Home > At Play > Five Stops on My Old Stomping Ground

Five Stops on My Old Stomping Ground

Boston Skyline

Boston Skyline

I was recently asked what I missed most about Boston, and I had to give it a bit of thought. Not because I couldn’t think of anything but rather because I had a running list. Because ‘family’ was obviously first on the list, space was next. There is a larger land area to explore than in my daily routine of work-home-church-work in this big, wide world, and a change of scenery could provide a therapeutic recharge, even a short city break.

Daughter and I rode the subway into the city with no specific plan but to see what happens. After purchasing our Charlie Tickets, we boarded the train and ended up at the Park Street stop. As we swung open the door from the station onto the street, the cold air blasted us. I started to consider that an itinerary that involved being inside would be our best bet, now that I am thin skinned after many years of living in a warmer climate. ‘Inside’ to Daughter meant starting the afternoon’s exploration with lunch at Chipotle for hot, fat burritos. Actually, the burritos did the trick and with our tummies warmed and full, we began our afternoon excursion.

The following list of Boston sites is in no particular order of preference or schedule:
Boston Massacre site
Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market – Proximity means little if taken for granted. I worked diagonally across from Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market long enough to have explored the museum and shops but never took advantage of it until after I had moved away and returned as a visitor. On this visit, it seemed like a good place to stay warm on our mother-daughter jaunt into Boston. We almost made it, too, but we came face to face with a tour bus kiosk that called out to us. See the City and stay warm! Not literally, of course, but I have to blame something for spending x-amount of dollars on a two-hour whip around the City.

Old State House
Actually, our whip around filled in some gaps for me that I missed in history class(es), this time delivered by a friendly driver/guide who conducted the tour as enthusiastically as if the bus were full. For 99 percent of the tour, we were the only passengers, so we entertained him as much as he did us. We listened to his spiel about the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere’s ride, Old Ironsides, and the neighborhoods that make Boston a mixture of cultures, and I wondered why history didn’t seem as interesting when I was in high school.

Os Gemeos – Who’s ready for a bit of controversial, contemporary art? Then stand on Rose F. Kennedy Greenway (Dewey Square), just outside the South Station T stop, and look up. Looking at the mural months after the unveiling, the controversy has ebbed away, as most controversies do when another subject becomes the focus. Vivid in color and multi layered in meaning, I am glad I had the opportunity to see the artwork before it comes down in November. According to the back story on the plaque at the foot of the mural, this giant representation by Brazilian artists, Os Gemeos, is not a depiction of a Muslim woman. Here’s a tip: after your initial reaction, stroll over to the plaque and read the blurb that will give you all of the information that I’m going to skip right now. Then, after being enlightened, step back and look at the mural again. I’m sure I saw two business men standing across Atlantic Avenue watching me pretend know something about art. They were probably thinking, “Really? Is this the first time she has seen that mural?” Yes, I am THAT far behind everyone else. For the record, I think the mural is intriguing. Art should make you think, feel and at the very least, react. It did.
DSCN9558 (800x600)

Fenway Park – Our guide must have been a die-hard Red Sox fan because he took great pleasure in stopping at Fenway Park, lecturing about (and quizzing us on) the statue of the four baseball greats then memorializing our visit by taking our picture in front of it. The Red Sox will always be my team despite never having been to a home game even though my brother probably still knows the stats of every player and now living in another country. At least now even I know that Dom DiMaggio, brother of Joe, was a Red Sox center fielder. How many of these baseball giants can you name (without Googling)?
Baseball Greats

Boston Common – Here’s to originality. Apparently, the Boston Common is the oldest park in the country. This location probably shouldn’t be in the list because I actually liked spending time in the Boston Common often. I remember the Swan Boat ride in the pond, but it’s winter so ice skating was the popular activity that we noticed on our drive by. It looked like fun, although neither my daughter nor I can ice skate. I am not a fan of falling down so . . .

College Life – In alternative lives, both daughter and I would have been Boston college students, she picked a college and I chose Emerson, ???! years apart, of course. Boston and Cambridge boast a long stream of prestigious colleges and universities. The previous two as well as Harvard, Northeastern, MIT, UMass, Berklee College of Music among others lived more in my dreams than in any possible reality of attending. I used to listen to WERS at night, the radio station of Emerson College, and envy the journalism, communications, film and writing students who attended the College. Ah, well, we all make choices, don’t we? The trick is not to sit around and wallow in regret of choices made but look forward and recognize future possibilities.

In most cities that I visit on my own (versus on a pre-arranged tour), I opt for the touristy tour bus trip that, years ago, I would have scoffed at as being cheesy. My, how perspectives change. On my next trip to Boston, I will make an earlier start to allow time to hop on/hop off at some of the sites that I only took pictures of this time: Boston Public Library (nope, I have never seen the inside of it—for shame), a walk around Beacon Hill for the neat side streets and architecture, a walk along the Charles River. Maybe I could buy a sweatshirt at the Coop. Would anyone believe I graduated summa cum laude from MIT?

Don’t answer that.

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