This past week I found myself roaming the great city of Boston, MA. Travel to a city may not be much of an epic adventure for most, but for a guy who grew up in a small town, the city can be as much of an adventure as the great outdoors. The twisted streets of Boston having far too few street signs, combined with a less than strait forward train system, provided an interesting transportation challenge for the week. Needless to say, there was more than one wrong turn made.
My trip to Boston was mainly to attend the Electrochemical Society Meeting. I had a poster to present, and many talks to attend, but the most exciting part is that it gave me a chance to tour the city!
There were many great sights to see, so I started with the Freedom Trail. Beginning at the Boston Common I wandered my way through the city passing many of the historical sights I remember learning about in high school history class. From Paul Revere’s house and the Old North Church where the well known story of the lanterns (one if by land, two if by sea) took place, to Bunker Hill and the USS Constitution (the oldest commissioned war ship in the world… 214 years!).
I climbed to 294 steps to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument to check out the view. The spiral staircase that brings you to the top gradually gets narrower. So gradually that you don’t really notice until you have to pass someone by pressing you back flat against the wall. The room at the top is small, and was quite crowded, much more so than necessary. At the center of the room was a metal grate that lets you look down a central shaft 200 feet to the bottom of the monument. As tight as the tiny room got, no one wanted to stand on it… this was entertaining to watch. Also at the top was a park ranger who gets to climb all those stairs 10-15 times every week!
Over at the USS Constitution, the tour took us down to the lower decks to hear stories of sailors manning the guns and what life was like on the war ship. It definitely did not sound appealing. Additionally the celling was low and I could not stand up without hitting my head.
In addition to the rich history of Boston, it was also necessary to visit the sights of the local beer history. The first stop was the Sam Adams Brewery. I was a bit surprised to learn that the Boston brewery only makes about 1% of their 2 million barrels each year, but serves as the research lab for cooking up new flavors. One of which is this years Brick Red that Pete and I obviously had to taste…
Continuing my trip through local breweries, I wandered across the city to Boston’s oldest brewery, Harpoon. They put a beer in our hands before the tour even began. Continuing through the brewery, we stopped to sample their IPA strait from the source, after fermentation but before filtering and bottling. It was an interesting contrast to the finished product.
The highlight of the trip came at the end. I spent my last evening in Boston dining at Post 390. The food was excellent! But more important to me was that this is the restaurant that my cousin Nick opened a couple years ago, and since it had been many years since I had seen him, I wanted to drop in. It was a great seeing him again!
More photos of the trip can be found on Flickr