Here’s another of our travelogues this one dealing with a two week trip to Massachusetts in October 2008. Our friends John and Mary Ellen Mohler joined Patricia and me in a search for our roots.
Mary Ellen and I are both descendants of the same pilgrims, so a visit to Plymouth was mandatory. We also wanted to visit other historic sites and hoped to take in the “Fall Colors.”
ITINERARY: We began with a flight into Boston’s Logan Airport where we rented a mini-van (we needed it for all our luggage) and drove to Plymouth. Then we went to Hyannis with side trips to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard; Waltham to visit Lexington and Concord; Salem to visit our friends the Donovans in Marblehead and then to Historic Boston.
GENEALOGICAL BACKGROUND: My interest in genealogy all started about eight years ago when I bought John Mohler the computer program “Family Tree Maker” for Christmas. For about three years I heard all about their ancestors. To get even with me, they gave me a copy of the same program a few years later and my interest in genealogy really began.
Not everyone is interested in researching ancestors; Patricia often says to me, “Why do you care about all those dead people?”
If you are one of those bored by genealogy, you may want to skip to the next section.
Actually, I didn’t care much about “dead people” either until I started locating them. Among the things I discovered was that my paternal grandmother, whose name was Annie Hall (really), was descended from 17 individuals who were passengers on the Mayflower when it landed in Plymouth.
It isn’t unusual for someone with an ancestor in Plymouth to be descended from multiple Pilgrims (they referred to themselves as “Separatists”). Many of the descendants of the first settlers were living in the area of Plymouth 150 years after the Mayflower landed. This led to a lot of inter-marriage among the original families.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, the Courtship of Myles Standish, concerns the eligible maiden, Priscilla Mullins, coveted by nearly all the available males who survived that first terrible winter. According to Longfellow Standish asked his friend, John Alden to ask Priscilla if she would consider marrying him, Standish that is. According to Longfellow, Priscilla replied, “Speak for yourself John,” leading to the marriage of John and Priscilla and leaving Standish out in the cold (quite literally).
This version is disputed by many historians; some pointing out that Standish was married at the time. As told by Longfellow, the story has become American legend, studied by every American school child in the early and mid-20th century.
Are kids required to read Longfellow anymore? “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere?” “The Village Smithy?” “The Courtship of Myles Standish?” If not, shame on us.
In actual fact, half the Pilgrims perished on the voyage of the Mayflower. Then, only half who landed survived that first winter. I’m not going to dwell on the history of the Mayflower, if you’re interested there is a great book, “Mayflower” by Nathaniel Philbrick (published recently) which gives you all the facts you could want.
There is one historical fact not related by either Longfellow or Philbrick – in the first generation the Alden and Standish families were joined in matrimony. John and Priscilla’s daughter, Sarah, married Myles firstborn Alexander. So there are many of us in the line, including Longfellow himself, descended from all parties in the poem even the rejected suitor. It’s estimated 1.2 Million Americans trace their lineage to the Alden-Mullins union.
If your ancestors were in America before 1800, the chances are excellent that you too are one of my cousins.
Mary Ellen and I would be happy to make suggestions on how to get started in genealogy if you’re interested.
BACK TO THE TRIP - PLYMOUTH: On arrival in Boston we drove to Plymouth, about 30 miles south. Because I’m a member of the “Hilton Honors” program, I made reservations at the Hampton Inn and Suites in North Plymouth. It was a great choice. Modern, with large suite-like rooms, the hotel has free breakfast, free internet service and a free workout room. It’s also located adjacent to a shopping center loaded with restaurants and is only about a ten minute drive from historic Plymouth.
Here’s what we didn’t do. We didn’t go to Plymouth Rock. Patricia and I had been in Plymouth before and visited the “Rock” only to discover it to be a tourist trap. In the mid-1600s (at least 30 years after the Pilgrims landed) a local property owner “discovered” the Plymouth Rock on his property. How he knew of its authenticity is unknown.
He took it to the beach, built a fence around it and years later his descendants began to sell tickets to gullible tourists. Said gullible tourists continue to buy tickets to this day.
Worth visiting in Plymouth is the “Plimouth Plantation” an educational theme park located just a couple of miles north of town. You’ll fine a recreated Wampanog Village (the local Indian tribe then and now) and a replica of the original Pilgrim stockade. Peopled by docents who play the parts of various pilgrims, it’s very interesting and great for kids interested in history.
The same non-profit organization owns “the Mayflower II” an exact replica of the Mayflower located at a dock in Plymouth harbor. This tour will also include authentic “pilgrims,” played by docents, who can answer just about any question you might have about the people or the voyage.
Plymouth also has a delightful shopping area in its “Old Town” area and lots of good places to eat. More on that later.
Because of our relationship to the Alden family, we wanted to visit the “Alden House” a home built by the Alden’s son (also named John) in the mid-1600s and occupied by Pilgrim John in his later years. It is located in the beautiful little community of Duxbury just eight miles north of Plymouth and, we think, worth the visit. It’s now owned by the “Alden Kindred” the non-profit organization composed of Alden descendants.
A huge monument to Myles Standish is also there, in a park dedicated to his exploits, but, the park is open only in summer and to see the monument in October it’s necessary to hike up a good sized hill. I didn’t think it was worth the effort. The monument is located at the top of the hill and is so big; you can’t see the top from the base. It can be seen well by ships at sea,” which was the plan when the monument was constructed.
The original Plymouth colony was a commune; everything was shared by all the inhabitants. It took very little time for the inhabitants to discover the value of “Private Property” and that’s why many pilgrims built houses away from town – each was entitled to a land-grant.
THE MAYFLOWER SOCIETY: Plymouth is also the home of the “Mayflower Society,” the organization of Mayflower descendants. Mary Ellen and I are both members. To join you have to prove you’re related to a Pilgrim. The first five generations of Pilgrims have been researched and the information is available on-line. From that point (Mid 18th century) forward you have to get copies of birth certificates, death certificates and marriage licenses for all your direct ancestors to prove your line. You can also use census data, (all available from 1776 to 1930). It’s a lot of work no matter how you do it.
Once you’re in, your close relatives can simply link to you in order to get in themselves.
Why would you want to join?
Lord only knows. Members have the pride of knowing their ancestors were among the founders of America, that’s about the size of it.
The headquarters of the Mayflower Society is a mansion in Plymouth located on the site of the original stockade. Built by Edward Winslow, descendant of a pilgrim (not one of my 17), the house is well worth the visit. You’ll see furniture and artifacts literally dating from the first settlers.
EATING IN PLYMOUTH: The most famous local restaurant is Isaac’s located on the waterfront. We had great Clam Chowder, but soon learned it’s very difficult to get bad Clam Chowder in Massachusetts. I had the “Ocean Medley” and Patricia had Shrimp (specialty of the house). We thought the food good, but not spectacular. Isaac’s does offer a panoramic view of Plymouth Harbor, but it’s not well lit at night. If you are eating at Isaacs while on “Standard Time” you won’t be able to enjoy the view, unless you’re an “Early Bird Diner.”
In the village of Duxbury we found a charming little place, the “Wildflower Café” right on the town’s main square. It only has about 12 tables, but has a full bar and serves about the best food in the area. We had homemade soup and sandwiches made with homemade bread. The Waitress-Cook-Dishwashers are women who obviously enjoy their work. Be sure to stop in if you decide to go to the “Alden House.”
We also had excellent Eggplant Parmesan at “Bertucci’s” in North Plymouth. It’s one of a chain of nearly 100 Italian restaurants in the Northeast, but the food quality and service were certainly unlike any Italian chain we have in our neighborhood. We also ate at the Bertucci’s in Waltham. It was equally good and we recommend it.
CAPE COD: We wanted to spend a few days on Cape Cod and selected a hotel in Hyannis, about 35 miles south of Plymouth, as our base. We stayed at the Hyannis Harbor Hotel notable because it’s adjacent to the base for ferries to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
We spent our entire four day stay, trying to find a vacancy in another Hyannis hotel.
The Hyannis Harbor Hotel smelled old and musty, and the walls were paper thin. It’s the home of nearly every Tauck Tour going to Cape Cod, and all worthwhile amenities were reserved for the tour people. There were two breakfast rooms. One for the tour people which included a full breakfast buffet and the other (for us “Non-orgs”) offering a fruit compote and bread to toast, but, only a single toaster shared by 30 or 40 people. Your juice selections were orange and grapefruit. The coffee was obviously made last week.
It reminded me of the old joke about the businessman who calls Room Service and says, “I’d like to have 2 fried eggs with hard yokes and runny whites, limp bacon, burned toast and luke warm coffee.”
The clerk said, “Sir we can’t serve food like that.”
The businessman replied, “Why not? You did it yesterday.”
We loved Hyannis but hated the Hyannis Harbor Hotel.
HYANNIS is home to the “John F. Kennedy Cape Cod Museum.” We enjoyed touring this small museum, where you will see many photographs of the Kennedy family and listen to JFK’s speeches.
Downstairs from the JFK Museum is the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame. I had never heard of the Cape Cod Baseball League, and I’ve been a minor league baseball fan since I was nine years old. It turns out this is a league designed to give current college ball players an opportunity to play summer ball in a setting much like a real minor league. The only difference is they don’t get a paycheck. It was amazing to us how many big league stars from universities all over the country spent a summer playing ball for Hyannis or West Barnstable. If you’re a baseball fan, you’ll enjoy it.
EATING IN HYANNIS: We stumbled on, the “Black Cat,” an excellent restaurant right next to the Hyannis Harbor Hotel. The service is friendly and the French Onion Soup terrific. We all had seafood, the best we had on the trip.
For breakfast try the “Hearth and Kettle” on Hwy 28. We liked it so much we ate there twice. It’s part of a small chain all located on Cape Cod. Your eggs will be cooked exactly as you ordered and your coffee cup will be kept full. Try the “Apple-Walnut” pancakes.
FALMOUTH: Our first day on Cape Cod we drove from Hyannis to Falmouth, about 20 Miles north on Highway 28. We love Falmouth. It has a really terrific “Main Street” shopping area with quaint shops and historic buildings. Falmouth has very strict building codes to maintain the atmosphere and is much less “commercial” than Hyannis.
The last time we were on Cape Cod, ten years ago or so, we stayed in a little Bed and Breakfast in Falmouth, named appropriately, “Mostly Hall.” I bought one of their
Tee-shirts and wear it to this day.
EATING IN FALMOUTH: We had dinner at a great little Italian place in the middle of town, “La Cucina Sul Mare” at 237 Main Street (Hwy 28). It’s a little “hole in the wall” with only about 15 tables, but the food was great and the pasta was fresh. I had excellent “Linguini with Clams.”
NANTUCKET: On our second day in Hyannis we took the Ferry to Nantucket. You have an option of the “Fast Ferry” which takes about an hour and ten minutes or, the “Slow Ferry” which takes almost two hours. The ferries out of Hyannis carry only passengers, if you want to take your car you’ll have to go out of “Woods Hole.” We certainly didn’t find it necessary to have a car on either Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard.
The Island of Nantucket has about 9,000 permanent residents plus two or three times that many seasonal residents and about a million seasonal visitors. The city limits of the city and county of Nantucket encompass the whole island. The little tourist community surrounding the Ferry landing is about all you can handle in a day trip, so we moseyed up and down the streets of the old town and saw many historic buildings, many of which offer tours. We also found many interesting shops. We had a really great day.
EATING ON NANTUCKET: There are many little cafes available so you can have a meal before you return. We had Brunch at a little place called “The Center Street Bistro”
The “Nantucket Breakfast” includes scrambled eggs, bacon, blueberry pancakes and a potato pancake. It was excellent.
Later we had lunch at a place called “Arno’s” which was good but not great.
While the women shopped, John and I found a little Pub called “The Cable Car” where we were able to enjoy a beer and watch the New England Patriots play the New York Jets. It was cozy and congenial.
MARTHA’S VINEYARD: On our third day we took the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. Smaller than Nantucket in size, it has a larger population. There are about 13,000 people in full time residence on Martha’s Vineyard and over 100,000 people who have seasonal residences, most of them the upper crust of Boston.
Martha’s Vineyard is more commercial than Nantucket and has six separate cities. The Hyannis Ferry lands at the community of “Oak Bluff” which is a mostly residential area. The car ferry from Woods Hole lands at the main city, Edgartown, where most of the shopping area is.
It was easy for us to catch a “taxi,” ten passenger vans that gather unrelated passengers into a full load to visit Edgartown. We made arrangements for our driver to pick us up at an appointed time to take us back to our ferry. The Taxi drivers are mostly college students working to help pay their tuition during the “Winter Quarter,” and they’ll give you a great tour of the island during the drive.
They will tell you the most popular site is Chappaquiddick Island, where Teddy Kennedy had the accident that resulted in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. But, they’ll also show you houses of the rich and famous including the home where the original cast of “Saturday Night Live” “unwound” after taping their show.
There are antique stores and quaint shops for your browsing pleasure including shops selling “Scrimshaw.” Scrimshaw is the art of decorating ivory obtained from ocean mammals, usually the teeth of whales. Whalers of the early 19th century carved intricate designs on ivory, and much of this art is very valuable. When we were on Martha’s Vineyard 15 years ago, I bought an amazingly detailed scrimshaw globe, about two inches in diameter. It’s beautiful and occupies a place of honor in my office. (Check out “Scrimshaw” on Wikipedia if you want to learn more.)
I could hardly wait to revisit the shop where I bought my Scrimshaw. I found it and learned that most Scrimshaw is now out of our financial reach. Perhaps we should have invested in Scrimshaw instead of the S & P 500 over these last ten years or so.
But, what Patricia did find in the Scrimshaw store, was a globe that revolves by natural or artificial light. She bought it for me for Christmas. When you see it you can’t tell what makes it revolve. Our male friends are all fascinated with it. It’s a “guy thing.”
EATING ON MARTHA’S VINEYARD: No recommendations. I’m sure there are some great places to eat, we just didn’t find one. Our taxi driver recommended the “Sea Shanty” in Edgartown. It had a great view, but, the food was mediocre and the service poor. We don’t recommend it.
CAPE COD: Before we left Cape Cod we decided to drive south on Highway 28 to see some of the towns we had missed. In West Yarmouth we visited a great antique store.
The colors were changing in earnest by this time so the drive was spectacular. We found an old Episcopal Church, front lawn covered with pumpkins for the local kids to carve for Halloween. It made for some great photographs with the trees as the backdrop.
One thing I found interesting was the number of Miniature Golf Courses along Highway 28. There had to be three or four of them in the ten mile drive. In the little town of Dennis we found a beautifully landscaped Miniature Golf Course with all the holes decorated with living plants. We thought it might be fun to play on one, but, they were all closed for the season.
LEXINGTON AND CONCORD (WALTHAM): We then drove the 84 miles up I95 to Waltham and checked into the Courtyard by Marriott. I travel quite a bit for business and like “Courtyards” because they’re consistently clean and comfortable. Also, I had a lot of “Reward Points” so we were able to stay two nights for the price of one.
Our object was to visit Lexington and Concord where the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired. We also visited the Minute Man National Historical Park Visitor Center where they have a multi-media presentation telling the whole story. I think this would be a great place to start your tour. We went there last, and still enjoyed it, but, it would have made our visits to Lexington and Concord more interesting if we’d gone there first.
A BRIEF HISTORY: In April of 1775 the British Military Commander in Boston, General Gates, learned the “Rebels” had amassed a cache of military supplies in the community of Concord, some 30 miles west of Boston. He gathered a force of 700 soldiers to march to Concord and confiscate the war material.
Longfellow’s poem, “the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” celebrates the Colonists’ attempt to notify their compatriots that “The British” were coming. Actually since in 1775 nearly everyone in Massachusetts was British, Revere warned “the Regulars are coming” meaning the regular army.
The famous “one if by land or two if by sea” quote from Longfellow’s poem relates to how the Regulars would get there, either across the waters of the harbor or around the peninsula. The former would get them to Concord sooner. Revere himself was captured by the Regulars, but several other riders got through to warn the folks in Concord and in Lexington, through which community the troops would have to pass.
Each town had its own militia in those days, mostly to protect themselves from Indians. Several members of the Lexington Militia were drinking in the Buckman Tavern located adjacent to the town “Green” where the town’s live stock was allowed to graze. The crowd in the Tavern grew during the night. When the 700 Regulars, all armed with muskets, arrived after dawn they were met on the Green by 79 Lexington Militiamen armed with knives, pitchforks, rocks and a few muskets.
The Captain of the Regulars called on the Militiamen to disburse and, not being THAT drunk, that’s exactly what the colonists began to do. Unfortunately, a command by the Army commander was misunderstood in the ranks and the troops began to fire on the rapidly fleeing Militiamen. When it was over, four colonists lay dead and a number of others were wounded. That was “The shot heard round the world.”
Gates army marched on to Concord and by the time they arrived, the Militias of a number of communities were waiting by the Concord Bridge, their number had increased to 400. A real battle broke out and when the Regular Commander and his Lieutenant were both killed, the Regulars turned and ran. The battle continued all the way back to their home base in Cambridge with the Colonists’ combat force growing all the way while the Regulars numbers dwindled. It was a smashing victory for the Colonists.
The rest, as they say, is history.
LEXINGTON: Today Lexington has a population around 30,000 and much of the center of town is preserved for Americans to visit their history. The “Green” is now a lovely park. A number of historic buildings have been preserved and are open for your visit. We went to the Buckman Tavern where we had a tour of the bar, which was downstairs and the sleeping quarters upstairs. Farmers who brought their crops to town could rent space in the sleeping quarters as long as they were willing to share the bed with other travelers.
Lexington is very photogenic, especially when the trees are “turning.” Hordes of tourists, known by the locals as “Leaf People,” cover the entire northeast at this time of year. They are preceded each year by the “Summer People.”
EATING IN LEXINGTON: There are a number of little restaurants on the Main Street of town. We ate lunch in a place called “Not Your Ordinary Joe’s” which we learned is one of another small chain of ten Restaurants, nine in Massachusetts. I had a very good Hamburger and John raved about his Mushroom Soup.
CONCORD: The population of Concord is about 17,000 today and it, like Lexington, is a western suburb of Boston. The townsfolk have worked hard to preserve the flavor of the town, and we think they’ve succeeded. There are many historic houses in Concord and a visit to the Visitor Center in the downtown area will be worthwhile. They’ll give you a map showing the location of all the buildings open to the public. We didn’t have much time, but we wanted to go to the Concord Bridge battlefield. It was well worth the visit.
One thing that struck us was so many of the other tourists were Japanese, including two buses of school kids all dressed in their uniforms, all interested in knowing American history. American kids interested only in Pop Culture, are going to Disney World.
We also visited the closest home to the Bridge, known as “The Manse.” It was built by William Emerson in 1775 and later occupied by his descendent Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th Century. It was also one the places Nathaniel Hawthorne lived, until he was evicted for non-payment of rent.
The Manse was also home to Sarah Alden Bradford, one of the most famous “Women’s Advocates” of the time. She married William Emerson in 1780 and on his death became “Mistress of the Manse.” She converted the home into a school for girls, where they learned the expected skills of homemaking. Sarah also surreptitiously taught them chemistry and mathematics but swore the girls to secrecy as their parents would have been scandalized had they known their daughters were studying “men’s” subjects.
I have an affinity for Sarah because she was my double cousin, sharing with me the Pilgrims John Alden and William Bradford as ancestors.
EATING IN WALTHAM/CONCORD: We didn’t eat in Concord, but the larger nearby town of Waltham where our hotel was located has a really nice inexpensive restaurant, “Grassfields” at 868 Lexington Road. The place was busy when we arrived at 6PM on a weeknight. That’s always a good sign. The service was excellent and the food was too, considering the low price. I ate the best steak I had on the whole trip.
SALEM: On Friday we drove another 25 miles north to Salem. We happened to be there on a mid-October weekend, when, unbeknownst to us, the public converges on the place to celebrate Halloween. Salem is famous for its witches and as the home of Nathaniel Hawthorne (presumably here he paid his rent).
Everyone has heard about the Salem Witch Trials which took place during the 1690s. Convicted of being witches, 29 people were killed, most were hung. It all started with rumors spread by teen-age girls about a local eccentric woman. Then, it got out of hand.
Salem has a number of attractions centered on its history, including the Salem Witch Museum where you can learn the whole story for a modest fee. The town has an October festival, “Haunted Happenings” celebrating Halloween, and folks from all over the Northeast come to town, many in costume. There are plenty of little events and lots to eat from sidewalk vendors. Tour buses are parked everywhere.
Back home, we always put in a stash of candy and other goodies to give our neighborhood kiddies on Halloween, but, aside from that, we never give the day much thought. In Salem, they take it very seriously. – It’s their “Bread and Butter.”
We didn’t come to town to celebrate Halloween; our major purpose was to visit our friends the Donovans in nearby Marblehead. Mary Donovan is the widow of my best friend in the fundraising business. Jack was the founder of J. Donovan and Associates fundraising consultants and his son John runs the company today, now known as Donovan, Slone & Gutherie.
Mary invited us to her home for an old fashioned Lobster dinner, prepared with help from John’s wife Allie and her daughter Clara. Lucky for us, Allie showed us how to eat a lobster without embarrassing ourselves. John’s brother Brian and his wife Teresa came over after dinner with their sons Connor and Will for a visit and we had a “grand old time.”
We stayed at the Salem Waterfront Hotel, the most expensive place on our trip. They charge more during the Halloween Festival, plus the bay is visible from some rooms (not ours). It was nice and modern, but, parking was a problem. It also had surprisingly few amenities. There’s a café occupying adjacent space, so you can buy breakfast.
EATING IN SALEM: We recommend the food at Mary’s house, but, if you can’t wangle an invitation from her you can get a great lunch at “In a Pig’s Eye” where we had sandwiches. I had a “Pastrami Melt.” In a Pig’s Eye is only a few steps from the “House of the Seven Gables,” the mansion built in 1680 and the source of the title for a famous novel by Hawthorne. The mansion is open for tours at a fee which we thought a bit steep, so we skipped it.
BOSTON: On Sunday we were off to Boston for the last few days of our vacation. Because the major hotels downtown were all $500 or more per night, we elected to stay at a Doubletree Hotel on Soldier Field Road directly across the Charles River from Cambridge.
It was about a $20 cab ride to most of the places we wanted to visit, but the Hotel does have a complimentary shuttle you can take if you’re willing to accommodate their schedule. The Doubletree is typical of the chain, clean and relatively modern. But, we didn’t like the location, far away from everything and nothing within walking distance. Also dinner in the dining room was just awful. Even with only two occupied tables the service was slow and the meal itself hardly edible. Breakfast was a different matter, not the best, but better than most. Their “Granola Parfait” had plenty of fresh fruit and I ended up having one each morning we were there.
We love Boston. We’ve been there often, but this was the first time we’ve concentrated on its history. The “Big Dig,” (the project to put the major highways underground) has finally been completed, to the surprise of Bostonians who thought it would take “forever.” It’s much easier to get around today than it used to be.
We returned our rental car to Hertz, feeling we wouldn’t need it in the big city. We depended on taxis after that because most of the historic sites are in a very confined area.
The “Freedom Trail” walking tour is famous and is a “must do” for those who enjoy walking. At our age walking isn’t as easy as it used to be, so we signed up to take one of the numerous “Trolley” tours. They circle the city with regular stops where you can get off, see the sights and get back on.
We started our visit at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Faneuil Hall was built in 1742 and was the site of many important meetings leading up to the Revolution - Samuel Adams was a frequent speaker there. Today the building is part of Boston Historic Park and is available for tour. Surrounding Faneuil Hall is a fairly large Shopping Center including many high end stores such as “Coach” and “Crate and Barrel.”
In the middle of the shopping center is Quincy Market a famous old building full of restaurants, food stalls and vendors of all types. We have been there several times and find it to be a lot of fun.
From Faneuil Hall we took the trolley tour to Paul Revere’s House. Built by Paul himself in 1770, the house was also the location of his Silversmith shop .It’s preserved today and managed by the Paul Revere House Foundation.
We then walked the short distance to the “Old North Church.” Officially “Christ’s Church Boston,” it’s Episcopalian. It was built in 1723 and continues to serve the surrounding community with religious services today.
In April of 1775 it was the home church of the “King’s Governor General” and most of the parishioners were “Loyalists.” So, it was at considerable risk to themselves that Revere and his buddies used the Steeple of the church for their famous signal to warn their compatriots that the Regulars were on their way to Concord.
The following day we went to Newbury Street, home of some of the finest shopping in Boston. We also visited the headquarters of the New England Historical and Genealogical Society which occupies a six story historic building on Newbury Street.
If you’re a member, which I am, you can browse in their incredible library or look up your ancestors on their computers. They also have a research service available for those interested in getting help to find their New England ancestors.
DINING IN BOSTON: Boston has some of the finest food in the country. There are many oyster bars and seafood cafes to choose from and pubs abound. If you like Italian food you want to go to Hanover Street in the North End. On Hanover there is one Italian restaurant after another. We’ve never had a mediocre meal there, let alone a bad one. This time we went to “Ristorante Saraceno” at 286 Hanover. I had Veal and Patricia had Eggplant Parmesan. It was very good. I also tried their excellent Pasta Fagioli soup.
At Fanueil Hall Marketplace we always go to “the Black Rose”, an Irish pub just around the corner from the shopping center, where our friend Jack Donovan took us on our first trip together to Boston. If a corned beef sandwich and a Guiness sound good to you, the Black Rose is your place.
When you’re shopping on Newbury Street, stop in at “Stephanie’s” for lunch. Patricia had Macaroni and Cheese, a house specialty, and I had the best Tuna Melt sandwich I’ve had in many a moon.
WE RECOMMEND THIS TRIP: This would be a great trip to take with your kids or grandchildren – just make sure they’re old enough and have a decent attention span. The American history you’ll see here isn’t matched anywhere else. From the Pilgrims landing in 1620 to the Patriots winning the American Revolution, it’s all here.
These days kids get a very distorted view of our history from their school books. This will impress them with the sacrifice made by their ancestors on their behalf. Next time they want to go to Disney World, consider the Plimouth Plantation instead.