Boston's Where the Heart Is - My Family Travels

It was, perhaps, not an ideal situation. Rain slammed the weary horde of travelers. Wind assaulted them. Time snickered in tiny ticks and whirrs. Frowns and wrinkles confirmed the obvious: it was, certainly, not an ideal situation.  But amongst them was me: dripping, frozen and inexplicably happy.

On our last day any delay seemed miraculous. After all, who enjoys packing up their hotel room, getting a bad night’s sleep and being hypnotized by miles of highway? Clearly my fellow sufferers faced no such issues. They shuffled angrily about; checking cellphones in perfect imitation of Carroll’s white rabbit.

â–º  Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship

My inner hipster chose a different approach. I impersonated the caterpillar and promptly began philosophizing. The fog-induced haze made one thing certain (and our late trolley was yet another example). It is easy to get into Boston; it is difficult to get out.

Cars crawl the streets at a pace any self-respecting turtle would be embarrassed of. Strangely, automobile-infestation is not the issue: the streets themselves are. Century-old paths and modern monsters probe every corner, crack and hidden gem the city has to offer. In a web as complex and enchanting as Boston’s, even the most wary traveler is likely to get trapped.

It begins with your first breath-taking glimpse. Robed in fog and crowned in pale gold, ancient brick dominates the city. Though beautifully ornamented with curling iron balconies, emerald-colored moss and hand-painted signs; the town needs little more than its aura of history to catch one’s attention.

From the Boston Massacre to the Great Molasses Flood, every block has a story. Some blocks, however, are more delicious than others. For hungry travelers, Faneuil Hall Marketplace is the perfect first stop.

Faneuil is divided between casual meals and more formal dining. Fancy restaurants aren’t my thing. We ate at one, but I don’t even remember the name! Places like that are scattered though, and we soon discovered the bulk of food In Quincy Hall Colonnade.

It has a food-court set-up (small shops, common dining area) but don’t let the mall comparison fool you; Mcdonald’s is nowhere in sight. Instead, stores serve delicious high-quality food (equally quickly). The Cannoli’s are good but nothing spectacular. The Ravioli Caruso is above average. Best? Bagelville’s Everything Bagel. It’s soft on the inside and comes salted (the secret to a delicious Everything Bagel). After bagels, the random shops place (second) best.

We bought trolley tickets in one. At about ninety dollars for three two-day passes, it was a little pricey but worth it.

Our driver revealed insignificant street corners as the sites of some pretty famous events. A median sits where the Boston Massacre happened. The P.F.C. Stephen J. Steriti Rink has replaced a distillery whose broken storage once caused a massive Molasses flood.

It’s amazing to see these little replacements but the big ones are more impressive. For example, Boston’s old waterfront (now a busy street) and the town of Cambridge (once part of Boston).

The latter, in fact, wrought our non-ideal situation. A fruitless search for the teacher of Harvard’s only Marine Biology class and a nearly fruitless search for the trolley station should have instilled a strong desire for the subway. Instead we wanted one last taste of history.

So we stood in the rain, waiting for a trolley delayed five minutes… ten… twenty… But standing there I realized that the beauty of Boston isn’t in its red bricks or foggy gold halo. It’s in the stalwart determination practiced here. In insignificant travelers, battling weather and stolidly awaiting a trolley where revolutionaries and abolitionists once battled oppression and stolidly awaited freedom. 

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