Sunday, November 13, 2016

Boston, Leominster & Boston

[November 11, 2016 - Friday]
On Friday Thomas and I left Santa Fe and traveled to Boston, Massachusetts. Our flight was early in the morning and we had a layover in Denver before arriving in Boston around 4:00pm. We took a taxi from the airport to the hotel (Westin Waterfront Hotel) and got checked in & settled in our room. Around 6:00pm we decided to go out and find something to eat. We walked from the hotel to Seaport Blvd. and strolled up and down this street to find a meal.
We had looked on Yelp before we left the hotel and found an Italian restaurant on the list so that is what we were looking for. But I guess that the restaurant had closed because we couldn't find it. So Thomas used his phone to see if there was another Italian restaurant in the area. We found one on Seaport Blvd. but in the opposite direction from the way we were walking. So we turned around and made our way to Salvatore's. We had a great meal and some wine and relaxed from a long day of traveling. After dinner, we walked back to the hotel to get some rest for tomorrow.

[November 12, 2016 - Saturday]
Saturday morning we woke up early and got things ready because we were taking the train to Leominster to visit our friends Dave & Deanne. I had misread the train schedule and was glad I rechecked it because we would have missed the train if we had used the time I originally noted. When I noticed this mistake we only had forty-five minutes to get to the train station.
North Station - Boston
I didn't think we could make it by walking or taking the subway so we grabbed a cab. We arrived with 15 minutes to spare. They were working on the tracks going toward Leominster so we had to take a bus from North Station to Lincoln and then transfer to the train there for the rest of the trip to Leominster. Dave & Deanne met us at the station in Leominster. We went to their house and got settled and visited for a bit and then headed out to their church fair. They were manning a booth selling raffle tickets for cash prizes. The fair is an annual event to raise money for maintaining the building. Thomas and I walked around the fair while they worked and then I took Deanne's place so she could have a break. Around 3:30pm we left the fair and went back to their house and relax. Then at 5:00pm we went to their friend's house for drinks. We spent a little over an hour visiting and then we headed out to dinner. We ate at one of their favorite places - The Columbia Tavern. After dinner, we returned to their house and just talked for a couple of hours. Then Thomas and I headed up to our room to get some sleep.

[November 13, 2016 - Sunday]
On Sunday morning Dave cooked breakfast for us and we had a nice visit. About 11:00am Dave & Deanne took us back to the train station so we could get back to Boston.
USS Constitution
So we took the train to Lincoln and then the bus into Boston. Once we arrived in Boston we headed over to Charlestown. We wanted to see the USS Constitution (at this time of year it is only open Thursday - Sunday). So we checked in at the Visitor Center and the I got my National Park Passport Stamps. Then we had a fifteen minute wait until we got a guided tour of the ship. I wasn't impressed with the tour. It lasted only about 15 minutes and we didn't really see much of the ship. I also felt the tour guide was a little full of himself. Once we finished the tour then we walked over to Bunker Hill.
Bunker Hill Monument
Our goal was to climb to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument. We arrived at the monument and talked to a Ranger and then headed to the stairs. We had to take our time to climb the 294 steps to the top. At first, I was feeling really old and out of shape but then we noticed that everyone was having trouble. The views from the top were amazing. You could see all around and I was able to get a few good pictures. Going down the steps was much easier and faster. We went back to the Ranger and I got my National Park Passport Stamps. Once I finished stamping we went outside and found a bench so we could sit and rest for a while. Both of us felt like our legs were made of jello. Finally, after about a half hour we were ready to start our walk back to the hotel. While walking we kept our eye open for a good place to eat dinner as both of us were hungry. We had been walking along Atlantic Ave. following the harbor and we turned on Seaport Blvd. to head toward the hotel. When we got to the other side of the bridge we saw a restaurant that we decided to try for dinner. We stopped at The Barking Crab and I was really wanting a lobster roll. And that is exactly what I had for dinner and it was delicious. After eating we decided to look for a letterbox. You can read about that part of our day at A Tiny Stamp. After the letterboxing, we continued our walk back to the hotel. Once there we relaxed and read and planned for the day tomorrow.

[November 14, 2016 - Monday]
This morning Thomas needed to attend a meeting at the conference so I was on my own. I had made some plans that included letterboxing, National Parks and the Freedom Trail.
So I left the hotel and started walking. I did some letterboxing throughout the day and you can read about that at Letterboxing Along the Freedom Trail Somewhere along the line I took a wrong turn and ended up heading in the wrong direction but I realized what I had done and corrected it quickly. I arrived at Boston Common on the side near the Capitol Building and entered Dunkin Donuts to get something to eat and some coffee. I took my breakfast sandwich and coffee to the Visitor Center in Boston Common and found a bench where I could sit and eat. When I was done I went into the Visitor Center and got a map and some information about the Freedom Trail. But before I started the trail I wanted to do something else first. I headed out of Boston Common and walked along Joy St. to the Boston African American National Historic Site. I first got my National Park Passport Stamp and then I took a guided tour of the site. While doing all this I was also working on the Junior Ranger Booklet for the site. When I finished the tour and walking through the exhibits I met Thomas out in front of the building.
Make Way for Ducklings
We walked back to Boston Common and ended up walking all around Boston Common and then we headed over to Boston Public Garden. During our walk, we saw the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial, Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Central Burying Ground, Make Way for Ducklings, the beautiful bridge over the lake, George Washington Statue, and the Ether Monument. After our walk, we decided we needed something to eat. Since we were in the area we decided to eat at Cheers (previously known as Bull & Finch Pub). After we ate we looked for a letterbox and then started The Freedom Trail. I had already Been to the Visitor Center which is the beginning of the Trail so we just headed to the next stop - the Massachusetts State House. Then we continued along the trail visiting Park Street Church, Granary Burying Ground, King's Chapel, King's Chapel Burying Ground, Benjamin Franklin Statue and the Boston Latin School, Old Corner Bookstore, Old South Meeting House, Old State House, Site of the Boston Massacre and Faneuil Hall. Along the way,
King's Chapel
I collected National Park Passport Stamps at some of the locations. And I worked on the Boston Historical Park Junior Ranger Booklet. The sites that are part of the Trail as well as part of the National Park System, are Old State House, Old South Meeting House, Paul Revere House, Old North Church, Bunker Hill Monument and USS Constitution. We arrived at Faneuil Hall around 3:30pm and we debated about continuing on or calling it a day. We decided to take a break and get something to eat. Since Faneuil Hall is full of different places to eat we walked around and until we found something we wanted. Then we found a spot to sit and we ate and talked about what to do next. After eating we walked to the Paul Revere House but they were closing up so we decided to head back to the hotel and call it a day. As we were walking we came across an Italian grocery store (Salumeria Italiana). We decided to stop in and get some nduja. This is a spreadable salami and is delicious. We had it in Calabria, Italy back in May (you can read about that trip at Southern Italy & Sicily). Thankfully the store had some so we bought it and then headed back to the hotel. We relaxed and read and talked about our interesting day in Boston.  Tomorrow I am on my own, not sure what I will do.

[November 15, 2016 - Tuesday]
Thomas is busy all day today with his conference so I am on my own to do whatever. We woke up to lots of clouds and a good chance of rain for the day. But I was determined to finish the Freedom Trail. So I left the hotel and walked to Seaport Blvd. and then to Atlantic Ave. as I made my way to the Paul Revere House.
Copp's Burying Ground
There was a light mist by this time and I was glad to have a break by going inside for a bit. I got my National Park Passport Stamp and then took a self-guided tour of the house. Then I continued on the trail going to the Old North Church, Copp's Burying Ground and then on to Charlestown. It was drizzling on and off during my walk and by the time I got to the USS Constitution Museum it was raining much harder. At this point, I was going to look for a couple of letterboxes but it was way too wet to do that. So I decided to have a look around the museum and I could also work on completing my Boston African American NHS and Boston NHP Junior Ranger Booklets.
USS Constitution Museum
By the time I left the museum it was raining harder. Thankfully I had a raincoat and an umbrella so I was covered. I still had a couple of things to complete in the Junior Ranger booklets and then I needed to turn it in at Faneuil Hall. After leaving the museum I walked to Faneuil Hall and found a bench to sit on and finish the booklets. Then I went to one of the Rangers and turned in the booklets and got my Junior Ranger badges. Now it was time to head back to the hotel and I debated about getting a cab or just walking. And since I was already damp I decided to walk. I had talked with Thomas and he was done with his meetings and was in the room waiting for me. When I got back to the hotel I decided to shower and change into some dry clothes and then get some things packed for the drive home. Since it was still raining (and I believe it had gotten worse) we decided to eat at one of the restaurants in the hotel. After dinner, we returned to the room and packed as much as we could before calling it a day. We read and relaxed and then went to sleep. Tomorrow we head to the airport for our flight home. We had an incredible trip but we could have used a few more days to see some things we missed. Oh well, I guess we need to plan another trip.

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