Boston to Aunt Lois

Boston is a new town for both of us, so we were excited to check it out and see the historical sites. Thanks to Google’s new Travel Guide function, we were able to cram 400 years of history into four hours. We’re getting this tourist thing down!

With only a few little hiccups, we hopped on the T, a combination trolley/subway, and headed into downtown Boston, popping up at Copley Park, the first stop on our Google-led tour. For those who don’t know about this feature, Google can now plan a trip for any town you search. Just scroll down on the town’s page and you’ll see “Travel Guide.” Click on that and you’ll get many options of what to see and do, the cost of hotels, the weather, etc. Oftentimes there’s even an option called “If you only have one day” that maps out a whole itinerary for you, including walking, subways, buses or driving. It’s been a great feature and we would highly recommend it.

Our Google itinerary for today had us going to Copley Square, a great old square which is the finish line for the Boston Marathon and the site of the two bombings. We decided to skip the Public Garden because, well, none of the trees or plants were blooming this time of year. (It was 26 degrees when we started today!) So we walked over to Boston Common instead, a big park with lots of schoolchildren and tour groups walking down its paths. We grabbed a dunkin’ (that means coffee here) to warm up as we walked.

There were so many churches and historical sites, we realized that we: a) can’t remember the names long enough to get home and write down what we’ve seen, and b) The 5th graders on their field trips here knew more about American history than we did! Of course, the Granary Burying Ground was one of the highlights for us (yes, we have a thing for cemeteries). This one has the remains of Paul Revere, John Hancock, Samuel Adams and others. The tombstones were thin, tilted and carved from blocks of slate. It’s amazing to see how OLD the dates were on them. The buried were crammed into the small site, oftentimes on top of each other. It’s believed about 5,000 people are buried at this small cemetery, right in the middle of the city.

Downtown Boston is a very easy city to walk as everything is close. There is also something called the Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile marked tour that crisscrosses the city, connecting historical sites. We often found ourselves following the Trail’s red brick line in the sidewalks, taking us to the next historical plaque.

We found Fanueil Market, which had a great food court similar to Pike Street Market in Seattle. It was lunchtime so we finally got those lobster rolls we heard so much about. Yum! Dave was, to say the least, jealous.

By 1pm, we had pretty much “done” the city, knowing full well that we’ll be back for a Fall Colors trip. We would highly recommend visiting Boston if you haven’t already done so. But we had another mission today, to drive to the west side of Massachusetts to visit Jim’s Aunt Lois in Lenox. She lives in a quaint New England town in the Berkshires, the first mountains we’ve seen in 6,000 miles. In the summer the town is crowded with tourists, but today, we got to spend some quality time talking about all manner of things. Aunt Lois is a retired neonatalogist and child psychiatrist, but to us she is a kick in the pants. We had a lovely dinner (French!) and had some great conversations.

Tomorrow, we’ll start our trip westward. Visiting Aunt Lois was the last stop on our plans, before heading home. We’ll spend some more time with her in the morning and then map out our trip back home.

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