One year of marriage is upon me and the experience has been amazing thus far. In celebration, Michelle and I found a groupon deal to Spain back in January. A spectacular deal at that. The flight to Spain leaves from Boston so we decided to arrive in Beantown a little earlier since neither of us had been to the major east coast city before.
We took the late flight out of Seattle and were treated to quite the lightning show over somewhere as we were travelling east and viewing to the north. I have never seen lightning from the air before and the show produced quite a bit of awe in me. The lightning was almost dancing in a rapid-fire motion between the clouds. Even though the plane was a safe distance away from the storm front, there was definitely a sense of reverence for the glory of God’s creation.
Arriving in Boston, we hit the ground running. Our goal was to experience the freedom trail which originates in the Boston Commons and ends at the USS Constitution (the boat). Boston Commons, we learned, was the oldest public park in America´s history. The park space was established in 1634 and was largely used for grazing livestock. From the Commons, it was up to the Masschusetts State House which was built in 1798. The famous golden dome overlooks the entire building. We learned that the dome used to be wood but was overlaid with copper by none other than Paul Revere. During World War II, the dome was painted black to deter potential fighter jets from bombing the structure. the most recent incarnation of the globe was completed in 1997.
Down the street from the State House was a very inspiration building, the Park Street Church. ¨My Country Tis of Thee¨was first sung on the steps of this church on July 4, 1831. Historically, the church has passionately stood for woman´s suffrage, prison reform and as one of the centers of the abolitionist movement. The church actually hosted anti-slavery lectures as early as 1823. A young William Lloyd Garrison delivered his very first public abolitionist speech on July 4, 1829. This church seems like the place to be on July 4th.
From the church, we visited Granary Burying Ground which was established in 1660. This would be the oldest graveyard (by far) that I ever remember visiting (not that I frequent graveyards very often). Buried here are three signers of the Declaration of Independence: Robert Treat Paine, John Hancock and Samuel Adams. Also, in my opinion, most famously is the grave site of Paul Revere. I really did feel a sense of inspiration walking among these mostly humble final resting places. We often forget as Americans what these men risked by signing the declaration and what Revere risked riding like a mad man to alert the rest of the American Patriots of the coming British invasion. If the Revolutionary War was lost, all of these men would have been executed for treason.
Continuing on the trail we explored King´s Chapel and burial ground. Next was the oldest public school in America, Boston Latin School which was founded in 1635.
The next site on the freedom trail irked me a little bit. We were following our map and learned that we were going to see the old corner book store. This book store published the works of the following authors: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., Charles Dickens and Louisa May Alcott: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., Charles Dickens and Louisa May Alcott. We read that many of these authors including Dickens and Emerson would frequent the bookstore. This place is now…who would have guessed?….a Chipotle! A fast food restaurant is now located in one of the most (if not the most) iconic bookstore in our country. The freedom trail made me sad at this juncture.
By the bookstore is the Old South Meeting House which held the official meeting of the Boston Tea Party prior to the rebel event. Many of the meetings that led up to this destined meeting were held at the Old State House which was near the site of the Boston Massacre occurring in 1770 when tensions between Bostonians and redcoats were running pretty high.
As we continued along the trail, we witnessed the exteriors of Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere´s home, and Old North Church which was famous for hanging the lanterns (one if by land, two if by sea).
The USS Constitution stop on the trail had a small museum but unfortunately, the ship was closed on Monday. We could not walk on the boat. We finished the trail by ascending Bunker Hill and reading the history of the early squirmish between the American Revolutionary forces and the Red Coats.
As a start to our vacation, we probably walked about 7 miles total on this first day. By the request of a few friends, we found Regina´s Pizza on the north end and sat outside watching a local street parade.
Tuesday morning, we awoke and rode the subway to Fenway Park. As a baseball fan, this was definitely a dream come true. The Red Sox were out of town but we could still tour the ballpark. The field is absolutely amazing in person and there is so much history there. Our guide talked about Tom Yawkey who became owner of the Red Sox in the 1930s. He renovated a very old ballpark and we actually sat in some of the seats that are still in the stadium that he put in all that time ago. He also had the infamous Green Monster built as home run balls were being launched to left field and assailing the businesses on the street. I actually got to sit on top of the Green Monster.
I have now been in the two oldest ballparks in baseball. I went to a game at Wrigley Field back in 2001 when the alleged steriod-addled Sammy Sosa played for the Cubs. Wrigley was built in 1914. Fenway Park was constructed in 1912. As a finale on the tour, I saw the one red seat in center right field where Ted Williams launched a 502ft homerun and hit a guy with a straw hat on the head. Baseball legends right there!
We had not even been to Spain yet and the trip was a lot of fun. Especially for history buffs like Michelle and I.