the day, since it is the tallest building in Boston and you can see New Hampshire and Cape Cod during the day. I won’t have time tomorrow though, so I went ahead and went tonight. It was beautiful, looking over all of the areas of Boston. Even though it was night, I could still see the Charles River pretty well, and of course the lights of Boston are gorgeous. It was worth getting lost for.

The adventure isn’t over yet, though. I walked out of the Prudential Center, aching, and determined to get to the nearest T stop in as few steps as possible. I found it on the map, double checked the map at every intersection to make sure I was going in the right direction, and found the T stop. Hmmmm. Well, I found the place on the map that indicated a T station. I couldn’t find the station though. Darn it!!! Where is that station!! I stood on the corner, looked at the corner, looked at the map, and it wasn’t there. I walked into the store on the corner where the T was supposed to be and….you guessed it!!! Asked for help again! The kind guy politely informed me that the T station was BELOW the building. Oh, I see. That would make sense. The T is underground. Ok, so I went around the block and walked down the POORLY marked stairs to the T and arrived in my little inn soon thereafter.

I have since written all of this, taken a nice hot shower, and am ready for sleep. Tomorrow is my last day in downtown Boston, and when I wake up in the morning, I will have “miles to go before I sleep.”

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Old North Church

I'm trying to post a picture, but I can't. I have to use dial up at this B&B, so that's the problem. I'm going to find somewhere with wireless tomorrow, so many I'll get some up tomorrow.


First day - 18,000 steps!

The bricks in Boston were soggy on Saturday, October 15, 2005…along with yours truly! Yes, my first day in Boston was a wet one. Very wet. It was a great day, though.

My first event of the day was a duck tour at 9:00 AM. A duck tour is a comical tour of the various neighborhoods of Boston in a World War II amphibious vehicle. The tour starts out driving around Boston, passing all of the historical sites, and ends with a float around Boston Harbor. The tour guides are good at giving a bunch of facts about Boston’s history, while maintaining a great sense of humor.

The tour was great, but getting there was a challenge. I left the B&B at about 7:30, which should have been plenty of time to get to the Science Museum from where the tour leaves. I waited a while for a train at the station right across the street from the B&B, but in never came. There is a lot of construction going on, and the train’s last stop is at the next station down the road. Fortunately, it is only a block away, so it wasn’t a problem to walk. It just took me a while to figure it out. So, I got on the train, and sat there riding through Boston. The Science Museum has a stop, so it should have been pretty easy and fast to get there. You would think!! There is MORE construction going on on the other end of the train line, so the last stop on that side of town was the stop before the Science Museum. No problem though, there were signs saying that there is a shuttle at the last T stop going to the Science stop. I followed the signs to the shuttle pickup, which was actually several blocks away from the train station. It was pouring rain, and my umbrella was not working very well. After waiting for the shuttle for a while, I asked someone how far the Science Museum was. It turns out it was pretty much within walking distance, so I just walked. There is tons of construction going on in Boston. Apparently they’ve been working on a bridge and tunnel combination for 7 years. Seven years! And it’s being federally funded!!! It was originally supposed to take 2 years. I wonder what they would say if we tried to extend a tax return for 5 years.

Anyway, I got to the tour on time, but soaking wet. Did I mention it was raining in Boston?

After the tour, I purchased a duck poncho for the rest of the day, since my umbrella was worthless. I then walked over to Charlestown, which is where Bunker Hill is located. I had to walk past several pharmacies and grocery stores, and guess what? They were all out of umbrellas!! Oh well, I only had a few dry spots left anyway.

I found Bunker Hill, which wasn’t too difficult since the monument is so tall. Being on Bunker Hill was a moving experience. The colonists army valiantly defended the hill (it was actually Breed’s Hill, not Bunker Hill) in a dugout type fort that they put up overnight. The British won the battle, but at a tremendous cost. They buried the colonist army in the ditches that they had dug the previous night, and put up their camp on a neighboring hill. So, the Bunker Hill monument is actually a cemetery of sorts for the men who died in that battle. There are hundreds of soldiers buried on the hill. They have a good model of the battle in the building next to the Bunker Hill Monument. You can climb the monument, but I didn’t since there was no visibility. On a clear day you can see across the Boston Harbor to the steeple of the Old North Church. It wasn’t a clear day, though. Did I mention it was raining in Boston?

After Bunker Hill, I walked down to the Navy ship yard in the Charlestown harbor to see the USS Constitution, more commonly known as “Old Ironsides.” The ship is the oldest Navy warship still floating. I’ve never been on a ship before. It gained its reputation of having impenetrable sides during the war of 1812. It was in service almost 100 years, and was never boarded by an enemy and never lost a battle. The ship looked surprisingly small from the shore. It looked even smaller when you find out that it held over 130 men regularly. I was able to tour the top deck and two of the lower decks. There were canons surrounding the first lower deck. The next deck down had a sleeping area with hammocks for the men. There were about six or eight rooms for the captains. I cannot imagine sleeping in a leaky ship in a hammock. Oh, and everything you’ve heard about the lower decks of ships leaking is true. It was raining on all three levels. J

There was a museum about the USS Constitution at the Harbor. It wasn’t too great. They mostly had replicas of things from the ship. The did have some bolts that Paul Revere made, but that was about it. I didn’t stay there too long. The best part was that it was dry.

Well, by this time I was running ahead of schedule, believe it or not. I knew things would be close together, but I didn’t realize they would be that close together. I really didn’t walk that much. Only 18,014 steps today. That’s about 7.4 miles. I think some of you may have under-guessed!! Ha-ha

So, I treated myself to a hot cappuccino. I was soaked to the bone by this time. I shouldn’t have worn jeans. There’s not much worse than walking around all day in wet jeans. And, I’m not talking about wet around the ankles. They were wet all over. I think the added weight probably helped me burn more calories, though, so that is good. After warming up with the cappuccino, I walked across the bridge over the Harbor from Charlestown back to Boston. It was raining. It was about 1:30 and I decided to spend the rest of the afternoon in the North End. I went to Revere’s home first. It took me forever to find it. Boston is not an easy place to get around. Combine tons of construction with narrow streets and few street signs, and you get the picture. It took a while, but I found it. The Revere House has four rooms with period furnishings. The lower floors are furnished as they probably were before Paul Revere owned the home. The upper two rooms are furnished as Revere had it furnished. Several of the pieces were owned by him. They also have a case with some of his silver.

The house next to the Revere House is the Pierce/Hichhorne House. It was owned by cousins of the Revere’s. There was a doctor there giving a presentation about medical practices in the colonists time. It was not pleasant. I stayed for a while, since it was dry, but I didn’t care too much about a detailed explanation of how to amputate a limb with no anesthesia, complete with a full set of tools on display. When he started talking about colonial dentistry, I decided the rain was much more appealing.

From the Revere House, I walked through the Prado Park to the Old North Church. On the way I stopped at an Italian Pharmacy, and guess what??? They had umbrellas!! Prado Park is where the famous statue of Paul Revere’s ride is located. The rain had let up a little, so I was actually able to take some pictures here. The Old North Church is at one end of the Park.

The Old North Church, of course, is where the two lanterns were hung, signaling that the British were coming by water. It started Paul Revere’s famous ride. The church is still in use. I think I got some good pictures of the church. My favorite part about the inside was the foot warmers. Their pews are all enclosed, helping to keep members warm.

After the Old North Church I walked over to Copp’s Burial Ground. The sexton who hung the lanterns in the Old North Church is buried in the cemetery.

By the time I was finished with the Cemetery, it was after five. I had covered everything on my schedule, plus a few extra spots. And, there was no rushing all day!! Well, no rushing except when I was trying to get from point A to point B without getting completely wet. Although my jeans were wet the entire day, I managed to keep my head somewhat dry. It is really neat walking around this town. There are historical places around every corner. I should know, I got lost many times and found cool places.

Also, for the record, Bostonians are very nice and helpful. I asked for directions over and over and always received a friendly answer.

I had dinner at a nice little Italian café in the North End. There are Italian places everywhere! I had the best pasta ever and then decided to come back to my room and rest my feet. After all, I have another 18000 steps to take tomorrow!

Friday, October 14, 2005


October 14th, 2005 – Plane trip was uneventful. The first leg from Nashville to Cincinnati was boring. I had some good Cincinnati Chile for dinner in the airport. The flight to Boston was pretty good. There were two helpful guys who answered all of the questions I had left about the public transportation in Boston. Unfortunately, there were several questions that I did not know to ask (see Saturday’s entry). I left the Boston airport at 11:30. The ride to the B&B was a little under 30 minutes. I checked in. This B&B is pretty homey. I like it. I got to bed around 2:00. that’s not a lot of sleep for the busy day I have planned!!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Welcome to Lost-In-Founders!

For the past six years, I have had a strong desire to visit Boston, Massachusetts. I enjoy studying the Revolutionary period of US History and want to enhance my understanding with a visit to some key places. After I started doing a little research on the sites in Boston, however, I realized that Philadelphia was even more significant to my readings! Philly became the second leg of my trip. I wanted to end the trip with a grand finale of sorts. Since I was already visiting the Adams' Farm in Boston, it seemed fitting to end my trip on the road, with stops at Mt. Vernon and Monticello, thereby including the homes of our first three Presidents.

I hope you enjoy reading about my trip. I plan on posting each evening, while resting my feet from all of the day's walking. On that note, how about a little contest? I will be wearing a pedometer for the entire trip. Does anyone want to take a guess at how many steps and/or miles I will walk over this 10-day period?

Trip Itinerary

Friday 14th Travel
    5:00 --- Leave Nashville
    10:58 -- Arrive at airport, take taxi to B&B.
    12:00 -- Arrive at B&B. Sleep.

Saturday 15th Boston
    9:00 --- Duck Tour
    10:30 -- Bunker Hill
    12:00 -- USS Constitution Tour
    1:00 --- USS Constitution Museum
    2:00 --- Leave USS Constitution Museum for Pierce/Hichborn House
    2:30 --- Tour of Pierce/Hichborn House (tentative)
    3:30 --- Tour of Revere House (tentative)
    5:00 --- James Rego Square (tentative)

Sunday 16th Boston/Quincy
    9:00 --- John Adams State Park - Tour park, including several Adams homes and church
    3:30 --- Harrison Otis House tour
    4:30 --- Beacon Hill walking tour (self-guided)

Monday 17th Boston
    8:00 --- Old Granary Burying Ground
    9:00 --- Massachusetts State House
    10:00 -- King's Chapel & Burying Ground
    10:30 -- First Public School/Benjamin Franklin Statue
    10:45 -- Old Corner Bookstore Building
    11:15 -- Old South Meeting House
    12:00 -- Old State House
    12:45 -- Boston Massacre Site
    1:00 --- Lunch
    1:30 --- Faneuil Hall - talk at 1:30 in 2nd floor auditorium
    2:15 --- The New England Holocaust Memorial
    2:30 --- Paul Revere House & Pierce/Hichborn House (tentative, only if missed on Sat.)
    3:30 --- James Rego Square (tentative, only if missed on Sat.)
    3:45 --- Old North Church free tour every 15 minutes, call to reserve 50 minute private tour for $8

Tuesday 18th Lexington/Concord
    9:00 -- Pick up rental car at Boston Airport
    Morning - early afternoon - Lexington
    Afternoon - Concord

Wednesday 19th Philadelphia
    8:00 -- Arrive at Boston Airport
    9:30 -- Depart US Air
    11:00 - Arrive at Philadelphia airport
    12:00 - Arrive at B&B
    1:00 -- Declaration House (Graff)
    2:00 -- National Constitution Center
    5:00 -- Dinner

Thursday 20th Philadelphia
    8:30 -- Independence Hall Visitor Center
    9:00 -- Watch movie at Independence Hall
    10:00 - Christ Church Burial Grounds
    11:00 - Arch Street Friends Meetings House
    12:00 - Christ Church
    12:30 - Liberty Bell
    1:30 -- Independence Hall
    3:00 -- Old City Hall
    3:30 -- Congress Hall
    5:00 -- Dinner
    7:30 -- Lights of Liberty

Friday 21st Philadelphia
    9:30 --- Elfreth's Alley
    10:00 - Elfreth's Alley Museum
    10:30 -- Betsy Ross House
    11:30 -- Franklin Court
    12:00 -- Franklin Court Museum
    1:00 --- Franklin post office
    1:30 --- Carpenters' Hall
    2:30 --- Todd & Bishop Houses
    4:00 --- Second Bank Portrait Gallery
    5:00 --- Dinner
    7:00 --- Philadelphia Art Museum

Saturday 22nd Philadelphia
    10:00 -- Barnes Foundation
    1:00 --- Library Hall & Philosophical Hall
    2:30 --- Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
    3:00 --- Physick House
    4:00 --- Powell House
    6:00 --- Old St. Joseph's Church

Sunday 23rd Virginia
    8:00 --- Arrive at Philadelphia AMTRAK station
    8:42 --- Depart on train
    10:35 -- Arrive at Union Station, rent car
    12:00 -- Arrive at Mt. Vernon
    5:00 --- Leave Mt. Vernon, drive to Charlottesville
    7:00 --- Check into hotel
    7:30 --- Dinner somewhere

Monday 24th Virginia
    8:00 --- Arrive at Monticello
    1:00 --- Depart Monticello, drive to Montpelier
    2:00 --- Arrive at Montpelier
    4:00 --- Depart Montpelier
    6:00 --- Arrive at airport
    7:50 --- Leave Dulles