Day 63 Boston
Boston is a lively intellectual, historical and cultural centre with many beautiful architectural masterpieces, and not a scrap of graffiti in sight. The locals seem to be genuinely proud of their city. Much of the land is reclaimed from the sea using land - fill obtained by taking soil from the original hills. For this reason much of Boston is flat and the streets have names such as Canal Street, Spring Street and Water Street. Boston was the first city in what was to become USA to abolish slavery, the first to have a public school, the first to have a black person for an architect, and a doctor. The sculptures in front of many of their old buildings and in their parks would have to be among the best I have seen anywhere. This morning we had a guided tour of historical Boston and Cambridge. We saw Paul Revere’s house and the church where he was the bell ringer. It was in the bell tower at this church where he had to hang one light if the British were coming to wage war by land and two lights if they were coming by sea. We went across the Charles River to Cambridge where Harvard University is situated. Here, we saw Harvard Yard around which all the freshmen have their rooms, and the Harry Elkins Widener Library. The money for this library was donated by Harry’s mother after Harry drowned when the Titanic sank. Harry was returning from England with a rare volume for the old Harvard library when both he and the book were lost. His mother gave the money with the proviso that the library never be pulled down, that ice cream be served in the canteen every day because her son liked ice cream and that all students at Harvard be taught to swim. We also saw the Hasty Pudding where drama is taught. Jack Lemon and Tommy Lee Jones are ex pupils of the Hasty Pudding. After this Bill and I walked the 3 mile Freedom Trail and visited the Quincy Market. The market offered every type of take away food that you could imagine as well as the usual market produce of T shirts, etc. One novelty was a guy demonstrating how his handbags could be reduced to a ball of tape and then zippered up in a matter of seconds to recreate the handbag. During the walk of the Freedom Trail we saw the old State House Museum and Boston Massacre site where John and Samuel Adams and John Hancock set in motion the American Revolution. We saw the Old South Meeting House where Samuel Adams gave the signal to dump 342 crates of tea into Boston Harbour because the British were charging them too much tax on tea. We visited Boston common, a large park which was purchased for the people of Boston. Here we saw many locals swimming in the lakes. Next to this common is a most beautifully lush park filled with Oak and willow and apple trees. There are flower beds filled with vibrant coloured flowers and lakes where Swan boats pedaled by energetic young people take about twenty people at a time for a ride. We ended up having a drink at the old Cheers Bar, which is opposite these gardens. Robert McCloskey’s book “Make Way for Ducks” is celebrated with the bronze Mother Duck and her 8 ducklings in the Boston Gardens. (Barbara) I was particularly pleased to have a beer at the Cheers Bar where Frasier, Norm, Cliff, Coach and Sam verbally sparred in that great US sit-com. The set lights are still in the ceiling and their names adorn the places where they sat at the bar. Old episodes of Cheers play on the TV screens. The Boston Red Sox were playing away this week but we saw Fenway Park, the oldest baseball stadium in the US. A clash of cultures looms in New York on Sunday with the Yankees at home to Kansas at 1.30 pm accompanied by hot dogs and beer. I have been told there is some interesting Broadway matinee production at the same time! Decisions, decisions!