In honor of Independence Day, here’s a look at my recollections of my Fourth of July 2008 trip to Boston, Massachusetts USA
A Boston Fourth to Remember
It started with my first Amtrak trip. My companion and I took the subway from Midwood, Brooklyn to New York Penn Station, retrieved our tickets from the kiosk, and boarded Amtrak’s Acela headed for Boston. For those who live on or can readily connect to the Washington DC to Boston Acela route, I must heartedly recommend it; as our nation’s high speed rail route, it is much faster than driving – and without the traffic or fuel expense – and much more comfortable than either driving or flying!
From the Boston Amtrak station, we took Boston’s subway to Old Boston; our hotel reservation was with the famous Omni Parker House just off School Street. Omni Parker is famous for inventing the Boston Crème Pie, which we tried! But the rooms are very small, even to a New Yorker, and very expensive with none of the amenities that you’ll find at mid-priced hotels like Comfort Inn.
With our room secured, we were ready to explore Boston over our three day Fourth of July vacation. We started with Boston’s Duck tour around the city and into the Charles River, seeing some of Boston and Cambridge’s most famous landmarks. After the tour, we explored the nearby pedestrian mall and encountered the Middlesex County Volunteer drum-fife corp performing in front of Borders. Then it was off for dinner on Beacon Hill. There’s a terrific Irish pub there with truly authentic Irish cuisine for a modest price. The next morning, July 3rd, we walked down to Boston Commons (less than six blocks from the Omni Parker hotel) to take the “Freedom Trail” tour (tickets available at a kiosk in Boston Commons) where we explored many Old Boston historical sites, including the Old State House where the Declaration was read for the first time in 1776 and every year since from the same balcony. Our guide was dressed in the uniform of a French officer, adding to our experience. With the tour over, we walked down to Faneuil Hall and market place, one of the stops on our Freedom Trail tour, for some shopping, dinner, and night life. There are several lovely cafes there that should be a must-visit for anyone interested in Old Boston.
The morning of the 4th was the best of all. For me, it started with a walk down to the Old State House to hear the Declaration of Independence in full. After the reading, as I walked back to Omni Parker House (my companion was the “sleep late” sort of person) I heard drums. Following the parade to a courtyard, I watched grenadiers representing Crown troops demonstrate the drills practiced during the War for Independence. Gathering my companion after the parade and performances, we explored near the hotel in greater detail; there are many very old buildings clustered together in Old Boston.
With our train back scheduled for 11am, I found myself wishing for one more day. As we prepared to leave, we noticed Kings Chapel, the first Unitarian church in America. As a Unitarian myself, I was intrigued and we asked to see the church. Unfortunately for us, services were going to begin in less than hour and with our train leaving in about an hour from that time, we could not stay; but the usher let us walk into the sanctuary for two minutes and gave a rushed primer on what we were seeing. I told him about being UU myself and a fascinating discussion went on for about ten minutes about the forming of Unitarianism in America and King’s Chapel’s role in it.
With another smooth train trip home, we were sad to leave. It was a wonderful 4th of July.