Leaving Portsmouth, New Hampshire and entering Massachusetts, we knew we were getting ourselves into major metropolitan areas for awhile. This is pretty much the edge of the extremely dense population in the Northeast and we are not going to be getting out of it anytime soon. As much as we are not looking forward to that while towing an Airstream, we very much looked forward to visiting the cities and its landmarks.
As we entered the suburbs of Boston, we found a Walmart on the outskirts that allowed us to park for the night. As with most major cities, Boston has no good options for RV camping near the city. That is why we joined the Elks Lodge. We found a lodge in Saugus, a suburb north of Boston that had a great grassy field next to their parking lot that allowed dry camping.
This is art class at the Marlene center for road school education.
Not too shabby eh?
At the city of Concord, Mass there is a cemetery called Sleepy Hollow. It’s not the one known for the headless horseman but it does hold a significant place in literary history.
In this corner of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery nicknamed Author’s Row is where Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Louisa May Alcott are all buried.
In the 1800s, these 4 authors were contemporaries and were each other’s colleagues. It’s pretty amazing to realize how much great literary history came out of this region of the northeast.
One of Marlene’s favorite books as a kid was Little Women. She was really excited to come visit the house that it was written about but we got here too late in the day to take a tour.
The kids are too young to appreciate the book and the movie but one day they will be back and peek through the window just their mama did.
Just down the road is Walden Pond.
This of course is where Henry Thoreau built his cabin and lived off the grid and disconnected for 2 years, 2 months and 2 days. This is a reproduction of his cabin based on his book ‘Walden’. Fortunately for us, he was explicit in his description of his construction of the building so we can be fairly certain that this is very close to the kind of structure he lived in. Most people might look at it and shake their heads in disbelief that someone can live in such a small space but we thought it was quite luxurious. It seems after 200 years the hipsters are finally making Thoreau’s tiny house cool again.
We sort of dreaded going into downtown Boston but we had to do it. We cleared some time off of the calendar and made it a trip into town.
This of course of the original Cheers Bar. I hope no one is too young to know what Cheers is.
Here is Bunker Hill. This is where some of the Battle of Bunker Hill took place. It was a battle between the colonialists and British soldiers.
Even though the colonialists were amateurs fighters against the professional British army, they fought off 2 major assaults and inflicted severe casualties on their enemy. The British officially won the battle but what the colonialists did here sealed in the confidence that will eventually lead to the success of the American revolution.
While we are here in Boston, the passing of actor and comedian Robin Williams was the major headline in the news.
At the bench where Robin Williams and Matt Damon filmed the scene in ‘Good Will Hunting’ became an impromptu memorial for the beloved actor. Good Will Hunting was one of our favorite movies and visiting this park is kind of a neat experience for us. Unfortunately it was shadowed by this sad news. It is clear that he was really loved everywhere and especially by the people of Boston.
It is also here in Boston Public Garden that the popular children’s book ‘Make Way for Ducklings’ is set.
There are still ducks and ducklings in the pond but just in case, there are bronze sculptures of them that can be visited year round.
Our kids are actually not that familiar with the book but they do love them ducks.
Here is one of those real ducks on the pond.
In this pond is also where the famous Swan Boats operate. They have been running Swan Boar tours since 1877 and is an iconic image of the city.
‘What are these people doing?’
‘Looks like they are wrestling!’
As part of the Junior Ranger program we had to walk the ‘Freedom Trail’ around Boston. Part of it took us down to the U.S.S. Constitution.
This is the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat. When Marlene’s cousin joined the navy, this is where he first served for several years.
We have never been here to see it until now but it is an amazing looking ship with lots of history.
Our final stop here in the Boston area is Minute Man National Historic Park. Well, what did you expect? After all, Boston is kind of the epicenter of the American Revolution. We are here to learn about it all.
It is right over there on that bridge that the colonial militia men first open fired on the British troops.
It is that shot that Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote about in a poem which coined it ‘The Shot Heard Around the World’.
Today this setting is peaceful and mesmerizing.
In the visitor center, one of the original planks from the original North Bridge is hung on the wall in a display case. With the harsh winter weather around here, the current North Bridge is no where near the original.
As we left Boston, our plan was to head out to Cape Cod and maybe stay the night at a campground in the National Seashore.
Being that it was a weekend, the traffic here was horrendous. A single accident up the road can completely clog up traffic for hours.
We stopped at the visitor center for awhile and started to work on their Junior Ranger books until realized that there are no more ranger programs left in the day. In order for them to earn their badge, we will have to find an impossible place to spend the night with the weekend crowd and come back in the morning.
Well, this traveler knows when to hold them and know when to fold them. Today we will fold and go get some ice cream instead.
To kill some time and hopefully wait for traffic to die down, we stopped at a playground to play for awhile.
We met a nice family of 3 from the area who wanted to chat about our Airstream and they turned out to be extremely nice. Although all I could focus on is his thick Bostonian accent the entire time.
Finally we got out of the cape and found a spot to park overnight. Before we officially leave Massachusetts and head into Rhode Island, we will make one more stop in New Bedford to check out the whaling museum and their Whaling National Historic Park.
Whaling was the major source of fuel in the days prior to fossil fuels. Without the whaling industry, most people around the world would have sat around in darkness.
As much as we despise the act of whaling today, it was a necessity and a major industry that made and broke many cities. New Bedford and nearby Nantucket Island was the world’s epicenter of whaling due to its deep natural seaports and access to men who pursued the work.
From here, whaling boats went all around the world hunting whales for their blubber.
With the discovery of fossil fuel and method of refinery, the whaling industry saw a sharp and immediate decline. Many people got rich off of whales and many more people lost their jobs and sometimes their lives because of it. But I am thinking that no one is happier about the discovery of petroleum oil than the whales.
It is also here in New Bedford that Herman Melville went on one of his many whaling expeditions that inspired the book ‘Moby Dick’.
“Now raise your right hand and repeat after me. I, Ava and Mila, will not kill whales for their blubber.”
Congratulations, you are now officially Junior Rangers of the New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park. Next up, Rhode Island. We are going to show you how we figure out where to stay 2 nights in the smallest state in the union.
over and out,