2 Moms. 5 kids. 1 van. 3 weeks. 3000 miles. Are we amazing or are we crazy? You decide.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Day 12 - Boston

Having heard horror stories about parking in Boston, and having learned our lesson with the car top carrier, we wisely decided to use public transportation. We drove a little way north, to the subway station at the end of the Red Line. In Boston they call it the “T”. We were delighted to learn that children under 11 were free.
After much deliberation, we had decided to go on a Duck Tour. The Ducks (or DUKW) are WWII amphibious vehicles. The Boston tour went to almost all of the sights on the Freedom Trail, and splashed into the Charles River as well. We have been traveling for 12 days and have walked our poor children’s feet off. So we decided to spare them a bit in Boston. We figured anything the duck didn’t fly by; we could go back and do afterwards.
The duck ride was definitely the highlight of Boston. Our driver (Captain Culvert) was excellent, and kept us all in stitches, while throwing in some history as well. In fact, M and C wanted his autograph when we were done, so apparently he made an impression. The kids were sitting in the front rows on either side of the aisle. After splashing into the Charles River (with a bugle charge for sound effects), Captain Culvert asked “Who wants to drive?” How many hands do you think went up in the first row? M was the first picked, and although he did an excellent job of driving the duck, he did not pass the listening portion of the exam.

At the beginning of the tour, CPT Culvert told us that the first elected Governor of MA was John Hancock. As M was driving, Capt. Culvert was asking him where he was from and what he had visited. M told him that he was homeschooled and about the Great American History Tour. CPT Culvert asked “Who was the 1st Gov of MA?” M failed the quiz. So did all the other children when he asked them. But they all got to drive the Duck, even J. Our driver also called back to headquarters, to ask them to give us a copy of their educational packet which they use for school tours (I guess he thought we really needed it!). Having looked at the packet online the night before, I was really excited, as they get an A+ for the most interesting and well put together packet.
Of course, ever since then, we have been randomly asking them who the first elected Gov of MA was. I think they’ll remember.
Although the duck could not get through the narrow streets of the North End, our captain was very enthusiastic about the restaurants there. The North End is mainly Italian now, and he said you couldn’t pick a bad one. Since Paul Revere’s House is also in the North End, and that was next on our list, we decided to wander up there and eat lunch. We did pick the first restaurant we came to, since everyone was hungry. It was a little tiny Italian restaurant named Antico Forno. If anyone is ever in Boston, I recommend it.

M and P had seen a play about Paul Revere last year, so P was really excited to see “his actual house”. I was pretty excited myself. They have some furniture that actually belonged to the Reveres. Did you know that Paul Revere had 16 children? 8 by his first wife, and 8 by his second. That’s in addition to being a well-known silversmith, Son of Liberty, engraver, pioneer in the production of copper-plating, and a few more things. We then set off for the North Church, but you can’t climb the tower. The church was nice, though. We were starting the Freedom Trail somewhere in the middle, since we had both agreed that Paul Revere’s House, the Old North Church, and the USS Constitution would be more meaningful (and interesting) to the kids. As we left the Old North Church, I realized that it was 3:10. The last guided tour of the Constitution was at 3:30. I was ready to throw up my hands in disgust, since that was one of the few things I had really wanted to do. (you only get to go below decks on the guided tour). AtlMom was convinced we could make it. I was not so sure, as you have to cross the Charles River over a huge bridge (on foot), and then walk along the docks forever. She was determined. Actually, she shouted (channeling her inner drill seargent) “Go on, and we’ll catch up later”. (I don’t think the big ship was as important to her. I knew M and C would think it was really neat.) We were doing great up until the middle of the bridge. I was so focused on moving quickly, that I hadn’t really noticed how the bridge was constructed. P and C were ahead of me, and I realized M was behind me at a dead stop. I looked down, and realized I was on a grate with nothing between me and the Charles River except a thin piece of metalwork (we were REALLY high up!) And I had to be grownup about it and go reassure my son. (At that point I really gave up on getting there by 3:30) He was seriously panicked, and not going to move an inch over the grate. Although I had given up on the 3:30 tour, I still wanted to see the Constitution, and the long way around was REALLY long – involving a ferry and LOTS of walking. So I tried to calm M’s fears (while still being a bit freaked out myself), and told him he could close his eyes and I’d take him across. Nope, that wasn’t going to work. We talked a bit more, and decided we would run across and not look down. I am very proud of my son for overcoming his fear, and making it across the bridge . We made it across at 3:25Although we missed the first few minutes of the tour (because we had to slow down for the security checkpoint), the very nice Navy guy let us go onboard and catch up with the rest of the tour. So we got to go below decks and see the whole ship.

They also have a very hands-on Museum for the Constitution, where kids can go through the steps of loading a cannon, sleep in a hammock, walk the rigging (just not 80 feet up), and experience a sailor’s life in general.
We did take the ferry back, as it let us out right by a T station, and we were all ready to go back to the hotel. We did stop and throw some tea into the water before we left.

On the way home, AtlMom looked at me and said, “How would you feel if we ditched Plimoth?” Funny, I had been thinking the same thing, but hadn’t wanted to mention it because I thought she really wanted to see Plimoth. Tomorrow would be our last day in the Boston area, and while I thought I could live without seeing Plimoth Rock (which I’ve heard is really small), I was not sure I could go home and face my extended family without seeing the Ducks Statue in the Public garden (of Make Way for Ducklings fame),and riding the Swan Boats.
We decided that Plimoth was very much like Jamestown (a boat, a Native American Village, and an English Settlement), and that our time would be better spent giving Boston an extra day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The rock is incredibly anticlimatic. There is a nice replica of one of the boats, but I would advise anyone to skip the rock. After all, you guys have seen one or two boats already. Very good choice. I was also impressed with Boston's train system.

Sounds like the duck was very cool. I have wanted to do that but never made it. I really wish I had thrown some tea into the harbor.

I'm so glad you are all still having fun.

Atlanta Aunt