Exploring cities has always been interesting to me and while admittedly, i’m more the quiet type of walking and observing fame, i find my thoughts and words brimming over the top to recap such a great day. From the New England Aquarium all the way to the depths of the T, me and my family had a special day in Boston.
The history that Boston has spawned is immense, vast and simply remarkable. The minute you begin to grasp just how much content has been born there is the minute you feel overwhelmed to learn every last drop of it. As a native new englander, i’ve been to Boston many times and while my appreciation increases with each visit, it never fails to amaze me how much i actually don’t know about the city. The conversion of the Liberty Hotel from a jailhouse to 5 star suites, the manipulating maneuvers of the Charles River due to rain in the forecasts and Ben Franklin’s favorite park area are just a few small examples of fascinating facts that would be passed by on any other day.
First stop was the New England Aquarium. A great way to start the day for sure. Construction was going on throughout the building and while some people were clearly taken back by the visuals of the work, we simply swayed around it and enjoyed the wet world of fish. The highlight was undoubtly touching starfish and crabs. In a weird moment of me feeling proud, my son had no fears to touch these fish. My only thought was thinking of myself 20 years ago and how the idea of touching crabs (or anything under the sea for that matter) was a strict no go. Great job Liam, another area you’ve surpassed daddy. When walking became Liam’s main attraction instead of sea lions and sting rays, we knew it was probably time to go. Exit aquarium.
Enter Quincy Market. A nice enough place to shop, a better venue to eat. While the food isn’t the best Boston has to offer, you get a good sense of bostonian grub and a good variety to choose from at that. Bacon wrapped chicken it was and while it was good, the clear winner of this trip was a sugar cookie the size of a frisbee. Not kidding. An added bonus of spending time at Faneuil Hall is to simply drop in on a strangers convos and experience a bahston accent first hand.
Duck tours sound corny. If you have ever seen one, you would agree they look it too. Added to that fact that forced “quacks” will inevitably be echoing in your ears for hours to come. With that said, anytime a car drives into a river and stays a float wins as default as the coolest thing in the world. My son was asleep for most of the trip but me and Linds took it all in. Our tour guide, MC History (not joking) was super informative and as we learned, very passionate about Boston and it’s history. I could tell Linds was really appreciating the history of Boston and how could you not. It’s like the romance section of America’s video store. With one final quack the duck ride was over, as was Liam’s Nap.
It was great to see my son(2 years young) walk around Boston freely. Sure there were times when hands were held, but for the most part, he was free to roam (under strict supervision of course :) ) This means significantly more, considering the cowardly acts that occurred on 04/15/2013. My wife Linds made a statement in the neighborhood of “America’s greatness rests in it’s strength.” I couldn’t help but agree. Say what you will, but there was something empowering about walking in that very location where those bombs went off and seeing people observing, respecting yet continuing. Continuing on, visitors and locals alike. I’ll be the first to admit America has more than it’s share of problem, but frankly, strength of the common people isn’t one of them. Visiting Boylston St. was one of those moments in life where time stood still. All of life’s worries and issues seemingly were small standing on that battle ground. Priorities took the forefront and you measure up whats really important and more importantly what’s not.
A word on Visuals. The unison of old and new is one aspect of Boston that has routinely stuck out at me. I don’t personally feel that Boston is an esthetically pleasing portrait to view in a whole, but in many ways it’s the polar opposite of the “painting effect” put in practice. The closer you look into Boston the more appealing things become. The details shine. The buildings that have been thoughtfully and carefully added on to preserve the original integrity yet adding a glimpse of contemporary flair. The perfectly kept cobblestone roadways that seamlessly blends into the main roads of Boston. Keep in mind, all this attention to detail can be lost with a simple pass by, but the observant eye is king in Boston. Moreover, Boston deserves the observant eye.
With the help of warm sunshine and good directions, we had a fantastic time. I live a very busy life and this retreat reminded me just how important it is to take time off. From your job yes, but from your everyday thoughts. It was refreshing to be on streets i’ve never walked before. It was exhilarating to be a part of history by simply engaging with it. It was captivating and humbling to learn facts i wouldn’t push myself to learn otherwise. Most importantly and paramount, it was joy unspeakable to experience this great day of learning and laughing with great people in my life. I recommend such a day. Good medicine for the mind. Even better for the soul.