My flights from Boston to Columbia were uneventful. I’m staying for two nights with the wife of a friend from BYU who attends HBS and is working in the Bain Dallas office this summer. Although we had never met, Taryn picked me up from the airport, cooked me dinner, gave me some maps and all sorts of tips on touring Boston. It’s risky inviting yourself to stay with a complete stranger, but Taryn is so nice, easy to talk to, and hospitable. It’s been great!
So this morning, armed with a Charlie Card and a light jacket, I set out. I took the bus from the apartment to Harvard, about a mile. Then I hopped on the T and took the train to Boston Common, the oldest park in the nation. As soon as I stepped out into the common, I was engulfed in a sea of green. It seemed that I had picked an interesting day to visit Boston. The Celtics won the national basketball championship last night, and this morning the celebration continued with a huge parade around town. People had come from all over– rowdy teenagers, parents with their children, opportunists selling t-shirts and programs– to celebrate the Celtics win over LA. Shopkeepers told me it was the most people they had ever seen on the streets of Boston. The good news is it created a fun, festive atmosphere. The bad news: the crowds were annoying and a few of the Freedom Trail sites were closed for the day.
My first stop on the Freedom Trail was the Massachusetts State House. Below the beautiful gold-leafed dome hung a huge Celtics banner. I walked through the state house, where I saw lots of old flags and beautiful architecture. I thought about Mitt Romney. I managed to get lost after I left the state house, but with my trusty map and that red brick trail I found my way again. The next stop on the Freedom Trail was the Old South Meeting House. It was built in 1729 as a Puritan church, but was also used as a political forum. From the British rule to slavery to freedom of speech and women’s suffrage, there was always something being debated in the Old South Meeting House.
Next, I toured the Old State House Museum. From its balcony the Declaration of Independence was first read to the people of Boston. There were some interesting exhibits inside, as well as some hands-on activities for kids. Just outside the building is the site of the Boston Massacre. Although the “bloody massacre” helped to fuel the revolution, only five people died, so I don’t consider it much of a massacre.
By this time I was getting hungry, so I headed to Faneuil Hall, an open forum meeting hall and huge marketplace. The meeting hall was closed to the public because of the Celtics, but I was able to get a chicken caesar wrap (something bland for my pregnant tummy) and a lemonade. The parade had ended and the place was packed! I walked around the various shops and merchant tables before getting back on the trail.
From Faneuil Hall, I headed towards Little Italy, where Paul Revere’s house is located. I passed a ton of pubs, which were all full at one in the afternoon. I think a lot of people called in sick to work today.
I toured Paul Revere’s house. It was built in 1680 and the oldest remaining structure in downtown Boston. Revere fathered 16 children but never more than 5 to 9 were home at the time.
I should have kept walking the Freedom Trail, especially to see the Old North Church, where Paul Revere warned that the British were coming, but I was exhausted by this time. I browsed through an Italian market and got a chocolate cannoli from Mike’s Pastry. Later, an old Italian man told me that it was a tourist trap and I should’ve gone to one of a dozen other restaurants. He also asked me why I wasn’t wearing green and if I was married.
I got back on the train and took it to the Boston Public Library area. Next visit, I’ll have to go inside the library, which is the oldest in the country. I instead walked to the Prudential Center, where I walked through the shops (like a mall), and then took the elevator to the 52nd floor to see the view. Normally, there’s an observatory open to the public on the 50th floor, but it was closed for a public function (probably something to do with the Celtics…) so I went up to the restaurant on the 52nd and asked if I could take a look. They reluctantly acquiesced.
Then I read a magazine in Barnes & Noble. I was tired. I took the train back to Harvard and walked through the cutest children’s book and toy store ever, Curious George. I bought the kids a small surprise. Then I met Taryn, and we went to a little Italian restaurant for dinner. We walked back to get her car at HBS, where she works. Harvard Business School is a lot like Darden, only bigger, and maybe a bit more expensive (more marble, more mahogany). I’m partial to the Jeffersonian architecture, though. We love UVa!
Tomorrow I’m going to walk around Harvard Yard and after lunch Taryn and I will drive out to Cape Cod to meet our husbands. We are excited for a relaxing, all-expenses paid weekend!
Finals thoughts about Boston:
1. There is a Dunkin Donuts on every corner.
2. The public transportation is amazing! I have never had such an easy time navigating a city on buses and trains. That includes DC, LA, New York, etc.
3. I love the accent. However, they like the “F” word. A lot.
4. I could not have asked for better weather. It was 72 degrees. It felt like San Francisco.
5. It is impossible to get truly lost in Boston.
6. I could live here. If it weren’t so expensive. And it didn’t snow all winter. What I’d really like is to spend a month here in the summer. There’s a ton of fun stuff to do with kids. Someday I’ll bring them back.