I grew up in a suburb of Boston. Although it’s not really my “home,” I think of it as my home city. And I spent a lot of time in it this week.
The week started off with a 3-day conference. I commuted into Alewife (the t-station) each day and it made for long days! The first day of the conference there was an after party. The second day my colleague Michael from Ohio and I went to dinner in the North End. The third day I got to get home at a reasonable hour and catch up on some sleep. Thursday I headed into the Littleton office for work then back into Boston to take my son out for a birthday dinner at Fire & Ice. Today (Friday) I headed back in – this time via the train – to walk the Freedom Trail with Michael before he heads home. Plus we visited the holocaust memorial which is right outside of Fanueil Hall.
I’m a little tired right now. Even just writing this all down, which isn’t as tiring as actually doing it.
In all these years I have lived near Boston, I’ve never done the Freedom Trail. Pieces of it, yes. I’ve seen many of the attractions, I’ve walked streets that contain the red-brick line that let’s you know you are on the trail. (Boston’s version of the yellow brick road, I guess you could say). But never the whole thing.
We started off with a free tour – lucky us, there is a free friday thing going on in and around Boston and this week happened to be the trail. Rachel Revere, Paul Revere’s second wife (did you know he had a second wife? I didn’t), led our tour. She was a very clever woman and we learned history in the most entertaining way. Here’s one tidbit I didn’t know. The Puritans came over because of religious persecution in England. Then they hanged Quakers for practicing their religion in New England. Sheesh.
Rachel took us through the first third of the trail. We wound up at Fanueil Hall, which is a favorite Boston location of mine, where we had lunch, then took off from there to walk the rest of it, all the way to the Bunker Hill monument in Charlestown and up the 294 stairs to the top. I’m figuring we must have walked at least 5 miles today.
So, this week I’ve learned how to navigate the subway system way more confidently, and I’ve seen my beloved Boston way more than usual. I’ve been immersed in brown stone and history. How I love the quaintness of the streets of Boston and Charlestown, the beautiful old buildings, and the little nooks and crannies of peace nestled into the crowded buildings. Things that say “this is a home.” Window boxes filled with flowers, rooftop gardens, small patios, decorative doors. Everything neat and picturesque.
And I love the people of the North End. All happy to guide the tourists that have entered their world. To them the North End is not a destination for a nice meal or a cannoli or to see Paul Revere’s house or the Old North Church. To them the North End is their home, which they graciously share with the rest of us with a smile on their face, and usually a dose of humor to go with it.
So, goodbye Boston for awhile, my home away from home. I’m glad I got to spend some time with you and got to know you a little better. And to realize why so many people love you, including my own daughter Kelly. Yet, even though you are my home city, I need to tell you that my real home is in the country, the land that captures my heart.
Princeton, you’re my home. Regardless of the title of this post.