Sunday, September 28, 2014

Playing Tourist in Boston

Yesterday Shana and I took advantage of the fine weather to play tourist in Boston. We wanted to go into town for the day and had no specific goal except for my desire to eat at the Union Oyster House, so we bought tickets for a guided Freedom Trail tour and went for a little walk around town after a coffee and a circular trip around Chinatown. I have no bump of direction to speak of so I let Shana get us from our car to Boston Common, only to find out that she does not have a bump of direction or a marked ability to read a map. Together we are a disaster on foot! I am capable of reading a map, however, so once I took over we were able to find our way. We stopped at Brattle Bookstore for a look around,  mainly because I am incapable of walking past without going in, but I restrained myself from purchasing anything. Shana was getting sneezy from the dust, so I was probably spared from purchasing only because I did not stay long enough to activate my book lust.

There are a lot of  Freedom Trail tours you can choose from in a full range from basic to deluxe, including a very good phone app to accompany a self guided tour and a guided private family tour.  Even the Duck Tours follow the Freedom Trail. You really don't need a tour at all, or you can just stop at randome places along it, because the Trail is obvious and the markers informative. We chose a guided tour with a fair sized group led by a history teacher kitted out in a complete Redcoat uniform. This tour is operated by Lessons on Liberty, and our guide was Michael Szolka, who seems to specialize in poking a hole in the common tropes of American History. He has taught history in High school and college for many years and has a great style - very conversational and I think every tour you take with him might be a little different.

The Freedom Trail in Boston is marked on the sidewalks with either a painted red stripe or more usually with a red brick stripe on the sidewalk. It's very easy to follow and I highly recommend it. Our tour did not stop at every feature, but stopped at several for an interesting  in depth talk about some of the history we did not know, including some of the things happening outside of our country that affected the Revolutionary War and the outcome. It was great to have someone with a comprehensive grasp of the history of the time with us. Even though the group was rather large I felt like we all got a great tour. The lectures in the Granary Burial Ground were especially informative and interesting.
Demonstrators in the Park

Granary Burial Ground
After the tour we stopped at the Green Dragon Tavern for a pint, then around the corner for a meal at the Union Oyster House, America's oldest restaurant. Union Oyster House is well worth a stop, even if you are disinclined to eat oysters. The clam chowder is stellar, and all of the seafood dishes are perfectly cooked. It's fun to walk around the restaurant and check out the art, memorabilia and decor, including a plaque in John F. Kennedy's favorite booth.

Deluxe pigeon perches

1 comment:

Xtreme English said...

Love your tour comments. and the pigeon perches--is that the former First Couple?