According to the data generated at the Human Life exhibit at the Museum of Science yesterday my normal walk burns 95 calories per mile. John’s walk is better – he burns 122 calories per mile. (We also learned he has a high foot arch, I have a normal one, neither of us chooses more food just because the selection is larger, my hands drop 3 degrees in a minute when cold; John’s only drops .7 of a degree.)
Today we must have walked off the calories consumed in our Dunkin Donut lunch. We walked almost continuously from 10:30 am until we got back to the apartment at 6:30. Once again, my feet hurt – but not as bad as the other day thank goodness.
My ‘to do’ list of sites in Boston included several things in Back Bay. Boston is made up of smaller districts: Charlestown across the river (USS Constitution and Navy Yard), North End (Italian section, Paul Revere’s House, Faneuil Hall, etc), Government Center (Mass. State House), Financial District (self explanatory), Chinatown (ditto), Boston Common, West End, Beacon Hill, Back Bay and Fenway. Back Bay is the new money area. Beacon Hill is the old money.
We decided to walk over to Back Bay and go through the Boston Public Garden on the way rather than take the T. That enabled us to meander and make a few detours. The Public Garden is beside Boston Common but is much newer; having been established in 1837; 203 years later than the Common (1634).
Boston is chock-a-block full of statues. They are everywhere commemorating important personages from history, politics, literature and the arts, philanthropy and religious service, and who knows what else. Not too far from where we entered the garden we came across Mrs. Mallard and her children, Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack, the family of ducks that made the Boston Public Garden known to millions of children through the book: Make Way for the Ducklings. At the other end of the Garden is a Sept. 11 memorial remembering the people from Boston who perished that awful day. (We even found a geo-cache at the gate we exited the garden.)
Somehow I unknowingly changed my camera setting to monochrome so some of my pics are black and white. (I included a few of John’s that were the same as mine to have colour ones)
Today was also a day for churches. We toured the Church of the Covenant, Trinity and Old South.. We have been in churches all around the world – they are favourite buildings on tourist excursions – but I think Central Congregational is my favourite. There was just something about the simplicity of the lower levels rising to the decoration and gorgeous Tiffany windows and lantern to the 100 foot high ceiling that lifted my soul. I loved it. It was built in 1867 in the Gothic Revival style and sits at the corner of Newbury and Berkeley Streets.
Almost immediately after leaving Church of the Covenantl we went into Trinity. They have a meeting rooms in the Parish House and a lovely enclosed garden – where we tried to locate a cache but came up empty-handed. Trinity Church is the only church on the American Architect list of top 10 buildings in the country. It sits on one side of Copley Square, a very popular lunch spot for people working in the area.
Their minister Phillips Brooks wrote “O Little Town of Bethlehem” Across the square and across the street is the Boston Public Library. I wanted to see the murals I had read graced the walls of the building. I wasn’t expecting all the gorgeous marble, the exhibit on 100 years of Boston’s Haydn and Handel Orchestra, the paintings of the story by Alfred, Lord Tennyson of Sir Galahad and the Holy Grail that encircle the Abbey Room, the dioramas of famous artists ‘working’ in scenes depicted in their art and the beautiful courtyard we spied out a back window. Justifiably a Boston treasure.
I had picked up a brochure on the Mapparium, a 30 ft glass globe you could stand inside. The address was on Massachusetts Ave. so we headed that way when we left the Library. Along the way we passed a huge reflecting pool and fountain with a towering building beside it. Along the length of the reflecting pool were trees and gardens with seating. Two buildings flanked the ends of the pool, one modern looking that matched the architecture of the tower at the other end and the other a huge domed Renaissance revival basilica. This is the headquarters of the First Church of Christ, Scientist (aka Christian Science).
Across the courtyard of Christian Science Plaza is the Mary Baker Eddy library and museum (founder in 1908 of the Christian Science Monitor), one of the largest single collections by and about an American woman and home of the Mapparium. You could not take photos inside unfortunately but if you Google it you can see a couple of photos. The Mapparium is a 3 story stained-glass globe of the world (to scale) that can be traversed on a glass bridge through the middle. It was built between 1932-35 and reflects the geography of the world at that time. While standing on the glass bridge you are treated to short sound and light show about our changing world. (The thing that struck me the most was the amount of downtown real estate the Christian Scientists own – the plaza is a huge complex. They bought up a few square blocks back then for sure.
A few blocks down Massachusetts Ave and we turned right onto Boylston where entered the Prudential Center and bought tickets for the Skywalk Obeservatory on the 50th floor of the tower. Gorgeous 360 degree view of Boston.
Everything you see in the center of this photo, plus a long extension of the building on the right that didn’t fit in the image belongs to the Christian Science Church. A beautiful space.
We were now walking back toward the Public Garden but we needed to stop in at the Old South Church on the way. Members of the Old South Meeting House, of Tea Party fame, decamped to this new parish in 1875 – quite a controvery at the time. The Italian Gothic style of the church is very different than the plain meetinghouse they previously attended.
We decided to go up Commonwealth Avenue Mall and see some of the many statues that have been placed among the trees. We entered the Mall about half way along its length so we didn’t see all of the statues but we did see the Vendome Monument, a memorial to firefighters who lost their lives in 1972 after fighting a fire in the Vendome Hotel of Back Bay only to have the building collapse without warning minutes after they were wrapping up from fire (stuctural weakness was determined as the cause, not the fire). 16 men were trapped for 9 hours, nine died.
We completed the long and winding circuit and emerged at the Public Garden. As we made our way back to the apartment on Garden Street in Beacon Hill we made a stop at Louisburg Square (Bostonian’s pronouce the S, so it is Lewisburg), home of the costliest private residences (with recognizable names of film, art and politics as owners) in the country. $6-$20 million per. The buildings were the model for future townhouse development. The little park in the center is private to the property owners but we found a geo-cache that was hidden in one of the signs.
And now you know why my feet hurt! I knew there was too much to see and do in this city! Good thing we decided to stay a week and not the original two or three days. Even with our jam-packed week there are places and things I would like to see that I won’t be able to. But I know we can’t do it all. Oh well. We are doing quite well; narrowing down the list nicely.