2010-08-21

Posted by Julie Wiens Posted on 12:19 PM | No comments

A Day in Boston

Back on the 7th, we ventured into Boston. It was our first subway ride into town, and even with a required bus trip due to subway repairs, we made it safely to the Boston Commons. We strolled through the park noticing how many people were out and about enjoying the summer day. After our stroll, we headed over to the visitors center for the Freedom Trail, which is located in the Commons. From there we started to walk the trail with our audio tour, which we downloaded to our new phones. We spent the day wandering the streets of Boston along the trail. We had seen part of the trail during a walking tour we took when we came out for Kyle’s interview, but it was a good to hear some of the history again.

Here is a map of the trail that is online via www.thefreedomtrail.org/maps/pdfs/boston-nps-map.pdf

We wandered along the trail to Paul Revere’s in the North End. This area of Boston is well known for its Italian cuisine, so we stopped there for lunch at Giovanni’s. The inside is tiny and cramped, but that prompted us to chat with the friendly couple next to us. Their table was about 4 inches from our table. They were from New Hampshire, but they had some useful information about the Boston area.

Paul Revere Statue & Old North Church
 After leaving our new acquaintances, we continued down the trail to the USS Constitution. After one look at the line of people waiting to get on the ship, we decided to do that tour another day. However, we did go into the free museum and spent about an hour there. We actually learned quite a bit. For example, we learned about the Barbary Wars. While this was probably taught in history class, we didn’t recall that the US fought a war around 1800 on the Barbary Coast (Northern Africa: Algeria, Tripoli, what is now modern-day Libya). Apparently, the rulers there made a living by using corsairs (i.e., state-sponsored pirates) to exact tribute from merchant ships in the Mediterranean Sea and surrounding area. Long story short: Jefferson decided that enough was enough. He ordered the development of a strong navy, and, combined with a clever overland offensive from Egypt, the US put an end to these tributes. We’ve had a strong navy ever since. Good thing too, considering the following War of 1812.


We learned some other interesting tidbits as well, like lime juice was once used as invisible ink which appears when the paper is heated (I, Julie, will have to try that one out sometime.). The museum was great and we highly recommend it. They had a fabulous kid area too where you could dress up like a shipmate, sleep in hammocks and haul a fake goat aboard your imaginary ship. From the museum we went up to bunker hill and finished the trail.

After some ice cream and a brief walk along the harbor, we headed back towards the Commons, passing a neighborhood festival along the way. When we got to the Commons, we found a performance of Othello in progress: a free performance in front of a large audience. It was a very impressive set up. You could hear the actors perfectly from where we were (about 100 yards away from the stage).


Sadly we had come into the middle of the play so we decided to go eat instead. After meandering between a few places, we settled on 75 Chestnut, which is a hidden treasure just a few small blocks off the Commons. We knew about it because it was highlighted in a recent NY Times article. It was busy, but wow the food was good. Kyle had a seafood stew that was incredible. We will definitely be heading back. After dinner we hopped back on the subway for home.
Blogged by Julie & Kyle
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