7/25/14 Friday in Rochester, MA (Gateway To Cape Cod-TT/OW)
Last night we told our neighbors (Gloria/Ron) that we were going to Boston today. Our purpose this time was to enjoy parts we’d missed at a more leisurely pace. They said they planned to go too, so this morning I brought over some information, letting them know the route we took to get to the train station. They said they wanted to catch the same 9:38 am train. We left just after 9 am, but they hadn’t yet. I was concerned because they hadn’t been there before, so they might miss the last turn. We arrived at the station at 9:26 am with just enough time to push in our 4 dollar bills for parking and get on the train. We never saw them.
The good news is we got to talking to the couple in front of us. They were from our campground, so we had so much to share that we kept talking the whole trip. We lost them at South Station yet they came upon us as we were heading along Atlantic looking for the Harborwalk. They showed us where to enter it – under an archway. They’re the couple in front of us in turquoise tops.
It was hot there, really revving up my mosquito bites, so we went back onto Atlantic in the shade of buildings until we came to the red line of the Freedom Trail, entering the North End from another angle, at one of those “emerald necklace” parks that Olmstead designed.
On to Paul Revere’s House where we paid the $3/senior rate this time plus a photo of the other side of his house. Strange angles. Sadly, they didn’t allow photos inside. You enter on the first floor and exit at the second floor. There used to be a third floor where the children slept – the hottest place in the summer and coldest in the winter. Since 5 of his 16 children died early on, generally only 5-9 lived in the house at one time. From their pamphlet: It was built around 1680, owned by Paul Revere 1770-1800. After that it became a tenement with the ground floor remodeled for shops. During the 19th century hundreds of immigrant families made this house their home. In 1902 Paul Revere’s great-grandson, John P Reynolds, Jr. purchased the building to ensure that it would not be demolished. Money was raised and it was restored under the direction of architect Joseph Chandler, opening in 1908. It’s been available to the public since then. The first floor has artifacts from the time of the first owner, the other rooms contain artifacts from Revere’s era, including Revere family furniture and silver made in the Revere shop. There was even a needle work project on the wall by Revere’s great granddaughter. My favorite was the display of Revere’s work – just beautiful. The man must have been a talented artisan, as well as a dynamo. Heavily involved in family, politics and managing businesses. Among them was the first successful copper rolling mill in the US, which eventually merged into the company that first made the copper clad Revereware we’re so familiar with. He died at the age of 83. That’s remarkable for his time as well.
The multicolors in the window panes are due to aging of the glass. In Revere’s day these were a sign of poor glass, not loved for their beauty. We continued on the Trail to Sacred Heart Italian Church where we saw a comprehensive sign explaining the history of the North End and this church.
Not much further up the street I spotted a Boston postcard I wanted to buy and as I was paying for it I asked if the shop owner had any recommendations for lunch in the area. He did and it was the very place I thought might be good, across the street from the Freedom Trail line: Cantina Italiana
He was right. Elegant on the inside, with great service and the best food. The bus boy asked if we wanted basil and Parmesan added to our plate of olive oil. John is silent but I said sure. We were there for the Italian experience, why not go for it all. Well, his basil is known in my world as balsamic vinegar! They even put my bread on my plate but John had to get his out of the basket himself. When I asked the waitress if the pizza was small, she said it was 8 pieces and unless I was very hungry I might want to share it. Very thin crust. Well, John wouldn’t want what I like (veggies like roasted tomatoes, artichokes, Calamari olives) so I just said I’d take the pizza. Then I saw them bring pizzas to our neighbors, who were sharing!!! I managed, with John eating 1 piece (minus the veggies). So good and flavorful. That mozzarella really stretched.
North End roads and alleys are really narrow, the parking is so hard to find. The buildings look like they’re squeezed too.
Here we took a moment at Copp’s Hill Burial Grounds. Last time we saw the Granary Burial Site. The tombstones for the children seem to have more of a skull than a cherub face….
Now a long walk across the Charles River to Charlestown Navy Yard. This was the oldest boat making, rebuilding yard of its kind until it was closed in the 1970’s. Thankfully the National Park Service got a bit of it so we now have the Boston National Historical Park Charlestown Navy Yard. Note that the Charles W Morgan whaling ship that we saw next the USS Constitution was only here from 7/18-22. We now know it’s at the Cape Cod Canal for their celebration this weekend.
Now for a little history on the USS Constitution: It was under construction in Hart’s Shipyard in Boston from 1794 until 1797, of innovative design. Most impressive is that the hull was formed on the outside of copper sheathing (made by Paul Revere). Inside that was 2 layers of white oak, with a layer of the very dense live oak between. This is so dense they needed the white oak to lighten the weight. This ship was a deciding factor in our war with Britain in 1812.
Now the actual ship as she is today and she is a beauty! First the top or spar deck:
Next the gun deck. The ceiling are on the low side (average man then was 5’6”) to lessen the weight topside. The sailor is explaining how the Marines would guard the “grog” (50% whiskey or rum, 50% water) so everyone either got their drink, or a tally sign (for later drink). Many would add their citrus juice to their grog to make it taste better, thus we have cocktails today.
The berth deck is where everyone slept and ate. The captain got his own private room, the sailors got hammocks. The holes to the outside were for ventilation. They weren’t installed until 13 years after it was built.
Back up the steep steps (must go down facing the steps) to the top floor and another great talk.
Goodbye USS Constitution. Thanks for your service then and now.
Back across the Charles River to downtown and then the Hay Market (farmer’s market) on Surface which parallels Atlantic. Good looking produce at great prices there! I especially loved the art in the sidewalk. Got myself some strawberries since we’re on our way to the train station.
At South Station we saw we had a while to wait so we found a table and munched on our strawberries. Quiet ride home. Neither of our friends (across the way and just met this morning) were back from their excursions. We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see how they fared.