We slept until 8:30, had breakfast, checked email and Facebook and, at about 11 set off to find the Bowdoin Subway Station. We can ride the T for three stops and be at the New England Aquarium in the North End area of Boston. We were to meet up with Mike and Anne and Christina in the lobby of the Marriott Long Wharf at 12:30. Since we had no idea how long it may take us to get there and to find the hotel once we arrived we decided to leave in lots of time and just see the sights in the area to use up whatever spare time we had.
This is the street where our apartment is located
Pretty much every street in Beacon Hill looks similar to this.
It took us about 10 minutes to walk from the apartment to the subway station, and another 10 minutes to get to the Aquarium stop where we discovered the Marriott Long Wharf as soon as we exited the station. We had an hour before our meeting so we walked off to explore this area of Inner Harbor with all the different wharves and marinas and old brick buildings. The Whale Watching tours, city harbour tours, the ferries to the Boston Harbor Islands and different parts of the area all come and go from the North End wharf district so it is a busy place.
There are 38 miles of walkways around Boston’s many harbours so one has plenty of places to explore. When it was getting close to our meeting time we walked through Christopher Columbus park and into the Marriott Long Wharf – a lovely hotel with a huge lobby on the second floor and many inviting seating areas. One section over in the corner was set up like a home library and I really liked the deep round-topped leather chair. Don’t know how I will get it home though.
Anne is the sister of our daughter-in-law Carrie and she and her husband Mike live about an hour outside of Boston. Their daughter Christina lives and works in Boston and their son Sean has just moved to North Carolina to attend High Point University. We met the family in 2013 when we all got together for the wedding of our son Joseph to Carrie and we had really hoped we would be able to have a visit with them while we were in their area.
The North End has several of the things on my “I want to see” list but we were more interested in spending some time with Anne, Mike and Christina than rushing from spot to spot to see things. We plan to do the entire Freedom Trail while we are here so will be back in the area another day anyway.
One of the first places we all strolled into was Paul Revere park with the statue of the famous patriot on his horse as immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellows (1808-1882) poem, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,” that I remember memorizing in grade school. The house he lived is nearby but we will see it another day.
We next stopped in at Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop and the adjoining print shop where a young fellow was printing copies of the Declaration of Independence with a Revolutionary-era printing press. They also have in the shop the only original engraving press in the USA plus a replica that they use to demonstrate how Revere and other engravers printed their pictures and broadsheets. On the other side of the entry was the chocolate shop where they make chocolate the old -fashioned way, using all the various ingredients – cinnamon, nutmeg, red peppers and 8 or 9 others; all except sugar which was very expensive back then and people who could afford to have sugar would add it to their chocolate drink after it was served.
Old North Church is the famous building where the two lanterns were hung in the window of the steeple to warn the Bostonians that the British were coming (via the sea – one lantern if by land, two lanterns if by sea) to clamp down on the revolution of America against British rule – Boston Tea Party and all that. They still conduct two services every Sunday and a descendent of Paul Revere still owns a pew.
After we left the church we went in search of somewhere to have lunch. This area of Boston is the Italian section and as we passed an intersecting street Anne said, “Look, St. Anthony is coming.”
Aug 28-30 is the 96th annual ‘Feast of Feasts’ in Boston. Begun in 1919 by Italian immigrants in honour of St. Anthony, the patron saint of the area of Italy where they came from, it is the largest Italian religious festival in New England. There are parades, decorations in the streets, marching bands, strolling singers, street entertainers and great Italian food everywhere. The highlight is the 10 hour procession of St. Anthony through the streets bedecked in ribbons that people clip money to whenever the statue is lowered to change the bearers, who are all members of the St. Anthony Society.
Lot and lots of people.
We located a restaurant, had a delicious Italian lunch and began walking in the direction of Mike’s Pasty Shop where the best Cannoli in all of Boston is made. The crowd inside the shop is wall to wall and there was a long line of people on the sidewalk waiting for the brave souls to re-emerge. Christina said that the line wasn’t too bad today. Often those waiting to place their orders stretch far out in the street. Today they all managed to squeeze inside. I stayed outside, John and Mike came out a while later and Anne and Christina came out with three boxes of goodies, having survived the experience..
The next thing we saw was also on my list along with Old North Church and that was the New England Holocaust Memorial. Erected in 1995 it is an outdoor memorial consisting of six tall pillars representing the six million Jews (11 million men, women and children altogether) killed by the Nazis in 6 main death camps over six years (1939-1945). Each of the towers is made of 24 panes of glass; 22 of which are etched with numbers and 2 are inscribed with messages. The numbers are all 7 digits to symbolize the tattoos put on each prisoner’s arm as part of the de-humanizing numerical system employed by the Nazis
. After we left the memorial we went over to Faneuil Hall and the Quincy Market. Faneuil Hall was built in 1742, the gift of wealthy merchant Peter Faneuil as a place for public meetings and a public market. Quincy Market, along with North Market and South Market, is the local farmers market of food, wine and cheese and every manner of food stuff you can think of. Faneuil Hall has the souviner shops and other little niche stores.
Once we finished taking a quick wander through the markets it was time to say good-bye to Anne, Mike and Christina. We really had a nice afternoon with them and appreciated their giving up their Sunday afternoon to come into town to see us. Ten minutes after we had done our good-bye hugs and said our farewells I realized I had never taken a photo of them, nor had I have someone take a pic of the five of us – which I did plan to do.. Brilliant! But other than that discrepancy it was a wonderful day. Thank you so much!