New England Road Trip, Part 2: Boston

From my travels, August 5, 2021.

We got up and had a nice breakfast at the hotel. It was raining, but we decided to take our chances and roll downtown.

The first stop I wanted to take the boys to was the old Out of Town News near Harvard. Of course, this meant that I had to explain the concept of a newsstand to them, but I also got to share the story of how Microsoft had been started there. It wasn’t the best experience since it was still raining, and there wasn’t anywhere great to park, but it was some history that is more on the nerdy side.

Microcenter is always a hit with my crew. - <i>Photo by Karen Michener</i>
Microcenter is always a hit with my crew. – Photo by Karen Michener

From there, we stopped over at the Cambridge Microcenter – always a favorite store for us. And to be at the one where the MIT folks shop was a treat. It was fun to browse around there, and we were even able to pick up some inexpensive oversized golf umbrellas while we were there. Who would have guessed?

I then took the boys by MIT. Due to COVID-19, we couldn’t really go in any of the buildings, but we were allowed to check out their extremely nerdy bookstore. I especially liked their rather creative “MIT” t-shirts, but they didn’t carry them in the boys’ sizes. Bummer. Both boys were able to pick out postcards that they sent back to their mom – something of a tradition for us now.

One of the nerdiest t-shirts imaginable at the MIT bookstore. - <i>Photo by the author</i>
One of the nerdiest t-shirts imaginable at the MIT bookstore. – Photo by the author

Moving back into history nerd mode, we drove over to the Charlestown Navy Yard to see the NPS Visitors Center there and pick up Junior Ranger books for Boston National Historical Park. There we were able to see and learn a little about the Battle of Bunker Hill. Sadly, the WWII-era Fletcher-class Destroyer USS Cassin Young (DD-793) was closed due to the rain (maybe there is concern about the decks being too slippery?)

But it wasn’t a complete waste. After passing through security, we were able to go aboard the USS Constitution – the oldest commissioned warship still afloat in the world. It was very cool to be able to explore her and speak with the sailors who keep her in such good shape while sharing her history with the public.

The boys pose with "Nene" in front of the USS <i>Constitution</i>. - <i>Photo by the author</i>
The boys pose with “Nene” in front of the USS Constitution. – Photo by the author

We crossed over into Boston and drove by the Old North Church, and made our way to Faneuil Hall for a late lunch. “Nene” was able to find “fried clams with bellies” that she was very excited about – it was a taste of home for her.

Around the corner, we were able to visit the Old State House, and the site of the Boston Massacre in front of it, which the boys had been reading about in school. It isn’t quite how you picture it since modern-day Boston is certainly more built-up than it was during 1770.

The boys at the site of the Boston Massacre. - <i>Photo by the author</i>
The boys at the site of the Boston Massacre. – Photo by the author

On our way out of town, we drove around Boston Common (and especially to see the monument to the 54th MA) and even got to see Fenway Park. The rest of the evening was spent hanging out at the hotel – including finishing up those Junior Ranger books – and then having dinner at the Burlington Mall food court. There would be more to do in the morning.

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