Friday, September 26, 2008

New England Vacation - Day 1 - Boston Area
We've already had 2 busy days and nearly 500 photos since we landed in Manchester, NH on Wednesday night.
Thursday we had perfect walking weather, even though it was a little cloudy for photos. We bravely ventured into downtown Boston by car when the parking lot was full at the subway stop that we had mapped out before leaving the hotel. As expected, Boston is a tough city to navigate due to the fact that the center of town is so back to the 1600's. That means that the roads are quite narrow, sometimes bumpy or uneven and not very logically laid out with unexpected dead ends. roundabouts, and more.
After a few detours we finally arrived at Boston Common, the oldest park in the country and the start of our walking tours. We spent time on Beacon Hill oogling over the amazing architecture and speculating about who the residents might be in this prestigious neighborhood of Federal style row houses. Check out this listing that shows some of the more well known residents there. It was such a treat to walk down the adorable cobblestone street lined with brick sidewalks. This is how wide all the streets used to's got to be tough to get a car down that!
As you can probably tell, I LOVE architecture, so this area was such a treat for me! I could post dozens of pics of the homes, autumn flowers along the sidewalks and welcoming front entry areas, but I'll submit just a few. Take note of the pic of the front door that is halfway below the sidewalk level next to the one that's above sidewalk level. Not sure how that happened but we saw quite a few like this. The guess is that at some point the sidewalk may have been built up, but who knows.
Later on the tour we visited several cemeteries (or burying grounds as they call them) also dating back to the 1600's. We noticed lots of creepy looking skull and crossbones carvings on the headstones and decided Andrew would probably like them. So Andrew, this close up is for you. Many of the stones were so faded and worn that you couldn't even read them. Paul Revere was buried at one location, and Ben Franklin's parents, plus many more.
The pic above of Terry shows his most comfortable position while on vacation...reading signs, plaques, tour books and whatever other documentation will fill us in on what we're looking at. I take the pictures and he provides the commentary. It's a great partnership that we've developed in our 30+ years together.
As you can imagine, it was so hard to decide which images to post, but here are a few that I've included.
The one with the golden dome is the Massachusetts State House and a statue of Major General Joseph Hooker on horseback.
The inside of the church is the famous "Old North Church" You know the one...where they hung the lanterns in the steeple for "One if by land and two if by sea..." It's quite an amazing place and high on a hill.
The building that's dwarfed by skyscrapers is the Old State House where the Declaration of Independence was read from the outdoor balcony in 1776, declaring our independence from Britain. Then 200 years later, Queen Elizabeth II addressed the crowd from the same balcony in honor of our bicenntennial celebration. Kind of ironic, huh. It was probably my favorite of the government buildings holding it's own among the giants that surround it.
The inside of the restaurant is Giacomo's (pronounce "Jock-o-mos" not at all what I would have guessed). This tiny little Italian restaurant on the North End (think Little Italy) crams in only about 12 tables and seating is so cozy that the couple next to us was only about 2 inches away from our table. Fortunately they were friendly and polite, and we weren't out for a romantic meal so we didn't mind too much. We did mind the pressure we felt to order quickly, eat quickly & leave quickly. The food was tasty and reasonably priced but not worth the rush that was felt as our waitress hovered over the table and snatched up the bill with our cash (only option accepted) before Terry was even finished counting it. The author of our Frommer's tour book and Rachel Ray had recommended the place (which is why it was probably so busy) but I'm sure they were treated differently when they visited. I also discovered that there's another location at the South End which takes reservations and has better service. If they weren't busy, it might be worth eating there, but it's a little too hard not to notice the line of folks standing outside peering in the window waiting for your table. To make up for it, the North End neighborhood is full of the delicious scent of garlic and traditional Italian ingredients. A great place to visit and you should be able to find a great restaurant that's not quite so hurried!
The birds below were just so cute, I couldn't leave them out. I LOVE the bathing bird caught in the act. How sweet it was!
So there was just too much from Day One to even think of including Day Two, so I'll post that tomorrow. Day Two was rainy, so not nearly as much to photograph. See you soon!


Cliff Calderwood said...

Glad you're enjoying visiting my city of Boston and the Beacon Hill area. The houses at one time had no basements and so they were added later - hence a lot of doors to the basement areas added below street level. You take lovely pics. Did you get to Quincy Market yet?

Amy T Schubert said...

so so so jealous.
Boston is now added to my list.

Lisa said...

i loved Boston when we went there...I can't wait to go back some day.

Oh-and I want to go to Forks,WA because that's where my favorite books series is set. Dorky, I know. I'm jealous that you got to be near there!!