Monday, April 25, 2011

Boston part 4

Monday I had meetings while Cindy and Maddie went shopping and sight seeing. They went to Mike's pastries to get cannolies, and lobster tails. It is a shop on the north end that is always crowded. They then went to see some things near Quincy market. They found some shirts and other things and then came across a Holocaust Memorial. It is six glass pillars that you walk through. Each one is a name of a concentration camp and as you pass through each pillar a mist cloud comes from the ground. As you look up you see numbers written all over the glass. Each tower has a million numbers etched in the glass. There are small exerts from diaries at each pillar of those who had been in those camps and survived. At each end of the walkway is a bucket of stones that you can place on the wall to say you remember. It was a very moving monument.

While they were doing that I had a mobile workshop that went out to Brookline. One of the places we stopped at was the birthplace of John F. Kennedy. He lived here until he was five. They decorated the rooms according Rose Kennedy's memory and used some of the tings that she had kept such as the baby buggy the baby's would sleep in and in the dining room the plates that had the kids names on them.

I got back about lunch time and called the girls to see where the were. I ended up taking the subway and meeting them at Quincy market. They showed me the monument and then we had lunch.  After lunch I wanted to get my picture taken on the bench with Red Aurbach. He was a famous Boston Celtic coach and has a statue in the Quincy market area. I told him I could still play but he kept me on the bench.

After lunch it was time to head back to the hotel and then take the girls to the airport. They both had school tomorrow and I still had one more day of conference.  I got them to the airport and then went back to meetings. After the meetings I then had a ticket to a Red Sox game at Fenway park. I was looking forward to going to this storied ballpark. I was going to take the subway to the game but every train that came was full and no room to squeeze in so after four trains I decided to walk. A lot of other people did that too. It was a mile and a half walk  but I made it to the park on time.

My seat was along the right field looking at the green monster. The ball park seats 38,000 so it is small compared to other places but it is fun. They still change the scoreboard of what the other teams are doing by hand between innings.

Near the end of the game a moved to behind the third base as many of the fans had left since the game was a blow out for the other team. I got a good picture of David Ortiz of Big Papi as they call him. He got a triple but he also got thrown out at first on a single to right field. As the people who sat next to said he has two speeds, slow and reverse. After the game on my way home I called Cindy and she had arrived back home safely.

 The next day was more meetings and before I got ready to come home in the evening I went to look at a couple final sights. I went to the Mother Church of the Cristian Scientist which is head quartered in Boston. From there I went over to M.I.T. to see the building designed by Frank Geary. It looks like Toon Town in the middle of a very classy campus and then finally took a picture of Harvard from Harvard Square.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Boston- chapter 3

Sunday morning we took the T to Cambridge to go to church in the morning. It was not too far from a station. It was a new building with a three level parking garage under the building and the church itself was three stories tall. It had two chapels and we were told that seven church units meet at the building. The ward we attended was mainly young families who were attending most likely graduate school. After church we went to the station and traveled back to the hotel.
I had meetings that I would be going to all afternoon long but before that started we decided to go get some lunch. We went to the north end of town to the Italian section to find something to eat. The first place we went to that a book had suggested was not at all what we thought it would be so we left it and found a place that had a brunch being served. It was interesting watching the people of Italian decent come together and sit and talk at the restaurant. The weather was nice so they had the windows open to let the fresh air into the building. The place was next to where the elevated freeway had been and now it looks over a long park that has been developed on top of the tunnel.  
After lunch I went to meetings and Cindy and Maddie went to the Aquarium. The place has a large circular tank and a ramp spirals up the tank. They started from the top and worked their way down which proved to be a good move. As they were at the top they started to feed the fish and the first was the turtles so they watched this big turtle come to the top to get fed. As they worked there way down they came across a shark. The shark took an interest in them and as he passed by turned his head and looked at them as if to say, " I'm watching you two, you are next."
There were penguins which were lively and fun to watch and of course many types of fish and even a blue lobster.

After they finished the aquarium they decided to take the duck tour which is a tour bus that drives through the city but it is also amphibious and goes into the river . At first the person driving the tour was a newcomer and they did not like him as he was not comfortable with what he was doing. They thought what did we get ourselves into. They came to find out though that he was taking them to a place the tour began and another person took his place for the actual tour who was lively and funny. They saw Bunker's Hill, Old Ironsides, the North Church were the lanterns were hung to say how the British were coming.

While they were doing their tour I headed to the conference center and got off at Copley Plaza. The plaza is in front of the Trinity Church and I had to take a couple of pictures. Next to the plaza on the street was some Greek parade going on so I took a picture of that also.
We finally got back together in the evening. We went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. Our waiter was a young man named Andrew. He was fun. Maddie had ordered this large burrito and Andrew did not think she could finish it off. He kept coming back and making statements of what he would do if she ate it all like confetti would come down from the roof. Well she ate it all and he had the staff come out and bring a  piece of cake with a candle on it and sang happy birthday to her even though he knew it was not her birthday. But the cake had candy confetti on it so he kept his promise. After dinner he said he enjoyed us and that we were very friendly. He traded numbers with Maddie and they still are talking to each other even after we have come home.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Boston continued

While the weather back home was not that great we were having good weather for this time of year in Boston. Our hotel room was on the 19th floor and we had a nice view of part of the city and the Charles River. We were located in what is called the Back Bay and was near Copley Plaza and the Prudential Building Center. The morning we just kind of relaxed and then we went by the subway to the harbor area. The subway pass is called the Charlie ticket. It is named after the song by the Kingston Trio called the MTA where Charlie could not get off the Boston subway because he did not have the fare. I thought that was a pretty good marketing tool.

We had booked a whale watching tour with the aquarium that was scheduled to leave at 11 in the morning. We got there early and walked around and bought some things from the street vendors. We were excited as they had talked about what they had seen last week when they went out. The sea was suppose to be smooth and a great time to go out. We found our spot at the back of the boat and sat and enjoyed the sun. The warmth did not last long. Once we got out on the water which was in the low 40's and got moving at 30 miles an hour it became very cold. While we did see the light houses on the islands on Boston's outer islands once we left those there was nothing to see.
We went about 30 miles out from Boston to look for the whales along the area they call the Banks which is suppose to be a rich fishing area. We spent about 2.5 hours going back and forth and never saw a thing. By the end the tour guide was apologizing. Of course he said that the trip was guaranteed so they gave us vouchers to come back again as if we had time to spend another four hours on another day. We tried to stay inside the boat cabin to stay warm until we could get back to shore. Can you see the excitement on our faces.

When we got back to shore we decided to venture over to Fanual Hall and Quincy market. We watched a street actor who was put into a straight jacket and then hoisted by his feet above the ground and then he worked himself free. He was cracking jokes the whole time he was both tied up and when working himself free.

After watching him we walked around the different shops for a few hours and then thought we would have an early dinner. There is a place in the market that we have gone to before to have lobster which is what I had my heart set on. This is the place years ago that Shannon got sick at. While I had my lobster it was not as good as we had remembered or maybe we were just still bummed about the whale watching. Maddie did not want to eat anything there so we went to get her pizza after we ate at Durgon Park.

We then started to walk along the Freedom Trail heading back to our hotel. It is so interesting seeing these old buildings that were scenes of events that began the American Revolution such as the State House where the Boston Massacre occurred or the South Church were various meetings were held.

We visited some of the cemeteries next to these churches where some of the famous people are buried. We then made our way to the Boston Commons which is a large green space in the downtown area. We looked for the Make way for Duckling statues. The name comes from a famous children's book written about a mother duck and her ducklings that explore Boston.We had to take a picture there because Cindy had bought the book to give to Payton. After that we walked a bit further and found an ice cream shop and then made it back to our hotel walking about 2.5 miles that evening.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Trip to Boston

Greg had a conference in Boston and with Cindy and Maddie's spring break happening at the same time it became a great opportunity for a family trip. Maddie had missed out on going to a conference when she was 16 since Greg never went on one that year so this was the time. We flew out early on Thursday morning and had a 3 hour lay over in Las Vegas. Go figure, we had to go west to travel east. This gave Maddie a chance to do home work for a while. We finally traveled east and landed in Manchester, New Hampshire. Why go to New Hampshire if your destination is Boston? Money is the answer. We could fly into there and rent a car for a day and still be less than if we flew into Logan Airport in Boston.
We got our car, a Mazda CX 9, they upgraded us to that for $10 more. It was a nice car and a lot more room than the compact car we had first signed up for. Our plan was to drive north of Boston so we could explore for a day. We drove to a place just east of Lowell, Massachusetts called Andover which was only 25 miles from Manchester. We commented how pretty this drive would be in the fall when the leaves turn color or in the summer when everything is green. We had dinner that night and used Maddie's phone to guide us to find places to eat. We then decided on ice cream for a treat and turning to Maddie's phone again we found a place called Friendly's. Great ice cream and we learned it was a chain in the northeast.
Friday we loaded the car for a drive to Cape Anne and Gloucester. Gloucester is America's oldest seaport settled in 1623.   We first visited the Fisherman's Wife Statue. It commemorates the wives and children left home waiting for their husbands to return from fishing. There we met a Sicilian fisherman. He started talking to us about his sisters and cousins names on the plaza and how one of his sisters was key in making the plaza area. He then told us he was a second generation fisherman. His dad did not want any of his children to be fisherman but he still carried on the tradition. He talked about the way things were, friends he had lost at sea, how the government has ruined the life of the family fishing business and turned it all over to big business. He was a wealth of information but also never took a breath as he talked. He went on and on.  
 We next visited the Fisherman's Memorial. It has the names of over 5,300 people who were lost at sea since the 1600's to the present that were from the area. It was a remarkable tribute. The statue looks out over the harbor where the fishing ships come in and out of the Atlantic.

We had another interesting sight as we were by the statues and that was a man on a bike. He was loaded down but he was pushing the bike with his feet rather than peddling. It was a funny sight and we could not figure out why he did not peddle. He could because he would do it once but then he reverted back to pushing with his feet.
We drove around and looked at the docks and the narrow streets and the large homes that overlooked the coast. We continued east along the Cape to a place called Rockport. Again there were a lot of homes, especially summer homes that lined the shore. We finally came to the little town center. You could tell this is a vacation spot but this time of year things were just starting to open up and there were not many people there which made it even better. The shops are on this little peninsula called Bearskin Neck.
We strolled down the narrow little street and went into several shops.They had some really good deals. As we walked around we came to find out that this place was used to film the show, The Proposal. This was the Alaskan village in the show. We bought fudge at a shop that Sandra Bullock walked by in the show.

The area had several interesting lighthouses. You could spend a lot of time exploring them if you wanted to. The picture to the right is of the Staitsmouth light house that is the entrance to Rockport. To the south of this light house on an island is the twin lights. These two towers were built in 1771 and as a ship passes them and they both line up you know that is true north. Sailors would use them to make sure their compass was correct as they went out to sea.

That took most of our morning and as we looked at the clock we wondered if we had time to go south of Boston to the Plimoth Plantation. Plymouth is about 30 miles south of Boston. We punched in the directions and it said it would take us an hour and a half to get there so off we went.
The path took us right through Boston. It was amazing to see all the small towns, forest and ponds and swamps then come over a ridge and there was the skyline of Boston. The freeway took us through town in the long tunnel that was called the Big Dig. This used to be an elevated freeway that cut Boston off from the piers but several years ago it was determined to bury the freeway. We hit some slow traffic south of Boston which surprised us as it was only 2 in the afternoon. We made it to the Plimoth Plantation. This is a recreated Pilgrim village of 1627. Once you walk to the village from the visitors center the people act, talk and work like it was 1627. They each are a certain person who lived there at that time. They all talk with old English accents, work with hand made tools, cut wood to make fires to cook on, have cows and chickens to tend to, make wooden tools and repair the thatch on the roofs of the homes.   As you talk to them and hear what is happening Maddie said this is not the way they tell the story at school. There are few similarities between the traditional Pilgrim story and what really happened.  

Here we learned how poor Maddie was because her shoes were worn to nothing, only the soles were left (flip flops). We also learned about the importance of a large skirt; gives you privacy when you go to the bathroom. Breakfast is milk and bread. Supper is the big meal around 2 and then at evening you have left overs from supper. 

Maddie laughed at me because she said I started to talk like them in asking questions.
The place was closing as it was nearing 5 in the evening. We had a good time and saw two extremes. It was time to head back to turn our car in and to check into our hotel in Boston. There was a school group who was also touring the Plantation at the same time and as the kids were waiting for their group to gather a couple of the boys saw my Y hat and started calling out Jimmer. It was amazing that school kids back east could pick out from my hat Jimmer Ferdette. We made it back to Boston and dropped off of our luggage at our Marriott Hotel. The bell man let us park for a few minutes once he saw the hat and learned we were from Utah. He said he had read the Marriott story and asked isn't the basketball arena also named after Marriott?
Once we got checked in we drove to the airport, a block every three lights. It took forever. We dropped the car off and then took the T back into town. That night we ate at a place called Fire and Ice. It is a Lee's Mongolian on steroids. What a fun and lively place. There was a two hour wait unless we wanted to sit at a high table. We were not choosy so we got right in. Again my Y hat got calls of Jimmer from a group of kids who were also waiting. This place was great, no thin sliced meats but thick pieces of steak, shrimp and anything and everything. You could eat as much as you wanted.  It was a great day. The next entry will talk about Saturday and Sunday.