Monday and Tuesday were downtown Boston touring days. We learned how to use the "T" subway train and it made it a lot more enjoyable not having to contend with traffic each time we went in. There is a "T" station about 10 miles from camp that has adequate parking ($7 all day) and then it's about another 15-20 minute train ride into the station the dumps you at the MIT bookstore on the Cambrige side of the Charles River. From there we used the Old Town Trolley
to tour the complete downtown area. When you buy a ticket on the Old Town Trolley ($35), it is good for two days of unlimited getting off and on at 15 various stops in Boston. It also gives you a ticket for the Boston Harbor cruise which is a 45 minute trip around the harbor showing all of the significant items from the sea view. No matter what trolley and driver we had, the drivers were always a great source of information as well as having a good sense of humor.
Monday we stayed on the trolley for the most part and just absorbed the tour guides explanations of the historical sites and others in Boston. One of the biggest road construction jobs in US history, the Big Dig
, had just been started when we were last here in the mid 90s and it has now been completed which dramatically transformed the appearance of downtown Boston. The elevated I-93 is now completely gone and replaced with a lot of green space. Part of that project was aslo building the Zakim-Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge
to span the Charles River. This is the supposedly the widest (10 lanes wide at the entrance) cable stay bridge in the world.
Right next to the downtown side of the bridge is the TD Gardens which replaced the old Boston Gardens as the home of the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins, and is also home to many concerts and events throughout the year. In front of it is the recently installed statue depicting Bobby Orr's Big Goal
where he scored the winning goal in the seventh game of the 1970 Stanley Cup while being tripped by the opponent.
One of the prettiest old churches we passed was the Trinity Church
which is an Episcopal church finished in 1877 to replace the earlier church that had burned in the Great Boston Fire of 1872.
After all the touring, we had a late lunch Monday at Legal Sea Food
and Doris had her first whole lobster of the trip. I have finally found a way to finish my meal before she does. She had to really work at getting all of the meat out of the claws and everywhere else she could find a morsel. I finished at least 15 minutes ahead of her!!
Tuesday we went back in and caught the trolley at the same stop but we got off at a place downtown that would let us stroll through the old cemeteries at the King's Chapel Burying Ground and the Granary Burying Ground. I have included a few pictures of the headstones of some of the more prominent individuals buried at these two cemeteries that are only a block or two from each other.
We then went to Faneuil Hall
, of which the current rendition is over 200 years old. This was and is a meeting place for all kinds of political activity and other uses. Behind it is Faneuil Hall Marketplace
which contains three long buildings containing the Quincy Marketplace, the North Market and the South Market. There are over 14 restaurants and 36 international food vendors in this one place. If you can't find something you like here, you can't be satisfied! There are also more than 100 shops and pushcarts selling top names such as Ann Taylor or Nine West and just about anything else you can think of.
By the time we toured "and smelled" all of that we were hungry so it was time for another late lunch. Doris wanted lobster again so we went to the Union Oyster House
. This is the oldest continually operating restaurant in America. Anybdy who is anybody in Massachussetts politics has eaten here and President Kennedy even had his own booth here. The server cheated and had Doris' lobster pre-cracked so she didn't have to work at it so hard. So much for me finishing before her!!
Wednesday we went touring in the outlying areas. First we went to Auburndale to tour the Finagle a Bagle
factory. After much searching in this remote area of town, we finally asked directions. Well, Doris did, you know real men don't ask directions! We found the place but lo and behold, they were not doing tours anymore. We did find a person in another business there in the same building that let us in to the area so we could see the process even though we were not on a "tour". More was done by hand here than we had seen in previous factories. Each bagle is first boiled then scooped out of the boiler by hand (they use a scoop, not their hands to pluck them out) and placed in a rack lined with wet burlap (yeah, I know this is sounding real appetizing by now), then the racks are placed by hand in this special hearth oven to bake and then turned by hand half way through the baking process. When they are fully baked, they are taken off, by hand again, and placed on a conveyor belt to be cooled and then packaged. If they are to have seeds, nuts are some other coating, this is placed in those trays before the boiled bagles are placed in them. These coatings on the bottom become the top when they are turned. Even though it is slighhtly labor intensive, they only used four people in the area baking the bagles and were producing about 10 dozen bagles every 10-15 minutes. We couldn't see where the batter was made and the bagels formed. Supposedly their process, boiling before baking, gives them a crisp outside and soft inside. We will have to find some in a store to check this out since they no longer operate a gift shop.
We then journeyed on out to Shrewsbury to see the Hebert Candy Mansion
, makers of fine chocolates. Again we were turned back as they no longer offer tours. Apparently the OSHA rules became too strenuous to comply with so they just stopped doing them. However, they did have a chocolate shop where we were forced to spend a little green! :) The trip back to camp from Shrewsbury was very nice as we took the back roads and even though it was a nasty day, the ride was pretty. We have no pictures so you will have just have to trust me on that. It was impossible to keep the windows clear enough for a picture.
Today we are catching up on a few things. Doris plans to get some laundry and cleaning done and I will do a little maintenance on our rolling home.