May 18- June 1, 2019
We moved an hour north to be closer to Boston for two weeks. We stayed at the Circle CG Farms campground. I was not a fan of our site. It was the first one next to the gate and pool and looked right at construction. They had some lovely sites back by the pond in the woods but was told the spots available in our size were booked. We booked this site 6 months in advance, I’m not sure why we didn’t get one of those. We had several other issues with this park so I would not recommend it.
We needed to stay here for 2 weeks for several reasons. Kim wanted to move with us and explore Boston. Chris had to go out of town and flew out of Boston He also local meetings in Boston. It was also Memorial Day weekend and Mackenzie’s 11th birthday.
Chris flew out Saturday when we arrived and flew home Tuesday.
After we dropped Chris off at the airport we did hike at a beautiful state park on the way home. It was good to get out of the car for a while and stretch our legs.
Charlestown Naval Yard
On Sunday, my sister, the girls, and I headed downtown to explore the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile indoor/outdoor history experience in the Boston National Historical Park. There are 16 historic sites within the system.
We started at the north end in the Charlestown Naval Yard. One of two NPS visitors centers are located here.
We ended up spending the entire day at the Navy Yard. We visited the NPS museum before lunch and boarding the ship.
We had lunch at the conveniently located cafe on site.
The USS Constitution Museum had so many hands on exhibits that educated and entertained us for hours.
When I asked my sister what she wanted to see in Boston, she did a little research and said she just really wanted to get on this big ship, so that’s why we started here. It’s a cool old big ship.
There is another old cool ship in the naval yard you can board.
No, I didn’t forget what they were I just thought it would be funny to be a minimalist with my words:)
The first ship is The USS Constitution which is the oldest warship afloat in the world. Built in 1797 but known for her involved in the war of 1812. She got her nickname, Old Ironsides, while defeating 5 British ships. The live oak wood from Georgia they used were so dense that the cannon balls just bounced off when the British tried attacking her.
It’s free to visit. You just have to go through security because it’s guarded by the Navy.
The other boat is the USS Cassin Young which served in WWII.
After we explored the museum and ships, we just relaxed on the pier looking at the Harbor, talking.
Franklin Public Library
Monday my sister headed home. We started wrapping up our school year. The girls and I spent the week at the Franklin Public Library. Franklin Public Library is the first library in America. This town, established in 1778, decided to name their town Franklin in honor the new hero of our young country. Two years after this decision they thought Mr. Franklin would be honored by this gesture so they wrote to him and ask him to for a gift of a bell for their church. Mr. Franklin sent them a stack of books and stated in his letter they would better served with books than a bell to call them to church. The church excepted the books and kept them for their congregation at first but then decided to start lending them out to anyone. And the first lending library was born.
We received mail at this campground so the library let us get cards. The real bonus, besides getting a library card from the first library in America, is that we were able to check out books and free museum passes as well. We were able to get into the JFK library and the wax museum for free.
Friday night Chris played golf at Shining Rock Golf club. He didn’t take any pictures because he wasn’t overly impressed by the course.
Memorial Day weekend
Saturday we headed downtown with Chris. We arrived early so Chris could pick up his race packet at the Seaport World Trade Center on the Commonwealth Pier at 9am. I dropped he and the girls off and parked at Farnsworth garage for only $15 and they met me at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. You must take the 75 minute guided tour to see anything. I bought tickets online to save a few dollars. We started our tour at 10am. We were given character cards to participate in the live discussions. They also give you a feather to put in your hair to dress like an Indian, just as the Bostonians did the night they dumped the tea overboard.
Boston Tea party
The highlight was being able to partake in a reenactment of throwing the tea overboard.
The museum was great. It is so interactive and the guides dress in character. They have an original tea crate and a vial of the original tea that was thrown over board on display.
Abigail Adams’ Tea Room
We sure did have fun with our Abigail Adams eating at ‘her’ tea room. All the teas served here are the types that were thrown overboard in protest of the tax that famous night of December 16, 1773.
There were three common black teas, Congou, Souchong, and Bohea (all tea was basically called this in the 17th and 18th centuries). There were two green teas: Young Hyson, which was Washington and Jefferson’s favorite as well as Single, a new tea that was going to be debuted but instead ended up in the water before the colonist could try it. The Young Hyson was my favorite.
We enjoyed some scones and sandwiches while we drank bottomless tea and played an old dice and checkers game.
We walked back to our parking garage and put the race packet and souvenirs in the Jeep then called an Uber. It was cheaper to leave the Jeep in the $15 garage and take Uber than it was to move and pay parking again. We headed to the Charlestown Navy yard to show Chris ‘Old Ironsides’.
The weather was so much better today than the first day we visited but also more crowded. The upside of visiting on the weekends though is that there are usually more planned activities. This was true here today. They had a great musket demo that we were able to attend.
Battle at Bunker Hill
We walked to Bunker Hill from here (short walk). We climbed to the top of the memorial on Bunker Hill and explored the grounds. All the while the girls are filling in the Junior Ranger booklet pages about the Freedom Trail.
We walked over to the Wax musuem and got in free with the library card pass.
The girls and I have never been to a wax museum but Chris has and said this one was not very good compared to a Madame Tussaud’s. We had fun posing with the figures away.
Walked over to the Holocaust memorial. I visited Boston about 20 years ago and remember seeing this over anything I had seen on that trip so I knew I’d have to show the girls. It’s very impactful.
ye olde Union Oyster House
They claim to be the oldest restaurant in America, established in 1826. JFK had a favorite booth that we walked by. They serve delicious corn bread while you are waiting for your meal. There was a lobster mounted on the wall that was 42 lbs- apparently the largest ever caught. I’ll have to ask about this in Maine.
Sunday morning Chris ran a half marathon in the Boston’s Run to Remember. He left at 5am and got back home at 10am.
Then we headed back downtown to do the freedom trail.
Quincey Market and Faneuil Hall
We grabbed lunch inside the Quincey Market and sat outside to watch the street performers.
We finished just in time for the 1:00 pm interactive reenactment of the meeting to discuss the freedom of a slave that was caught in Boston.
It took place inside Faneuil Hall, which is also the location of the other visitors center for the NPS. It is called “The Cradle of Liberty”. The first floor of Faneuil Hall has served as a market since it was built, the second floor served as the government hall, and the top floor served as an armory for the town’s protection. For 275 years the government hall has been a place of protests, meetings and debates.
Today was the anniversary of the big event in Boston. They were recreating the debate of Boston’s response to the Fugitive Slave Act. Anthony Burns escaped slavery in Virginia and made it to Boston where he found work until he was captured one day. As we entered Faneuil Hall we were handed cards with characters and how they felt about the Fugitive Slave Act and whether Mr. Burns should be freed or sent back to Virginia. Abby and Mackenzie felt brave enough to stand up and share their cards by reading them to the crowd that had gathered.
Anthony Burns was taken back to Virginia but shortly after Bostonian’s raised money and bought his freedom.
We continued walking down Freedom Trail.
Old State House
In March 1770, British soldiers opened fire in front of this building, killing five and wounding many others. By the next morning, leaders called the event a “bloody massacre.” Six years later, on July 18, 1776, Bostonians gathered under the balcony of Old State House to hear the words of the Declaration of Independence for the first time. We brought our copy of the Declaration of Independence and took turns reading it under the balcony.
Granary Burying Graveyard
Most notable people buried here: Sam Adams, John Hancock, Robert Paine, Paul Rivere and 5 vitcums of the Boston massacre.
The next four stops were: 1. Old South Meeting House is where the Boston Tea Party was launched. We did not pay to go inside because the Boston Tea Party museum did a great job of recreating the room and the discussion that went on that day. 2. Big Little Free Library on the Freedom Trail. Mackenzie picked up a book she wanted. 3. Old Corner Bookstore was a literacy center and publishing house, now it is serving tortillas. 4. The Old North Church is famous for John Pulling, Jr. climbing the steeple and holding two lanterns as a signal from Paul Revere that the British were marching to Lexington and Concord by sea across the Charles River and not by land.
We walked to Boston Common and relaxed in the shade. We ate snacks and worked on junior ranger books. Seriously, it looks like Chris is exhausted. It’s not like you just ran a half marathon and walked 10,000 steps today! Oh wait you did. Nap away.
Where everybody knows your name…but not really:)
We ubered back to the Jeep and then drove over to the Harvard campus.
Monday the 27th was Memorial Day
On the walk to to Fenway Park we stopped by the Boston Public Library.
We headed to Fenway Park to see the Boston Red Sox played the Cleveland Indians at 4pm.
We enjoyed exploring Fenway Park. It is the oldest ballpark in MLB, open since 1912. We bought tickets for the family section where they don’t allow alcohol which was really nice and relaxing. Towards the end of the game the Usher told us to go see his buddy down by the dug outs and sit down there. It was fun to sit so close. The Red Sox won!
Chris taught us a few things about Fenway Park. We learned about renovations of the park causing some unusual architecture pieces. The Green Monster is major one. The wall is 37.2 feet high and been here since the construction in 1912. It was simply called “the wall” until it was painted green in 1947. The Green Monster is the highest wall in current MLB fields. We learned that they play “Sweet Caroline” at the middle of the eighth inning and there is really no good reason for this. Oh and you have to hate the Yankees.
Tuesday the 28th, we celebrated the last day of school for 5th and 7th grade for the girls. They will get a month off before we start back after July 4th. For our dinner celebration the girls chose Ninety Nine because the Red Sox won the night before at the game we attended. Free kids meals.
Awards for school
Wednesday May 29th.
Mackenzie’s 11th Birthday
Chris took off half a day so he could visit the Adams National Historic Park before they closed at 5:00pm, then to celebrate Mackenzie’s birthday. The only way to see the houses is to take a guided tour.
Adams National Historic Park
We started with the house John Adams was born and then drove over to the house he and Abigail shared and John Quincy Adams was born in. We also visited the old house at Peacefield that the Adams bought in 1787.
The grounds and the Stone library built in 1870 believed to be the first presidential library.
Church of the Presidents. We actually took this guided tour while we waited for the bus tour to start. It’s right across the road from the NPS VC. The church is the final resting place of John and John Quincy Adams and their wives. It was a little weird to see Abigail Adams engraved on a tomb.
We also ate lunch at Five Guys before the tour started.
Junior ranger badges. It’s cool to have badges that have our last name on them. Chris talked to the ranger about the Adams ancestry line.
The JFK presidental library
Mackenzie chose Ninety Nine for her birthday dinner. Yes, if you are keeping track, that’s two nights in a row and we had the same server! It almost feels like home. You know that warm feeling when we run into people you know and you eat at your favorite local restaurant where you know the staff? Yeah- we haven’t had that for 2 years. We had that feeling tonight.
After dinner we watched Aladdin and then played a new game called Exit. It’s an escape room in a box. Mackenzie saw this game at a toy store in Delaware and wanted it for her birthday. It’s a great team building family game.
Mackenzie baked and decorated her own cake this year. She asked me to take her to Micheals so she could shop for all the decorations. Then we went to the grocery store and bought all the ingredients she had written down from a recipe she found online.
I do believe she had an amazing birthday.
Thursday we visited the Boston Science Museum. It was free with our ASTC pass.
Friday we played at the pool. The girls will get the month of June off from official school work. There will still be an occasional page in the Summer Bridge books and of course all the museums and science centers.
Because Chris was out of town for a few days we were able to do some fun projects in the RV… like make rock candy.