(Joint Base Cape Cod, MA) Hi 77 Lo 57 – It was such a beautiful day that we decided to forego our normal Sunday of NASCAR watching on TV and go check out Boston. One thing we knew we weren’t going to do is drive in downtown Boston. So we did a little research and agreed the best way to see most of the city in one day is to take a trolley tour. There are several tour companies, but we settled on Boston Super Tours. They offer a 21-stop loop of the city on “upper deck” trolleys, which have elevated seating to give you a great view above the traffic. We didn’t even want to drive to the tour office, so we parked the car at the Braintree train station well outside the city and rode the subway (the “T”) into town. The stop at South Station put us right at one of the trolley stops, so all we had to do was wait a few minutes for one to show up and climb aboard.
You can hop off and on the trolleys at any of the stops, or just ride around for a couple of hours for a narrated tour. They run at 15-20 minute intervals, so you don’t have to wait long for the next trolley.
Boston is one beautiful city! We’ve been to just about all the major cities in the U.S., but none give you a sense of history like Boston does. The city was founded in 1630, so the variety of architecture is amazing. Here are some random photos we took during the tour, many of them showing the contrast of old architecture and new.
There are many historical buildings in Boston, including Faneuil Hall, the famous market place and meeting house built in 1742 (rebuilt in 1762 after burning down). Early meetings encouraging independence from Britain were held here, many of them led by Samuel Adams.
The Old State House, build in 1713, was the site of the Massachusetts legislature until 1798.
Then the “new” State House was built in 1798, and has been the home of the Mass. legislature and governor’s office ever since.
We hopped off the trolley to see the USS Constitution, Old “Ironsides.” She’s the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat, launched in 1797 and named by George Washington after the Constitution of the United States.
She’s a magnificent three-masted schooner that saw combat action in the War of 1812. Remember how we told you how the Mayflower II had the old, weathered look of a 400-year old ship (even though it’s only 60 years old)? Well, the USS Constitution is immaculate looking! The paint shines, the brass gleams, and every part of her looks like it’s cleaned every day. One example of this is the wood trim pieces (I don’t know what they’re really called) at the top of the gangplank.
The rows of cannons along the sides are very impressive looking, both from the outside…
… and the inside.
The deck was crowded with people, which makes it even more amazing that they can keep all the ropes and rigging neatly organized.
There was a nice view of the Boston skyline across the harbor from the deck.
Across the dock area is the USS Constitution Museum. We didn’t take the time to go there; maybe next time.
About the time we were getting really hungry for lunch, the tour conveniently had a stop near Cheers. Originally called The Bull and Finch Pub, it became very famous when the producers for the TV show Cheers used it for exterior shots in the series. The owners officially changed the name to Cheers, and it’s been one of the most popular tourist attractions in Boston ever since.
I looked for Norm and Cliff, but they weren’t around.
The food was normal pub fare, various burgers and sandwiches names after the characters of the series. I had a cheeseburger and Dee had a turkey sandwich, and both were good but a little expensive (naturally).
After lunch before re-boarding the trolley we took a stroll through the Boston Public Garden, which is across the street from Cheers. It was established in 1837 by philanthropist Horace Gray as the first public botanical garden in the U.S. It’s a beautiful park, and there were many families out enjoying the great weather.
We hopped back on the trolley and continued our tour. Although one of the stops was in Cambridge, we were disappointed that the route didn’t include Harvard University. I always wanted to say “I went to Harvard,” and this would have been a great way to make that happen. But I had to settle for MIT, which we drove through.
Driving across the Charles River back into Boston was very scenic.
After returning back to our original starting point we boarded the subway back to Braintree for the drive home. We had a great time and got a great introduction to the great city of Boston. We’d love to come back again in the future to get a more in depth look at many of the sights. And taking public transportation definitely is the way to go. Driving in downtown would be horrible! I don’t think there are any corners that are right angles. The streets go every which way, at all angles with seemingly no established organization. I know the city was laid out in the 1600’s, but couldn’t they plot out at least a few blocks that were square? (OK, I’m exaggerating, but not by much.)