Saturday, October 24, 2009

Let Freedom Ring!

We began Day 2 refreshed after having finally slept! Can I tell you a little about our vaca rental? We stayed in the Back Bay area of Boston, in an old brownstone. We had the penthouse suite. It had 2 bedrooms, one bath, a TV area where another person could sleep on the couch and an aero bed, a living room, a dining room and a kitchen. I would suggest a vacation rental anytime. It was cheaper than a hotel and had the amenities of a home. Fabulous time in our Boston home!

We began the day with the Freedom Trail.

We started at Boston Common and walked the red line through the city, viewing all the historical points of interest. I was so excited to be standing and viewing the same buildings as the founding fathers of our country. I can't tell you the thrill I had of being in some of the oldest European settled cities our country has. My ancestors walked these streets, participated in the events of the day and helped found this great country and I was able to walk a little bit into their lives.

In any case, we walked the freedom trail, starting in Boston Common, the oldest public park in the country. Here colonists grazed their sheep and cattle and during the siege of Boston, the redcoats pitched their tents and participated in their training drills.

From there, we moved onto the Massachusetts state house, onto King Chapel, the oldest and original Church of England in the colonies, later to become an Episcopalian congregation. Here famous folks were buried at the Old Burying Ground, including Paul revere, the Winthrops, John Hancock and others.

We continued on to Old South Church, to the Old State House, Fanueil Hall where orators such as Samuel Adams made their opinions heard. Quincy Market was next and then onto the North End where Paul Revere's is. We toured his home and learned more about his livelihood. He worked with metals, forming bells, anything to do with copper. He was one of THE metalurgy workers in the area and many of the old churches have bells made by him.

We heard about this place in the North End called Mike's Pastries. So of course since we were right there, we HAD to stop by. We went back to that place another day, it was so good. They had amazing canolies, whoopie pies, cookies, and other fabulous desserts. We stocked up and walked back along the Freedom Trail to our house where we watched the last session of conference and made Bryonny's fabulous soup. Cozy way to end a fall day in Boston, wouldn't you say!

(Our friend Jake from San Diego was able to join us Day 1 and Day 2. He was out checking out the Boston colleges. Thanks to him for putting up with our plans and occasionally being our T-train bodyguard, he had 4 girls to look after!)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We Don't Do Weather-Beantown Day 1

Day 1, We have arrived!
Flight 10:30 pm, Friday night, yes we took a red eye, yes we were crazy. I don't think any of us realized how long the night was going to be. I personally have never taken a red eye before and came to the conclusion that adrenaline can take you to places you've never been. We arrived "red and puffy eyed" in Boston at 7am, ready to start our adventure!

7am, Saturday, Logan International airport: We look outside, and our first day in Boston is rainy. But we'll go with the flow! We will be experiencing all of Boston's faces. We get our luggage and head for the shuttle buses, where we take off the for the T (Boston's subway system). We figure out the Blue line to the Orange line will drop us off a few blocks from where we are staying. I will say, Boston has a pretty good subway system. We're utilizing it quite often on this trip. But BART takes the cake for having the trains come to you and then go off on their different lines instead of Boston's process of the people moving to the different pick up points. In any case, not a bad system. The events that have happened so far include: the nod of approval from a guy in the subway ticket area. We got a nod that to us, signified that even in our tired, no make up, no contacts, yoga pants state, we were still worth a look and not bad. All that before 7:30am. (In case you didn't know, Boston is 3 hours ahead, so all this took place in the wee hours of a California morning).

We in Boston!: the subway ticket agent asking us if we needed help. If you were to look at 4 girls/women who had 4 bags of luggage and backpacks, dressed in comfortable clothes that did were more colorful than anything the native Bostonians were wearing, would you think they were from out of town? Yes, we stuck out and yes we needed help. We couldn't check into our vacation rental until 11am, so we have 4 hours to kill. And we were hungry! This woman directed us to a place up the street that served buffet breakfast!! Hello, can we say answer to unspoken prayers! We headed off that way and apparently still looked lost because she came running behind us telling us where to go and sending us jaywalking across the street, asking "where you all from, New York? We in Boston, cross the street!" So she stopped traffic and directed us across the street to our first glorious meal in Boston.

Homeless men swoop: As we were leaving the train station, we really felt like targets. A homeless man (we know he was homeless cause we are at the moment, homeless as well and we know our people), swept in to get the door for us. But, to our chagrin, another one of our peeps swept in behind us. We were in a homeless sandwich. Luckily, in about 20 minutes, we will not be homeless anymore. What do two homeless men want with our wallets? To our relief, we went one way away from our two friends as they searched out other potential victims of the homeless swoop.

RAIN!!! Yes, it is raining here on our first day. In our homeless state for 4 hours, we experience our own handcart trial. We were carting our luggage for blocks trying to get to the ticket counter for our duck tour, finding breakfast, and then finding our vaca rental. We decided, we don't do weather. Our pioneer ancestors might find us to be sad progeny and pathetic degenerates and disown us in the eternities, as Bryonny slept on a bench in The Pru shopping center, psychotic from lack of sleep. We're missing our "essentials " kit of "food, shelter and love" and mumbling to ourselves, "eleven o'clock, eleven o'clock."

And by the way, restrooms in Barnes and Noble have long lines and are hard to find....

Eleven o'clock came! We were able to finally check into our Apple of Boston B&B penthouse. We are staying in the top 2 stories of an 1870s home on Appleton St, in the Back Bay area of Boston. The place is pretty awesome, with it's brick architecture, 4 stories from the outside, gables on the top floor and narrow staircases within. The four of us are having a great time getting to know our home away from home. We were able to nap and shower after our travels and then hit the town. We first did...

A Duck Tour! These WWII transport marine and land vehicles were turned into tour boats/all terrain vehicles. It took us around the city, giving us brief glimpses of what Boston has to offer and of it's past. We got a bunch of ideas of things we want to do or places to go eat. Come to find out, Boston Creme Pie was invented here and we found the place it was, I think that requires a visit! The Omni hotel I think is where they said it was, We saw a bunch of places we're going to see on our Freedom Trail walk.Luckily, we can see a lot of it on our own.

On the recommendation of our landlady, we tried a restaurant called Brassierie Jo's, it's a french place. Nothing totally awesome about it, except to hungry travelers, it was just food! We plan on hitting up the Union Oyster House, America's claim of oldest restaurant is their novelty. We also want to hit up the North End for dinner, where all there is a community of Italians and there are over 100 italian restaurants. Sounds so good!!

The night ended with the Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park. We got to watch America's pastime at America's oldest sports venue. Fenway park was built in 1912 I believe and is a great place to go for a game. I noticed the Boston fans are more of a participating group than any other fan base I've seen. They were fun, loud and obnoxious on their way home but you could tell they loved their Sox.

It was a fun filled packed day, we're SOOO tired. It's beyond tired, so good night world, these 4 ladies are just starting their world of adventure in Boston!