Boston After a Snowfall

On our way out of Salt Lake City
Otherworldly landscape. I always find the views over SLC compelling, especially so in winter.

I had a bunch of frequent flier miles with Delta Airlines, and decided that if it were a free flight, I could afford to be frivolous and do a weekend trip. I rarely fly anywhere for such a brief period. One exception being a fun weekend with my cousin in Nevada a few years ago. My friends in Boston have been neglected since 2018, and I loved the idea of a quick birthday trip and hugs and kisses all around, then return home. Pedro and I managed to pack quite a bit into our Saturday-Tuesday trip.

On approach into Boston Saturday evening.

Thursday it had snowed 8 inches in Boston and then stayed cold, so when we arrived two days later, it was quite wintery, and that was actually kind of fun. When I attended Brandeis University from 2004-2007, I was earning my Bachelors and Masters degrees at the same time, and didn’t have time for ANY fun (though I squeezed some in anyway). I hardly ever made it into the city of Boston, but often when I did, it looked like it did this past weekend. So I spent time floating around in memories.

We checked into our Airbnb hotel right off Boston Common at the corner of Tremont and Boylston. Dumped our gear and then got ready to head out and find a place to eat. I couldn’t find my glasses. And yep – lost my glasses the very first night. I was blind for the rest of the trip. Arrrgghh.

It was cold and windy outside, but we had anticipated a very cold weekend and had packed for it. Only a block down Tremont Ave we stepped into The 4th Wall, naturally across from an arts & communication college. They had Guinness on tap, and since I had not had one of those since Tara and I were in Ireland, that’s what I ordered and Pedro copied me.

Sunday morning we walked out the front door into Boston Common. Established in 1634, it is the oldest park in the United States. I had brought Tara here as a kid, and I wanted to go find the ice-skating pond. I was pretty sure we were on the opposite side from the pond, so we cut through the middle.

We were distracted by a cemetery in the snow. I had always arrived at the park from the other side, and thus never knew that Boston Common had a cemetery.
Then distracted by kids sledding in the park.
We arrived at the Frog Pond, overseen by these two bronze sculptures on the side. You can see the Tadpole Playground behind them.
Contemplating froggy things. {photo by Pedro}
This skating rink is so Boston to me.

Then we walked up the hill to admire the sparkling gold dome of the Massachusetts State House. When we arrived, we saw that it is undergoing repairs and the entire front of the building is obscured. But standing on the steps of the State House and looking across the park held a nice view.

The gold dome of the Massachusetts State House.
Looking back at the Common and the Boston skyline from the State House.

We looked down and saw we were standing on the red brick path through the sidewalk that signals the famous Freedom Trail and decided to walk it for a while. Walking along the Freedom Trail will take a person past important historical sites from U.S. history. We headed down Park Street, turned at the Park Street Church and soon found the Granary Burying Ground. Here are buried about 5,000 Boston residents who died from 1660 to 1880. They include Sam Adams, John Hancock, and Paul Revere.

A tour group stands at what we guessed was Paul Revere’s grave. They were there so long we toured the whole cemetery and left.
Benjamin Franklin built this monument for his parents, who are buried here. (You can see the same tourist group, clustered around the same gravesite. They must have been freezing, standing still so long.)
Neat old grave stone. “Here lies interred the body of Cap. Nicholas Gardner who was wounded by the Enemy of which he died. June 13, 1789.”
This warning sign made me laugh. It says “Please stay off the grass.”
Kings Chapel was established as a Puritan Church, for colonists wishing to distance themselves from the Church of England. There is no steeple because they ran out of money. In 1776 colonists forced British troops out of the city and started calling this place Stone Chapel, to avoid reference to the Monarchy.
Boston’s Old City Hall, with a statue of the city’s second mayor, Josiah Quincy III.
The monument in front of the Old City Hall is of the most famous student of the Boston Latin School.

The old Boston Latin School that used to occupy this spot had famous students, including Benjamin Franklin. Pedro pointed to a sign stating that “in 1645 the town stipulated that ‘Indians are to be taught gratis.'” It is good to know that originally, Native people were welcomed into the education system of the colonists.

There are two funny stories related to this spot. One has to do with the kids who went to school here and brought their sleds in winter. When school was out they would coast down Beacon Street, across Tremont, and down School Street. The winter of 1774-75, a British General, tired of having all the kids coasting the street in front of his house, ordered his servant to spread ashes on the snow in front of the house and ruin their fun. The boys joined forces and demanded a meeting with the General, in which they complained that their fathers before them had perfected this particular sledding route and it would be against tradition to stop it. The General ordered his servant to fix it, and then reported the whole affair to the British Governor. The Governor remarked that it was clearly impossible to beat the Liberty out of the colonists, as it was rooted in them from childhood! Hilarious.

The other story has to do with a statue of a donkey between Quincy and Franklin. A Bostonian was traveling in Italy and came across this donkey statue and had the idea to gift it to the city of Boston to be installed along the Freedom Trail. His idea was that children, bored with Boston history, would see it and have some fun. He couldn’t get the city to accept the gift though. They argued that an Italian donkey had nothing to do with Boston’s sacred history. The benefactor suggested that it could represent the city’s long history of Democratic governance, since the donkey is the animal symbol for Democrats. The city leaders agreed to take it and install it. But then the Republicans had a fit and demanded that an elephant statue also be installed, because elephants are the animal symbol of Republicans, but the city didn’t want to pay for that. The benefactor had the idea to install a bronze plaque in front of the donkey that has elephants inscribed into footprints, and it says, “Stand in opposition.” This settled it.

Pedro played the part of a Republican resisting the Democratic donkey.
Old South Meeting House – location of the Boston Tea Party. Citizens met here, angry about the system of taxation on teas. They couldn’t come to an agreement with the royal government. Soon after, men stormed out to the harbor and dumped the shipment of tea into the bay, which The Crown considered treason.
Irish Famine memorial, across from the Old South Meeting House.
It was time to meet our friend, so we walked down Washington Street, parallel to Boston Common, till we reached our hotel once more and waited for pick up.

16 thoughts on “Boston After a Snowfall

  1. Ah, what a great post, full of interesting bits and sights that I was not familiar with. The Italian donkey! How cute. Amazing air photos, and a great idea for the trail to have it paved in! But please, what are the red-seeming blossoms in your featured photo? It looks like the snow and frost were a surprise for these trees in bloom! The photo of you with the frog is stunning and you are gorgeous. Looking forward to more!

    1. They do look like blossoms! I think that is because they are not in focus. Those are actually tightly clustered red berries, and I do not know what kind of bush it is that I was shooting through. It made a fun photo, didn’t it? I do love the air photos over Salt Lake City too. That whole area surrounding the salt lake is filled with brackish marshes and looks like another world, especially with the mountains in the background. Never fear, there will be more!

  2. Fun picture with you and the Guiness, Crystal. You do indeed look like Miss Innocence. 🙂
    When Tony was teaching at the Coast Guard Academy, we would fly into Boston and take the train down. We really enjoyed the city and have many of the same photos. Fun and informative post! –Curt

    1. I think Boston is a great city! I’m glad to hear you were able to visit it and see the famous places from U.S. history. Since our country did not begin in the West, seeing stuff on the East coast is so exciting to me. It is a shame that when I lived in Massachusetts for three years I hardly ever had a chance to play in town. But luckily I have many friends there still and can go back and visit and see all the stuff.

      1. The whole East Coast is chock full of our early history, Crystal. It’s hard to go anywhere where something didn’t happen. 🙂 But Boston is special. I’ve always been particularly interested in the city since ancestors on my mother’s side arrived there in 1630. Of course ancestors on your side were already in the country. Grin. And had been for thousands of years. –Curt

  3. Sounds like you had a great time! Did you manage to find your glasses in the end? I loved all the anecdotes in this post. The bronze plaque in front of the donkey is my favorite though.

    1. Bama I did NOT find my glasses in the end. So frustrating too, since I had just recently had new lenses placed into the very expensive frames. Ah well, they are just “things,” and I need a lesson to take better care of my things. Oh, I’m glad you liked the donkey and the plaque. I am going to try to upload a photo for you to see the footprints. It was a clever solution to their problem.

  4. I’m so sorry about the glasses! I would hate that. I have never been to Boston until now. Thanks for taking me along and the history lesson. It’s the little details that make it so interesting.

    1. I am glad to take you along and especially when you get to stay warm the whole time. We braved the cold for you. I agree that the little details are the best. Both stories here were so long I thought I should leave them out, but I liked them so much I decided to put them in. It forced me to split our one day into two posts, but that’s ok!

    1. Thank you Derrick. I think my camera’s auto-focus can overcome my handicap. Thankfully I have extra glasses at home, but had not brought any for my trip. My vision is not too bad to begin with, so I wasn’t suffering too much, just saw everything blurry, especially at night.

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