One of the things that excited me most about being based in southern Vermont was its proximity to Boston and the possibility of being able to easily access all the city has to offer. Boston has always been high on my list of American cities to visit, for many reasons, and we had so many plans to spend a bit of time exploring the city. As the season progressed, and we took the other opportunities as they popped up, we only ended up making it to Boston for a few days before we left the country. I did, however, fall in love with the city and have added to my list of things I want to do there upon my return some day.
Many people know of the Boston Tea Party, but what they do not realize is that Boston’s history is so much more than this one event. Boston is basically the birthplace of Independent America, it is where the revolution began. Not only through battles and midnight rides but from protesting inequity and uniting the people to fight for what they knew was right. In later years Boston was again leaders in protesting inequity and uniting the people when they became one of the first states to abolish slavery. Boston is historically significant and what is fantastic about the city is they are proud of their history and make it easily accessible for everyone and anyone to experience.
With installations like the ‘Freedom Trail’ and the ‘Harbor-Walk’, you are able to follow in the footsteps of The Sons of Liberty and see where Paul Revere began his midnight ride, you can stand on Bunker Hill and see where the Boston Massacre took place and learn how it all fits together. It is all there preserved for you to take in and experience first hand.
Boston does not seem to be afraid to preserve its history and get people talking about it, which is something I really enjoyed about the city. We found one of the most haunting Holocaust memorials I have yet to experience during one of our walks. It was beautiful. Three large glass towers, representing the three main camps, inscribed with all the numbers of their victims. As you walk through the towers steam rises from the ground and surrounds you. It was breathtaking and left us speechless. The tasteful way it makes you think and pay respect makes me interested and excited to see what they unveil for the memorial of the 2013 terrorist bomb attack on the city.
Even their more recent history and pop culture is preserved and celebrated. As we wondered the city we bumped into many stunning statues of local heroes and iconic figures and also stumbled upon the original ‘Cheers Bar’, which was the inspiration for the 1980’s TV show. Naturally, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to have a beer at the bar and it did not disappoint!
Even the metro system seems to be a preserved relic of the past, sporting original cars, and tracks from when the city first introduced the public transport system. Perhaps the cities clear desire to preserve the past in a way that fosters a natural curiosity and appreciation for learning stems from it’s close ties to education.
Boston is also the home to Harvard University and MIT. We managed to get to both campuses and have a brief look around, which was fantastic. Unfortunately, it decided to snow while we were there, so we did not spend loads of time wandering around but we managed to visit a few icons and get a good feel for the place. I think what was really interesting was how Harvard just felt like a big University. That sounds weird, but because you hear so much about the place you expect it to be something more than a Unversity but walking around it, it felt as though we could have been in Otago, or Waikato or any other New Zealand campus. It was still neat to be there, however.
As some of you may or may not know, I am not the biggest sports fan. Snowboarding aside, I don’t particularly follow or care for many traditional Kiwi sports. So when I developed a love for ice hockey and the Boston Bruins Damian was shocked, to say the least. I LOVE them and was even looking up stats of players at one stage. Yip, I was right into it, so I was rather upset that we did not manage to make it to a game while we were there, somehow our timing was just out all season. We did, however, make it to TD Garden for a look which was just as exciting. One thing I came to love about American sports is the amount of merchandise that comes along with it!!! Damian didn’t enjoy this aspect as much, but I was in foam finger heaven … perhaps this is where NZ sports fall down for me … I can not wait to make it to a game next time, my bear claws are at the ready.
I loved our time in Boston. It lived up to and exceeded many of my expectations. I wish we spent more time there over the duration of the season, but we will be back to see and do all that we missed at some stage.
Our time in Boston was bittersweet for us, however, we loved the experience but it did mark the end of our time in America. As we were packing up to catch our flight, it was hard not to feel sad for the end but at the same time excited for what was to come. Boston for me was truly a trail of freedom, it was where my adventure in America really began, with Damian picking me up from there three months prior, and it is where my American chapter ended, with a more confident and capable version of myself.