Category Archives: 2014 Roadtrip

Back Bay, Day 3 in Boston

We got off to a roaring start just before noon this morning.  I think this time change thing is getting worse instead of better for me.  We started in the Back Bay area at the Boston Public Garden.  This is the oldest botanical garden in the US.  Have you noticed the theme here?  Everything in Boston is the oldest or the biggest and certainly the best!  You’ve got to love it.  Here is the garden’s most famous statue of George Washington on a horse from 1869.

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Even though it was a cloudy day, the temperature was perfect and the gardens were beautiful.

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The central feature of the garden is an irregularly shaped pond.  In the summer months they run foot-pedal-powered Swan Boats around the perimeter.  They were quite amusing.

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There is also the world’s smallest suspension bridge, designed 1867 to cross the pond at its narrowest point.

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Our next stop was the Boston Public Library.  It was an amazing building with lots of beautiful artwork.  Before checking out the interior, we stopped for a break in the Renaissance-style courtyard which is an exact copy of one in Rome around which the original library was built.  We relaxed with a coffee/soda while watching the little birds and the fountain.

public library fountain

I think they were used to being fed…

library bird

Once inside the library, there were two magnificent lions guarding the staircase in the main entrance hall.  Here is one of them.

library lion

The corridor at the top of the stairs lead to Bates Hall, the main reference reading room, 218 feet long with a ceiling that’s 50 feet high.  It was really cool and full of people!

library Bates Hall

On the second floor there is a room with murals by Edwin Abbey depicting his interpretation of the Holy Grail legend.  On the third floor are murals by John Singer Sargent on the Triumph of Religion.  Here is one of the Sargent panels.

library sargent mural

On our way out of the library we got a call from our friend Terry who was having some trouble getting our new/used car registered at DMV in Juneau (imagine that).  Buying a car in Massachusetts is not turning out to be the best idea I ever had.  Hopefully we’ll be able to straighten everything out when we go to pick up the car tomorrow.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Next, we stopped for an outdoor lunch at a fancy Italian eatery on Newbury Street which is Boston’s version of LA’s Rodeo Drive.  After lunch we walked over to the Prudential Building where I discovered I had left my credit card at the restaurant.  It was turning out to be quite a day.  We called the restaurant and had them hold the card while we went up to the 50th floor Skywalk Observatory for a birds eye view of the city.  Here is a view across the Charles River towards Cambridge with lots of little sailboats in the river.

skywalk charles river

This is the Downtown/Beacon Hill area.

skywalk Copley

And, last but not least, Back Bay.

skywalk Back Bay

After we’d done the full 360 at the Skywalk, we went back and picked up my credit card on our way to the hotel for an afternoon siesta.

In the evening, we took the ‘T’ to Harvard Square and had pizza for dinner.  The Harvard area was a really busy, vibrant place and we both wished we had gone earlier in the day, when it was still light out, to see the sights.  Depending on our time management tomorrow, we might go back and take a closer look.

Boston has been a great city to visit and I’d definitely like to come back some day.  For what it’s worth, I highly recommend it.

The Freedom Trail

Today we walked some of the Freedom Trail.  This is a 2 and 1/2 mile route through Boston highlighting 16 historically significant Revolutionary era sites.  We started at Boston Common, America’s oldest public park.  The weather was really pleasant and made for easy walking.  There is a line of either red paint or bricks on the sidewalk that leads you through the town to the different sites on the trail.  It’s interesting how the old and new are blended in the downtown area.

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The route includes several old burial grounds.  Many of the headstones had a skull and crossbones or a skull and wings carved on them.  It must have been fashionable at the time.  One that caught our eye included a ‘skeleton and Father Time battling over the eventuality of death’.  You can see the skeleton trying to snuff out the candle and Father Time trying to stop him.  This headstone is from 1678 and still readable!

Boston tombstone

We ended up at the waterfront and took a ferry that’s part of the ‘T’ system across Boston Harbor to the Charlestown Navy Yard where the USS Constitution is moored.

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The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world and is affectionately known as ‘Old Ironsides’.  We were able to tour the ship which was in really good condition and very interesting.  It reminded us of all the Patrick O’Brien books we’ve read about these kinds of ships.

P1050833Below decks there was a cannon named ‘Jumping Billy’.

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There was also a lion with bright red eyes on the side of the ship.  I’m not sure what it meant but it looked pretty cool.  Anyone out there know what this might mean?

Boston lion eyes

After a full day of sightseeing we took the ‘T’ back to the hotel and still haven’t been lost (I hope I didn’t just jinx us).  We took a little rest before going out for dinner near the hotel in Cambridge.  I got a beautiful beet salad to go with my gnocchi and Billy had an arugula salad and ox tail ravioli for dinner.  He said it was really good…

beet salad

I’m looking forward to a good nights sleep tonight so we’re ready to go for another Boston adventure tomorrow.  I think we might check out Harvard Yard as well as go to the top (52nd floor) of the Prudential Building for a birds eye view of the city.  Keep your fingers crossed for good weather.

Our First Day in Boston

We spent a pretty busy first day in Boston.  The first thing on our to-do list was to buy a car.  This won’t be much of a road trip if we don’t have a car.  Unfortunately, Massachusetts doesn’t issue temporary tags for vehicles that will not be registered in the state so until we get the vehicle registered in Alaska and have the title, registration and license plates, we can’t take the car off the lot.   Luckily, our good friend Terry is going to help us take care of getting the Alaska registration and with any luck, we should be able to go pick up the vehicle in a week or so.  I forgot to take a picture of the car – it’s been a while since I’ve been in blog mode – but it is a 2013 Ford Explorer and it’s red.

car

After we bought the car, we started familiarizing ourselves with the Boston subway, the ‘T’.  We got 7-day passes and have ridden around the city without any problem so far. The trains can get really busy as you can see.  It brought back memories of riding the subway in Rome!

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In the evening, we took the ‘T’ to Fenway Park to watch a Boston Red Sox game.  They were playing the first place team, the Baltimore Orioles.

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We had really good seats behind home plate and had an up close and personal view of the game.  It was a lot of fun.

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Towards the end of the game we went out to the ‘Monster’ to check out the view from the top.  We decided that we liked our seats better!

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We took the ‘T’ back to the hotel after the game and it was easy-peasy.  All in all, it was a pretty good day.  Tomorrow we’re going to tackle the Freedom Trail.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

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We are leaving sunny Juneau for the “lower 48”. Thanks to our good friend Jeff for the six AM ride to “Juneau International”. I love the beginning of an adventure. Even waking up extra early.

Alaska airports are fun because we usually run into friends coming and going. Alaskans get on airplanes frequently. The first thousand miles are just to get to Seattle. It’ll be a little quicker today than the two months we spent last Spring bringing Madeline home!