Part-time traveller, Full-Time Brummie

USA Sept 2013: Going quackers in Boston and an alternative Freedom Trail

After an uneventful journey with no police encounters, , we park up in the parking garage next to the Hotel 140; it is 1:30pm and unlikely that our room will be ready yet.  The guy on reception informs us that our room has been ‘reassigned’ to a room with a view as we are here for three nights; however it is not ready til after 3pm.  This is fine, it gives us chance to reccee the local area, grab a bite for lunch and enjoy the sunshine in the Public Garden for a little while.

Boston Public Garden

Boston Public Garden

We return to the car by 3pm, unpack everything (trying to shoehorn everything in the trunk into our suitcases) and check in to our hotel.  We’re told once more that our room isn’t ready; however the receptionist rings around to housekeeping and we’re finally in!  After a room number mix-up (the receptionist has a little trouble telling an 8 from a 3) we’re in.  Not only do we not have a view, we barely have a window.  And the one we do have looks onto a brick wall.  Not the view we had been led to believe we would be getting.  The receptionist calls to check if we are happy with our room.  I don’t have the heart to complain – after all, we never booked a view in the first place…

Before unpacking we decide to return the car to Hertz a day early.  We have parked up for just over 2 hours.  The fee is an eyewatering $28.  It would have been cheaper to valet park the car at one of the big 5* hotels round the corner.  Mr Fletche then has to suffer a harrowing drive through the Boston one-way system, because once again – despite being perfect outside of Boston, Nellie Neverlost appears to have a slight meltdown on the Boston streets.  We’re left heading into South End, with angry drivers honking behind us as we try to work out whether this street or the next one is the correct turning.  Yep, road rage is alive and well in Boston.  We avoid the temptation to give them a universal hand gesture meaning “hold on a minute please sir while our GPS resets” and instead smile politely.  We’ve dealt with Vermont state police, we can cope with you!

We bid our goodbyes to the FM2013.  She has done good, driving 1500 miles over the past 10 days, but we are happy to be free of an automobile.  So happy, we pile into the first Irish pub we find for an overpriced Guinness.  As nice as it would be to drink all afternoon, there is still a final unpacking to do.  This consists of taking clothes out of our suitcase, giving them a quick sniff and then either putting them in a drawer or straight back in the suitcase.  Not anticipating the unseasonably warm weather, the jumpers have been unworn, and sit forlornly at the bottom of the suitcase.  There will be no call for them until we journey back to England.  No doubt we will need them there.

Time for some food to soak up the Guinness.  It seems like a lifetime since I’ve eaten food with a knife and fork and not with my hands.  Or a meal that has not been heavily based on bread.  We’re only looking for something casual tonight so we head to the Prudential Center.  We spy that traditional East Coast, Boston eatery – California Pizza Kitchen.  Not wanting bread-based foods, we both opt for salads (half portions – I remember opting for the full portion in LA) which are amazing.  Except my Candied Peach Salad with added Smokewood Bacon seems to be missing the bacon.  To make up for not complaining about our falsely promised view at Hotel 140, I bravely admit to the CPK server that the ordered bacon accompaniment has not materialised.  He immediately returns with a dish of bacon. Happy me.  Mr Fletche and I feel that our ‘healthy’ meal should be completed with a huge slice of Red Velvet Cheesecake to share.

We return to our tiny room with no view.  Alarms are set for tomorrow…Duck Tour (Quack Quack!) and Freedom Trail.  And more Guinness?

Following an alternative Freedom Trail…

Good morning Boston! We’re up all bright and breezy this morning – well, I am.  Mr Fletche is already feeling the effects of post-holiday blues just thinking about going home.  We still have two whole days to explore Boston, I refuse to allow any negative thoughts about returning home until at least tomorrow night.

This morning we have our Duck Tour (quack quack).  We booked the 9:30am tour from the Prudential Center, so we mosey on up that way to get a pre-Duck breakfast.  Not too much liquid; Ducks are not fitted with toilet facilities.  We amble up to the Duck Tour stand early and we’re offered the opportunity to board the 9am Duck.  Why not?  Our Duck is Longfellow Bridget, and our conDUCKtour is The Great Garabaldi.  The tour is fab.  On land and sea, our guide gives us a humorous potted history of Boston – oh how they love the British… – and we quack on command.  Oh, except in the “No-Quack” zones – some residents don’t like it apparently…

Boston Duck Tours

That’s us!

Once we’re back on dry land, we grab another drink from the Paradise Bakery in the Prudential Center Food Court and then head on up to the Skywalk Observatory.  This was booked online with the Duck Tour, giving us a small discount for the two attractions.  Down an escalator, then into a lift for 50 floors and we’re presented with a 360 degree view of Boston and a useful audio guide.  We can see right into Fenway Park; although there are no games going on at 11 o’clock in the morning.

Charles River from the Skywalk Observatory, Boston

Charles River from the Skywalk Observatory

From the Pru Center we head to Boston Public Gardens / Boston Common to start the Freedom Trail, leading to significant historic locations.  We start off following the red path, then somehow it disappears and we end up following our own trail.  One which leads to The Hub Pub for lunch and a pint of Samuel Adams.  We may not be able to follow his vital contribution to American independence, but we can certainly drink his beer.

Old State House, Boston

Old State House, Boston

We manage to somehow stumble back onto the Freedom Trail from here, and follow a loud cheering to Fanueil Hall.  The Bruins are starting their season tomorrow, and we get to see current Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron face their adoring public.  We whoop and cheer with everyone else.  Go Bruins!  We pause for a post-lunch ice cream, basking in the 80 degree temperatures.  Surely this is unusual for October?

We head down towards the waterfront before making our way back to the Public Gardens.  The sore feet that plagued me so in New York are just starting to sing again, and I’m glad to sit down, relax and read a chapter of Game of Thrones on the Kindle whilst Mr Fletche chases squirrels (purely for photographic reasons of course).  Our people watching then continues in Copley Square as we watch the sunset light play on Trinity Church.  We are fascinated firstly by a cute bulldog who has no interest in his toy until a human grabs hold of it; and then a particularly athletic couple practicing some sport of Cirque du Soleil balancing act.  Hours of amusement.

Boston Public Gardens

Back to our favourite spot

The old and the new - Trinity Church and John Hancock Tower, Boston

The old and the new – Trinity Church and John Hancock Tower

We head back to the hotel for a little while, where our attention is caught by a double episode of ‘Lassie’ (or ‘Jeff’s Collie’) as it used to be called – who knew?!  We tear ourselves away.  We’re only after something light tonight so Panda Express at the Pru Food Court it is.  I eat less than half of the huge portion dished out to me; Mr Fletche does not fare much better. Still, this leaves room for alcohol.  We head back down Boylston St and stop at Solas for a nightcap.  Solas also gives us the opportunity to get our head round the baseball rules watching the Rays v Indians postseason game. Gutted that Red Sox aren’t playing their first postseason match until Friday afternoon – at which point we will be somewhere over the Atlantic.  Still, tomorrow we are off to Fenway to tour their iconic ground… go Sox go!



12 responses to “USA Sept 2013: Going quackers in Boston and an alternative Freedom Trail”

  1. […] Chilling in the Public Gardens in Boston: Finishing up a jam-packed trip in another busy city was a crazy idea. And as much as I loved following The Freedom Trail (until we lost it so ambled into a pub), the Duck Tour on the Charles River (quack quack) and our visit to Fenway (Go Red Sox!), we were just too exhausted to properly enjoy the city.  Yet one of my favourite things was just relaxing in the Public Gardens, watching locals go about their day and watching squirrels scampering from tree to tree.  And when we got bored of the Public Gardens, we would continue on to Copley Square in the shadow of the massive John Hancock Tower and the contrasting 19th Century Trinity Church.  Another beautiful green area, perfect for people-watching.  I never thought I’d go to Boston and find peace and quiet rather than hustle and bustle. […]

  2. […] Mr Fletche is first to spot a swooping bird, and manages to capture it on camera.  The rangers – who had failed to spot the bloody great big bird flying over the mountain – identify it from the photo as a turkey vulture; and Mr Fletche has the honour of updating the tally chart on the chalk board!  It’s a proud moment!  After a pleasant time bird watching, we head off to Boston.  The colour starts to fade, the traffic starts to increase and the ubiquitous “Moose Crossing” signs disappear altogether.  Welcome to Massachusetts! […]

  3. Ritu says:

    This looks so amazing Em!

  4. Thanks for the wander around a city we didn’t manage to get to explore. Maybe one day 🙂

  5. blondieaka says:

    My dream trip has always been Boston in the winter….No police presence made me smile we know the days they set up their road blocks here and it always makes me smile as they fine you for helmet, seat belt, licence, tax..and then send you on your way…I don’t know anywhere else where that happens it certainly wouldn’t in the would be walking home 🙂 Love your pictures 🙂

  6. we’re about 45 min outside of Boston. Such a fun city

  7. Bridget Fay says:

    Sounds like such a great time. I love Boston so much, im actually about to go up tomorrow and cant wait! That last picture is beautiful!

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