Day 22 – Iron Sides and Brews

Hi there, today we slept in a bit and got a later start than usual. It was nice, and roux let us sleep in. I swear he’s a child sometimes waking us up at the crack of dawn, he’s just getting us ready to be parents. So we left for Boston around 9ish and took the subway in. We had an additional day on the Old Town Trolley so that’s what we mostly used for transportation for the day.

First stop was the USS Constitution, or more commonly known as “Old Ironsides”. I remember studying about this ship in my history class in high school, never thought I’d be able to see it. It’s the oldest floating ship that is still commissioned in the Navy. There are active sailors still manning the ship. Part of their role is to give tours. Our tour guide was actually from New Orleans, so we had a good Who Dat to start the tour. We toured the top deck first, which houses most of the smaller guns.

20130823-153934.jpg

20130823-153945.jpg

20130823-153953.jpg

20130823-153959.jpg

20130823-154008.jpg
The ship was spotless and shined in the Boston sun, those Sailors sure do take care of her. We went down to the middle deck next and viewed the larger guns. These guns actually shoot a 24lb cannon ball and their range is 800 yards. On display, they had the water and “grog” barrels. Each Sailor was allowed one cup of “grog” a day, they could also sell it back to the Navy and get payed for it.

20130823-154345.jpg

20130823-154355.jpg

20130823-154404.jpg
Next, we went down to the lower deck, the sleeping quarters. The crew slept in hammocks while the ships officers had thier own private bedrooms. There was a lot of resentment between the officers and enlisted because of they differences in the way each rank was treated. There were two cooks on board, one for the crew and one for the captain, kind of unfair I would say. The ship would sail with 450 to 500 sailors, that’s a lot for one cook!

20130823-154718.jpg
Below is a picture of the walls of the ship, you can see why she impenetrable by cannon balls. She actually got here nickname from an actual battle against the British. Her sailors actually witnessed the British cannon balls bouncing off of her sides. They eventually won the battle in a meager 35 minutes. That was the first battle in history that the British lost at sea. She is build from live oak, which is some of the hardest wood. Her sides are 21″ thick!

20130823-155058.jpg
The detail that went into the ship is beautiful. Below is a picture of the wheel and some other carvings near the entrance ramp.

20130823-155151.jpg

20130823-155158.jpg
Next we headed to the Old Capital Building. This building will go down in history because its the location where the Boston Massacre occurred. Before the start of the revolution, the King of England stationed British troops in Boston to enforce the Stamp Act. Bostonians didn’t like that so well. Bostonians and the troops were constantly getting into fights. On the night of the Massacre, 5 Bostonians were shot and killed right in front of the Capital Building. The reaction from the Massacre cause the King to pull his troops out, allowing for a time of peace in Boston, that is until the Tea Act caused another up roar.

20130823-155630.jpg
We toured the inside of the building as well, at the entrance there was a nice jazz band playing so good music, kinda sounded like New Orleans a bit! Inside of the museum was a bunch of cool artifacts, including the actual signed Treaty of Paris, you can see each county’s seal, England, France and Spain. The Treaty was created to divide the new lands in America, it’s what created France’s Louisiana Territory..pretty cool!

20130823-155905.jpg

20130823-155912.jpg

20130823-155931.jpg

20130823-155939.jpg

20130823-155947.jpg

20130823-155954.jpg
Our next stop was at Quincy Market. This place is huge, it full of a bunch of local shops and restaurants. After shopping for a bit, we took the Trolly to a local Brewery. Harpoonn Brewery is a beer that we had at Cheers yesterday. They have a great wheat beer similar to blue moon called UFO white. After arriving at the brewery, we realized that we were too late, they had sold out of tour tickets. So we just decided to sit in the bar there and enjoy some draft samples and pretzels. The beer was cold and the pretzels were hot and salty…good combination!

20130823-160415.jpg

20130823-160434.jpg
We left the brewery and headed back to our truck. We stopped off at the grocery store and gas station to stock up for our trip out tomorrow. Well that’s all for today, until tomorrow..Bon Soir!

Day 21 – Tea Party and a Cannoli

Hi there…greetings from Boston. Aimee and I woke up extra early to head down to Deer Island Park near Frank’s neighborhood. The park has a fantastic bike and walking trail which we took advantage of to burn off some of the calories left over from New York. On the ride, we were able to get incredible pictures of Boston harbor, Islands, and Atlantic Ocean. The island is named because of all the Deer that migrated there after the city of Boston was settled in the 1600’s. Over the years, it was a landfill, sewer treatment plant, and now a beautiful park, quite a change of scenery! 20130821-163848.jpg20130821-163855.jpg20130821-163901.jpg20130821-163910.jpg20130821-163919.jpg20130821-163927.jpg
After biking the 3 miles in the park, we headed to one of Frank’s favorite breakfast diners, High Tide Coffee Shop. At the shop, Aimee ordered Egg’s Benidict and I ordered eggs, sausage, and toast. Breakfast was fast and delicious.
20130821-164242.jpg
We headed back to Frank’s and got ready for the day. Before hitting the local subway station we stopped off at Showcase Laundry to drop off our dirty clothes. Given the fact we were only in Boston for two days, we decided it would be easiest to have the “wash and fold” service. It was actually about the same price as we paid doing laundry ourselves in New Jersey, pretty convenient.

After the Laundry mat, we headed to the subway. We boarded the blue line and headed for the Aquarium, where we would get picked up by the Old Town Trolley Tours.
20130821-164714.jpg20130821-164722.jpg
We took a hop on, hop off tour of Washington and we enjoyed it so much because it’s the quickest way to really discover a city.

We passed a number of notable attractions along the way. Below is the Battle of Bunker Hill Monument. Funny thing is the battle actually wasn’t fought on Bunker Hill, it was actually fought on an adjacent hill. The patriots actually secured the wrong hill, but thought it was Bunker Hill, hence the name of the battle. The patriots actually lost this battle to the English, but only after running out of ammo and being forced to retreat. It was this battle that turned the tide in favor of the patriots during the revolutionary war.
20130821-165014.jpg
Below is a bridge that was designed to resemble the Bunker Hill Monument. It’s one of the only bridges in the Boston Area (because of all the tunneling that was recently done) and is actually the widest cable bridge in the world.
20130821-165226.jpg
Next stop was the home of the Boston Celtics and Bruins, the TD Garden Center. The statue below is a statue of one of the city’s favorite Hockey players. I can’t remember his name, but the story goes that he scored a winning goal in a championship game. While he was celebrating, someone tripped him and he went horizontal. The photographer snapped a picture and it is this picture that you can find in many Boston Pubs..

20130821-165550.jpg

20130821-165557.jpg

20130821-165604.jpg
Below is a picture of Boston tribute to the lost lives during the Holocaust. There are chimney’s of the six main concentration camps. They are actually lit and white smoke can be seen coming out.

20130821-165805.jpg
Next stop was Boston Common. This is the largest green space in the city. It was created back in the day as a green space for cattle and other farm animals. Bostonians were complaining about the stench of manure in the air so government officials set aside the 50 acres known as Boston Common. It is common to take a swan ride on the pond but unfortunately we didn’t have enough time. The globes below actually line most of the perimeter side walks, they were an art display for the summertime.

20130821-170144.jpg
Aimee got a kick out the kids and mother below, this gives a kid’s leash a whole new meaning 😀

20130821-170239.jpg
Around the corner from the common was the outside of the Cheers Bar. Aimee and I are huge fans of cheers. I don’t know what it is but most of the shows we watch center around a group of friends with most of the show taking place in a bar..go figure. We were told not to go inside, instead there’s a replica of the bar closer to our starting point.

20130821-170429.jpg
Boston has a ton of old churches. Below are a few that liked. The second church below is home to the Christian Science Church and was started by a female Bostonian in the 1800s.

20130821-170644.jpg

20130821-170652.jpg
By the 8th stop, there was farmer’s market. We said we would stop off tomorrow and explore since we were almost out of time today. Later we found out it was only open Tuesdays and Saturdays..here are some sunflowers shot from the moving trolley..

20130821-170838.jpg
Next up is a picture of a Boston Fire Station. What’s interesting about this station is it’s actually in a federally protected neighborhood. The station was built back in the day when fire trucks were actually pulled by horses. You can notice the arches are pretty small for today’s common firetruck. The city of Boston actually had to hire a company to design smaller firetrucks so that they would fit under the arches of this station. These smaller trucks are able to get around Boston much easier than the larger ones..

20130821-171059.jpg
Next stop was the infamous Fenway Park. Aimee and I didn’t have time to tour, but we got some good shots from the trolley..

20130821-171307.jpg

20130821-171313.jpg

20130821-171322.jpg
One thing we learned on the tour is that Boston is home to the most colleges in the world. There are over 50 colleges in the greater Boston area. Some of the more famous ones are MIT and Harvard…I didn’t know that..

20130821-171441.jpg
This next building is the current state capitol of Massachusetts. It’s has a golden dome that is actually made of gold leafs…it really sparkles in the sun.

20130821-171753.jpg
Our next stop was the Boston Tea Party Museum. I wanted to tour the replica ships and museum so we hopped off of the trolley and bought tickets. The tour was great, actual revolutionary characters toured you around the grounds. We were disguised just like the Tea Party Patriots the day with feathers and we actually were able to throw tea crates overboard…Hiizzzaaa! Aimee and I were both given characters that we would play during the tour as well. My character actually died during the Boston Tea Party. He was in the bottom part of the ship tying up the crates of tea to the block and tackle system. A crate of tea came loose and fell on him and he died immediately. Given the fact that a treasonous act was ongoing, the patriots hid him in a carpenter’s shop under a pile of saw dust, an ideal burial of a former carpenter! Aimee’s character actually stole a bit of the tea and stored it in his boot. He passed it on down to his future generations to remember this patriotic moment. First we toured the ship, the Eleanor. It was a replica built to scale of a merchant ship. My first thought was how could you sail the oceans in this small vessel…

20130821-172542.jpg

20130821-172559.jpg

20130821-172608.jpg

20130821-172616.jpg

20130821-172626.jpg

20130821-172635.jpg

20130821-172642.jpg

20130821-172653.jpg

20130821-172705.jpg
The next part of the tour was more somber it was all about the effects of the Boston Tea Party. It walked you through the next 16 months until the Revolutionary war was begun. The museum actually had a left over tea crate on display. The store goes a young boy found the crate washed up on shore and brought it home to his mother and father. They stowed the crate away and passed it down to future generations. One of the daughters actually used the crate to house her dolls and other children wrote on the box and played games similar to Tic Tac Toe. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take any pictures. The toured finished up a great movie that made you proud to be an American.
After the Tea Party Museum, Aimee and I boarded the trolly and headed back to our first stop. We got off and found the replica Cheers bar. Of course, we had to stop in and grab a brew.

20130821-173251.jpg

20130821-173308.jpg

20130821-173316.jpg

20130821-173325.jpg

20130821-173331.jpg
Aimee wanted to visit the North End to go to an Italian Bakery that Frank had recommended. We boarded the trolley and headed to stop 2. We got off and walked around the North End and found Paul Revere’s house. Revere was the Sons of Liberty Courier who is famous for his Midnight Ride to Lexington to announce the “British are Coming”.

20130821-173619.jpg

20130821-173624.jpg
After we headed to Bova’s Italian Bakery. We were both in awe at all of the goodies they had in the shop. Aimee had trouble deciding which treat to get, so we purchased a little bit of everything. We tried a Peanut Butter Cannoli, an Italian Cannoli, a Creme Lobster Tail, four italian cookies. Everything was delicious!

20130821-173845.jpg

20130821-173855.jpg

20130821-173906.jpg

20130821-173915.jpg

20130821-173926.jpg

20130821-173940.jpg

20130821-173950.jpg
After touring the North End, we got back onto the trolley and took it shopping area where we got off and got onto the subway to head home. Below is a subway station, it’s actually the oldest subway station in the world and is still working to this day..

20130821-174139.jpg
We returned to our vehicle and stopped off a the laundry mat to pick up our clean clothes..nice and convenient!

20130821-174304.jpg
We returned to Frank’s and chilled out for the evening. Well that’s all for today’s busy day in Boston, until tomorrow..Bon Soir!

Day 20 – Mystic to Boston

Hi there..we started off the morning with a hearty serving of Aimee’s pancakes. Those of you that have tasted them know that these are fantastic, one of my favorite things she cooks. I always request them! Being the fact that we were camping, she used a Vita Mix to aid in the blending of the ingredients..yes, these are from scratch!

20130821-155318.jpg

20130821-155329.jpg
After eating, we packed up the camper and got it ready for travel so that we could make a quick getaway when we returned. We headed down to Mystic Seaport. Mystic is a small town in Connecticut of off I-95. It’s home to an old seaport and is still active today building wooden ships. We parked in the parking lot for the seaport visitor center when I looked in the back of the truck. I realized that I had left the tailgate down and low and behold my grey water portable tank had fallen out on the road some point between here and the campground. These tanks aren’t that cheap and it was a gracious gift from Santa this past year, so I had to get it back. We got back into the truck and hurriedly retraced our steps. We found it around the first turn we took, someone had graciously pulled it off of the road and it wasn’t damaged. Sorry folks but I missed a Kodak moment of Aimee picking it up off the side of the road while blocking traffic 😀

After finding the tank, we headed back the to the seaport and parked. We walked around the shops and museum, but found the museum a tad expensive. Since we only had a couple hours to kill we decided to bypass. Below are some pictures from the seaport.

20130821-160126.jpg

20130821-160135.jpg

20130821-160144.jpg

20130821-160151.jpg

20130821-160159.jpg
Above is a rowing boat like the one used in the olympics, this thing is huge!

Next, we headed to downtown Mystic. For those that are Julia Roberts fans probably know that Mystic Pizza is the movie she debuted in. Well, Mystic is the town that the movie was filmed in. You can probably recognize the drawbride..

20130821-160549.jpg
Of course we had to eat at Mystic Pizza, where Julia’s character worked. The pizza was average, couldn’t touch what we had in New York.

20130821-160701.jpg
Aimee had a pepperoni pizza and I had the special, spaghetti and meatballs pizza which was definitely different from anything I’ve ever had..

20130821-160823.jpg
After eating a quick lunch, we walked the downtown area. There were tons of cool shops. One of our favorites that we found in Charleston, SC was the Spice and Tea Exchange…so we had to pop in and buy some spices and salts…

20130821-160950.jpg
Those of you that love to cook, definitely check one out, you can smell different spices and salts. The also create blends of the salts and spices for some different takes on seasonings, it’s pretty awesome. The stores are spread out in different cities in the US, there’s even one in New Orleans..
Our time was up in Mystic, great New England shipping town. We headed back to the campground and were soon headed to Boston.

The drive from Mystic to Boston only took 2 hours. During the drive, Aimee and I jammed out to the Phantom of the Opera sound track, we were reliving our broadway show. In Boston, we had made previous arrangements to stay with a friend, Frank. Frank lives in the Winthrop area of Boston, which is on the beach and has great views of the Atlantic Ocean. We arrived in Boston right at 5 pm, which I was dreading because of 5 o’clock traffic but actually traffic wasn’t that bad. About a decade a go, Boston removed all of there elevated interstate ways and built tunnels underground. This probably is the reason traffic moved so swiftly through the Boston area.

20130821-161705.jpg

20130821-161719.jpg

We arrived at Frank’s and were able to finigle the camper into his driveway, recognition to Frank and Aimee for the assistance. We met up with some other friends of Frank, Ada, Camille, and Brian, and we all went to dinner at a local italian and seafood joint. It was great, way to much food to eat in one sitting, but we had a little of everything. Lobster salad, Parmesan meatball sub, clam chowder, mac’n cheese.

20130821-162306.jpg

20130821-162321.jpg
We returned to Frank’s and caught up a bit more. Soon, it was time for bed. I was actually able to enjoy a nice long hot shower without having to turn the water off. Those of you who camp in an RV know what I’m talking about. We turned into bed awaiting the next day’s adventures of Boston…until tomorrow, Bon Soir!