From Boston

Quincy and Harvard

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Caught the red line south to Quincy . Went to the house of the family of John Adams , the second US president , and his son John Quincy Adams was also president . The family lived in it for several generations and it was handed over to Parks to manage circa 1946 . Following this we went out to Cambridge to have a look around Harvard .
Just about to go and pick up a car and drive towards North Hampshire and Maine .

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Concord

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Spent the day with Anne  who looked after Melanie in Boston when she went on her trip a few years ago . Anne picked us up at the Brookline Village station around 10 am and drove us round which meant we were able to easily get out of the central areas. First stop was at the house where JFK grew up . There was a long wait for the tour so we had a quick look and got on our way . Next was the “little women” house. This was the residence of the Alcott’s and where Louisa May Alcott wrote her books .After a tour of the house we went to “sleepy hollow” which is the town cemetery where the Alcotts are buried but also those who were from Concord and involved in the American Revolution . Following that we went out to the battleground site of the start of the revolution , at the North Bridge just out of Concord , where the American militiamen engaged the British Redcoats , whom then retreated back to Boston. Following this we stopped in a pub for lunch and a local beer , and happened to catch the end of the Brazil vs Chile world cup match. En route back to Boston we stopped at Framingham briefly , considering its fame as in the “Framingham heart study” .Seems there have been a lot of Brazilians move to Framingham and the streets into the town centre were barricaded from vehicle entry as a sea of yellow descended on the town centre. Back in Boston we walked to the new part of the waterfront and had a couple of beers at a rooftop bar overlooking the harbour. Following this we walked to South Station where we said our goodbyes . Anne is giving us a few ideas on where to go on our roadtrip to Buffalo(NY) which we will start on Monday .
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Witches et al

We decided to take a trip out to the town of Salem which is of course famous for  the killing and jailing of a number of innocent people for witchcraft in 1692 after an outbreak of hysteria among the young girl in the mainly Puritan village.  After getting the subway to the North station it was commuter rail to Salem about 30-40 minute trip . Alighting from the train it was soon clear we just had to follow the red line that was painted on the pavement which seemed to lead to all the “witch” attractions . First stop was the Salem witch museum .There we were treated to an audiovisual display educating us about the events of 1692 – and were of course reminded how this paled in insignificance compared to Europe and the Spanish Inquisition et al. After the we went to the the House of the 7 gables which was the setting for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel – only it had 4 gables when he saw it .Anyway it was built for John Turner in 1667 , was added to by his son Jon Turner  and the third John Turner , as he was a loyalist , lost it after the American Revolution. Some of the house is original and some is restored and some is added to so that it conforms closer to the novel ! We went for a walk round the waterfront , Salem’s true fame was as a busy trading port , then had lunch at a recommended cafe .
Following day we went in to town and redeemed our tickets for the hop on/off trolley . We hopped off at stop 8 and went for lunch and a walk in the park . Eventually we hopped on again intending to take it for the whole tour and be back at the waterfront for a cruise we’d booked – anyway it broke down ! We decided to walk back to the waterfront – didn’t get much out of those tickets!
From the waterfront we went on one of the Liberty Line cruises – but on the smaller vessel , which I guess is around 80ft in length .Without much wind it was just a slow cruise around the harbour , pretty much following the same route as the “Constitution cruise ” but at a slower pace – anyway it was a cool end to the day out of the heat.

Boston

With buying the Go Boston  Card we are flat out again . We went on a 3-4 hour Whale Watching  trip on a big catamaran out of Boston Harbor , 30 miles out towards Cape Cod .. We saw the same humpback whale  come up and dive back in at least half a dozen times. I took some photos and looks like one shot has captured the spout of a Minky whale that was feeding ahead of  the Humpback(female) -which is called Hancock (after John Hancock because part of her tail fluke apparently looks like his signature on the declaration of independence ) . In the evening we had a big walk along the harbour which is only one kilometer from us, then we ended the night drinking Jaegermeister  with the friendly French girls who are on the floor above us. We had some very interesting conversations with them   and the 4 other young people that are staying in this house!
On the Wednesday we  went of a ‘Freedom Trail Walking Tour ‘ from Boston Common. It was very informative about the history leading up to the American Revolution and some of the truths involved , rather than the stories we have heard .   In the afternoon we went  on a boat tour  to Charlestown . The  Constitution museum there was  amazing with lots of clear displays about American history.  There was also the  restored USS Constitution ,aka “Ironsides” due to the fact the British cannons could not pierce the 22 inch thick oak that lined the hull .It is a  200 year old frigate that  fought in several wars and still actively sails on special occasions like the 4th of July. Later in the day we went to the aquarium to escape the 90 degree heat before calling it a day and taking the subway home.