We really were on a short time schedule, with the pre-wedding celebration in the afternoon, but we headed out to Boston, 45 minutes away, to see what we could squeeze in. Even though the four energy drinks were still buzzing in my blood.
You’d think Massachusetts, with all its American history and significance, would have a better sign than this. Then again, maybe it said “Home to the Tea Party” but they decided to take it down for all those non-history buffs.
In the distance you could see the skyline. Who doesn’t love a skyline. Boston is one of those really, really big little cities. For a distance you’d think it was bigger than what it really is. Washington DC has more land size (Boston’s 48 sq miles to DC’s 68 square miles) and the populations are about the same, hovering somewhere in 600,000 range. But looking at that skyline, you’d think it dwarfs DC.
Greeting you as you enter the city is this iconic bridge. It looks like two armless giant stick men being roped by the little people. It’s called the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge.
The Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge, part of The Big Dig Project in Boston, is one of the widest cable-stayed bridges in the world. The Bridge serves as the northern entrance to and exit from Boston. The Bridge is named after civil rights activist Lenny Zakim and the American colonists who fought the British in the Battle of Bunker Hill.
After crossing the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge, we go into the Big Dig. The tunneling under this big little city. DC has a tunnel, too. It runs under the National Mall but doesn’t run that long. Boston, though, has an underground highway system! I hadn’t seen a tunnel with exits like this. Maybe no big deal to the locals, but I felt it was worthy of a photo.
With the clock ticking, we just started heading downtown without a clue where we were going to end up. Why didn’t we grab a map at the motel? And where the hell is the water!?
On the way to where we though some touristy stuff was at, we eye spied this Harriet Tubman Statue Park. Most cities have little gems hidden in plain site around the city but away from the gift shops. This one was off Columbus Avenue and Pembroke Street. How can you not stop to admire not only the art, but think about what she did, how she did it, and the number of people who she saved, some of whom may be why you’re here.
Meet the first statue on city-owned property honoring a woman. This 10-foot bronze statue is dedicated to the memory of Harriet Tubman, the famous abolitionist and Underground Railroad ‘conductor.’ Born around 1820—her exact date of birth is unknown—Tubman spent the first 28 years of her life toiling in the household and fields of the Maryland plantation where she had been born. When the plantation’s owner died, Tubman escaped, following the North Star and stopping at various Underground Railroad ‘stations’ along the 90-mile journey to Pennsylvania.
But Tubman did not remain safely in the North for long. Within a year, she returned to Maryland to help members of her family escape. What began as a plot to reunite her family became a broader mission to free as many people as possible, personal relations as well as strangers. Over the next decade, Tubman took nineteen trips to the South, guiding over 300 individuals to freedom. Although she was illiterate and received no formal education, Tubman became known as one of the most adroit Underground Railroad conductors. A $40,000 reward was posted for her capture.
Eventually, though, we made it downtown, parked, and just started footing it. Fortunately, we were essentially right in the middle of everything. Just a few blocks away from the Boston Common and a massive park, Chinatown and the Financial District. And Boston Inner Harbor.
If we had more time, we would’ve explored more, being in a city with so much history. Maybe a whale watch. The Cheers bar. Where the Boston Marathon bombings took place. But just randomly wandering around the city, we at least came across the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museums.
340 chests of British East India Company Tea, weighing over 92,000 pounds, were dumped overboard the night of December 16, 1773. All of the chests were smashed open with axes and the tea dumped into Boston Harbor. The cargo was worth more than $1,700,000 dollars in today’s money. Historical accounts record that no damage was done to any of the ships except a broken lock which was replaced the next day. The event was witnessed by thousands, and the implications and impact of this action were enormous, ultimately leading to the sparking of the American Revolution.