Friday, 8/22/08 Day 202
We had a busy day today. We did no school, bug had a gigantic history lesson. As you probably know, Plymouth, MA is the oldest continually inhabited town in the USA. It was established in 1620 when the "pilgrims" came over on the Mayflower. We saw all of that today.
At approx. 10:00am, after a leisurely breakfast, we took the launch in to shore and started walking to the Mayflower II, a reproduction of the original Mayflower. On the way, we stopped at Plymouth Rock - a large stone that historians believe was where the "pilgrims" first set foot in Plymouth. It is engraved 1620 on the front.
I write "pilgrims" in quotation marks because only about 1/3 of the 104 passengers and sailors who came on the Mayflower and formed Plymouth actually came for religious purposes. The other 2/3 came for opportunity, as investors in the company, as sailors who decided to stay, etc., and we just associated the name "pilgrims" with all of them.
At the Mayflower II, we saw an exhibit about the ship and its sail in 1620, and then went aboard. On the ship, there were role-players acting completely like passengers, sailors, and the captain, as well as modern historians. My favorite character was the captain. Captain Jones came over only because it was his job to sail the ship and he would "be paid handsomely for it," and he wanted nothing to do with "this God-forsaken land." He was a funny and informative character who, in real life, died in England in 1622, two years after completing the trans-Atlantic sail on the Mayflower.
The historian told us that after 1622 when Captain Jones died, we never hear about the Mayflower again. Historians found records of a boat named the Mayflower, of the same type and size, being sold in 1624 by a widowed Mrs. Jones and three other owners to a salvage company. It is not specific enough to prove that it was the same Mayflower, but the facts seem to match and historians think it was. We may never know.
We took a bus to Plimoth Plantation next. At first, the settlers called their town Plimoth, after a city in England, but later changed it to Plymouth. We ate lunch there. We had food that the native Wampanoag Indians ate and that the settlers ate. I had Succotash, a Wampanoag soup.
First we went to the recreation of a Wampanoag family complex. The people there were native Wampanoags, dressed in native garb, but were modern people. They told us all about the Wampanoag way of life, past and present. Did you know that moccasins, squash, & skunk are all Wampanoag words? Or, did you know that they are hunters, fishers, gatherers, farmers and seasonally migrate? That's like tons of other tribes combined.
From there we continued to the 1627 English settlement. There, everybody is role-playing. With everybody role-playing and no modern point of view, it made things more difficult and I do not think I got as much out of it as I could have, but it was good anyway.
There were a lot of houses, all made of wood and homemade mortar. The houses were all one room without too many things inside. The governor's house had two rooms and more things, though. We talked to a lady who told us that she liked this land. She said that things were very different from England. An example was that in England, meat like venison, swan, etc. was reserved for the royalty, but here she could have it whenever she wanted. The same with goose - a fowl that everyone could find a way to afford, but only at Christmas. Here, she could have it everyday if she liked. In contrast, beef and mutton were on every table in England, but she had had none in 3 years.
We also saw the meeting house/fort. It was a meeting house on the 1st floor with cannons on the second. It was kind of cool. On lady explained to us that "they" (the governor and pilgrims who came for religious freedom from the English Church) wouldn't allow them to build a church. So, they met in people's houses or the meeting house. She also said that she could only read a little bit and it didn't matter to her because she had plenty else to do and there really wasn't much to read anyway. Her husband would decide if the children would learn to read and write, as there was no school. He would probably teach their son eventually, but maybe not their daughter. Interesting, huh?
Next and last was the Craft Center. It was a little building with four people making things from the time period. One lady was making 17th Century pottery. She was interesting and showed Josh and me how potters did what they did by making a practice cup. There was also a woodworker and two men making traditional Wampanoag items. We were there until 5:00pm when they closed.
Then we took the trolley back to the present day town of Plymouth, 3 miles away on the original site of the settlement. We went to see the church on the original site of the meeting house. Some of the ancestors of the "pilgrims" still worship here. Wow! Their families have worshipped here for 388 years!! The church, which has been on that site since the last one burned down in the late 1800's, is very beautiful. It is a Unitarian church.
We went to dinner and went home. We came in and took showers and are now home. We all seem grumpy and tired and are going to sleep. I had fun today.
Saturday, 8/23/08 Day 203
We left Plymouth, MA before I woke up - at 6:00am. We sailed all day in the wonderful weather to Boston, MA.
During the day, we sailed out of our way to the Stellwagen Bank to look for whales. Whales are plentiful in New England this time of year. Actually, this time of year, New England is like the best place in the world to see whales. We had been told that they have been seen over Stellwagen Bank, where the water is about 70 -120 ft. deep. They come in to feed. As we entered the bank, Dad saw a lone blow. After that, we spent the rest of the time on deck looking. We saw nothing, but were talking with a whale-watching boat nearby.
Then, I saw the first whale near the whale-watching boat, which had slowed down. It was a Humpback Whale. We watched it for a long time right nearby along with some other boats in the area. Then he fluked and dove, and we continued looking for more. The whale-watching boat high-tailed it out of there in search for more whales - he should have stayed!
Next, Mom spotted another Humpback which we got very, very close to. Actually, he came to us. We don't know if he was the same whale or another one. He came so close that we could see him 4-5 ft. under the water. When he blew, we could feel the spray on our faces! The spray smelled absolutely horrible!! It smelled like a very, very bad case of bad breath. He needs to use a couple bottles worth of mouthwash (or do they make a special blowhole wash?!)!!!! He was about 40 ft. long. I got some great videos!!! It was an awesome experience!!
That's really all we did during our 12 hour sail that ended on a Bostonian mooring ball at 6:22pm. But one more thing happened. For the first time in 54 days (excluding one of the nights at the Shohet's when Dad succeeded in secret), we actually caught and landed fish. Just like on 6/30/08, 54 days ago, we scored two huge Bluefish within 10 minutes of each other. That was entering Boston Harbor. They were 24 ½ in. & 28 in. long. The first one was biggest. That was all cool.
We stayed on the boat the whole evening. There is an underground subway that runs right under our boat. That, combined with the waves & more, makes this anchorage as bad as the Hudson River in NYC. Tomorrow is Josh's birthday. It will be grand for sure.
Sunday, 8/24/08 Day 204
Today is Joshua's 9th birthday. I pretended to check out his muscles and reflexes, and other stuff to see what a 9 year old is like. He opened his presents fro us this morning. He got a new Garfield comic book and two sets of toy soldiers. They are sister sets of American Revolution soldiers and cannons that he has wanted for a long time.
We hung out on the boat until 10:00am. At that time, we walked to the Old North Church for service. It is the exact same church where the lanterns were hung in 1775 to tell people that the British were coming by sea. That was the night of Paul Revere's midnight ride. For the service, we sat in these big boxes instead of pews. I couldn't see over the top. The service was nice.
After church, I lost a tooth. It was in a very weird position and was very loose, so I pulled it out. I pull all my teeth when they are very loose. This one bled a lot because I had no salt water to rinse with.
We walked to Mike's Pastries to get a treat for Josh's birthday instead of a cake. We got Boston Cream Puffs and shared a Lobster Tail. I couldn't eat mine just then because of my tooth.
Like Josh wanted to, we walked to the Public Gardens and rode a Swam Boat. He really wanted to do that. We also saw the Make Way for Ducklings statue. Make Way for Ducklings is a book by Robert McCloskey about some ducks and the Public Gardens. It was written in the 1942 and is a Caldecott Award winner. When I was little, we read that book a lot.
We walked around town for a while and then came back to the boat because Dad had to leave for a plane to Las Vegas, NV. After Dad left, we just hung out on the boat for the rest of the day. Josh and I played with the new soldiers. For dinner, we made a yummy pasta dish. Now we are about to watch the Disney movie Bambi. Josh's birthday was good for him and me.
Monday, 8/25/08 Day 205
Today was boring. This morning we stayed on the boat and hung out and Josh and I played soldiers. The weather was gray and crummy. We tried to go do laundry, but we couldn't get the dinghy engine to start. Around mid-day, we got the dinghy to start and we ran in. We spent the rest of the day doing laundry. We did school while doing laundry. That is it for the whole, entire day. Boring, isn't it?
Tuesday, 8/26/08 Day 206
Now, at the end of the day, I feel as if our day was jam packed. But is was not. Only our afternoon was.
After Dad got home at around 10:30am, we hung out for a while - until lunch - but then left right away to do something for the day. We dinghied to Charlestown, MA to see the USS Constitution - Old Ironsides. We tied up at a nearby marina and walked over to the USS Constitution and took a tour. It is the original ship, made in 1797. It is the oldest commissioned Navy ship afloat in the entire world. She even still sails around Boston Harbor 6-8 times a year during the summer. She is an active duty Navy ship, manned by active US Navy personnel, and technically, she can go to war, but her last conflict was in the War of 1812. She has been in 33 engagements and has never lost. She was cool and has cannons and all. The free guided tour was great - very informative.
After touring the USS Constitution, we walked further into Charlestown to Breed's Hill - the site of the Battle of Bunker Hill. We learned about the battle in the museum. We saw a diorama of the whole battleground with lights and narration to tell the story. That was my favorite part of the museum. On the hill itself, we climbed the 294 steps to the top of an obelisk that is the Battle of Bunker Hill Monument.
From Breed's Hill, we walked back to our dinghy and dinghied back to our marina. We walked through Boston to Skadden's Boston office so Dad could pick up a document. Then we picked up dinner ingredients at the Golden Goose, a market.
Back at the boat, Dad and I made supper. It was an array of pork and duck a la fruit (That's just to sound fancy - it was just pork and duck with a little sauce made from 5 fruit jam) with lamb and a salad. It was delicious. We had a late super and I need to get to bed. To-do-loo.
Wednesday, 8/27/08 Day 207
Today we walked the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is just a trail that connects historic sites in Boston and was established in the 1950's. We walked from the Boston Commons, where it starts, to the site of America's first public school. In between, we stopped at the State House, Park Street Church, Granary Burying Ground, King's Chapel, and the King's Chapel Burying Ground.
At the State House, the building and grounds were closed, but we looked at the architecture. It was designed by Charles Bullfinch, a famous Bostonian architect. In 1795, Samuel Adams and Paul Revere laid the cornerstone. We also stopped at the nearby Park Street Church, but it too was closed. The next thing was the Granary Burying Ground, so named because of the granary next door. It was swarming with Freedom Trail tours and other people because of all the famous people buried there. John Hancock, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, the victims of the Boston Massacre, Benjamin Franklin's parents, and one of Benjamin Franklin's brothers are all buried there. We all separately hooked on to tours. I was with a great tour guide and small group of about a dozen people. She told "us" (I wasn't technically part of the tour - I hadn't paid as the others had) the full stories of Paul Revere's midnight ride and the Boston Massacre with details such as I had never known. For example, I learned that Paul Revere was not the only one to make the ride that night and he never actually made it to Concord, nor did his official partner, William Dawes Jr. Revere was captured, but then released without his horse, and Dawes fell off his horse jumping over a wall to escape the Redcoats. It was, in fact, Dr. Prescott, a fellow patriot who joined them in the night, who made it all the way to Concord and back to Boston. I also learned that the Boston Massacre was not really a "massacre." Only five people were killed and there was no order to attack as depicted in Paul Revere's famous painting. Samuel Adams used the whole event as a platform to get the undecided 1/3 of Boston to side with the patriots. At the funeral of the five men who died, Adams spoke and requested that he be buried next to them when he died. He is. When the tour left the burying ground, though, I had to split.
We spend a while at King's Chapel. Made for the first Anglican congregation in Boston, the church was a loyalist stronghold until after the American Revolution, when most of them moved to England, Nova Scotia, or the Bahamas. Later, the church became the first Unitarian church in the USA. Inside, the pews are all boxes like in the Old North Church. But people used to own these pews in the olden days. I sat in the exact same spot as Paul Revere by scootching myself around the benches in the original pew that his family owned.
The last thing we saw today was the site of the first public school. It was just a plaque that commemorated it. It did say that Charles Bullfinch, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Hancock all attended, though. There was a hopscotch board laid into the sidewalk commemorating the school. Mom taught us how to play. It's a fun game that I can't believe I've never played before.
We went back to the boat and took showers so we could go to the Romes' place. The Romes are the people who threw the party on Cape Cod (see 8/9/08). We met Jamie at this office in downtown Boston and he drove us to his home. We played with David (5), Samantha (5) and Henry (2). Around 8:00pm, the Rome kids went to bed and the parents all went out to dinner. Henry asked that I read him books, so he sat on my lap in the rocking chair in his room and I read to him. He really liked that. We stayed with Ms. Rosa, their nanny. They will be gone until around 10:30. They have a great big cable TV we will watch. I had to do this first. But, now I'm done! Yeah!
Thursday, 8/28/08 Day 208
This morning when we went into the marina to start our day, Josh got a package from Grandma and Grandpa for his birthday. He opened it right then and there. It was a whole geologist's set with a geologist's hammer that came with a sheath, a chisel, a special magnifying glass, protective eye gear, and a rocks and minerals book. Josh was so happy because he has all of a sudden started to really enjoy geology and has been saving up his money to buy exactly what they just gave him.
Then Harvard. Today pretty much equals Harvard. We took the subway to Cambridge, MA and Harvard University. We ate a picnic lunch on Harvard's Old Yard. Then we took a self-guided tour and learned all about some of the old buildings. With Josh being so much into geology, we went into the Harvard History Museum and saw a huge exhibit on rocks and minerals. We bought some uncut geodes at the gift shop too. Then, we saw the law school for Dad.
We took the subway to the North End - Boston's Little Italy. We ate dinner at Lucia's Ristorante. I got lasagna. It was very tasty and delicious.
On our way to Little Italy, we walked past the Holocaust Memorial. It is five huge glass towers that each represents the five major Nazi death camps. The towers are lined with numbers, supposedly the numbers of all the people sent there. Inside each tower were quotes from survivors and in between the towers were fast facts. It was sobering.
Today was pretty good.
Friday, 8/29/08 Day 209
Today, Mom, Josh and I spent most of the day in the New England Aquarium. It is right on Long Wharf where we are, so we easily made it there by 9:00 when they opened. We saw everything. Some of our favorites were the three different types of penguins. They had African, Rockhopper, and Little Blue penguins. We also liked the Great Ocean Tank (GOT). The GOT is a three-story cylindrical tank that models a Bahamian reef. All their specimens come from the Bahamas. They have everything form Cobia to Hogfish to Butterfly fish. We saw divers too.
My favorite part was the Sharks & Rays exhibition. They had special shark and ray stuff all over, as well as a touch tank. I loved the touch tank. They had Coral Catsharks, Bamboo Sharks, Yellow Stingrays, Southern Stingrays, two more types of stingrays, Cownose Rays, and Guitarfish. I touched them all. It was so cool. There were also many other smaller exhibits that we saw, as well as Harbor and Fur Seals and Anacondas.
We stayed there for most of the day while Dad did projects. We met up later and Dad brought all the geologist stuff to crack open the geodes that we bought yesterday. I cracked one open and Dad and Josh cracked one open . Josh tried to open the last one by himself, but it wouldn't crack. He'll do it tomorrow.
We went home and had curry-like stuff for dinner. Our cousin Heather is going to come visit us tomorrow. I can't wait for Josh to get the last geode open! Tomorrow should = J J J!
Saturday, 8/30/08 Day 210
Heather, our adult cousin (or 2nd cousin or something like that - I have a ton of cousins because my Grandpa has 7 brothers and sisters) on my Dad's side came to visit us today. She lives near Albany in upstate New York, and she drove here. She came and saw the boat real quickly, and then we went to the Black Rose, an Irish Pub for lunch (or fake Irish Pub - they serve both Bushmills and Jameson's Irish Whiskey - a traditional Irish pub would serve one or the other because it would be either a Catholic pub [Jameson's] or a Protestant pub [Bushmills]). We all had sandwiches that tasted yummy. Then we walked to Haymarket Square where a huge outdoor produce market was going on. We bought lots and lots of good, fresh produce that was being almost given away because it was the end of the day. One example was red peppers - 4 for $1.00. The man gave Dad seven. Eggplants - 2 for $1.00. Dad got like 5. We also got berries galore - Josh's fantastic idea. They were $1.00 a container, but the man gave us tons.
So, we marched home loaded with bags. Dad made a great supper of Mahi Mahi, frozen from the Bahamas, pasta and a salad. Dessert was berries and cream.
So that was the day from 1:00 onwards. Until then, we just did school. Heather is spending tonight, tomorrow and maybe tomorrow night with us. We are going to meet the Dailey's, Dad's colleague and his wife, tomorrow and Monday too. On Monday, we will also see Dad's client, Andy and his wife. We are going to take them all out sailing. So ... the past was pretty great, the present is great, and the future should be great!!
Sunday, 8/31/08 Day 211
You would not believe everything we did today. We all got up this morning and, while having coffee, decided we should go for a short sail before church. So, we dropped the mooring ball, leaving the dinghy to guard our spot, and set sail. We went all the way up to the mouth of the Charles River and saw the USS Constitution. Then we turned around, sailed back, went in and took showers and walked to the Old North Church.
We met Michael Dailey, Dad's colleague, and his wife Leah at church. They are Mormon, so I sat in their box with them and helped them with worship. (For more info. on the Old North Church, see 8/24/08). After service, the Daileys went their own way and we had lunch and then walked more of the Freedom Trail. We walked to an Italian restaurant, whose name I can't recall, and had a very late lunch. It was excellent. There was a festival going on and we saw bands marching by. Our table was actually in the street. Then we walked to Mike's Pastries and got canolis.
On the Freedom Trail, we walked from the Paul Revere House to the Old State House and the site of the Boston Massacre to the Old South Meeting House and the Old Corner Bookstore. The only place we really stopped was the Paul Revere House - his house restored.
Then we came home, stopping to see street performers at Fanueil Hall. Now it's 7:45pm and we are about to eat a snack dinner to counter our big lunch at 2:00pm. This is today. It's good enough to say, "Hooray!" J