Beantown, The Most Historic Of Historic American Cities
Crossing State Street in Boston, Massachusetts. July 15, 2013
It’s July 18, 2013, and I’m sitting in Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, just about to board a flight home. This is the end of not only my time in Boston but also my US East Coast adventure & my wider 5 month North & Central American jaunt. I’m knackered so here are some pictures from the last four days in Boston, my first visit to America’s most historic city not to mention its most Irish of cities.
The Freedom Trail
Boston, being home to the 1773 Boston Tea Party & the 1775-1783 American Revolution, is a pretty historic place & there’s no better way to get an appreciation for all that history than by walking the city’s Freedom Trail. The trail, probably the city’s most popular tourist attraction, is a self-guided tour through the heart of downtown historical Boston. The 2.5 mile/4 kilometre path is marked by a red line in the pavement that leads participants to 16 of the country’s most significant historical landmarks, each of which played a pivotal role in America’s rebellious beginning and the growth of the young nation. I was on the trail within hours of arriving in the city from NYC, checking out historic buildings, battle grounds, monuments, & the burial sites of America’s founding fathers.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Here are a few travel-related quotes that I like and that I found painted on the walls of the amazing HI Boston, my home for the last 3 nights & easily one of the best hostels I ever stayed at.
– Francis Bacon
– Mark Twain
– Helen Keller
On my second day in the city, I paid a visit to the Cambridge suburb of Boston to take a look around the campus of Harvard University, the zenith of historical educational institutions in the US &, having been established in 1636, the oldest institution of higher learning in the country. Harvard’s history, its quality of education, its academic influence, and its wealth (at over $30 billion in 2012 it has the largest financial endowment of any academic institute in the world) means this is one of the most prestigious universities in the world, a true Ivy Leaguer. I spent a few hours here looking around the surprisingly compact campus. Just like in downtown Boston, history is never too far away and again just like downtown Boston it’s history in very pleasant, very photogenic surroundings.
– William F. Buckley, Jr.
Fenway Park || Home of The Boston Redsox
There is no letup in history where the city’s ballpark is concerned. Fenway Park, the home of Major League Baseball’s (MLB’s) the Boston Red Sox, opened in 1912 when it was then the biggest ballpark in the Major Leagues. Today it is the oldest operating MLB venue and a rare survivor of the 1909-1923 Golden Age of baseball parks. Now the smallest Major League ballpark, Fenway’s intimate setting and proximity of seats to the playing field are its prized draw for fans.
Video || Fenway Park, Boston
As a baseball fan I’ve been watching baseball games from Fenway Park on TV for over 15 years, so visiting Fenway was always going to be top of my Boston to-do list. Taking in a game would have been great but the MLB season was in the middle of the All Star Break when I was in town (I watched the 2013 All Star Game in a the Beantown Pub in downtown Boston, an historic city watering hole) so I had to settle for a ballpark tour instead. Nothing can dilute the experience of seeing Fenway for the first time but the tour was a bit of a let-down – it was crowded & very rushed. Here’s a bit of video from the tour given by a tour guide who, as you might expect, was a proud Red Sox fan, one with that loveable ‘pahking cahs in Hahvihd Yahd’ Boston accent.
– Denis Leary
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum
I decided to visit the JFK Library & Museum because I had heard that the latticed glass pavilion was particularly picturesque. It was, but the museum itself, detailing the life of JFK as the 35th President of the United States, was/is awesome.
The museum gave a great insight into life in the early 1960s JFK White House but I particularly liked the small section of the museum detailing his visit to Ireland in June of 1963. JFK, the first Roman Catholic & the youngest man to be elected President, was particularly proud of his Irish roots – his great-grandfather Thomas Fitzgerald left Ireland for the US in the middle of the Great Famine of 1848 and settled in Boston. On that 1963 visit Kennedy met with 15 members of his extended Irish family making a toast, with tea of course, to “all those Kennedy’s who went and all those Kennedy’s who stayed.” Before boarding his flight to leave Ireland at the end of his 4-day visit he delivered a speech on the tarmac at Shannon Airport, a portion of which reads:
Needless to say that proclamation never came to pass – he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, 5 months later, on November 22, 1963.
A final few random pictures from my time in Beantown.
After 500 days of travel, on this my latest period of travels, I’ve reached the end of the line.