Tag Archives: trip

History Comes Alive in Boston

I homeschool the kids, which I’ve mentioned before. Last week we learned about the Revolutionary War for history. Several months ago I took a trip to Boston, I knew I was standing in spots that held historic significance, but, I’m also 13 years out from my last history lesson. So, to read them this information, and know I had stood there just months before was so cool.

I love Boston. We stayed in a small town outside of Boston. I think it was about a 45 minute drive, or train ride into the city. Brad and I shared one car, so, he drove to work, while I took the train into the city. The first day, I decided to take the train, so he dropped me off at the station. I was concerned because this was a 730a train. Brad wouldn’t get off work until 5p, so if I got bored and wanted to come back to the hotel, I was out of luck. I’d have to bring the train home, then walk about 3 miles back to the room.

I didn’t need to worry, I had all day in Boston. I walked 11 miles. I was not bored.

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This is the train station. I got off the train and had no idea what I was doing. Luckily, I like to wander, so I walked a couple blocks, through the Financial District. Then, I came out into a very crowded area, where a red line is painted on the sidewalk, in front of a very old building. This red line is the Freedom Trail, it is 2.5 miles that will take you through 16 different historic sights. I felt like, every time I turned one way to see something, I missed 3 other interesting sights the other way.

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This is the Old State House, this is where the Declaration of Independence was read to the people of Boston for the first time. This was also the site where the Boston Massacre happened. John Adams declared the Revolution began here. This is Boston’s oldest public building, built in 1713. I used this all week to figure out where I was.

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This is the Old South Meeting House. You walk in, and walk where George Washington one stood. Where the colonists prepared for the Boston Tea Party. It was built in 1729, and Benjamin Franklin was baptized here. It was the largest building in all of colonial Boston. FIVE THOUSAND colonists crowded into this building to decide what to do about the ships full of tea in the harbor.

This is the interior, can you even imagine, 5,000 people in here?IMG_5408

Next we have Kings Chapel.

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I loved Kings Chapel, enough I went back every day. I even went to a church service there, and I’m not particularly religious. The church was founded in 1686. When it was time to build a new building, they weren’t able because there was no more land. So, they build this stone building around the old wooden one, in 1749, then carried the wooden one out, piece by piece. The pulpit from the original church remains in the building. Over 30,000 sermons have been preached from this spot. IMG_5238

It was very powerful to kneel at this alter where so many people have been. Where people were worshiping before the United States even existed!

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The history of the pews was very interesting, in my opinion.

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The pews are not in rows, they are in high-walled boxes. You could “buy” a pew, and pay a yearly rent. This allowed the family that owned it to make it fit their needs. The walls kept the area warmer in the winter. These are original pews, from the 1600s. The owners could decide how the seating was set up. This one held the most people. I saw many with a single row, and one with just 2 seats in it. While the upholstery has been redone, the padding is still the original horse-hair! The owners were able to decorate them as they wished until the twentieth century.

I did not go into the bell tower, though I wish I had. in 1772 a bell was shipped for the tower from London. It fractured in 1814 and Paul Revere offered to remake the bell. It was one of the largest bells ever cast in the Revere foundry and it was the last one made by Paul Revere.

That is all for today, if I include everything I’ll be writing for days!

Summer Time Exploring in Cleveland

This trip was a perfect example of my accidental tourism. I was in Cleveland because my husband was working there. I had no plans and no agenda, so, armed with a full tank of gas, and a charged GPS I set out to see what I could find.

Let me say a couple things about Cleveland. Their Metropark system is AWESOME. Their roads are crap. It is almost like they built a city, and as the number of people outgrew their infrastructure, they just added more. No real rhyme or reason. You end up with two traffic lights, that aren’t timed to each other, within a block. I was trying to get to my hotel, and I got off the interstate, where to get onto my road, I had to make an immediate U-turn, but there was a light halfway through the u-turn. It was weird. I can’t even explain it well. And, because they just randomly add roads, they seem to have run out of names, so Broadway splits and one direction is Broadway and one is Broadway Ave. Another street is Miles Park, the next road is Miles Park Ave. So, if you are not familiar with the area, you will make a lot of wrong turns. A lot. Like, oh, say, 87 in two days.

Day 1, I used Scout Maps, an app on my phone, to look for interesting things to do around there. I found a castle. I tried to find the castle on my regular GPS and I couldn’t. So, I decided to use their GPS. Which delivered me to a very nice neighborhood where a family of 4 was doing landscaping around their ranch home. I suppose on the plus side, instead of an arrow to represent me, it’s a picture of a ’67 Mustang. Which is kind of cool. But not worth getting lost over.

Eventually, I find out that Squire’s Castle is in the North Chagrin Reservation. This is part of Cleveland Metroparks. I was, admittedly, a bit disappointed to find that the castle is right by a parking lot. I had visions of Disney princesses, roaming the dark woods, only to see a dilapidated building peaking through the brush. That was not the case here.

The castle will be it’s own post, because the story is interesting. But, here it is. IMG_7291

I began to go into the woods, but, didn’t go very far. There was a waterfall I was intent on finding as well. The trails are clearly trails, but, wear good shoes. Because, the trails are muddy and in one spot a tree had fallen across, so you will have to climb over. So, while the trails are obvious, they have also been left to nature a bit.

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I continued on, to look for the waterfall. Again, I will praise the parks department. The signs are clear.
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Each trail is color coded, and represented by an animal, so, the waterfall trail is a blue dragonfly.
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The map told of cascading waterfalls and a scenic overlook at Buttermilk Falls. But, I think they perhaps over promised and under-delivered.
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The dragonfly path though was well worth taking, it was only half a mile long but had very pretty views of the creek that lead to Buttermilk Falls.

I then decided to head for Mill Creek Falls, which is it’s own “park”. There is a history center as well. This drive was where I got lost, over and over again. I drove and drove. I finally thought I was getting close, but, I felt I was in a slightly bad area, and a bit nervous. So, my GPS took me down a road that was a dead end. Down a hill, down to some woods. I find a few driveways, but they all say “private, no trespassing” and only seem to lead deeper into the woods. I see the history center. It is a house, and it is closed, in the middle of the afternoon. There is a small parking lot that belongs to some apartment buildings, but I pull in anyway. I can HEAR something, but, surely this can’t be the waterfall. I mean, that tiny trickle had a hundred signs directing you. This has NOTHING. So, I begin to head toward the noise, and begin to realize how much this sounds like the beginning of a horror movie. I continue on anyway. There is a path in the trees that I take, when I find this sign
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I continue toward the noise, and all of a sudden a really nice staircase is in front of me. Just call me Alice (In Wonderland), because it said “take me” so I did. I walked down the stairs. To find this
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A 48 foot tall waterfall. There is no one around, at all. There are benches to sit on and enjoy the spot though, so I did.

and that is the end of day 1.

Information
North Chagrin Reservation- This park houses Squire’s Castle. It also has a nature center, and a gold course. There are trails for horseback riding and even a place to park and truck with a trailer to unload your horses. They allow fishing. And, you can download a PDF of the trails before you go, from the website.

Squire’s Castle-This is a short little blurb about the castle.

Cleveland Metroparks- This is all the information for all the parks. There is no way I could make it to all of them on my limited time!

Mill Creek Falls- The information on this site is about as sparse as the how to get there info! It is located near Garfield park Reservation.