An offering for Samuel Adams
Well, I managed to get through the rest of the Freedom Trail today, although anything involving taking stairs up or down results in excruciating pain in my calves. Thanks, Bunker Hill. Thanks a lot.
For the most part, my pictures will probably be more than enough detail (whenever I finally get them up to Flickr, which could be awhile, because I shot more than 300, and they need serious editing). In the case of two of the best experiences, though, photography wasn't allowed.
The first was the Old South Meeting House. There are some small museum exhibits at the back of the meeting house, which is reminiscent of many other churches of that era with its small pew boxes. It's much larger, though, and the exhibits cover everything from the Boston Tea Party to slavery.
The Paul Revere House is the other. Much of the Freedom Trail up to that point is old churches and graveyards, and indeed there's one more old church and graveyard to follow. Granted, that church — Old North Church — is probably the most famous on the Freedom Trail. But still, the Paul Revere House stands out because it is different. You see a lot of points of historical significiance on the Freedom Trail, and yes, Paul Revere did live in the house.
But the real importance of the house is that it provides you with a historical context missing elsewhere. As I walked through the four open rooms, feeling the broad floorboards creaking under my feet, viewing the tiny children's chairs, metal pots and kettle, and cavernous brick fireplaces,I got a real sense for how people lived back then. Yes, they met and talked about independence, and yes, they banded together and fought the British, but this is how they lived. I think this one is a can't-miss on the Freedom Trail.
Not far from the Paul Revere House in the North End is Galleria Umberto. I read about this unassuming little place on Yelp and when I realized it was nearby, it seemed like the perfect place to stop for a snack. It really, really, really didn't disappoint. For $5.05, I got a piece of pizza, a panzarotti (fried oblong potato and cheese deliciousness), and a Dixie cup of house wine. All were delicious, and I'm not sure I could feed myself from the grocery store for $5.05.
Less memorable was Yankee Lobster, where I had lobster roll #1 on the trip for dinner. This was another Yelp find, and I think if I had gotten an actual lobster, or I was into cold lobster rolls, I might have had a different reaction. The lobster roll was pretty substantial and unadorned, and not suffering from celery chunks or swimming in mayonnaise. But it was also cold, and that's just not my thing.
When I think lobster roll, I think back to the ones we had in a little shack in Bar Harbor, Maine. Hot, fresh, and with butter on the side — they were amazing. I'm hoping at least one lobster roll I have on this trip comes close. But it wasn't Yankee Lobster's, which is a shame, because I really hiked to get there (and then, sadly, realized it was closer to a Silver Line stop than I'd thought, and that the Silver Line, a bus line, was less confusing than I thought it would be).
My other touristy highlights of the day were the Old State House — which had the most expensive admission at $7, but also the most extensive museum — and the Boston Public Library. The library is not on the Freedom Trail, but I had enough time left after I completed the trail to make it over there. I'm glad I did. The library's weekend hours for the summer are 9-5, and it's closed on Memorial Day. So the 20 minutes I had to go through it were the only opportunity I would have had.
The Boston Public Library is one of the more ostentatious public buildings I've seen. It reminds me a bit of the British Museum. I think I actually said "wow" when I walked in. So I'm really glad I slipped in to see it.