Thursday, September 17, 2015

Digging Into My Boston Roots - As A Tourist

This summer, I chose to show my husband my roots. I had planned to cover our entire trip in one blog post, but I filled this one with Boston. We'll head to New Hampshire in a later post.

When I had lived in Boston, I visited some of the attractions on school field trips, to entertain visiting friends or relatives and just wandering about because it was a beautiful day (e.g., no frigid harsh wind, gray imposing clouds, or barrels of dumping snow).  

During my time in Boston this summer, I was able to enjoy the city freely. By freely, I mean for the first time I visited without having homework waiting, a job down the road beckoning, or any other responsibilities weighing on me there. With new eyes--the eyes of a tourist--I explored my roots. I may have had more fun than my husband.

Though I mentioned eyes, I'm going to start with the mouth. Seafood is a must in Boston. This is not me telling you. This is what my family told me when I was growing up. And when I was a kid, I did not like seafood. My mom and aunt thought perhaps I'd been abducted by aliens who altered my taste buds. Happily, as an adult, I love almost anything from the sea. The freshness of my meals in Boston this summer sent me into food heaven (no aliens were present).

Scrod, Scallops and Shrimp (dairy-free)
at The Salty Dog, Quincy Market

Lobster Salad at Durgin Park, Quincy Market

For the first time, I walked the entire Freedom Trail (both ways). The red bricks and painted line led us easily through informative, beautiful, thought invoking history and city sites. And, since the trail is around 2.5 miles each way, we got some great exercise.

There are 16 sites along the Freedom Trail. None take a great deal of time to explore, though you may wish to spend some time imagining the history and taking photos. An added benefit is that the trail also leads you through different Boston neighborhoods and provides a good means to get your bearings as you explore Boston. But overall its purpose is to: "Learn about the brave people who shaped our nation. Discover the rich history of the American Revolution, as it began in Boston, where ever step tells a story"

Another popular tourist attraction that I had only ever taken through a work outing was the Duck Boat Tour.  This time, for 80 minutes, on land and on the Charles River, I wanted the driver guide to keep talking. I couldn't hear enough Boston trivia and history. Just fascinating. How had I not known all that before? One of the other highlights was watching kids drive the Duck Boat on the Charles River, even when one steered us toward rocks. The the joy and exhilaration on the kids faces made me smile like I was one of them.

On the Charles River looking to Boston

Even my old apartment building stunned me with its beauty. My mom spilled the beans to my husband that it was once a brothel. (beans... a Boston pun, as it is nicknamed Beantown) This building is also rumored to have had the Boston Strangler as a guest. The best part of my 825 square foot, 1 bedroom apartment was the clawfoot tub, fireplace and view of Fenway Park. On game days,  crowd's cheer and announcer's deep voice filled my living room. Those lights at Fenway were so bright that even while the crew cleaned after a night game, it seemed like daylight was pouring into my windows.

Below are photos of additional places that left me with a greater appreciation of my roots.

View down Huntington Avenue. The Prudential is tallest on left. John Hancock is all glass to the right.

Architecture on Newbury Street. Great shopping and restaurants.

Frog Pond in Boston Common (founded 1634)

Make Way For Ducklings statue. A classic children's book must read by author Robert McCloskey!

Swan Boat at the Public Garden (founded 1837)

Emerson Colonial Theater (112 years old). Several old theaters still operate in the Theater District.
We saw The Book of Mormon.

If you've visited places you grew up as a tourist, how did it make you feel? What aspects did you appreciate with this new perspective?

1 comment:

  1. I was in Boston this summer and loved it , too-Visited as a tourist with an old college friend (we went to nearby Tufts)-I would also recommend Kennedy Library and Museum of FIne Arts!