State #20 Massachusetts

Before I dive into Massachusetts, I wanted to apologize for the weird font changes in the Maine post. I guess I was just being lazy and I copied the descriptions for the Narrows and Fort Knox from their website (I stated it was from their website so I wasn’t worried about that). But apparently when I copied and pasted it pasted the fonts too but in a very weird way and it was funky the rest of the post. Unfortunately, on my end it didn’t show up crazy like that or I would have fixed it before publishing it. It was only when I viewed through my email that I saw the font issues. It’s weird it doesn’t show like that on my end even now. Stuff like that drives me bonkers and I’m sure it bothered some of you reading it. Again, my apologies. Lesson learned. Now on to the fun stuff.

Trev is not a big city guy. It’s just not his cup of tea. Never has been. I used to want to live in the city, my city being Atlanta but I wanted to live with my sweet hubby more. So we lived outside of the big city in a little city for a long time and now we live in a small town. He might not like cities but he loves history relating to our nation’s history and founding so off to Boston we went. We’ve been to Boston before (I surprised Trevor with a birthday trip to Boston to see the Sox at Fenway. I scored major points for that one). We really enjoyed it and couldn’t wait to visit again this time with the boys.

Boston is like one big field trip. There is tons of information. I could add so many details about all our stops. History book upon history book has been written about this stuff and still being written. But I am going to try to keep it short because we stayed in Boston longer than anywhere else thus far on the trip and my post would be huge! So I won’t do that to you. I will just say, if you get the chance to go, go.

We intentionally stayed at a hotel in Revere, MA that provided a free shuttle to and from the Airport subway terminal. I would not recommend driving downtown. There are too many things to get out and see and parking is hard to find. Kids 11 and under ride the subway for free with an adult. Yay! We did the math and knew we would be going into the city everyday so the 7 day unlimited pass would be cheaper for us than pay-per-ride tickets.

If you are new to the subway system, here’s a real quick lesson. Each route is colored (ex Blue Line) and each end of the route is your direction (ex you catch the Blue Line headed either toward Bowdion or Wonderland). Then you have the individual stops on each route. So we took the Blue line heading toward Bowdoin from the Airport down to Government Center and transferred over to the Green Line toward Riverside and got off at Park Street and that popped us out at the Commons and we hit the Freedom Trail. When we were ready to go back to the hotel, we would look to get back to the Blue Line headed toward Wonderland and get off at Airport (and then call our hotel to send the shuttle to get us). We were all over the city so we took the Red Line, Orange Line, and Green Line. Once you are inside the subway, transfers from line to line are free. Each time you go in and out of the terminal, though, is when you pay. The subway has maps at each station so that part is easy.

The hardest part is figuring out which terminal is closest to your destination but if you pull up Google maps it shows terminals with a capital T symbol. So all you have to do is pick your destination, pull it up on Google Maps, scroll around until you find the T then zoom in to see the name of that station, check your subway map, and you’re golden. After this same lesson and Trev and I telling the boys which terminal we were getting on, they were in charge of mapping our route. They did great even Tuck got the hang of it. It gave them a lot of confidence; a good sense of pride. Valuable life lesson.

A few words about the Freedom Trail. You follow a brick path with Freedom Trail markers along the way. You can complete these on your own, take a paid tour, a free walking trail (tip the guide), a duck tour, or bus tour. You might want to take a bus tour if the weather isn’t great or if you have mobility issues. We had amazing weather so we walked. The first part of the trail we decided to pay for a guided costumed guide. We thought it might keep Tucker’s attention better. It didn’t. But the rest of us really enjoyed it. There were things that the guide told us that we wouldn’t have known on our own but you also have to keep pace with the group. Mason likes to read everything so he felt rushed. I liked the pace. Our guide Isaiah Thomas (real name Rob Crean) was entertaining and very knowledgeable. We didn’t get to go in any of the buildings we saw. The Freedom Trail we took is split into two parts. We didn’t know this when we bought our tickets so we were kind of bummed to learn that we didn’t get to see all the stops on the trail and that it was another fee (albeit discounted) to take the second part. But it worked out because during the second part we were able to move at our own pace and go into the places we visited. Some stops like the Paul Revere house and the USS Constitution Museum charge a nominal free but others like the actual USS Constitution at the Charlestown Navy Yard and Bunker Hill are all free.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention. The Freedom Trail is not circular so you don’t end up where you started. You will need to follow the trail back if you’re not good with directions. We just hopped on the subway. Even with the rails, it was A LOT of walking. Depending on your physical condition, weather, and the pace you want to go, you might want to break the trail into two days. I certainly wouldn’t plan on doing anything other than the whole trail in one day. Wear comfortable clothes and footwear. Not all the sites, given their historical nature, are handicap accessible.

The boys learned lots along the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail consists of the following sites: Boston Commons (America’s oldest public park est. 1643), Massachusetts State House, Park Street Church (founded 1809), Granary Burying Ground (est 1660 burial grounds of several famous individuals such as Paul Revere, John Hancock, Samual Adams, and James Otis to name a few), King’s Chapel, and King’s Chapel Burying Ground (Boston’s first Anglican Church), Boston Latin School Site/Benjamin Franklin Statue (founded 1635 is the oldest public school in America), Old Corner Bookstore (constructed in 1718 its downtown Boston’s oldest commercial building and once home of the Ticknor and Fields publishing agent which produced Walden, Scarlett Letter, Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, etc, which is now a Chipotle), Old South Meeting Place (where the Boston Tea Party began), Old State House (built in 1713 it is the oldest surviving public building in Boston), Boston Massacre Site in 1770, Faneuil Hall (hosted America’s first Town Meeting), Paul Revere House (THE Paul Revere owned the house from 1770-1800),

Old North Church (Boston’s oldest church and known for Paul Revere’s midnight ride and “one if by land, two if by sea”), Copp’s Hill Burying Ground (one of Boston’s largest colonial burying ground dating from 1659), USS Constitution (Old Ironsides launched in 1797),

with the trail ending at the Bunker Hill Monument (site of the first major battle on the Revolutionary War; you can climb the monument up a spiraling staircase of 294 steps; and yes we did). The Freedom Trail.org has some really good information regarding these sites.

The Skinny House, below, has an interesting story. So there are two brothers, one goes off to war and the other brother builds on almost all the land that the two were to inherit, assuming the war brother wouldn’t get anything. So out of spite the brother that went off to war returns and builds this super skinny house beside his brother, building four stories up making sure to block all the windows of his brothers house. It is also known as the Spite House, for good reason. I’m sure we can all relate to this story on some level. I mean, I can’t think of a single perfect family.

The boys learned about our navy at the Charlestown Navy Yard. The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat today. The USS Constitution has sailors on board giving informational talks. It was amazing. Then the boys boarded the USS Cassin Young to contrast the difference in a warship from the 1800s to one used in WWII.

They learned about President John Fitzgerald Kennedy with a stop to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Tuck found the intro video so interesting he viewed it with his eyes closed. Poor thing was so tired. We are constantly moving.

Don’t feel too bad for him. He found lots of energy when we stopped at the park.

This park is called Martin’s Park. It is named after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings youngest victim, 8-year-old Martin Richard. Martin’s whole family was there with his sister Jane, losing a leg, his dad, Bill, losing some of his hearing, his mom, Debra, losing sight in one eye, and his older brother, Henry, suffering no physical harm. The $15 million park just opened in June. Fundraising was set in motion years earlier and the Foundation has an endowment to keep the park maintained so its not a line item on the city’s budget that can be cut. Ironically, Martin had made a poster earlier in the school year reading – No more hurting people. Peace. Those words were copied onto a banner which now hangs along the fence entrance. Five cherry trees are planted in the park representing the five individuals who lost their lives in the bombing.

On our way out of Boston, we visited the Adams National Historical Park.

A tale of two brothers. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Humm??

Of course, they also learned valuable life lessons like how to navigate the subway, buses, and crosswalks.

Although, the boys would probably say their greatest lessons learned were why there were so many Dunkin Donuts in Boston (it was started here), where the orignial one was located (543 Southern Artery, Quincy, MA), and they had to know if doughnuts from the original Dunkin tasted better than Dunkins anywhere else (tastes the same but still yummy). If you ever want to go, the boys can tell you which trains to get on to get you there.

On a completely unrelated note, when our windshield was replaced, we were told we would have to go to the Ford dealership afterwards and get the sensor recalibrated but that was not the case. Everything is working just peachy. YAY!

Next up the Ocean State.

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