Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Freedom Trail (Boston, Massachusetts)

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile red (mostly brick) path running through downtown Boston that passes by 16 locations significant to the history of the United States. While in Boston, Dan and I walked this route that starts at the Boston Common (this country's first Public Park) and winds its way to the USS Constitution (the world's oldest commissioned naval vessel still afloat). Stops along the trail including ground markers, graveyards (we saw where Benjamin Franklin is buried), historically significant churches (including Boston's first church) and buildings, the site of the Boston Massacre, Paul Revere's house, Bunker Hill, and both the Old State House and the current State House. We took our time, along this walk through time, stopping at the various locations to linger and imagine what it must have been like to be here centuries ago when the country was young and just beginning to take shape. Lessons previously learned behind a desk in a classroom came to life during our stroll along the Freedom Trail. Below are some pictures from that day.

Fenway Park (Boston, Massachusetts)

Since our visit to Boston was during baseball season, it was the perfect opportunity to visit Fenway Park and catch the game between the Red Sox and the Angels (played on August 18, 2014). The ballpark was just a few blocks from our hotel room, and the mild evening made it perfect for the walk there and back. Fenway is the 18th baseball park we have visited, and had been high on our list of "must see's".  When we arrived, the blocked off streets were set up like one giant tailgating party, with a celebratory atmosphere and all the fans in high spirits. It was hard not to get caught up in the merriment and festivities. I can't help but root for the home team wherever we go (unless of course the SF Giants are involved), so it was a little disappointing that the Angels won 4-2 that night. Nevertheless, we had a great time, as we always do at baseball games! Here are some pictures of the stadium and the game.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

John F. Kennedy is the first president I can consciously remember. He took office in January 20, 1961 when I was only four years old. His life came to a tragic end on November 22, 1963 when I was seven. I doubt I would have any solid recollections of him had he not been assassinated, but because of the huge impact this event had on all Americans, my family included, I still have jumbled images of the events of that fateful week - the television coverage of that terrible day, live coverage of the funeral, little John-John's brave salute, and Thanksgiving Day, all part of one memory mosaic that etched a permanent mental picture in my brain. Time, knowledge, and maturity continually reshape these early memories, and what started out as a 7-year old child's impression of the events has morphed into how I think of the past, today. History lessons in school, movies, and novels (I learned a lot about the life and times of JFK in Stephen King's book, 11/22/63), and now, most recently from our visit to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, five miles from where he was born.

Boston, Massachusetts

We have been so busy the past few weeks that keeping up with the travel blog has slipped further and further down my list of priorities. Before I even got the chance to finish up my Boston entries, we were off to New York City. We have now finished our New England and New York visitations (for this time around, at least), and I finally find myself in a short reprieve from this whirlwind of activity, resting up in a pretty RV Park in Ashland, Virginia.
But back to Boston - one of the many places to visit here is the state Capitol, our 47th! Built in 1798 on land once owned by John Hancock (Massachusetts's first elected governor), and located in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, the Boston State House is filled with grand sweeping staircases, marble floors and columns, stained glass windows, and intricately designed wrought iron railings called "black lace". The dome, originally made from wood shingles, is now sheathed in copper and covered by 23 karat gold.

 Some fun facts about Boston: The official state dessert is Boston cream pie; the first subway system in the U.S. was built in Boston (not NYC); the first public park in America was the Boston Common; the official state dog is the Boston Terrier.