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Boston Freedom Trail, Old Ironsides & Cape Cod

Adventurers in New England

Chapter Nineteen

Freedom Trail, "Old Ironsides," Inner Harbor

Boston, MA


Boston to Cape Cod, MA


Robin Bowers

June 26, 2015


Text and Photos by Author
The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.

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    Last night, Chris and I had a nice dinner at the Outback Steakhouse in Lowell, MA, then returned to the motel. Afterwards, I went to find a laundromat close and once I had located it and started to do the laundry, there was a car accident several doors away at a corner. This kept everyone busy and made the laundry job go faster. Just as I was getting the last load out of the dryer, the police and others had cleaned up the intersection so I was able to return back to the motel without delay. On the way back I make a quick stop at Staples to buy a chip card and batteries for my camera as I wanted to be well supplied for my big day in Boston tomorrow and my first visit

    Today began early at the motel in Chelmsford. We left here on US 3 heading southeast toward I-95 and then made our way to North Cambridge. Our goal was to find the Alewife station, park and find our Red Line train. Alewife is an MBTA Red Line subway station located in North Cambridge, Massachusetts. The northern terminus of the Red Line, Alewife serves as a local intermodal transit hub. Alewife is the name of the fish in the area.

    Having successfully found a parking spot and then able to operate the MBTA ticket vending machine, we had our Charlie Ticket. I would use mine all day and late into the night.


back card

    Chris and I easily found our red line train to take us to Boston and boarded without problems.  Among the stops the train made were at Harvard and MIT.

red line map

    At the Park St station # 22, we disembarked from the Red Line train. At this point Chris would board the Green Line and get off at North Station. From there he would ride as much of the commuter rail as he could in the Boston area. I decided to do my exploring of Boston on foot and would simply go top side to start my walking tour at the Boston Common. At 5 o'clock we were to meet up at the South Station for our ride to Cape Cod.

AAA Walking Tours

The Freedom Trail

    Boston is full of history that you start learning in the earliest days of grade school. I thought this walking tour would cover most of the important things I was interested in. I hope to brush up on my knowledge of history by following Boston Freedom Trail. The national recreation trail passes many of the city's historic sites.   Each stop represents a chapter in American history, with vivid reminders of events that led to American independence. I am following the stops of their tour and using their descriptions for most of my information in this report.  

    The trail, which begins at Boston Common and ends at Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, is simple to follow. Red bricks or granite stones embedded into the sidewalk form a line that guides you from place to place; in some places the red line is painted onto the sidewalk or street.

    I began my tour at Boston Common. The 44-acre park, bounded by Beacon, Charles, Boyliston, Tremont and Park Streets, once belonged to Boston's first white settler, William Blackstone, who arrived in 1622. When the Puritans disembarked in 1630, they settled in Charlestown but later moved their hamlet across the river due to the presence of a natural spring that provided much-needed drinking water. Originally called Shawmut, or "Living Waters," by the Native Americans, Puritans renamed the area Boston after a town in England of the same name. The grassy area became common land -"the common" - occupied by grazing cattle and eventually used as a training field for the military. Today there is an absence of bovines. Cows were banished in 1830 after Beacon Hill (north of the park) became a well-to-do neighborhood; affluent residents opposed having farm animals inhabit their front yards. In the 1860s the Oneida Football Club. considered by some to be the nations first organized football team, played ball here.


    And now, onward! Follow the red stripe through this pentagon-shaped green oasis that has the reputation of being the country's first public park.


    I continued toward the golden dome of the Massachusetts State House. Once at Beacon Street, I saw the Augustus Saint-Gaudens bronze relief sculpture known as the Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment Memorial honoring the Civil War's first African-American military unit recruited in the North and regiment's commanding officer Boston Brahmin Robert Gold Shaw.


    The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, led the July 18, 1863  assault on Confederate stronghold Fort Wagner. Sgt. William Harvey Carney, who bravely protected the American flag during the bloody battle in which more than half of his compatriots were lost, often is regarded as the first African-American Medal of Honor.

    The Massachusetts State House sits across Beacon Street opposite the memorial.



    Designed by Charles Bulfinch, a Boston native who studied architecture in England, the building's central (original) section features and arched brick portico supporting Corinthian columns. A cornice, balustrade, pediment, stunning golden dome and cupola finish the building, adding an imperial feel.


    The dome, originally covered in wooden shingles, was adorned with copper from Paul Revere's company in 1802 and was gilded following the Civil War. The State House holds prominence as a city landmark and is often referred to as the New State House to distinguish it from the Old State House on State Street.


    The building sits on Beacon Hill (the tallest of Boston's three hills), land once owned by John Hancock, the colony's richest merchant. Beacon Hill earned its name from a primitive alarm signal that sat atop the hill. In the event the city was attacked, the "beacon" would be lighted as a signal for help. The area remains one of Boston's most well-heeled neighborhoods. Elegant Federal-style row houses line Beacon Street and Park Street, once known as Bullfinch Row.


    Following  the trail along Park Street to Tremont Street.


    Overlooking the Common's northeast corner, also known as "Brimstone Corner," is the stately Park Street Church. The sobriquet was allegedly assigned as a result of fiery sermons dispensed by street preachers and soapbox orators; a more likely explanation is that brimstone ( an ingredient in gun power) was stored in the church's crypt during the War of 1812.

    The church was built in 1809 on the site of the town granary, which was removed after the State House was completed. Praised by Henry James as "the most interesting mass of brick and mortar in America,"  this graceful, white-steepled church also is rich in history. William Lloyd Garrison launched his passionate crusade against slavery from the pulpit in 1829, and Samuel Smith's hymn "America" was first sung publicly during the church's 1832 Fourth of July celebration.



    Next door, on land was once part of Boston Common, is the Granary Burying Ground, where the first body was interred in 1660. This tree shaded sanctuary is the final resting place for Revolutionary War heroes, nine Massachusetts governors, soldiers and residents of early Boston, some honored with curious epitaphs, Samuel Adams, John Hancock and Robert Treat Paine-all signers of the Declaration of Independence-lie here, as do Paul Revere, Peter Faneuil, Ben Franklin's parents and the five victims of the Boston Massacre.

    Continuing north on Tremont, I stopped at School Street and Kings Chapel, the gray building on the corner.


     In the late 1600s, King James II ordered that there be an Anglican church built in the colony. Puritans were irate and refused to sell land for its construction; the governor provided an easy remedy in 1687 by seizing a portion of the adjacent burial ground, the city's oldest. Construction of the present granite church began shortly thereafter. Church of England services were held here for British officers and the governor, and, on his visit in 1789, President Washington sat in Governor's Pew. The simple exterior hides an elaborate interior. Take note of the columns on the portico-they are actually wood painted to resemble stone.



Omni Parker House at 60 School Street.

This grand luxury hotel has been symbolic to Boston’s rich history and culture since 1855. Old-World charm and elegance are accompanied by all of the modern conveniences of a world-class establishment. Parker's Restaurant, home to the creation of Parker House Rolls and the Boston Cream Pie.

    Continuing walking down School Street there is a hopscotch-patterned mosaic marking the site of the country's first public school. The Boston Latin School opened its doors in 1635 and was honored by the subsequent naming of this street, was laid out in 1640. Cotton Mather, Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin were educated there. A few steps farther is Old City Hall, constructed in 1864 in the French Empire style


Gracing the courtyard is sculptor Richard Greenough's bronze statue of Benjamin Franklin, the first commemorative statue erected in the city.


Has to be my best name for a bank.
    At the corner of School and Washington streets is the site of the Old Corner Bookstore. The small brick house is a former residence and apothecary shop on land previously owned by William Hutchinson, whose wife, Anne, was banished from Boston in the 1630s by Puritans incensed at her divergent religious teachings.


    It later served as the headquarters of the estimable publishing firm Ticknor and Fields, becoming Boston's mid-19th century literary center in the process. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Harriet Beecher Stowe all gathered here; both "Scarlet Letter" and the words to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" were printed by this publishing house. When the bookstore moved to larger quarters, the house began slow decline that lasted until the early 1960s, when it was restored.


    Diagonally across the street at 310 Washington St. is the Old South Meeting House. Note the brick trail in sidewalk on right side.


    Built in 1729, this Georgian-style congregational church was the largest building in Colonial Boston and thus was frequently used as a town meeting site when crowds were too big for Faneuil Hall. Its principal associations are with the heated gatherings of political protestors in the years prior to the Revolution. Enraged citizens met here following the Boston Massacre and also on Dec 16, 1773, when Bostonians met to consider the new British tax on tea; the Boston Tea Party immediately followed. The church was abused by British troops who occupied the town during the siege of Boston- livestock roamed the church, and its pews were used for firewood and building stables. After 1776 the pulpit was re-created and the pews were rebuilt. The Old South Meeting House remained a church until 1870s and now contains historical exhibits.



    I followed the trail north on Washington Street to the Old State House at the head of State Street. Now surrounded by skyscrapers, the building once was the town's grandest edifice. Located in close proximity to markets and wharves, the building's lower floor originally functioned as a busy merchant's exchange. The Old State House gained its real measure of importance as the setting for stirring speeches and debates between royal officials and American patriots. The center of Colonial government, it was the meeting place of the Massachusetts Assembly, the Court of Suffolk County (later to become the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court) and the Boston town government.


    Representatives of the Massachusetts Assembly originally met in the second floor rotunda. A visitor's gallery was installed in 1766 in Representatives Hall - the colonists took the opportunity to jeer at those who voted for the royalists.


    The trail resumes on the north side of the Old State House. On the building's east gable beneath the clock is a balcony from which royalists made their official decrees to the colonists. On July 18, 1776, however, the tables were turned when the Declaration of Independence was first read publicly in Boston from the same balcony. The Boston Massacre occurred below the balcony in 1770. What began as a dispute over a barber bill led to a riot and left five dead. Patriots used the incident as propaganda to stir up anti-royalist feelings. A circle of stones marks the site. Looking up, you'll note the gilded lion and unicorn- symbols of Great Britain- atop the building. These are replicas, installed in 1882; the originals were torn down and burned in 1776.

    The Old State House was eventually outgrown, and government business relocated to the newer Bulfinch-designed Massachusetts State House on Beacon Hill. After being rented to various merchants until the 1830s, the Old State House briefly became Boston's City Hall. When the building was threatened with demolition in 1880, the city of Chicago to attempted to purchase it for use as a tourist attraction. A group of citizens were insulted; forming the Bostonian Society in 1881, they determined to preserve the Old State House.

        A statue of Samuel Adams, the "organizer of the Revolution," stand in front of the next stop, Faneuil Hall. Prosperous merchant Peter Faneuil donated the original building to the city in 1742, when it dominated the Boston waterfront.


Faneuil Hall.

    Like the Old South Meeting House, it was the scene of tumultuous gatherings held to protest England's tightening control over the Colonies. Here, patriots protested the Sugar Act and set forth the principle of "no taxation without representation." It also was the site of the first of the "Tea Meetings" on Nov 5, 1773. After being fired up by oratory, angry crowds frequently emerged from the "Cradle of Liberty" and engaged in reckless action; the governor's mansion was virtually destroyed by one mob after the 1765 passage of the Stamp Act.


    Atop the hall, the gilt grasshopper weather vane is a Boston Landmark. In place since 1742, it was a symbol used to screen out spies, for every true Bostonian could surely identify the figure crowning Faneuil Hall. The sturdy weather vane has survived an earthquake, a fire and a grasshopper-napping in 1974 (it was thankfully found unharmed). Green glass doorknobs serve as the insect's eves; inside the stomach are coins and other mementos. 



    Opposite Faneuil Hall between Clinton and Chatham streets is Quincy Market. Constructed in 1825, the huge building features a domed central pavilion and Greek porticoes. For nearly 150 years this area served as a retail and wholesale distribution center for meat and produce. Renovated in the 1970s, Quincy Market is the hub of Faneuil Hall Marketplace, which also encompasses two additional long buildings (north Market and South Market). Food stalls, shops, restaurants, pushcart vendors, and a gaggle of street entertainers and musicians all add up to a shopping and eating extravaganza.


Custom House Tower in left background.


Quincy Market domed central pavilion.


    As it was nearing 8:45 am, I thought this would be a good place to stop for breakfast and nutrition replenishment. I found Bagelville here and ordered an Egg and Cheese bagel with bacon and side of coffee then found a nice eating area down the hall to enjoy breakfast. After eating, I felt refreshed and ready to continue on the Freedom Trail. Once outside I stopped by several kiosks for trolley tours and duck splash tours and picked up several maps. On my next visit I'll take one of these tours to see more city sights that I found out about on this trip. A National Park Service visitor center occupies a portion of the first floor in Faneuil Hall and is the starting point for ranger-led tours of both the Freedom Trail and the Black Heritage Trail.

NPS Boston's Trails to Freedom. Click back button on your browser to return to this page.

    From the marketplace, I followed the trail along Union Street. To the right of Union street is the city's old business district, known as the Blackstone Block, where pigs and chickens as well as people walked the tiny, winding dirt alleys in the 17th and18th centuries.

    Items easily pictured on a sign were often chosen for tavern names (for example, Bell in Hand or Boston Stone). Some names have been reincarnated and can be seen marking the entrances of newer establishments-one such watering hole is the The Green Dragon Tavern, which takes its name from one of Boston's most famous pubs where secret meeting took place during the Revolution, likely over a few mugs of ale. Samuel Adams still lingers at many a table, as the patriot's image appears on bottled lagers bearing his name.




The Union Oyster House, built around 1713, is one of the oldest restaurants in the country; it is rumored that Daniel Webster was a regular patron.
Ask for the private Kennedy Booth, where then-Senator John F. Kennedy sat on many a Sunday afternoon, poring over newspapers and savoring mouthfuls of lobster stew.

    I continued to Blackstone Street. On Fridays and Saturdays The Haymarket takes place along Blackstone between North and Hanover Streets. Today being Friday I lucked out to see the market.



    Vendors no longer sell hay, but the open-air gatherings continues-the Boston institution is a swirl of sights, sounds and smells. Savvy shoppers and no-nonsense North End vendors banter over displays of fruits and vegetables. Saturday is busier, and by the end of day the area is usually strewn with garbage and left over produce. First timers should heed these two pieces of advice: Do not touch the displays, and watch for a "heavy thumb" on the scale.



    Haymarket has operated in same location since 1830s. Even if you're not planning a picnic in the Public Garden, the longtime produce and meat mart-where brazen pushcart vendors alternate between calling out rock-bottom prices on avocados to chiding "handsy" customers squeezing the life out of the merch- is a fun place to people watch.


    After passing over Blackstone Street, I walked through a portion of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway - several acres of linear urban green space traversing the path of the old elevated Central Artery- toward Cross Street.



I-93 runs underground here, site of the big dig.


    I am now entering North End, Boston's Italian district. The heart of Boston's first neighborhood, Hanover Street is lined with Italian groceries and little cafes.


Looking down Hanover with St. Stephen's Church in background with white cupola and golden dome.


Hanover Street.


Red brick trail on Richmond Street.


Richmond Street.

The Trail leads to my next stop, the Paul Revere House on North Street, the two-story clapboard structure on the left overlooking North Square.


        The Paul Revere House through Time.

        In the fall of 1770, silversmith and engraver Paul Revere and his family moved into their newly purchased home on North Square, in Boston's North End. Although comfortable and spacious by 18th-century standards, the house was by no means new, having been built about 1680 as a rich man's dwelling. The first owner, Robert Howard, was a wealthy Puritan merchant. The house is a rare example of early Colonial urban architecture and is said to be Boston's oldest building. Puritan ministers Increase Mather and his son Cotton also lived on the site. By the time Paul Revere bought the house, it had been altered several times, and was no longer fashionable, but the high ceilings and relatively large rooms demonstrated it had once been an elegant residence.

    I paid the entrance fee and toured the house. There was restoration work going on in the courtyard.

    Revere was a silversmith by trade but also dabbed in engraving, copper plating and working as express rider delivering messages for the patriots. His most famous jaunt took place April 18, 1775; thanks to poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, nearly every school-aged child is familiar with his midnight ride.


    Paul Revere owned the house for 30 years, until 1800, but he and his family may not have lived here at some periods during the 1780s and 90s. An interesting fact I learned on the tour was that Paul Revere had 16 children.

    After Revere sold the building, it soon became a tenement,and the ground floor was remodeled for use as shops. Throughout the 19th century, hundreds of immigrant families made the former Paul Revere House their home.




Apartments over looking the Paul Revere House.


The Pierce/Hichborn House.

    The Pierce/Hichborn House is one of Boston's few remaining examples of early 18th century brick architecture. The house was built about 1711 for Moses Pierce, a glazier (window maker) and later owned by Nathaniel Hichborn, a boat builder and Paul Revere's first cousin. The Pierce/Hichborn House incorporated many features of the then new English Renaissance (Georgian) architectural style, such as brick belt courses between floors,shallow arches over the windows and doors, and a low hipped roof. Noticeable interior features include a handsome original staircase, unusual painted fireplaces and heavy beaded framing.


Also on North Square is the brick Mariners' House, which served as a refuge for sailors. Note the anchor on front; it still offers accommodations to seamen. Across the square is the church where Father Edward Taylor once preached to Boston's seamen; it is now an Italian Catholic church.


Sacred Heart Italian Church.



View of  Inner Harbor.



Built in 1804, Revere's firm, Revere Copper and Brass, cast the bell that was hung in the belfry in 1805; a display inside shows pieces of the Revere copper that originally covered the dome.


Across Hanover Street from St. Stephen's Church are the brick walls of Paul Revere Mall (also called the Prado), which lies between Hanover and Unity streets. Laid out in the early 1930s, this restful tree-shaded enclave features bronze plaques saluting the achievements of various North Enders. Near the Hanover Street is Cyrus Dallin's dashing equestrian statue of Revere.



Paul Revere looking out on St Stephen's Church.


    A gate at the opposite side of the mall leads to courtyard behind the Old North Church. Ascend the stairs to the church- perhaps Boston's most "revered" landmark. Built in 1723 and officially called Christ Church, its the oldest church building in Boston (hence the nickname). The Old North Church played a key role in Paul Revere's celebrated midnight ride, the subject of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's much-recited lyrical poem. The poet described how church sexton Robert Newman hung lanterns in the belfry arch of the Old North Church - "one if by land, two if by sea"- as a signal from Revere that the British were about to march. Two lanterns were displayed in the steeple to signal that British soldiers were advancing on Lexington by sea and not by land. The lanterns flickered for a short moment, then Newman fled the church (supposedly by climbing out of a window), while Revere mounted his horse "And so through the night went his cry of alarm, to every Middlesex village and farm."


    The church's exterior, inspired by the London churches by British architect Christoper Wren, was constructed using local-made bricks. Inside, numerous historical treasures can be seen, including brass nameplates that designate family pews- the Reveres occupied No. 54. Along the church's right aisle is the window through when Newman fled the church; bricked over in 1815, it was rediscovered in 1989 during restoration work. Newman also is remembered with a plaque in the small garden on the church's north side. Looking up, you'll see the 191-foot tall steeple, which was blown over twice by hurricanes but was rebuilt according to original plans; the eight belfry bells were cast in 1744 and the range in weight from 620 to 1,545 pounds each. They bear the inscription: "We are the first ring of bells cast for the British Empire in North America.











"The Bay Pew"
This pew for the use of the Gentlemen of the Bay of Honduras, 1717.




Heading uphill on Hull Street, I turned around to catch a great view of the Old North Church.


The steeple has been destroyed and replaced twice following violent storms; the present 191-foot steeple from 1954.


The plaque reads: "The Signal Lanterns of Paul Revere Displayed in the Steeple of the Church April 18, 1775 warned the country of the march of the British Troops to Lexington and Concord."


    On April 18, 1775, a Boston silversmith named Paul Revere left his North Square home, slipped out of the city in a rowboat, borrowed a horse in Charlestown, and began riding. His mission: to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock in Lexington that British troops were marching from Boston to arrest them and to seize munitions hidden in Concord.

    An active Son of Liberty, Revere undertook many other missions for the Revolutionary cause. From 1773 to 1775 he was employed to carry dispatches as far a Philadelphia. Paul Revere died in 1818, aged 83, having contributed not only to the cause of American liberty, but also to the cultural and industrial independence of the new nation.


    Continuing uphill on Hull Street is Copp's Hill Burying Ground (sometimes called "Corpse Hill") is on the right, on a promontory overlooking Boston Harbor. Atop North End's highest point, the graveyard is named for a shoemaker who originally owned the land; it was established as a cemetery in1660 when the Kings Chapel Burying Ground became overcrowded.

    Copp's Hill holds the graves of Old North Church sexton Robert Newman; Increase Mather, his son Cotton and Cotton's son Samuel, all three Puritan clergymen and educators; and Prince Hall, who led Boston's early free African-American community. During the Revolution, British soldiers camped here.





Super Duck Harbor Splash Tour in middle of Inner Harbor.


I continued past the cemetery to Commercial Street. At this point, the Freedom Trail travel across the Charlestown Bridge and visits Charlestown Navy Yard and the Bunker Hill Monument.




Charlestown Navy Yard with Bunker Hill Monument. Solomon Willard's 221-foot-tall obelisk was dedicated June 17, 1843, with a speech by Daniel Webster.


The Leonard P. Zakin Bunker Hill Bridge (I-93) part of the Big Dig Project, is the widest cable stayed bridge in the world. I-93 begins and ends underground travel here.

    I arrived at the foot of the Charlestown Bridge at noon time. As it had been a long morning with a lot of walking, I decided to cross the bridge and visit the Charlestown Navy Yard by using the city bus. I waited at the bus stop for the correct bus to board. I boarded the proper bus and presented my Charlie Ticket for the fare requirement. Although the wait for the bus was not short it felt good to ride across the bridge and save my feet.

    At the foot of the bridge in Charlestown is City Square, the Puritans' point of settlement in 1629. They named the area after King Charles, who issued the colony's charter. Due to the lack of fresh water, most of the original settlers moved to what is now Boston Common, and until the Revolution, Charlestown remained mostly unpopulated grassland.

    After crossing on the bridge, the bus then let me off at the entrance to the Charlestown Navy Yard and the beginning of my visit to the USS Constitution.


post card

USS Constitution is a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy.
Named after the Constitution of United States of America by President George Washington, she is the oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat in the world.
Photographer - Grant Heilman.

        The historic ship will be dry-docked at Charlestown Navy Yard through summer 2018 due to a 3-year restoration project; only the vessel's top deck will be accessible to the public during this time.


    I now had another item to check off of my bucket list. Seeing the USS Constitution, whether in dry dock or not. Living history in the present.




       Built at Edmund Hartt's shipyard in the North End, the ship was launched in 1797. Constructed from live oak, red cedar, white oak, pitch pine and locust wood, the 54-gun warship was designed to defeat equal opponents and out-sail stronger ones. Paul Revere provided the original copper sheathing. The Constitution gained undying fame and the nickname "Old Ironsides" ( a reaction to the resiliency of the ship's wooden sides) as a result of  engagements with the British during the War of 1812.



As the area was an active construction zone, visitors were keep a distance away. My next stop was at USS Cassin Young DD793.


USS Cassin Young is named in honor of a U.S Navy commander, awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Restored at the Charlestown Navy Yard in the 1950s, the original destroyer was commissioned in 1943 and served during World War II and the Korean War.
Today, the ship is a memorial to the men who served on destroyers and to their vessels.



    Taking a tour of this ship was very informative. My questions were answered  by the learned docents and I was able to explore most areas of the ship.





Ferry boat heading for the dock next-door.



Water shuttle that I will take across the harbor to North End of Boston.



The Navy sails on its stomach.


And you need clean clothes while being at sea for months.


Bunks downstairs.


Another relic of the past.


    After my tour of the USS Cassin Young, I stopped for lunch at Decca. Fast-casual nautical-style spot set in ex-U.S. Navy SONAR station with burgers, sandwiches & snacks. I was able to set on the outdoor deck and watch work going on the USS Constitution. I topped off my lunch with a great, ice cold bottle of chocolate milk.





    After making my final look around, I decided to leave here and seek my new next adventure. During the restoration, visitors will have access to only the top (spar) deck, but the ships lower decks will be off limits. Today the top deck would be open starting at 2:30pm but that was still several hours away and I didn't think I would see any more than what I can see now.

    When planning and researching for this trip, I saw that the Inner Harbor Ferry boats travel between Boston's Long Wharf and the Charlestown Navy Yard. One way fare is $3.50. Boats depart every 30 minutes 9-3:30. I thought this would be a great and different way to see the city. Like not being able to see the trees because the forest. I was expecting the views to be outstanding. 


    The next step was to find the correct wharf for the departure point. Arriving at the correct location I waited for the next ferry boat.



Plane on approach to Logan International Airport.


The Garden.


Bow on my ferry.




U.S. Coast Guard Base.







Approaching Long Wharf.


For thrill-seekers, Codzilla is king. During the 40-minute adventure aboard a toothy speedboat with a 2,800-horsepower motor, riders zip across ocean waves at speeds of up to 40mph.

    After docking at the wharf, we paid out fare and exited the boat. The fare was included in my Charlie Ticket so it was an easy exit. As I was on the Long Wharf, I walked around taking in the sights.


 From the Long Wharf I walked along the Harborwalk with great views of the bay and the harbor. The Boston Waterfront Marina had some nice toys scatted about.


Mom always told me to have a Plan B.

    After the marina I then walked inland to explore the immediate area.



Custom House Tower. 

    As the time was now 2:40 pm and I had some free time until 5 pm when I would meet Chris at South Station, I decided that a ride on the "T" would fill this unexpected free time. Looking at the route map, going to Logan Airport would be a surprise adventure and an interesting destination.  The Blue Line has an airport stop. Free Massport shuttles run every 15-20 minutes daily from all five terminals to the Airport MBTA station on Blue Line. As I was near the Blue Line's Aquarium stop, I figure this excursion was doable. I went to the Aquarium stop, used my Charlie Ticket and about 20 minutes later I was at the Airport stop. The shuttle bus was waiting and the ride to the airport was short. I got off the bus at one of the terminals to go inside for a quick look around and say I was here.

    One of places I had on my list to visit while in Boston was the No Name Restaurant. Several people recommend I stop there. As it was on the other side of the Fort Point channel in the Seaport District on the Boston Fish Pier, I didn't know if I would have enough time getting there on public transportation. So I passed on it this visit, but on my next visit I for sure will make a visit.


    My plan was to return the same route, shuttle back to Blue Line. I got mixed up on directions and was on the wrong level to catch the shuttle. This unplanned delay was not good. After receiving more information I found a bus heading to the South Station. How fortuitous. I found the Silver Line SL 1 bus rapid-transit service, which also is available from all five airport terminals, to reach South Station on the Red Line. The Silver Line is free inbound from the airport to South Station and includes a free transfer to the Red Line. 


Greater Boston's MBTA subway Silver Line is a hybrid subway/ trolleybus/ bus, underground/ above-ground line connecting the South Station Transportation Center with the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Boston's World Trade Center, Logan Airport, and Boston's Black Falcon Cruise Terminal.



The SL1 line starts underground beneath South Station (where there's also a Red Line subway station). Hybrid electric trolleybus/ diesel-motor buses travel underground as trolleybuses for stops at the Moakley Courthouse and World Trade Center before coming above-ground to the Silver Line Way Station, where its electric catenaries give way to the diesel engine.

It continues as a diesel bus to Logan Airport, where it stops right at airline Terminals A, B, C and E, before returning to the city via the same route.

    When I boarded the bus I was unaware that I was riding a trolley bus/ diesel bus. The look and the ride was nothing out the ordinary for a diesel bus. We made all the stops at the terminals and then got on the express way to Boston. After arriving on the other side of the water, we stop at a tunnel entrance, the driver turns off the engine and exits to the outside back of the bus. He then connects the bus to the catenaries. We are now an electric bus traveling underground.


Front view of bus in tunnel.


South Station.

    I arrived at the South Station shorty after 4 pm and received a call from Chris that he was running a few minutes late. I walked around the station and found a place to get bite to eat then I went outside to see the street scene.



    I returned to the station to await Chris' arrival. After he arrived we had a few minutes to wait for our train and then it was posted.


Our train #9001 was leaving on time on track 10. We needed to hustle to track 10.


Boston South Station is the northern terminus of the Acela from Washington DC. to Boston.




    We found our train and boarded the CapeFlyer and grabbed a couple empty seats as the train was almost sold out with weekend travelers.

    CapeFlyer's weekend service is from Boston's South Station to Hyannis, Cape Cod with stops in Braintree, Brockton, Middleborough, Wareham and Buzzards Bay.
Friday Night the CapeFlyer leaves Boston at 5:50 pm and arrives in Hyannis at 8:15 pm, it then returns at 9:00pm arriving in Boston at 11:18pm. By going on Friday we were able to get this special mileage round trip with only a 45 minute lay over. Saturday/Sunday schedule leaves Boston at 8:00am and arrives in Hyannis at 10:20am and returns leaving Hyannis at 6:40pm, arriving in Boston at 9:02pm. Great if you want to spend a day or two on the Cape.



    The scenery was great and we saw a few dried cranberry bogs. Sitting across the aisle from us was a lady with her two children, a teenage girl and a younger brother. The young boy had his scanner radio listing to railroad traffic and was giving his family current info as to what was happening. I told Chris he's a young "foamer" for sure. Later I talked to them after we had arrived in Hyannis. They were down here for the weekend and always like taking the train to travel here.






A big crowd queuing to leave at Buzzards Bay.


Buzzards Bay Station.



We arrived in Hyannis on time at 8:15pm.




This loco will be on point for our return trip.



Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority.




At the station shortly before departure at 9:00pm.

    Our train to Boston left on time with plenty of empty seats, some cars were completely empty. Maybe a total of three other passengers. We arrived on time at South Station at 11:20pm then proceeded down stairs to the Red Line. We took the Red Line to the end at Alewife station, using our Charlie Ticket once more, retrieved our car in the parking structure. From there we drove to our motel in Shrewsbury, Ma and this trip was not pleasant. There was construction, detours, and rain while trying to navigate unknown roads. It was late when we arrived at our motel room and our heads hit the pillows very shortly thereafter. It had been a long day for both. 

    Tomorrow we will visit the Essex Steam Train, Shore Line Trolley Museum and ride Metro North in Connecticut.

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