Boston or bust today. Snow still thick on the ground, we dragged our bags to the local subway and headed for Penn Station to jump the 10.00am Acela Local for Boston. A relatively painless exercise with the exception of having to throw our 30kg bags over the turnstiles in the subway and carry them up and down several sets of stairs.
We all know NYC is a big city. After an hour and a half of fairly smart train travel we were still in the burbs. It was not until we hit Rhode Island, two states away, that we started to see some open country. A beautiful day with blue sky and cold clear air made this a memorable trip. Towns and small cities slipped past, all dusted with clean white snow.
Guards on the Amtrak trains wear the same livery now as they did in the 20s and 30s. traditional Pill-box caps and the whole thing! Announcements for upcoming stops are always delivered with a theatrical flourish. Service is however a bit less than we are used to, but that seems to be a fairly uniform issue in most places we have been to date… Let’s see how this develops. To be fair, most observers believe that New York is not America and we have a lot to see yet.
Boston is far more like Australian and European cities than New York is. Open, clean and more modern, but with pockets of narrow, winding streets and timbered shops. Clear and cold again. We are settled into the Motel6 at Braintree about 15 miles from the centre of Boston. A good location with the T (Boston’s subway) a couple of hundred metres away and a Mall over the road to provision our in-room cooking.
Old Boston was the order of the day. We walked the Freedom Trail – about 2 1/2 miles of “follow the red-brick or red-painted path” commemorating the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution generally. Old “Burying Places”, Paul Revere’s home and the Bunker Hill Memorial were the most memorable. Sampled the clam chowder at Faneuil Hall, a food and trinket marketplace, once a meeting place for the early colonists. Thick and hot – just what we needed.
Found a liquor store that sold BOTH beer and wine (didn’t happen in New York) and a grocery store for tonight’s dinner and we’re happy as pigs in mud.
Boston boasts a pre-eminent place in the history of the USA. Yesterday, we saw the historic highlights of the revolutionary wars and the early days of the new nation. Today we visited the JFK Museum and Library, a great tribute to one of the great leaders of the 20 Century.
Getting about today was strictly by subway wherever possible. The temperature hit a high of –5 C but hovered around –10C for most of the day. It can’t be argued that temperatures this low are easy to deal with, but on a perfectly clear day like this, we would rather be cold than suffer the summer heat at home.
This is our last night at the Motel6, Braintree. Tomorrow we’ll jump the T (subway) and slip into Boston to pick up a hire car for the next week. Seems that the weather is about to warm up – we fear, however, that rain will be the trade-off.
Motels are to be our home from here on. Sadly, they are one of the things about America that are least different to home. Same layouts. Same noise, but not all the usual facilities. This one has no coffee making facilities and no fridge! We have adopted our usual approach to these difficulties. We have improvised. A toaster and hot plate (purchased in the ONLY bargain shop in New York) have been matched with a cooler bag to create our own carry-around kitchen. Menu options are limited, but the prices are great!