Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Hot Day in Boston

I took a long, hot walk through Boston on the Saturday of my stay in Massachusetts. I wanted to see a bit of the Freedom Trail and wander around Boston Common.

I was staying in a hotel that straddled the Mass Pike (I-90) in Newton. The nearest T (subway) station was about 2.5 miles away in Newton Center. The hotel staff recommended a $10 cab ride, but I had a whole day to kill, so I decided to hoof-it. I had a nice walk up through a very respectable residential area, past a private school or two, and into a nifty little downtown area.

The T is comfortable and fast and takes you right into the center or Boston. I got off at the municipal building (featuring a big "Beat LA"
banner in support of the Celtics) and walked along parts of the Freedom Trail. This winds through Boston, old and new, past many of the places where the United States of America was born. There are historic taverns, and statues, and several very old graveyards hosting American heroes and ancient enigmas.

I followed trail to Boston Common, a 50-acre park in the center of the city that dates from the 1630s. It is the oldest city park in the US and fronts the Massachusetts State House, which also proudly wore Celtics green. The Common was filled with picnickers and tourists, Tai Chi'ers and free-speech activists, and an old-format religious group singing and preaching to a crowd that included listeners and ignorers in about equal measure.

A part of Boston Common is the Public Garden, added in the 1800s and featuring a 4-acre pond with ducks and swans. The pond is bridged by what is said to be the world's smallest suspension bridge. On this day, it was host to an accordionist busker. At the far end is an equestrian statue of George Washington.

There was a watercolor painting workshop under way in the Garden. I kept wandering past painters hard at work and wise enough to stay in the shade.

The loveliest thing I saw was a pair of swans nesting next to the pond. I'd never seen swans nesting before. The nest was carefully fenced-off and folks watched from a respectful distance.

Leaving the Public Garden, I headed down Boylston Street to Copley Square where an older building was admiring its reflection in a newer neighbor. And there was a fountain in which families were cooling themselves and a group on a self-advertised field trip provided the music.

I caught the T back out to Newton Center and strolled back down the hill to my hotel, a float in the hotel's tiny pool, a light supper and so to bed.

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