Freedom streets and lobster meats

NewEngland

It was Heath who selected Boston and its neighbors to the north for our annual pilgrimage to Anywhere But Texas. A student of history and obsessive collector of revolutionary facts, New England — what with its statues of white men in tricorne hats, and old buildings in which to congregate those very same tricorne hat-wearing white men–seemed the ideal destination for scratching that colonial itch. (Fun fact: colonial itch was the term of endearment Ben Franklin gave to his STD).

This is Heath. He enjoys long walks on the beach, candle lit dinners and anecdotes about the second continental congress.

This is Heath. He enjoys long walks on the beach, candle lit dinners and anecdotes about the Second Continental Congress.

Allow me to pontificate on the three important lessons learned from this jingoistic jaunt.

Boston’s Freedom Trail is maybe 90% cool and 10% tacky.
The Freedom trail is a walking tour of some of the can’t miss historical sites prominently featured in American history. It mostly encompasses places where our revolutionary heroes either died or thought about dying. I’m talking of course about massacre sites and churches. But all-in-all it’s an enjoyable way to spend the morning.  And thanks to the National Park Service (a government agency so fine, even Ron Swanson can support it) you can get a docent-guided tour for free every hour on the hour. Highlights include: park rangers sneering at freedom trail buskers, lots and lots and lots of facts about Paul Revere, and the realization that the Declaration of Independence is one of the most tedious break up letters ever written.

Old State House where the Declaration of Independence was read for the first time. Boston Massacre happened right below the balcony.

Old State House where the Declaration of Independence was read for the first time for the citizens of Boston. The Boston Massacre happened right below the balcony.

11750700_10103738636344830_8832399794870685126_n

No pews in the old church, they were all about box seats.

Dramatic July 4 reading of Declaration of Independence in the Old North Church, complete with plug for gift shop.

Dramatic July 4 reading of Declaration of Independence in the Old North Church, complete with period appropriate wardrobe, accents and plug for gift shop.

One if by land and two if by sea.

One if by land and two if by sea (though technically, it was a river)

IMG_063410409505_10103738636459600_1447422813635771928_n

bunkerhillboston

New England’s seafood game is on point.
“Oh you’re going to New England, huh? Are you excited about the lobster?”  I was a little surprised that question — or a variation of it — was the most consistent reaction I got upon telling people about our summer plans. But I get it now. New England is all about seafood, and maybe its because the memory is as fresh as the lobsters we cooked up at our campsite, but the seafood offerings here far surpass those of other coastal food hubs (I’m looking at you Seattle). And I’m not talking simply about your high-quality seafood restaurants here.  Whether we were throwing back raw oysters at chic oyster bars, nomming on buttery fish and chips at English pubs, or drooling over foot-long lobster rolls at harbor-side restaurants, we were bowled over by the the most intensely flavorful and perfectly prepared seafood we’ve ever tasted.

If Ken Burns doesn’t feel stupid for omitting Acadia from his national parks documentary, he probably should.
Have you seen the documentary? The one where Peter Coyote waxes poetic about Yosemite and Yellowstone and Join Muir for 12 hours but doesn’t give Acadia a courtesy nod? It’s a conspiracy is what it is. Acadia is the oldest national park East of the Mississippi, and it may easily be the most beautiful. The sun supposedly rises first on Acadia’s Cadillac Mountain before anywhere else in America, and it has one of the largest expanses of naturally dark sky in the Eastern U.S.–meaning whether you’re an early bird or a stargazing night owl, this park is for you. It’s also a phenomenal place for cyclists thanks to our pal John D. Rockefeller who, in the early 20th century, had some 50 miles of carriage roads thoughtfully designed to weave about the park. We’re more of a hiking/camping duo ourselves, so we stuck to the trails that meander through the trees and along granite rock slabs that plunge into the ocean. Acadia is located on Mount Desert Island, which also plays home to the Bar Harbor, a charming resort town. But despite it’s proximity to this popular tourist destination, the park was relatively uncrowded, even during its peak season. While campsites require a reservation and fill up quickly, we very infrequently passed others on our many hiking excursions. Perhaps it’s because Acadia is not an easy park to get to, or perhaps it’s because few have ever heard of it before. If the latter, sorry Ken Burns. Looks like you did me a solid. My bad, I hope we’re square now.

IMG_0474 IMG_0476 IMG_0480 IMG_0488 IMG_0490 IMG_0501 IMG_0541 IMG_0707 IMG_0718 wonderlandIMG_0705IMG_0484

 

All in all, New England is an invigorating region. The colonial callbacks that pepper Boston’s streets and sidewalks, while perhaps expected, are nonetheless deeply inspiring.  They serve as reminders of the courage and ambition that motivated our nation’s founders to create a new society–one that would encourage self-determination and put mechanisms in place to secure unalienable human rights. Meanwhile, in Acadia, the salty aroma of the Atlantic permeates the air as waves unceasingly claw at the granite cliffs it may, one day, turn into sand. We came to New England to study its history and revel in its natural beauty. We left, whether by forces of man or nature, rejuvenated.

 

 

 

 


19 Comments on “Freedom streets and lobster meats”

  1. dearlilyjune says:

    Very entertaining. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Kmom says:

    So happy you had Heath’s knowledge to enhance the historical aspect of your travels. A nice mix of history and nature captured with your characteristic photographic and narrative skills.

  3. vbrayer12 says:

    You capture the city of Boston so eloquently! Great read.

  4. John Gross says:

    Years ago as an adolescent I attended a French School called Ecole Arcadie. It was located in Bar Harbor on Frenchman’s Bay. It was very close to Arcadia National Park. Thus, I got the opportunity to observe the beauty of Arcadia National Park and to eat lobster and enjoy downtown for a few hours one day each week. I was on the honor system to speak French at the summer school program. Your photos of Maine etc. were great and brought back fond memories. Thank you.

  5. Benjamin says:

    Informative AND hilarious! Great photos, too…well done, you! Cheers, Ben

  6. agirlwritesablog says:

    I love your blog! Very funny and great content. I have family in Boston and go every couple years, I love the Northeast.

    agirlwritesablog.wordpress.com

  7. joystateson says:

    What a wonderful commentary of a fabulous trip. I love reading your travel blogs!!

  8. Nice shots of Boston.

  9. Great photos! I would love to visit one day.

  10. rebecca says:

    Loved reading this…..I am a native New Englander….from Boston to Machias Maine….(now residing across the pond….) this was a nice visit for me! And when I visit home, first thing I do is have a steamed lawbstah!

  11. Great adventure! And thanks for sharing it. My favorite part was where you said “Anywhere but Texas.”

  12. Oh my word, this made me feel so nostalgic as a few years ago I traveled d own the East Coast of the USA and did the freedom tour in Boston and I sat in one of those box seats in that very church! How crazy! Loved reading this post. Maybe one day i’ll get to return to the good ol’ USA!

    https://thatsutherskid.wordpress.com/


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s