Very blustery day today. Not particularly chilly, but enough to make it a tougher day. At least it stayed dry. Low-teens temperatures.
I’d been intrigued by a large church across the square from the hotel, so we paid it a visit. Unfortunately, there was a service going on, so we weren’t allowed in, but had an engaging conversation with a church warden who was interested in our itinerary. This delayed the start to our plan, but was nevertheless very worthwhile.
Plan was to pick up the Freedom Trail from where we left off the day before yesterday, then see what time we had left. This necessitated using the Boston Metro once again, but matters were complicated by a mini-marathon being organised around us for some good cause. I do not mean to denigrate it in any way. We just had no idea what was going on.
After a certain amount of difficulty finding the right set of stairs to descend to get to the right platform, we headed east. Exited four stops later and picked up the trail again from Faneuil Hall.
It was quite a long walk to the next stop, but proved to be most interesting. Paul Revere’s house, the oldest surviving building in Boston. Revere bought it in 1770 and lived there until about 1800. He outlived two wives and fathered sixteen children, 11 of whom survived into adulthood.
I’ve mentioned this guy quite a lot, because I find his story intriguing. Longfellow’s poem about him is full of inaccuracies, and the truth of his heroic ride as told by American legend is not necessarily kosher, but it’s a great story and a fascinating piece of American history. He wasn’t actually the real hero, as he himself later admitted – that accolade should go to William Dawes. It’s complicated. Please read the Wikipedia entry at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Revere%27s_Midnight_Ride as I simply don’t have the time.
Regrettably, we couldn’t take pictures inside the house, because there was some wonderful personal property of Revere’s on display. This took a lot longer than I was expecting.
At this point, we diverted to another iconic Bostonian institution – Mike’s Pastry. The cannolis are legendary, so we bought two, when we finally got to the head of a huge queue. See later.
On we went to the next stop – the Old North Church, where the plan for the ride to alert the patriots at Lexington and Concord to the arrival of the British fleet was hatched in 1775.
Proper American folklore, but we didn’t go into the church itself as there was a huge party in there and time was marching on.
Next was the Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, where some of the great and good of the late 18th century were buried, but the wind was getting to us by then, so we gave it a passing glance.
At this point, we crossed the Charles River and entered Charlestown on the Cambridge side of the river, catching a glimpse of a splendid suspension bridge.
Another longish walk took us down to the waterfront, the attraction being the USS Constitution, a late 18th century warship better known as “Old Ironsides”, having survived over 30 naval battles, with an accompanying exhibition providing details of this historic dockyard. It was free for once.
Jean, bless her, had been carrying the Mike’s Pastry box all this time, and it was getting in the way. So, before we boarded the ship, we ate the contents.
This was a messy, if enjoyable, experience, as we were both covered in icing sugar by the time we’d finished them. Rather like eating a very large soft brandy snap.
The ship is contemporaneous with HMS Victory at Portsmouth, and looks remarkably similar.
The final destination of the Freedom Trail was the monument marking the Battle of Bunker Hill, one of the bloodiest battles of the Revolutionary War. See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Bunker_Hill for details.
About the only realistic thing left on our agenda was the Boston Tea Party Museum, although time was now short. Back we went down Bunker Hill to catch the Charlestown Ferry to take us back across the river.
10 minutes later, we were on the other side of the river.
As we had seen very little of the Boston waterfront so far, we decided to try walking along it to get to the Tea Party Museum. We didn’t last long in this endeavour, as it was very windy and cold, but got a few snaps in.
By the time we got there, all tours were sold out, and it was $31.95 each anyway. We headed for the tea (hah!) room as we needed a break.
Most people, I think, know at least the bare bones of the story about a consignment of tea on a British ship being tipped into the harbour by patriots incensed by yet another British tax and restrictions on personal freedoms. Once again, more details at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Tea_Party
From here, all we needed to do was to get back to the hotel, which we accomplished yet again by using the Boston train system.
Not for the first time, we find that, once we begin to get into the rhythms of a city, we have to leave. 😮💨
Because we were knackered, and because the pastries consumed earlier were very rich, we merely availed ourselves of the complimentary hors d’oeuvres that come with Fairmont Gold for dinner, and retired to our room to pack and sleep.
It’s been quite a final day in Boston. Tomorrow we catch a train to New York for the last stop on our journey before returning to Blighty on the Queen Mary 2. Please check back in to see how this will eventuate.