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

Saturday, October 15, 2005

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!


Blogger Kevin Pine said...

The Pine family might be Boston bound next June so we'll be watching here for ideas we can use. Did I mention that it doesn't rain nearly so much in June?

And why are they building a bridge/tunnel combination anyway? I think they would be much further along had they decided on one or the other. Anyway, enough about that... I've got to get back to work on my Teriyaki & Donuts restaurant concept!

10/15/2005 10:15 PM  
Blogger Danu said...

Wow, you covered a ton of ground. Sounds like the sites are a blast to visit. I am enjoying reading the account of your adventures!

Keep safe and have fun!

10/16/2005 6:17 PM  
Anonymous gail pardy said...

oh fun! i got on! too cool katie! i'm so excited for you! hey! cool way to keep us posted! big thanks!

where do i put in my guess of miles girl? tomorrow i will be home at home with the wallen's and can find out with the fam too.

hey! yeah for italian food! good for you! i had a super tasty awesome home made italian meal here in FL with long time friends and dad!

more later k! fff g!

10/18/2005 3:18 PM  

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