Family Fun in New England, Part 15: Boston

This is my fifteenth post about our family's visit to New England. I suggest reading the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixthseventheighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth posts from the trip before this one. Because I blog about educational travel, I was given admission tickets, media rates, discounts, and other benefits for some of the places we visited during our trip. Some places are free for everyone; we paid full price for the rest. This has no bearing on my reviews. Everything I'm share is something that I recommend without hesitation. If you see any gaps in my narrative, it is because I didn't love that particular attraction, restaurant, or hotel enough to recommend it to you, regardless of how much I paid or didn't pay.


Boston, Massachusetts

We started our day on Sunday, June 25 with a short walk from our hotel (so worth it!) to the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

It's not a museum in the traditional sense. It is an experience, more of a hands-on show. And it is fantastic. 


You start in a meeting house where the scene is set. It's December 16, 1773, and you are one of thousands of Boston citizens who are raising their voices against tyranny. You are asked whether you'd like a speaking part (a single line delivered on cue) and given an identity of a real person who was in attendance that day.  


The meeting is conducted and the assembled group decides to protest the oppression....

... by storming the ship and dumping the tea! 

Yes, we really did get to dump the tea overboard. 


We were sworn to secrecy, then we moved to a different room with actors telling us about the consequences. We moved again, and heard about the road to revolution. Finally, we entered a room the only room that I’d actually call a museum, with one of the original boxes of tea and other artifacts from the night. The tour/show/museum ends in a tea house, where you can sample the five flavors of tea that were onboard the ship in December 1773. The whole experience was incredible. 

Boston is currently hosting CowParade. We came across painted cows all over the city. The one nearest the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum was my favorite. 

Next, we did the Boston Harbor Urban Adventure Quest. We love Quests. They're always such a great way to learn more about a city. This one took us all along the harbor and through the Rose Kennedy Greenway. We saw all sorts of things we never would have noticed without the Quest leading us there. 

Unfortunately, midway through the Quest I hurt myself. Boston is one giant tripping hazard - cobblestone streets, cracked sidewalks, and nails sticking up from uneven boards along the wharf. I jammed my foot and it was unbelievably painful. And then, to add insult to injury, there was a 10 minute downpour with no warning. There was no good place to shelter. I couldn't limp fast enough to get somewhere that I could avoid getting soaked, so I just gave up and sat there. That was the low point of the trip for me.  

Ice, rest, and painkillers helped, but my foot was swollen and angry looking. But I wasn't in Boston to sit around, so I hobbled along behind Steve and Trevor as best I could, stopping at every opportunity to rest while they worked on the clues. 

After the Quest, we walked/hobbled to the Boston National Historic Park Visitor Center at Faneuil Hall. We enjoyed the exhibits, video, and ranger presentation. 

Then we boarded our ship for the narrated Historic Boston Harbor Cruise

It leaves from Long Wharf, just steps away from our hotel. It was so convenient. 

We saw all sorts of neat stuff and learned so much about the history of Boston. 

Fort Independence, on Castle Island. 

I particularly enjoyed hearing about Old Ironsides. Did you know that once a year, the USS Constitution does a "turnaround" cruise, open to the public by lottery? The ship is towed into the harbor, completes drills, then sails back to the dock in the opposite direction to help ensure even weathering. 

We sailed right by Logan Airport. It was kind of crazy being right below the flight path.

We had wisely chosen inside seats by the large windows. Not only did that allow me to put my foot up, but we giggled a little when the people on the outside deck came scurrying in midway through the cruise when there was another sudden downpour. 

By the time the cruise was over, the skies were blue again and my foot was well-rested. We walked/limped to the North End, where we had an amazing dinner at Lucca

We saved plenty of room for dessert though, because we had an epic taste test to conduct! There are two famous Italian bakeries in the North End: Modern Pastry Shop and Mike's Pastry. Everyone has strong opinions about which makes the better cannoli. 

We ordered a few of the same flavors of cannoli (plus a few extra items we couldn't resist) and got our items to go. That way we could do a true side-by-side comparison. We saw a bunch of people doing the same thing. 

Back at the hotel room, I packed away half of the items for the next day and then split our challenge cannoli into thirds. We each tasted our cannoli separately before coming together to discuss our thoughts. 

We unanimously preferred Modern Pastry by far. The fillings were smoother, richer, and deeper in flavor, while the shell was thinner and crisper. Mike's makes a fine cannolo, but Modern Pastry gets our votes. (Read about our Philadelphia Cheesesteak Wars here.)

After more ice, elevation, and painkillers, it was time for bed. We had one more full day in Boston and, as usual, we packed in plenty of activities. I'll tell you all about that tomorrow. 

1 comment:

  1. We will be in Boston next year! I knew I could rely on you for an informative blog post on what to explore on our trip!


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