In 1979, I started writing to one of my first foreign penpals, Cheryl. I think I got her address from a friend of my cousin's, who had just moved to Barnstable from England. We tried to hook up in 1982 when I went on that high school trip, as I was going to be at Canterbury Cathedral and she lived in that area. Unfortunately, we were unable to find each other as that place was big and I was with a group tour, and there were no cell phones or texting capabilities. We kept in touch over the years with letters and cards, then email, and now Facebook.
This year, for her 50th birthday, she came over to New York City; her first time in the states. Upon further research, we discovered she could take the train up to Boston, a 4 hour journey, and I could take the bus, and we would arrive at South Station within minutes of each other. We also knew the weather could be really iffy in November, and I was fully expecting a cold, rainy/slushy day, or a freezing cold windy one. The only thing that would've kept me from going was snow. What we got was a crystal clear, sunny, warm day! It was perfect.
I took the P&B bus from Sagamore. I am a P&B veteran, having taken it tons of times to go shopping, see friends, go to/from the airport, and when I was at Emerson College. It's the best way to get up there. Anyone who drives to Boston is crazy.
Arriving in the big city! John Hancock Building.
I started snapping pics as soon as I got off the bus of all the places I've seen a zillion times but never once took photos of, since all I had was film back in the 80s. Entrance to Chinatown. This has always been in a sketchy area and it's not the tourist attraction like you see in SF & NYC. I did not venture down there.
I'm glad that the original facade of South Station was maintained while they expanded it to epic proportions since the last time I saw it in the 80s. It's huge now, yet surprisingly intuitive & easy to figure out where you need to be and how to get out.
Thought that was cute.
We met up quickly and it was so great to finally see her in person after all this time!!!! We started our walk and I played tour guide from memory, as the street layout hasn't changed of course and as I said, this city was my stomping ground for years, and it all came back to me. We cut through Downtown Crossing to get to the Freedom Trail. Filene's is long gone, but in it's heyday, it was a humongous, multi storied department store, with the famous deeply discounted Filene's Basement. I went down there a couple of times and it was absolutely insane with bargain hunters literally fighting over the super cheap items. You could easily wait in line to pay for an hour.
Downtown Crossing has become a complete pit now. I was surprised at how run down it is. A lot of stores have changed since I was last there, but I wouldn't want to stick around there & shop one bit.
We emerged at the corner Boston Common and we picked up the Freedom Trail from there. This takes you past all the historic stuff, and in a small city like Boston, you can really maximize the site seeing in a short amount of time. This is Park Street Church.
Looking across Boston Common to the west, at the Hancock Buildings.
I forgot about the vast quantity of pushcarts selling all kinds of great souvenirs, food and wares. I could easily spend gobs of money up there and I do plan to return in the spring.
Massachusetts State House. When I think about how many times I passed by all these historic places barely giving them a second look, it makes me laugh. I was so used to seeing it that it ceased to be noteworthy and I was usually focused on getting wherever it was I was headed (read: record stores) that I stopped giving them a second glance. I just did not appreciate amazing history that surrounded me.
This is Cheryl, under the Hooker statue. It's the obligatory 'Hooker' picture that everyone loves to do.
Then we walked back down the block past Park Street Church and went into the Granary Burial Ground, established in 1660.
Ben Franklin's parents & relatives are buried here.
John Hancock is also buried here.
As well as the victims of the Boston Massacre.
And Paul Revere.