Monday, April 11, 2011

Road Trip, day 2

On Tuesday morning I woke up foolishly early and, figuring I might as well make myself useful, picked up some breakfast. After eating and making ourselves presentable, we headed for Boston.

Boston is a city full of churches.

Some are famous, others less so. (Seen here: the Church of the Covenant door.)

We parked the rental car and set out to walk the Freedom Trail, a tour of the most famous sites in Boston and chock full of Revolutionary War history. You follow a red brick (or sometimes red painted) line on the pavement, occasionally pointed out with these trail markers. I didn't know what the insignia in the middle represented until I saw the weathervane of the Old North Church. Then it made sense.

We walked first through the Public Garden and saluted the statue of George Washington.

Curse you, squirrel! Curse you and your flagrant disregard for propriety!

Then on to Boston Common. This poor little kite was straining to be set free. The wind was doing its best to spring it from the clink, to no avail.

The Massachusetts State House. The dome is covered in 23 karat gold, and it gleams rather delightfully in the light of day.

A bronze statue of Mary Dyer stands on the grounds of the State House. Mary Dyer was hanged for the wretched crime of being a Quaker in Puritan New England.

One of the oddities of Boston is the placement of its graveyards. The Granary Burying Ground was originally on the outskirts of town, but over time Boston grew up around it -- and thus this graveyard is now right in the middle of the downtown.

I love some of the gravestones at Granary. This one for Captain Nicholas Gardner is especially wonderful.

There are numerous famous people buried at Granary, including Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin's parents, John Hancock and Paul Revere. Over time, the pathways and headstones at Granary have been moved around, so that the headstones don't necessarily match the bodies buried beneath them. Thus it is now possible to see:

The Paul Revere Memorial marker...

...and the dinky Paul Revere tomb marker...

...sitting cheek by jowl.

Moving on. A bit of the interior of King's Chapel, featuring the organ. King's was originally an Anglican congregation, but has since become Unitarian Universalist. This has been your Useless Trivia Moment for the day. (You're welcome.)

I seem to take more interest in the graveyards than in the churches themselves -- probably because of awesome gravestones like this one.

A detail of the stone: Father Time tries skunking Death, without much success.

Behold the grandeur of Old City Hall...

...which is now a Ruth's Chris steakhouse. Heh.

Out in front there is a bronze statue of a donkey, with a pair of cast footprints set in front of it and the words "Stand in opposition" next to them.

So I obliged.

Here's the Old South Meeting House, probably best known as the place where the Boston Tea Party originated.

It's since become a bastion of free speech; people who can't get the time of day anywhere else usually have a chance to voice their ideas at Old South.

Before the advent of Starbucks, Americans definitely loved their tea.

The Old State House, site of the Boston Massacre, now a museum.

I like the lion and unicorn detail on the roof.

Paul Revere's house. It's much more interesting inside than out, but once again they didn't allow photography in the building.

This town is chock-full of Paul Revere, by the way.

Speaking of which, here's the Old North Church, where they hung lanterns to indicate which route the British were taking -- "one if by land, two if by sea."

It's rather beautiful inside.

One more graveyard, really quick: the Copp's Hill Burying Ground.

At this point we'd had enough of the Freedom Trail, so we repaired to Mike's Pastry to drown our sorrows in chocolate cannoli.

I realize that by admitting this, I've probably drawn down the whole never-ending Mike's Pastry/Modern Pastry jihad on my head. Meh, so be it. Next time I'll go to Modern. Ya happy?

Before leaving the area, we had to at least take a peek around Harvard. Here's the exterior of Memorial Hall.

And here's some of the interior. Groovy.

Having taken the whirlwind tour of Boston and Cambridge, we headed back for New York. The next morning I left LGA for Seattle, by way of Denver.

Hail and farewell, Denver!

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