Rolling into Boston was a culture shock for me. I am a suburbs or small town kind of guy and don’t really like big cities. Boston a huge, dense city. From our row house in the suburbs, it was a 10 minute walk to a 15 minute bus ride to a 25 minute subway ride to get downtown. Even at that distance from the downtown, the row houses are three stories tall with very little parking. The streets are just a little over three cars wide but there is parking on both sides. Once our car was parked, we left it there.
On our first trip into the city, we headed for the Visitor’s Center to load up on maps and tourist info. They are located in the Boston Commons, the city’s central green space. From the calm of wide grassy parkland, we can see the hubbub of a major city boiling around us, people getting off work, heading for the subways and pubs, battling ferocious traffic.
This is a modern city with many amenities for its residents. There are several pedestrian-only streets and marketplaces lined with restaurants and vendors. For sports fans, there are professional hockey, baseball, and basketball teams. And for after the game, there seems to be an Irish pub on just about every corner.
Boston is also the capitol of Massachusetts. The Massachusetts State House is a beautiful building, adorned with fine marble details, lots of stained glass, mosaics, murals, and wrought iron. The dome over the rotunda is a brilliant circle of scenes from state history, framing a wonderfully complex and colorful center of stained glass.
Another amazing building we toured is the Boston Public Library. The designer of this building was given free range and a big budget, and it shows. Stepping into the from doors, one is greeted with a very impressive hallway with mosaic arches and domed ceilings. the grand staircase features murals, four shades of marble, and regal lion statues. A upper floor hallway is lavishly adorned with murals and gilded trim over the arched ceiling. Even the reading room is finely detailed.
The last building we visited was the Museum of Fine Art. The building is nicely appointed, simple and clean lines. The real beauty lies in what the many rooms contain. Among the many paintings are some by Rembrandt, Ruben, Winslow Homer, Picasso, Gainsborough, Monet, Renoir, Geogia O’Keeffe, and Van Gogh. Too many to display here, so just a couple of my favorites.
Boston is a city rich with history and yet full of the energy of a big modern city. It was exciting to jump into it and explore some of it. But now I think I need someplace a little more rural and quiet to recuperate.
Next up: Hartford and Tamiment