All play and no work

Arguably that should really be the title of this whole blog, eh? Although here I'm specifically referring to this, my final Boston post: after the previous one which interested the history buffs this post is all about the fun stuff we did in Boston, and there are more photos of the kids, so it's a nice lighthearted snapshot for you all. Enjoy.

Harvard, MIT - the images conjured up are of deeply studious environments, with a weighty seriousness quietly but undeniably present on the campuses. Well, nobody batted an eyelid when Master H enjoyed doing big jumps off some handy rocks in front of the iconic MIT Great Dome building (his new favourite hobby; stone-throwing has taken a bit of a back seat this year due to a reduction in lake visits).

MIT-jump

MIT-jump

MIT-great-dome

Famous scientists' names adorn the perimeter walls that flank the dome building, so it was somewhat amusing to think that giants such as Faraday and Newton were overlooking two tiny people happily chasing each other and picking up sticks.

MIT-great-dome-lawn

I was surprised to see MIT bereft of any buildings that indicated impressive engineering of some sort. And nor did Harvard loom with the gothic or neo-classical gravitas I have come to expect from revered universities. But then perhaps that's the mark of a truly great institution: it actually just is that good. It doesn't need to prove it to the external world by show and fancy. Hmm, there's a moral in there somewhere.

Anyway, I promised a light-hearted sail through our final few days in Boston and so I shall move straight on... to a ship, nonetheless! Boston has an excellent path through the city marked out with a line of red bricks called the "The Freedom Trail", so in true Wizard of Oz fashion we set Master H the challenge to follow these and lead us down from Bunker Hill (another battleground, this one from slightly later in the American War of Independence) to the majestic USS Constitution, the oldest warship still afloat. Launched in 1797, and undefeated in combat. What a gal.

freedom-trail

uss-constitution

Because she's technically still a working navy vessel we all had to go through security screening before we boarded, but once we were through officers kindly offered to watch the buggy, smiled at little miss as she climbed aboard, and were very relaxed about Master H charging along the decks like it was just a big play ship.

Afterwards we followed the trail past some more historic buildings, including the Massachusetts State House and the site of the Boston Tea Party.

boston-streets

boston-streets

Old State House


massachusetts-state-house
Massachusetts State House


boston-tea-party-site
Boston Tea Party Site

boston-tea-party-site
Boston Tea Party Site

Our walking tour delivered us then (deliberately) close to the Boston Children's Museum, a place I'd had recommended to me personally by a few people and where I had arranged to meet my old schoolfriend Lauren and her family for an afternoon of play for the kids and snatched conversations by the adults. This is a phenomenal place. From a pretend supermarket, to dinosaur shoe sizes, to a giant climbing frame that spanned at least two floors, and plenty of water play - you could easily spend a full day there and the kids would still be begging to stay. We only lost our son twice which, by the number of times the beeps went off (which I assumed to be the staff signal for 'lost child; don't let anyone out'), was quite a low figure. Must try harder next time!

boston-children's-museum

boston-children's-museum

boston-children's-museum

boston-children's-museum

boston-children's-museum

boston-children's-museum

Lauren and I just about managed to give each other a whistle-stop account of our lives since school and then it was time to go. What a wonderful thing though to be able to meet up with an old friend in a new city - I've said before that travelling with a young family is brilliant in many ways, but you become very dependent on your own wee unit for socialisation and it's great to be able to have someone else you know come into that realm, even if only for a short time, and switch up the dynamic and the conversation. Thank you Lauren (and family)!

A fleeting mention ought to be paid to the New England Aquarium which we made the mistake of visiting on a Saturday, thinking we'd be smart and avoid all the school groups. Turns out every parent in Boston decided to take their kids that day, so the place was overrun with people and, being darkly lit as aquariums often are, was an optimum place to lose Miss H. So we got through it as briskly as one can with two toddlers and vowed never to visit such attractions on weekends again. Anyway, here's Miss H pointing to a baby shark (yes fellow child-carers, that of the famous incessant tune. And yes, depending on the whim of our 1-year-old we did have to sing / listen to her singing it ALL the way to the aquarium).

aquarium

Once we had escaped we walked through the city to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team. We watched the game for a bit but it was really pretty cold and our seats were in the shade, so after about four innings we moved to the outskirts where I bought a hat and Miss H decided it was time for sunglasses.

fenway-park

fenway-park

fenway-park

fenway-park

So with the sun starting to descend we headed back to the car, yelled minor obscenities (quietly; there were children present) at SatNav when it fannied around trying to find satellites and thus delivered us not only the opposite way from where we wanted to go but also straight into game traffic, and made it back to our quaint wee home in Cambridge (a suburb just north-west of Boston), before collapsing with a welcome glass of wine / beer / apple juice x 2.


cambridge-house
Our Cambridge home (upper unit)

cambridge-home-view
View from our home (taken the morning we left)

Bye bye Boston - you've been very different from my expectations, and in a very good way. I'd like to come back in the warmer months to really see you in your summer splendour. I'll call you.


Next stop: Niagara Falls.


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