Monday, September 30, 2013

Travel Update - Boston and Bar Harbor

Good Afternoon, Family and Friends,

We are currently cruising down the St. Lawrence River on our way to Saguenay, Quebec, Canada.  It is a lovely blue body of water and I saw porpoises off the starboard bow, playing and feeding as I trudged around the deck trying to keep the pounds at bay.

BUT, today I am going to share with you about our day in Boston and then up to the quaint city of Bar Harbor, Maine.  Boston, of course, is one of our nation’s most historical cities on the banks of the Charles River a vital, if not slightly muddy, divider of the town (“love that dirty water….ahhhh, Boston you’re my home”).  We took a bus tour of Old Boston roughly following the Freedom Trail where we immersed ourselves in American History 101.  You will see in the photos the Massachusetts State House, Park Street Church, and the Granary Burying Grounds, where the likes of John Hancock, Samuel Adams and Paul Revere were laid to rest.  The Old South Meeting House, where the leaders of the Revolutionary War plotted to bring about the Boston Tea Party, a protest of unfair taxing practices of King George.  Look for the Boston Commons and Beacon Hill and, of course, the Old North Church where Paul Revere hung two lanterns so the troops assembled across the river could tell the British soldiers were coming by sea.  You might not know the significance of the famous quote, “One if by land, two if by sea” means, but it was significant.  Intelligence had determined there were two options for the British, they could take the land route up to the battlefield which was circuitous and would add two and a half hours to the six hour march, or they could muster long boats and traverse the river and bay and be there earlier and fresher.  They took the sea route but because of Paul, the revolutionary forces were prepared and won the first major battle of the war for independence. 

In Copley Square, perhaps the most historic city square in the nation, we saw the Venetian Gothic Revival-style Old South Church from 1873, the Romanesque Revival architecture of the Trinity Church, built in 1877, and the oldest lending library in the nation, the magnificent Boston Public Library, with its Italian Renaissance façade, dating to 1895.  Also on the square is the tallest building in Boston, the John Hancock Life Insurance Building.  All glass on steel this building reflects perfectly the Old South Church which is right across the street and gives the illusion of a building inside a building.  BTW, anyone recognize the building with the white awnings?  Let me hear from you. 

We toured through Cambridge, with its sprawling campus, including MIT and cute co-eds, but did not get up to the Harvard Yard….sorry Hahvad Yahd… the Boston accent.

Cruising overnight we woke up in the even quainter town of Bar Harbor, Maine.  If you like the Boston accent, you will love the way these people talk.  We bought a wall magnet for our door, as we do in every port we ever go to, and this won looks like a license plate with the personalized letters….Baa Ha Ba, which is how they pronounce it heah in Maine.

We took a tour up to Acadia National Park.  This majestic park with its granite cliffs, coastal forests, sandy beaches (actually just three, appropriately named, First Beach, Second Beach, and, yes, wait for it, Third Beach….these Baa Ha Ba folks are creative, ay) and mountain lakes was quite beautiful and peaceful.  We went to the top of Cadillac Mountain, 1,532 feet for a panoramic view of the many fingers of water that define this scenic area.

First settled in 1763 by Israel Higgins and John Thomas, the town was founded on the northeast shore of Mount Desert Island and was inhabited by the peaceful Wabanaki Indians.  By the mid-1800’s the town had become a mecca for the rich and famous, many of whom built “cottages” similar to those we saw in Newport, RI.  By 1880 there were 30 hotels and tourism and summer living rivaled Newport and other seaside venues.  It was the birthplace of Nelson Rockefeller in 1908. President William Howard Taft played golf in 1910 at the Kebo Valley Golf Club.  And in 2010, President Barrack Obama and family vacationed here. 

Next up, look for info on Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia!




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