We spent a great day with Alan, Kerry, Jacob, and Noah exploring downtown Boston, after enjoying a gourmet breakfast prepared by Helen. We took the trolley bus tour with a guide who was Boston Italian who delighted in sharing his Boston accent, assuring us that there was no “r” in cahpahk or in any other word for that matter. We enjoyed his very informative banter as we toured around this very interesting and historic city. The day focused on food and fun! We brought home two very tired boys, and four almost as tired adults.
We woke around 7:00 am and took it slowly, eating breakfast of fresh bagels and coffee provided by our hosts. It was about 10:00 am by the time we we set off with Alan and Kerry and her two boys to explore some of Boston. Alan drove us first into the local township of Cohasset, as seen in the movie The Witches of Eastwick, and then onto the city.
We parked near the aquarium from where we would catch the trolley tour of the city. We had arrived a bit before 11:00 am but by the time we walked across to the booth and bought tickets the next trolley was scheduled for 11:30 am. While we waited Kerry took the boys to the front of the aquarium where they could see the seals. As it happened there was feeding at 11:15 am so we scored that bonus entertainment.
Although the trolley allowed passengers to get off and back on at any of the 17 stops around the city route, we stayed on for the entire circuit to get an overview of the city from the driver/guide, with the option to go around again later if there were any locations we wanted to visit. He informed us that he had driven limousines in the city for 22 years but had not really noticed many of the things that he was now pointing out to us. He had found the transition to guide a real education about the city where he had lived his life. We got the benefit of what he had learned as a guide along with his own store of knowledge and offbeat humor.
The tour lasted a bit less than 2 hours. It was interesting and informative to the point that Alan, who had lived in Boston since birth other than for a few years away for study and work, learned new things about the city. I did try to catch photos along the way but the trolley bounced a fair bit and did not always stop with a good angle for the photo that I wanted.
After the tour we were ready for lunch so we walked from the trolley stop through the Quincy Market area and past Fanueil Hall to find the Union Oyster House which opened as a restaurant in 1826 after the building had served other purposes from its construction at an unspecified date, probably in the mid 1600s. We sat down to lunch at around 1:45 pm and it was after 3:30 pm by the time we emerged, having spent some time in the gift shop on the way out. I had New England fish cakes with Boston Baked Beans, the latter being a local delicacy that I had to try. Majella had the Union Favorites – lobster cake, crab cake, and fish cake with mixed greens and roasted potatoes and peppers.
From the restaurant we walked back to Fanueil Hall, looked at the displays downstairs and then went upstairs to the historic meeting area which was declared a national park by President Ford who was the only president to have also been a national park ranger. One of the rangers was about to give a short presentations we arrived so we sat to listen to some of the history.
We spent some time looking at the shops in the market area. Majella managed to buy a Christmas decoration and a pair of shoes similar to those she was wearing but which are nearing the end of their life. She has been chasing shoes along the way so that find was another bonus for the day.
Soon after 5:30 pm we dropped some parcels back to the car and then walked the short distance into the North End, also known as Little Italy, to look for dinner. We strolled up the street looking at the variety of restaurants but were eventually lured into La Dolce Vita when the proprietor offered to serve us whatever we wanted, whether or not it was on the menu. Both the food and the service were good. Majella was impressed that the proprietor switched off the lights to present a cake and sing to a couple celebrating an anniversary and introduced the musician by name. Majella had minestrone style soup with pasta. I had spaghetti carbonara.
On the way back along the street after dinner, we stopped at Mike’s Pastry, made famous because the Godfather apparently got his cannolis there. The long queue moved fairly quickly and Alan and Kerry procured a box of cannolis and other treats to be taken home and enjoyed with coffee.
We did enjoy the cannoli with coffee back at the house. There was a variety of flavours and we sampled a couple but the filling was rich so we did not need a large amount.
Distance today was just 89 km by car, trolley, and on foot. It was another interesting day made more enjoyable by the company. Seeing cities with locals is much more informative than trying to do it unaided.