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» Saturday, October 16, 2010Linda and James and the Blustery Day
But it was a sunny day! They had predicted for days that the noreaster's showers would last into today, and I had resigned myself to the fact that we would be possibly walking around Boston in a soggy state.
But today dawned sunny with fat, fluffy cumulus clouds and sapphire blue skies. The wind was wildly tossing the trees, but we were snug and warm in our jackets after we ate breakfast, then headed a few miles south to the Alewife T station off Route 2. This came with a huge garage, so no worries about parking spaces; alas, this T station, at least, charges for parking now. There were no tokens to buy, as they now use cards as well, called "Charlie Cards" after the famous Kingston Trio song about "Charlie on the MTA."
James asked what I wanted to do. Well, I just wanted to be there. When we emerged at Park Street, I wondered if he wanted to go on the Duck Tour again, until I checked the price. Ulp. Let's just...walk.
And so we did. We stopped at the Granary Burying Ground where Ben Franklin's parents and John Hancock lie, then strolled past King's Chapel and the Omni Parker House, where Parker House rolls were first invented. This time we followed the Freedom Trail line, walking past the site of the first Boston Public School and the old City Hall with a statue of Ben Franklin out front. This led to the downtown Borders Book store, so we went in to use the facilities. Of course we had to look around, and I found an Anne of Green Gables calendar, something I've never seen before! I have completed my calendar purchases earlier in the week, but I had to get this. I was hoping to find some "Revels" CDs, but none were in stock. I figured I could check at the Coop.
After seeing this store, and the Burlington Barnes & Noble, we agree Atlanta needs to get some better book stores. This Borders was enormous, easily twice the size of the one in Buckhead. I've never seen so many calendars in a bookstore, and there was a long row of shelves full of local books.
From there we stopped at the memorial to the Irish who died of famine in the 19th century (the potato blight killed thousands of Irish dependent on them for food, prompting the mass migration of many Irish to the United States), and then walked on to the Old State House and the Boston Massacre site, next door to one of my favorite Boston spots, the National Park Service book store. We bought a few postcards and sent one, then walked on to Fanueil Hall and Quincy Market. We walked through Newbury ComicsJames looked around at the DVDs, stickers, cards, and the biggest collection of toques I've ever seen and said "They do have comics in this comics store, don't they?" ala Ian Malcolm, and we did find them, in the rear of the shop.
We walked through Quincy Market and all the food booths, but they were having a fall festival today and the place was crowded, with nowhere to sit. James and I both had our eye on some freshly carved turkey, but we decided, because of available seating, that we would eat at Durgin-Park, a Boston institution, instead; the place was founded in 1742. You eat at long tables with checked tablecloths, and I warned James that the restaurant had a tradition of "rude" waitresses. However, we encountered a cheerful greeter and a friendly waiter, and had nothing but a pleasant time there. James got a shepherd's pie, which turned out to be huge, and I, having never had such a thing in my life, partook of a lobster roll (think a lobster-salad sandwich in a hot dog bun with lettuce). It was absolutely delicious! We both got sides of Boston baked beans, and I believe these were cooked traditionally, because they were yummy, soaked through with molasses flavor, and I don't ordinarily like beans.
After lunch, we walked out the rear of the Quincy Market complex. The last time we ventured that way, many years ago, this brought pedestrians under the dirty, smelly beams of the expressway. Since then, the "Big Dig" has swept the steel and concrete freeway away. It's absolutely miraculous, open sky and parkland in place of noisome cars. On the way there, we passed the Haymarket, the weekly farmer's market near Haymarket T station. Mary Bloemker took me there once; I remember buying a dozen oranges for a dollar. I'd forgotten how big it was, starting at the corner of North Street and all the way down Blackstone Street: stalls and stalls piled full of vegetables, fruits, and other foods.
We crossed what is now the John F. Fitzgerald Surface Road (instead of Expressway) and made our way the half-mile to the Paul Revere House and toured the inside. There are four rooms on display. One, the "hall," was in the style of the man who originally built the house in the late 1600s. The other three rooms, the kitchen, the main chamber, and the bedroom (where Paul's mother probably slept), were decorated in the style of Paul Revere's era. In the hall, an enthusiastic docent read us an account of Revere's famous ride as written by himself. On the way out, we purchased some post cards and then walked on to Christ Church (the "Old North") via the Paul Revere Mall, a wide windswept brick walkway which is covered with plaques commemorating famous Bostonians and the North End's war veterans. On the way there we passed St. Stephen's Church, which is the last surviving church in Boston designed by the famous architect Charles Bullfinch.
Christ Church is the oldest operating Episcopal church in the United States. It still has the old-fashioned enclosed pews meant to keep the attendees warm in winter, and one of the boxes was still decorated with carpeting and brocade. Members of the church bought their pews and were free to decorate them in any manner they liked. We also saw Paul Revere's son's pew, and the one belonging to General Gage. This is a beautiful church, all white inside with two chandeliers, and an enormous sounding board over the pulpit. Four angels in the choir loft were spoils from a French ship on the way to Quebec captured by a British ship. The clock in the loft still works after over 300 years.
From there we walked uphill to get a good photo of the churchI did not take my camera today; just had my phone, so any photos I eventually put up of Boston will be via Droidand to visit Copp's Burying Ground, the first cemetery in Boston and final resting place of people like Cotton Mather. I remember Copp's Burying Ground from the scene in Johnny Tremain, where Johnny cries himself to sleep there after burning his hand.
We used the Droid's Google maps again to bring us down from Copp's Hill (it provides walking directions as well) and stopped for a rest at a little Italian bakery. (The absolute other best thing about walking through this historic neighborhood is that it's still an Italian stronghold and smells delightfully of pizza and spaghetti sauce.) We both had a bottle of water and something I swore the woman called a "mascarpone," although I didn't think that word applied to what we ate. It was a lozenge (diamond) shaped cookie with a chocolate coating; the interior was a dark, rich gingerbread cookie, exquisitely cinnamon-and-ginger spicy.
We made our way back past Faneuil Hall, where a guy was beating out happy syncopation on two plastic paint buckets and a metal tray, and back to the Park Service store to use the facilities. I wanted to buy a book, but their charge machine was down, so I brushed it off. We were heading for Harvard Square anyway, and I figured I could find it in the Coop.
We got back on the T at the State Street station, where I let poor James down two wrong turns before we found the connection to the Red line. By now it was around four o'clock, so we were intending to only spend a short time at Harvard Square, and so we did. I was so disappointed when I found out the Coop no longer sells music CDs! They used to have the best music department, including a great international department! I found my LP of the soundtrack to Flambards there so many years ago. I did find the book I had seen, however, and James found a book about Otis Air Force Base.
Finally we limped on to the T once more and headed back to the parking lot. James has had a great deal of trouble walking today. He has a bone spur on one heel that is throwing off his stride and makes it difficult for him to walk. We talked about him having it taken care of; it's a big step since he will have to be out of work and that's hard for us to afford.
On the way back to the hotel, since we still had a few things in the fridge, we picked up dinner at Friendly's and went back to the hotel to eat. I found one of the later episodes of All Creatures Great and Small on the New Hampshire public TV station and realized why I didn't like them all over again. Lynda Bellingham is a good actress, but she had no chemistry at all with Christopher Timothy. The episode, about James making Helen a cabinet, just crawled by. Sad.