I’ve started plotting and planning for the weekend trips I’d like to make in the next couple of months. My laptop (and the National Park Service’s website), my Garmin, and I had some lengthy conversations this morning. I’ve got ideas for the long weekends over Memorial and Labor Days as well as day trips here and there. Loads o’ fun. Then I spent about ten minutes this afternoon comparing notes with the neighbor, Kyle, who was in D.C. at the same time I was in D.C. and then in Boston at the same time I was in Boston. He’s military and was TDY (temporary duty) for both of those trips. It was a bit comical to us both.
As for tonight’s festivities, my parents’ house smells outstanding! The carne asada is soaking in all kinds of delicious marinade, waiting to get grilled. My mama is making her famous (and incredibly delicious) chicken enchiladas. Frankly, I’m more interested in the enchiladas than the carne asada–if you can believe it–and you know how much I love carne asada tacos! The homemade salsa is out on the counter with fresh tortilla chips. And I’m watching NASCAR with my dad. Yup, you read that correctly. And someone just lost their right quarter panel in a fun multi-car collision. I actually don’t choose to watch the races, but I don’t mind them if Dad has them on. I generally get sucked in. I have a soft spot for Junior because he’s somewhat of a “what you see is what you get” kinda guy (if you know to whom I’m referring that should make some sense). And he is charmed… he just threaded the needle and avoided getting smacked in the middle of the mash up.
Okay, back to the never ending (I wish!) vacation:
We left off with Boston Latin School and the pictures of Ben. From there we walked over to the Old Corner Bookstore. It’s not photographically inspiring, so I’m not posting the photo. Deal? We then followed the red line (I’m not joking, the Freedom Trail has a red line painted on the ground). Walking the trail is as simple as following the red line (sorry, no yellow brick road). Anyway, we followed the red line over to the Old South Meeting House.
Built in 1729, I found the Old South Meeting House to be quite interesting. It started its life as a Puritan Meeting House. It replaced a prior 1669 building that had been outgrown. As the largest congregational building in Colonial Boston, it became a frequent location for public speeches and debates. Even with its simplicity when compared to modern halls, I enjoyed the interior of the building. That said, sitting on the pews would be quite the pain in the arse for lengthier periods of time. In my case, that would also be a pain in the back. Oy. I’ve always been fascinated by boxed pews in buildings. I know they stem from a century or two prior when pews were “owned” by families who paid moneys to the church that went toward the upkeep of the building. Growing up in the church, that’s fascinating to me. Talk about a work around in the maintenance budget.
After completing the walk through of the Old South Meeting House, we headed over to the Old State House (as opposed to the New State House–you’ve already seen those photos). Of the older buildings, this was my favorite. I was particularly intrigued by the golden eagle and seal that were over the entrance. The original state house, the Boston Town House, was built in 1657. It burnt to the ground in 1711. Oops. A new Old State House (figure that one out) opened in 1713, built from brick. Good call. However, in 1747 fire destroyed the inside and part of the brick walls. Oops. Again. The building was quickly rebuilt and that’s the structure that remains to this day.
My absolute favorite part of this building was, um, the staircase. I like photographs of staircases. Have for years. Don’t ask where this odd obsession originates because I don’t know. I couldn’t get around the light refraction in my lens, but that’s okay. I still like my photograph! And since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, that’s all that really matters, right?
I forgot to mention… the same day we were walking the Freedom Trail, hundreds of crazy people were running the Boston Marathon. No I did not have the urge to join them. Repeat after me, “Beth does not run.” Very good. No, I don’t run. Ever.
Inside the Old State House is a museum. It’s filled with maps, documents, and charts characterizing the makings of a revolution. It also has some of the personal belongings of various revolutionaries. I admit to enjoying that stuff. Very, very interesting.
Just outside the Old State House is the site of the Boston Massacre. Apparently it happened right here. Right. Here. Not there. Here. Daniel and I went back and forth about that for a couple of minutes, completely entertaining our dorky selves. (Apparently the Boston Massacre occurred in a circle of approximately eight feet in diameter. Very small massacre, if you ask me. Just sayin’.) If I remember correctly, that’s the intersection of Congress and State Streets. That, too, was interesting. Boston is a cornucopia of historical whatnots. So cool… if you can get past the driving.
We then made our way over to Faneuil Hall again, this time during daylight. The National Park Service is currently building a big visitor’s center on the main floor of the hall, but in a side closet area they had a stamp I could get for my passport. Woohoo!
The hall was built by Peter Faneuil… try pronouncing that! I now know the correct pronunciation. It’s Faneuil. Feel enlightened? But of course you do. I digress. The hall was built in 1742 as a market of sorts. It burnt down in 1763 (apparently its contagious in Boston) and was rebuilt in 1805 (also contagious). “No taxation without representation” was first coined by colonists within its walls, a phrase now known to every elementary school child.
We were able to enter the main hall through the hall’s back door. As I’ve been traveling, my ability to take a photograph indoors without the use of my flash–bracing myself in such a way that I’m able to get a longer exposure with a clear image–has improved by leaps and bounds. A National Park ranger was giving information on the hall’s history, but I just popped in for the photos. I really enjoyed the look of the hall and the various paintings on display. It’s a lovely assembly room with wonderful architectural doo-dahs (yes, that’s a technical term). Of all the rooms I toured on this Sunday, who woulda thunk this would be the room that tickled my fancy.
Outside of Faneuil Hall, I shot various photos, more of Quincy Market and the North and South Market buildings. I glanced at the pavement because I often catch photos of cobblestones or bricked walkways to use as backgrounds when I make coffee table books. Well, when I looked down, something odd caught my eye. There was a deliberate engraving in the cement. I followed it a few feet and realized there was text engraved as well. Lo and behold, it is the demarkation of the original Boston shoreline. Yes ladies and germs, a big chunk of the city of Boston is built on a, well, a landfill. No joke. The city was, at one time, located on a peninsula. They ran out of land and filled part of the harbor. Eventually the area became landfill and after a rather expensive process it appears to be more stable. Crazy.
We called an end to our Freedom Trail excursion at Faneuil Hall. Between the Boston Marathon, Beth’s back, and some vocal bellies, it was time to call it a day. We meandered over to the Cheers Bar (a.k.a. Bull & Finch Pub). I ate a phenomenal turkey sandwich with cranberry mayo, cheddar cheese, and bacon (I ordered it without any salad on the sandwich… I’ll eat salad in a salad, but not on my sandwich) served on a multigrain wheat bread. I cannot begin to adequately tell you just how good this sandwich was. Suffice it to say, it was good enough that I’ve since figured out how to replicate the cranberry mayo and concocted my own version of the sandwich.
Well, I just finished watching Sherlock season two, episode one. Fantastic. Gotta love the BBC. Best dialogue of the episode:
Government Dude: “Don’t people come to you for help, Mr. Holmes?”
Sherlock Holmes: “Not anyone with a navy to date.”
It’s honestly quite whitty. And very smartly written. I’ve been waiting over a year for the second season… that’s the problem when your lead actor is rising in demand on the film side and your second principle actor is also starring in The Hobbit. Availability becomes a challenge.
My birthday dinner was loads of fun and delicious. And we capped it off with the traditional birthday cake in my family, a Baskin-Robbins ice cream roll cake. If you don’t know to what I’m referring, do yourself a big favor and hightail it over to a BR. Skip the ice cream and order a cake. You and your family will thank me!
Tomorrow it’s my intention to go to the gym and start the arduous process of getting back into that groove. I have to register for the weight loss competition at work tomorrow and I’m back to eating super healthy beginning with breakfast (the most important meal of the day). I finally put batteries in my scale last night and I can state that since March 31 (when I left on vacation), I have gained seven pounds. I’d wager that at least half of that happened after I got back. My food choices have been abominable for lunch and I’ve had quite a bit of hot chocolate from a certain coffee chain who will remain nameless. But I’m getting back on the horse tomorrow and I’ll finish this ride. The back tracking to take off these few pounds won’t be bad. I just have to get back into the groove of recording everything in the food diary of my iPhone app from MyFitnessPal.
It’s late, I have to work tomorrow, and I’ve said enough for one evening. I’ll keep you posted on the food choices, caloric intake, and gym activities… and I’ll tell you more about my travels. Just not right now. G’night!