Day 4: April 23, 2012
Survivor Boston
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The fellow behind me as I checked into my motel in Framingham, Massachusetts, was there for a Yankees-Red Sox game that had just been postponed. The good news was that I had picked a location that others considered practical for a run into Boston. The bad news was that the weather that prompted the postponement was "basically a nor'easter". In the room I turned on The Weather Channel and saw that the featured cities were Buffalo, New York City, and Boston. The first two, along with parts of Pennsylvania, would be getting snow. Boston would be getting lots of rain and 50 MPH winds. I had rescheduled my hurricane threatened trip to coincide with a late -- very late -- winter storm.

It rained throughout the night and it was still raining when I checked out but it wasn't all that heavy. I pulled from the motel lot and didn't even have to change lanes to reach the interstate toll plaza less than a quarter mile away. There is an EZ-Pass velcroed to my windshield and signs said that it was accepted. I was starting to feel pretty good as I followed the curved ramp to almost I-90 where lots of brake lights greeted me. Traffic cleared for a bit after a bunch of cars moved onto I-95 but that didn't last long. The twenty-two mile drive took about an hour and a half. I'm guessing that's about normal.

I parked in the underground Boston Commons Garage, found the nearest stop for the Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour and hopped on the next trolley to come by. "Bear", the driver/guide, was entertaining and informative and so were the two others I rode with later in the day. Visibility, however, was "limited". The rain continued and water covered the closed plastic side curtains. I could see the sights pointed out by the guides but photos weren't really practicle.

The rain was letting up and was down to a drizzle when we reached the first stop where I wanted to hop off. I quickly discovered that I had omitted one rather important piece of homework. Yes, you can board the USS Constitution and, yes, there are guided tours of the world's oldest commissioned naval vessel. The ship is open six days a week; Every day except Monday. I had to make do with the museum which is really quite good.

I also hopped off at the Old State House partially to visit what claims to be the "oldest tavern in the United States". The Bell In Hand was licensed as an ale house in 1795. This isn't the original building or location and it's unclear what happened during prohibition but the ale (a private label made by Sam Adams) was cold and the chowder was hot and both were good.

The New England Holocaust Memorial is across the street from the Bell In Hand. Six glass towers represent six Nazi death camps. Each tower has a million numbers etched into its panels.

The lower front of the Old State House holds a subway station while the rest holds a museum. The Declaration of Independence was first read to Bostonians from this balcony; The Boston Massacre occurred below it.

I was one stop from where I had first boarded a trolley. I had originally planned on taking a second pass and hopping off at different places but the time was such that I could really only do a second round if I didn't hop off at all. That didn't sound particularly interesting and it looked like walking to my final destination and then my car would be about the same distance from that stop as from this one. So, instead of waiting for a trolley, I just started walking with the bonus that I got to pause in front of the current State House.

That last destination I mentioned was Bull Finch Pub, inspiration for the TV show Cheers. Walking down the steps in front of the building was definitely cool. I was disappointed that no one knew my name but, then, I don't think anyone in the packed bar was a regular or, except for employees, even lived in Boston. But everyone was certainly friendly and conversation was easy even if names weren't. There was a married couple from Wyoming, both teachers, on my right and a "former teacher" (who seemed too young to be a former anything) on my left. The guy on the left asked the gal on the right whether she taught syllabication by word or by phrase. Her response was well formed and polite but was basically "Huh?" With just the slightest hint of superiority, he proceeded to expound on the virtues of syllabication by phrase. It wasn't exactly Cliff vs. Frasier but it was close enough to be entertaining especially since the "syllabication by phrase" guy was quite serious. Cooler and more fun than I expected.

I don't usually do interior shots of chain motels but I thought the Motel 6 at Braintree, Massachusetts, sufficiently different to warrant it. The interior is here. The photo at right is an out of sequence view of a display at the USS Constitution Museum.

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