grandson Jaxson J PitreThursday morning, 25SEP, after a great breakfast with Bill & Barb Stowe, & more reminiscing, it was back on the road heading to Massachusetts. Driving a RV while towing in New England is great for one main reason, & is terrible for the same reason – the majority of the roads are very scenic, narrow country carriage roads; often thru small villages & towns with very tight streets & turns. In less than an hour we ran into a truck detour on NY 9N, that gave no indication if detour applied to RVs, or if it was due to a weight or length restriction. We followed it anyway to be safe.
The quickest way according to our GPS involved toll roads & bridges. So Dan re-programed the GPS for no tolls, which added time to the drive. Originally we planned to drive all the way to Andover, MA, but decided to only go half way (150 mi). At the end of the day & over five hours of driving, we really glad we made that decision!
Friday we drove to Bedford, MA, on the outskirts of Boston to visit our old Coast Guard friends Barb & Steve Garrity. We last saw them in Houma, LA, January of 2008 (see below BLOG). We were fortunate enough to get a RV spot at the Hanscom AFB FamCamp. The first RV spot we were assigned was covered in dog crap, so we moved. After setting up camp the second time, Corrie made a commissary/exchange run.Before Corrie returned, Steve & Barb showed up; soon followed by Corrie. We reminisced for some time in the RV before heading out to dinner. Dinner was at a highly recommended local Italian restaurant – Café Luigi. It was a good meal at a reasonable price; when we finished our meal there were dozens of people waiting outside for their table. It was short but great evening, but we will all get back together again on Sunday.
Saturday we got a late start on getting out & about; we decided to drive the Toad along the coast area north of Boston. Our intention was to find a public beach & walk Gumbo there. Unfortunately traffic was stop & go everywhere; & when we found somewhere to explore, parking was nonexistent or dogs were not allowed! We did do some exploring in Beverly, MA, Gloucester, MA, & Rockport, MA, before calling it a day! We did manage to have a lobsta roll for lunch.
Early Sunday morning, 28SEP14, Barb & Steve picked us up in their minivan for a great day of sightseeing in Boston. Sightseeing in a major city is definitely enhanced when your guides are lifetime residents & history buffs! A large portion of what we would see is a part of the Boston National Historical Park created in 1974 in recognition & highlighting “...the people, places, & events that sparked the American Revolution against England & highlights Boston’s role in laying the foundation for a new nation.” The park is unique in that it is combination of land, buildings & monuments owned by the federal, state, & city government & private enterprises. The majority of the park sites are connected by the 2-1/2 mile Freedom Trail (a National Recreational Trail & a National Millennium Trail). A few components of the Boston National Historical Park are – Bunker Hill Monument, Charlestown Navy Yard, USS Constitution, Faneuil Hall, Boston African American National Historic Site & Black Heritage Trail.
First stop was the National Historical Park Visitor Center at the base of the Bunker Hill Monument. They have an excellent small museum with a diorama titled – “Not Worth the Price of Victory”. The title of the diorama refers to the fact that even though the Patriots lost the battle, they decimated the British troops; showing that the colonists could stand against the world’s best army! Since there was no crowd, Steve & Dan decided to climb the 290 stairs to the top of the monument. They did this without the required “climbing pass” from the Park Service!
Trivia – why is Breed’s Hill more important to the Revolution than Bunker Hill?
Next stop was the National Park Visitor Center at the Charlestown Navy Yard home of the USN CONSTITUTION (aka Old Ironsides). There was a very good film about the history of the nation’s oldest navy yard until its closure in 1974. Then it was time for lunch at the South Street Diner where we shared a Boston Sampler – chowda, lobsta roll & boston crème pancakes. Wicked good!!!
Last stop of the day was the National Park Visitor Center at Faneuil Hall. There we listened to a fifteen minute Ranger talk about why Faneuil Hall is considered the “Cradle of Liberty”. The Hall was built as a public market at street level, as well as a meeting space for the town government on the second floor. This meeting space was the scene of many debates against English rule before the Revolution; & has continued to be a forum for national debates on slavery, preservation of the union, temperance, women’s suffrage, unions, etc. Unfortunately the market stalls of Faneuil Hall & next door Quincy Market are full of nothing but high-end boutiques, national chains, & fancy food & drink establishments! To us just a very expensive tourist trap, very disappointing!
After a day of sightseeing the Garrity’s dropped us off at the RV, where we grabbed Gumbo & headed to their house in the Toad. Back together with them we had BBQ burgers, followed by more recollecting. Sadly after a great day it was time to say aloha to the Garrity’s, hoping it won’t be so long to the next time our paths cross.
Late Monday, 29SEP, morning we made a short drive to a new RV park in Massachusetts close to New Ipswich, NH, to visit another friend of Dan’s from the Coast Guard Academy, Doug & wife Kitty Waitt, who live in New Ipswich. Doug & Dan were roommates the first half of freshman (aka swab) year at the Academy way back in 1970. Doug decided to finish his college education back home in New Hampshire, so they haven’t seen each other since 1971!
Late that afternoon after setting up camp we headed to their house for an excellent paella dinner prepared by Kitty. As we drove to their house, Dan realized we were at right driveway because there was Coast Guard Cadet “jumper” hanging at the foot of the driveway. These uniform jumpers were only worn during “swab summer” (think boot camp) & Dan hasn’t seen one in over 40 years!
Funny thing is Doug left the Academy because he did not want an “engineering” education (the Academy is an engineering institution with BSE degrees only). Although he later received his BA degree, he now runs a mechanical service company dealing with water systems, heating & AC systems, etc; as well as building his own house with solar power & high efficiency wood furnace; so much for a non-engineering degree career?
Tuesday morning Doug & Kitty picked us up at the RV for a driving & walking tour of the country side & small towns of New Hampshire surrounding their house – Greenville, Peterborough, Jaffrey. Lunch was at Harlow’s Pub, excellent! At the end of the afternoon we returned to RV for more reminiscing, before they returned to their home. Another great (but too short) visit!!!