Our final stop of this snapshot visit was an afternoon in Boston. Our third state in four days, Massachusetts, home to so much colonial and revolutionary history. I was excited to see what the afternoon held. It started well, our walking tour was called ‘Enemies to the state’ so I pulled out my best American accent in order to feel welcome. With our pint sized, lively guide Jayne, we walked a small section of the ‘Freedom trail.’
The red bricked trail is 2.5 miles of significant spots in the US fight for freedom from the British. The colonial city made a name for itself in defiance of the Tea Act of May 10, 1773 when they threw 600,000 pounds worth of chests of tea into the Boston Harbour and coined the phrase ‘no taxation without representation.’ Britain reacted harshly repealing Boston’s right to self govern and shutting down the harbour attempting to force them into submission. They posted British soldiers to police the streets and introduced the ‘intolerable acts’ until Boston repaid the debt of the lost tea. The Sons of Liberty began gauging reaction from the 13 colonies and as tensions rose, it was not a time to be impartial.
Paul Revere is celebrated as a forerunner in the protest, assembling the midnight riders to spy on the cities goings on, eventually riding to inform the militia of the approaching British Soldiers. His house is in the North End of the city. With a dense Italian population, this part of the city is thick with Italian cuisine and has an old feel of winding streets and a history of poverty and immigration. Outside the Old North church a statue of Paul Revere stands proud. Our guide suggested his status as celebrated revolutionary hero wasn’t sealed until 1861 in the build up of American Civil war, to unite the states through patriotic memory.
Being another port city, fresh fish is easy to come by. Markets filled the streets with fresh fruit and veg and Jaemi and I tried our first oysters after watching them be freshly shucked, and Allison giving us a demonstration on how to enjoy them. Afterwards we enjoyed another New England special, Clam Chowder served in a bread bowl inside the North Market next to Faneuil Hall, the historic meeting place so key to the Revolution.
We talk a walk to the harbour, just to see if the water was still murky with the good stuff. Looking back at the cities skyline, illuminated by the setting sun, old buildings stood out against the modern architecture making for a beautiful cityscape.
The city was still busy with life as we enjoyed a coffee and al Fresca game of chess in the square, then set off southwards on the Freedom Trail towards Boston Common. The site of the Boston Massacre in which five people were killed at the mercy of nine ambushed British soldiers was poignantly marked. Beautifully preserved buildings such as the old town hall and bookstore have been repurposed in the most free market way imaginable, now a steak house and restaurant.
Regretfully, we left the city for Denvers, a smaller city to the north where we would spend the night with Allison’s friends before an early exodus to the airport. On the way we stopped at Pulman’s Pantry, a real life gingerbread house serving ice cream which you could cover in as many imaginative toppings as you could fit in your bowl. God bless America. (And God bless these shining stars!)
And so ended a whirlwind visit to New England at a spectacular time of year, and it’s only whetted my appetite for more.
Next stop BC, Canada.