Today, of course, turned out nothing like we thought it would. First of all, we had NO plans to visit a big city, but after some begging from several children, we decided to take a day and go to Boston to walk the Freedom Trail. We made that decision Monday night, so Tuesday we were going to get up, have breakfast, and head out around 8:00 for the 2+ hour drive that would get us to Boston after rush hour. Well, no one could find the keys to the van – until someone finally looked on the front seat of the van, which of course was LOCKED. Hopefully the guilty party learned a small lesson about keeping track of keys – I’ll be nice and not mention names. We called AAA, and someone showed up probably 1 ½ hours later to open the van.
The kids all decided that we must have that tool. We decided that despite the late start, we would give Boston a try for the day anyway.
The drive to Boston was uneventful, fortunately. It took quite a while, but we finally found a place to park the van. That was the blessing of the day. Finding a place with enough clearance to park a van is a challenge, but we saw one that listed a tall enough clearance and pulled in. Then we discovered that all the tall parking seemed to be reserved for valet parking. We pulled into one space just to take the kayak racks off the top of the van (we had been smart enough to leave the kayaks at the campsite, but not the racks), when we saw a parking attendant coming toward us. He told us that it was fine for us to park there and then explained the procedure as to what to do about oversize vehicles. All the attendants that we dealt with were so nice. They explained to us how to get to the Freedom Trail. We had even managed to park near Boston Common where the trail starts, so we found the beginning of the trail, picked up a trail map, and off we went.
The Freedom Trail has a red brick line that you follow to each and every of the 16 sites along the trail. Along the trail you can see The Old North Church where a lantern was hung to signal to Paul Revere. This is the oldest church building in Boston.
The site of the Boston Massacre, the Granary Burying Ground where several famous Bostonians are buried, the site of the first public school in the US, and Boston Common (the oldest public park in the US) were all locations along the Freedom Trail.
Disappointedly, the one thing that I really wanted to see along the trail was closed – The USS Constitution a.k.a. Old Ironsides. Evidently it is closed due to ongoing restoration. I thought the kids would really enjoy seeing Old Ironsides, so that was very disappointing. Since Old Ironsides was closed and the kids were already tired, we also decided to skip going to Bunker Hill. I really enjoyed seeing Paul Revere’s house.
It really drove home to me how old the house actually was when I heard that the house was almost 100 years old when Paul Revere bought it. I also enjoyed reading that he had 16 children – 8 with his first wife and 8 with his second wife. Sadly, 5 died in infancy. We saw one room where they believe most of the children would have slept, but there was also a note that due to the various ages of the children, only 5 to 9 children would have lived in the house at one time. The room was larger than the room where my 6 boys sleep, so I had to smile seeing that.
Walking the end of the trail on our way to Paul Revere’s house and Old North Church, we walked through the Little Italy portion of Boston. Wow did that smell good. None of us had a big lunch and it was around 4:00, so we were all starving while we were walking past delicious-smelling Italian restaurant after delicious-smelling Italian restaurant. We waited until after we retraced our steps along the trail to get dinner, but we did end up at a pizza joint where the kids took no time to gobble down 3 large pizzas. Charlie and I both had huge, tasty salads. After getting some nourishment, we climbed back into the van. It was a little after 6:00 when we were trying to pull out of Boston, so I was rather worried that we would spend a great deal of time sitting in traffic. However, the traffic was much lighter than I expected. What a blessing! Charlotte and Atlanta traffic would have been much worse at that time of day. We made it back to the campground late again but having had yet another wonderful day together.