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Monday, July 21, 2014

John Adams Historical Site, Harvard and More

Though Randall has ridden on a subway/train before, this was the girls' first time. We hopped on this morning, after having breakfast at Dunkin Donuts, which there is one if on almost every corner in Boston.
I know, don't lecture me on the healthful qualities of this. We are on vacation. :-)
We headed to the John Adams Historical area, which includes the birthplaces of John and John Quincy. They are right next to each other. 
The upper window above the girls is the room where John was born. We could not go on the upper floor, but did see the lower floor, though we were not allowed to photograph.
 In this home, John started his law office and lived until 1783, after he helped negotiote the Treaty of Paris at the end of the Revolution. John Quincy was born here. It was undergoing restoration, but we were allowed inside. All of the furnishings in these two houses are replicas. 

While the Adamses were in France in 1783, they purchased this estate, which was on over 40 acres of farmland. John named it Peace-field, fitting for the time in which it was purchased, as John was helping to negotiate the peace terms after the Revolution. Abigail later had the house expanded. Four generations of Adamses lived here and then gave it to the government. Everything in there is original, including my favorite piece, John's personal secretary desk from which he corresponded for years, most famously with Thomas Jefferson. 

My favorite building, the library built by John's grandson Charles. He helped compile the writings of his father and grandfather and had this built to be more fireproof and protect the family library. The thousands of books are still in there and all cateloged. It is lovely. I adore old libraries. 
I would like my home to be called Peace-field. :-)
We too the train back all the way to Harvard. Not sure I felt smarter walking around campus. It was fun to see. 
John Harvard's statue is the 3rd most photographed statue in the U.S.  It is lucky to touch the toe. 
We then walked around the Cambridge area, went shopping in the college store and made a 2.5 mile walk back to our hotel. The weather was so gorgeous that it was fun. 
We relaxed in the Boston Public Garden before eating in China Town at a gourmet bun and dumpling place that Mom researched out on Trip Advisor. It was packed, and we had to wait, but it was worth it. The kids loved it. 
Much entertainment was found with the squirrels on this trip. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Boston: Special Breakfast, Church and Freedom Trail

Delightedly, we met Dana Sadji, Sharolyn's friend from her Turkey experience last summer. Dana speaks four languages and reads seven and is a both a fun and intelligent friend who is a professor of Middle Eastern studies at Boston College. She treated us to a delicious breakfast at City Table, where the girls were most impressed with the restroom with real towels. It was lovely to catch up, and we were happy to catch Dana before she leaves for two weeks in Spain tomorrow for research and pleasure.
We attended a church service at Old South Church, a Congregationalist church. It had a splendid organist and a good little choir. Avery even got to sing a favorite hymn, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing," which is not in our hymnal. It was neat to sing with a big powerful organ, and it was a good experience for us. 
We spent the rest of the day walking the Freedom Trail in Boston. The kids were troopers, though I'm not sure they completely share their mother's zeal for history. :-)
Boston Public Garden, where Make Way for Ducklings, a favorite book was inspired. See the swan boats?
At John Hancock's grave. 

Remember Paul Revere!
Franklin's parents' grave. Franklin was born a few blocks from here. 
Victims of the Boston "Massacre"
Resting place of our most famous patriot. 
Inside King's Chapel. This is the oldest congregation in Boston and at the time of the Revolution represented everything the patriots hated about England. This church had mostly Loyalists, though one of the riders who went out with Revere attended. 
King's Chapel burial ground
Old Boston City Hall
Old South Meeting House. This is where the Tea Party really got started and was very important during the Revolution as a meeting place. 
Sadly, the Old Bookstore, and one of the oldest buildings in the city, is now a chain restaurant.  I so wish it were still a bookstore. 
The old State House. Before that a cabin stood where Benjamin Franklin was born. This place also has much history. 
On this end of the State House the Declaration of Independence was first read in Boston, and below it, the Boston Massacre occurred in March 1770. 
Fanuiel Hall
A bustling place always, especially on a Sunday. 
Randall taught us a lot about cars on this trip. Close to our next stop, we ran into this Lamborghini, which had to be temporarily admired. :-)
In front of Paul Revere's house. I went in on my last visit and decided it wasn't worth the extra expense. It is so cool that it was preserved. 
We sat in the shade across from the house and ate our cannolis that we stood  in line for at Mike's Pastry. Boy, were they delicious!
We watched a street parade pass in the Italian District while we are lunch in a little sandwich shop. 
Continuing our walk on the Freedom Trail, we visited the Old North Church. This is the iconic landmark of Boston for centuries now and is where the lanterns signaled that the Regulars were out. 
At the Revere statue on the church grounds. 
The church created this memorial to show all of the dead in the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Each dog tag represents a solider killed in action. It was humbling. 
A couple more shots or the Old North Church and steeple. 

At Copp's Hill buriel ground. More lesser knowns are laid here, as it was for the lower classes, generally. 
Many of the headstones are quite grim. 

The Mather family (of Salem Witch Hunts) were buried here though. 
Then it was on to the U.S. Constitution, or Old Ironsides, which was important in the 2nd War for Independence, the War of 1812. 
These girls can be captains any day!
Our last big stop was at Bunker Hill. The monument was closed to climb, but we walked around and read about how though the patriots lost, the British lost many more men. 
Then we made an almost 2 mile walk back to the hotel. This is crossing the Charles River on the way back. What a terrific day!