Biggest Ball of String

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe – so far)

Boston, Massachusetts

on March 31, 2013

BostonFrom somewhere in New York, we continued to Boston, through the Appalachian Mountains.

Boston! there are SO MANY things to do and see there!!

What do you think of when you think of Boston? Paul Revere? Celtics? Common? Tea Party? Fenway Park and the Red Sox? Cheers?

CHEERS!! Of course! because “sometimes you want to go where everyoneCheers knows your name!”

Cheer is Cheers (1982-1993) on the outside and the Bull and Finch Pub on the inside.  Apparently, the show was filmed “in front of a studio audience” on set, BUT that didn’t stop us from going in and sitting at the end of the bar, and yelling “Norm!!!”

I know! HOW CLICHE!! But, I’m not embarrassed. I mean, seriously! we could not have been the first, and we sure won’t be the last!

Cheers postcard Cheers postcard 1

My best souvenir from there was the napkin with “Cheers” on it, but Peter got aCheers napkin Cheers baseball cap. He loved it, and wore it faithfully, until he lost it forever at the bottom of Lake Pend Oreille, in Sandpoint, Idaho.

In case I don’t remember to talk about it later… we had the opportunity to take a sailboat out onto Lake Pend Oreille… owned by a friend of my sister’s… none of us had ever sailed, including the owner – let’s call him.. “Joe”… 😀 Anyway, he sort of had an idea how to sail because he read a book about it… at one point, he’d made the generous offer to my sister: “Hey – you ever want to take the boat out on the Lake – let me know.”

And then, we came to town, and it seemed like fun!

During one of the moments when my brother was navigating, we discovered that you cannot actually flip a sailboat over (something about the weight of something under the sailboat – I want to say the Keel, but I could be completely wrong – almost certainly am). You can’t flip a sailboat, BUT you CAN lay it on its side… (which is when Peter lost his Cheers hat.. BUT he DID NOT spill his beer! )

We are planning a trip back to Cheers to get another hat… technically, you can order one on-line, but where’s the fun in that?

The original Cheers location is at one end of Boston Common.Boston Common

Boston Common is a 50 acre park, established in 1635, and therefore the oldest park in the United States. (Boston, itself, was established in 1630…) Other than being “oldest”, it’s also known for many things -including cattle grazing (until 1830); Colonial militia musterings and British Redcoat encampments; a civil rights rally led by Martin Luther King, Jr. (along with other rallies)…

It’s also the beginning of Freedom Trail, a 2 1/2 mile walk through Boston, that visits 16 historical sites.

The Freedom Trail website invites us to “discover the rich history of the American Revolution, as it began in Boston, where every step tells a story.”  Now, I can just assume that the sights and scenes about the American Revolution (1775-1776) from the Freedom Trail may have a different story, if you are from a different country. BUT, this is bits and pieces of history as I know it.

First stop of the Freedom Trail, after Boston Common is the Massachusetts State House. completed in 1798.  It was built on land previously owned by John Hancock, who was Massachusetts’ first elected governor AND the first to sign the Declaration of Independence.

The dome of the building was covered in copper by Paul Revere, who (did you know?) was the “first American to roll copper successfully into sheets in a commercially viable manner.” (Wikipedia.)

Next on the Freedom Trail, is the Park Street Church, where, in 1826, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s brother, Edward Beecher, was a preacher.  (I didn’t actually even see this church. Apparently, it’s adjacent to the Granary Cemetery, and I was so enthralled with the Cemetery, I almost remember nothing else.) (By the way, I’m not “enthralled” in a creepy way – I just love all the history!)

OK! Now, the Granary Burying Ground!  (This was the 3rd of four cemeteries/burying grounds we visited on this road trip.  The other two being The Battle of Little Big Horn and Mount Moriah, in Deadwood, SD.)
Granary CemeteryGranary Cemetery 2
Founded in 1660, this isn’t even the oldest burial ground in Boston, but is only 3rd oldest. (Wish I had’ve known that when I was there.)

Among 1000’s of people buried here, are:
~ Samuel AdamPaul Revere Tombstones (signer of the Declaration of Independence)
~ Crispus Attuck (an African-American victim of the Boston Massacre)
~  members of Benjamin Franklin’s family (Ben is buried in Philadelphia)
~ John Hancock (mentioned above)
~ Paul Revere (silversmith and key player in the Revolutionary War drama)
~ and Mary Goose (who some claim is actually Mother Goose – I guess there some discrepancy about that… apparently, some of the Mother Goose poems date back further than her existence.. however, I don’t really think that matters – maybe she just happened to be the one who repeated them and compiled them…)

 Freedom Trail next takes us to King’s Chapel and Burying Ground. The Burying Ground were founded in 1630, and the first cemetery in Boston.  (This is where Google would’ve been handy – I didn’t know about this.) The Chapel was added in 1686, founded Royal Governor Sir Edmund Andros, during the reign of King James II.

Right across from the Kings Chapel is the First Public School Site (Boston Latin School, founded in 1635, making it the oldest school in the United States AND still exists today, although at a different location) andOld South Meeting House Benjamin Franklin Statue.   Ben Franklin actually DID attend Boston Latin School, but, rumor has it, dropped out.  (Samuel Adams and John Hancock also attended.)

I mistakenly thought the Old South Meeting House was the Old North Church.  But the Old South Meeting House, built in 1729, is where the colonists met together and planned the Boston Tea Party.

The Boston Tea Party was a political protest by the Colonists against taxes imposed by the British government, controlling the tea being imported.  (In 1767, the Townshend Revenue Act was issued by the British government, decreeing that a tax had to be paid for the purchase of glass, lead, oil, paint, paper, and tea.)  In 1768, the Colonies set up The Boston Non-Importation Agreement which boycotted further importing and exporting from and to Britain.   In exchange, Parliament passed The Tea Act in 1773, granting the British East India Company Tea the monopoly on tea sales in the American Colonies.

According to the Boston Tea Party website, the intention of the Tea Act wasn’t meant to make the Colonists mad. (Tea had already been taxed way back in 1767.)  In fact, it seems that it was some sort of concession – due toTea Party 4 boycotting and protesting, they had already repealed the tax on the glass, lead, etc.  And this Tea Act was, in fact, an effort to bail out the East Indian Company out of debt.

Well! THAT didn’t work out as planned AT ALL!!! Sick of being told what to do and with whom to do it, a group of colonists, dressed as Mohawk Indians, snuck unto the tea ships in the middle of the night and destroyed 92,000 pounds (41,730 kg) of tea!

The Boston Tea Party site is not actually included in the Freedom Trail walk, but is still nearby.
Tea Party 2Tea Party

On the other hand, the Old North Church is the place where lanterns were hung, warning the Colonists if the British were coming by land or sea – “One if by land, two if by sea.”

Paul Revere instructed Robert Newman to signal with TWO lanterns, signalling to Colonial militia and back-up riders of the British invasion, across the Charles River.  Meanwhile, Paul Revere and William Dawes rode out to warn Colonial militia in near-by towns.  Other riders then, once warned, rode further, relaying the warning.

He rode from Boston to Lexington, to warn Hancock and Adams, arriving around midnight. The Paul Revere House website includes a map of “Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride.

You can actually visit Paul Revere’s house, which is now a museum.  It’s back on the Freedom Trail tour (this is where Paul Revere lived during his Midnight Ride) and is the site right before Old North Church.
Paul Revere HousePaul Revere 2

Displayed in the courtyard of Paul’s house is a  “900 pound bell, a small mortar and a bolt from the USS Constitution, all made by Paul Revere & Sons.”

The USS Constitution, “the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world”, is also on the Trail.  George Washington ordered its construction, and it was first launched in 1797.  In 1812, the USS Constitution wasOld State House nicknamed “Old Ironsides” because cannon balls just glanced it’s hull.  (We didn’t get to go there, either, but I will next time, for sure!)

Right after the Old South Meeting House is the Old State House, built in 1713.  In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read from the balcony.

So, I’m skipping the Old Corner Bookstore, Faneuil Hall and Copp’s Hill Burying Ground.  Not because they are less important, but because I don’t have pictures anyway.  (I was there before the days of Digital cameras – now, I’d have pictures of everything!! In fact, then, I probably took pictures of everything, but since I had to wait to get them developed, might not have saved them all, not remembering what everything is… AGAIN, I’m not THAT old! but this was a little while ago….It does seem clear, though, that I will have to walk The Freedom Trail, when we are back in Boston getting Peter his new Cheers hat.

Next on the Disposable Car Roadtrip is Bar Harbor, Maine.

(PS.  Remember how I planned to post on Wednesdays and Sunday?  And HAVE since September 2012.   However, for the time being,  I think I’m going to have to post a blog on Sundays, only…. Too bad… not forever… just till further notice…)

http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/
http://www.cityofboston.gov/freedomtrail
http://poetry.eserver.org/paul-revere.html

 

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2 responses to “Boston, Massachusetts

  1. Maryann says:

    I have always wanted to visit Boston. Never made it YET! But you’ve sure brought parts of it into view for me.

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