Jeff and Cheryl New England Trip travel blog

Today we're on our way to spend a day in Boston. Since I didn't look forward to driving into or in Boston, I spoke to the folks at the hotel about getting mass transit into the city. We were told that there was a subway station about 20 minutes from here that would take us into the city in about 25 minutes. I asked about parking and was told that the station has a 2,354 space parking deck there. I should have no problem. That sounded like a plan.

We got up this morning, decided to have breakfast on the way to the station (I've heard IHOP is good) then on to Boston. We put the address for an IHOP that appeared to be on the way to the station in Google Maps and started out. The system told me last night that the trip should take 18 minutes. We drove for a while then noticed we still had 45 minutes to go to the IHOP. I looked and saw that I had left the system in "No Highways" mode. Scenic but much slower.

Since we had lost time, I suggested we get to the station and have brunch in Boston. I changed the destination, and Miss Neverlost had us on our way. In about 15 minutes we saw a backup for the parking deck. Didn't look like too big a line so, no problem...except that when we got closer we saw that apparently there were about 2,454 people that wanted the spaces in the deck. The "LOT FULL" sign was not good. We drove out of the line of cars waiting for folks to leave the deck and started off. I reprogramed for IHOP where we could discuss our next step.

We decided that since it was after 10 already we would put off Boston and see more sights locally. We decided on the Minuteman National Historical Park in Lexington and Concord. It was about 15 minutes from the IHOP. Good idea.

We drove to the South Visitor's Center to begin our day at the park. There was a parking lot and a sign that the visitor's center was down a path a quarter of a mile. These days that's a small walk to us. As we were approaching the center, we noticed people standing in front of the center with a park ranger out front with them. I knew there was an option for a trolley ride through the park (it extends about 5 miles from the south center to the north center) so that is what I thought was going on. When we went to walk around the people into the center we were stopped and told there was a fire alarm going off in the building. No one could enter. The ranger suggested we go to the north bridge visitor center and start there. She said if you turn right out of the parking lot, it's right down the road. We walked away slowly because I'm always sure the alarm will stop and the building open as soon as I walk away.

We followed her suggestion, turned right out of the parking lot and went down the street. And continued down the street until we saw the sign welcoming you to the park in the other direction. Did we miss it? We turned around and retraced our steps all the way back to the South center again. Still nothing. Cheryl looked it up in the AAA guide book and came up with an address for the north station. Off we go again.

Turns out that the north visitor's station is about 4 miles beyond the edge of the park, in another section of town.

We parked again and walked to the north station. Now about 1:30 or so. A little rain was now starting to fall, not enough to damper our spirits. We entered the station (no alarm here) and read about the area, saw a video of this part of the park, and stepped outside. We bought a couple of things and wanted to put them in the car. We got part of the way to the car when the rain started to dampen our spirits. Cheryl waited under a big tree while I ran to the car to put the stuff away and get our ONE personal umbrella (we must read our friends' checklist that they gave to us more carefully). I brought our car to a space much closer (everyone else was leaving) to the center and saw that I got the better end of the deal...Cheryl was a little damp.

We waited out the rain in the car and after about 15 minutes it let up considerably. We left the car to see the area where the colonists gathered in preparation for April 19, 1775. From there they marched to a bluff overlooking the North Bridge where a small group of British soldiers were watching the bridge. The colonists marched toward the bridge, both sides holding their fire, until one shot was fired, the "shot heard round the world". That is considered the beginning to the American Revolution. It was very interesting seeing the actual spot where all this happened, how close they were to each other, and where other buildings, etc. were. Makes history come alive.

By now it was about three and starting to rain again. We decided to drive to another building to see. We chose Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House. This was the home she, her parents and three sisters lived for almost 20 years. It was here that she wrote "Little Women" and many other books. Interesting to see how she lived, the artistic side of her sisters, her father's thinking on education that was very radical for that time, and what her social life was like. Her family was very social and would often have folks over, including Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. By now it was 4:00 PM. We decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel. She said it was a shame we didn't get to the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson. She wanted to play "Where's Waldo Emerson".

One more amusing occurrence today. We decided to go to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. About a mile from the hotel. We got there, were seated, and a waitress came to us and said "Hello, my name is Penny and I'll be taking care of you this evening". When she left Cheryl asked me "Did I really hear what I think I heard?" She did. Poor woman must hear about it many times daily. Dinner finished, back to the hotel.

Tomorrow Newport RI.

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