There are a lot of ugly things in the city, but not this bridge. The Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge is one of the largest cable stay suspension bridges in the world. At one point, it was part of the largest construction project in the world, the Big Dig, until the hotel in Dubai surpassed it. Today, it acts as the gateway into Boston from the North and is lovely at night.
Last week, I had the pleasure of seeing the USS Constitution “sail” through Boston Harbor for the last time for the next 3 years. The weather was glorious and I timed it just perfectly to be able to see the ship as she passed Faneuil Hall and Old North Church.
Also got to hear the Dropkick Murphys as they played on the deck.
Sooo many people were on board the ship, over 500 people. When I went on my turnaround, there were many fewer people and you could wander the deck a lot easier.
The Constitution then fired a 17-gun salute near the Coast Guard base. When she was built and launched, it was around that part of the North End. Hearing the cannons was fun, but you could also feel it inside your knees.
Took a road trip up to Saint Gaudens National Historical Site in Cornish, NH. Attempted to get to Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller too, but their signage SUCKS!!! But we managed to walk around the town and drove around the entire park site, so that counts as a visit in my mind.
The park property is gorgeous and the staff that greeted us today were quite enthusiastic. Only $5/person to get in and tromp about the grounds. I would love to go back and go along the trails that they have as well. We had limited time since we planned on hitting 2 parks today, but only got to one. And then we got tired and hungry and cranky. lol. The whole site, though provides beautiful photos.
I only wish that we had gotten there before 1 p.m. Its a long drive up, especially with leaf peepers, but there was a ton of rain today and it made everyone move even slower. The season ends at the end of the month, so we’ll have to wait until 2015 to go back again.
Not being a beach girl, I didn’t think that I would enjoy Hawaii as much as other people. What I didn’t realize is that Hawaii is awesome.
From the multiple black sand beaches to others with hot as lava when you walk across it sand to the one just steps outside of our hotel room, they were all awesome. We saw fish, all kinds of weird birds, and multiple green sea turtles.
Of course, I did get a humongous burn the very first full day we were there. Oops…but my husband got it worse with blisters forming on his.
Everything else on HI was awesome. It is a strange state…saw a feral donkey and goat hanging out together, chickens were everywhere in Kauai, signs for watching for cracks in the road. Just awesome.
Photos under the cut.
Many of my adventures have taken me onto boats for this summer…and my trip to Spectacle Island was no different.
Spectacle Island is a 15-20 minute ferry ride out of Long Wharf in Boston and is part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. Today’s island has been reshaped over the years with dumping, erosion, and the fill from the Big Dig to become one of the highest points in Boston Harbor.
There are a number of trails to walk along and view the city or the lighthouse. One of these trails takes people along the shore that is scattered with rocks and the occasional dead fish:
The other main feature of the island is the trash that is coming out of the ground and washing up on the shore…seaglass and pottery shards. As an archaeologist, I am always looking down on the sand at the beach for seaglass and random things. At Spectacle, you don’t even have to search…it is all there, but not for the taking.
The ferry to the islands is almost done, just about another month. I hope to get back out to George’s sometime before then to find the dark space again!
Yet another field trip to another National Park, this time Lowell. Not a lot of people would think that Lowell would have a National Park, but it is a great example of what happened all around the country during the Industrial Revolution. Not only are a lot of the buildings still there, many of them have been revitalized into new spaces.
Excavated by two of my professors (One from UMass Boston and another from Boston University) the Boott Cotton Mills Museum presents the history of the Industrial Revolution in a way everyone can understand. By using the oral histories left behind by former workers and actual artifacts from that time period, you can really get the feel of what it might have felt like. Inside the Boott is a room with a number of machines that are needed in the process of the creation of fabric. Here is a video that has only a few of the machines running:
Lowell is also known for having one of the best education centers in the National Park Service and they provide a huge variety of programs for children to attend and learn math, history, language arts, and science during. One of the programs has children weaving on a loom:
They are also in possession of Jack Kerouac’s backpack from when he went off on his tour of America. Not only was Kerouac an important poet and writer, he was also a native son. At one event, they gave away bobbleheads of him 🙂
All in all, Lowell is an awesome National Park and quite worthy of a visit. Go in the spring when you can ride the canal!
Sometimes I get to do really fun stuff because of work…on Saturday, under blue skies and with no wind, I got to go into Dry Dock One at the Charlestown Navy Yard and learn all about its history. Not only did we get to go into it, we got to spend about an hour wandering around, taking pictures, looking at fish and crabs, and climbing up and down the edges. It was awesome.
We found really interesting objects inside the dry dock (a skull!! How did that get there? Seems to be a prey and not a predator like I originally thought) and saw lots of numbers around us.
Most of these had fallen off of the walls as the epoxy used to secure them to the surface dried and cracked in the heat and cold. I sooo wanted to take a few home with me.
Then, we went into the Caisson…this is the thing that keeps the water out of the dry dock, and I was inside of it. It is actually very clean inside, which was slightly impressive. It is also impressive that so little metal is keeping the ocean out of that dry dock.
Next field trip may include the Chain Forge and the Rope Walk…and a trip to Lowell to look at their education program. Sometimes I love my job.
We had our Halloween party last night since the bar we go to has their party on the Friday before the holiday. There were a lot of interesting costumes, but we were able to take 2nd and 3rd place in the costume contest with these:
Michael was some local, but American Gothic took second place (50 bucks!) and Macho Man Randy Savage took third (20 bucks). Overall a good night.
Tonight, we have already bottled beer and I am going to go have dinner soon. After that, pumpkin carving!! I love Halloween
Another National Park here in Massachusetts is Saugus Iron Works. Located in Saugus, MA it encompasses one of the first Iron works in the colonies and created some of the best iron outside of Spain.
There is a collection of buildings that can be visited including a nail forge as demonstrated by Ranger Brandon here:
One of my favorite pieces of this park was the small map of the original site. Reminded me of a similar map I saw in Munich…
There is also a project to get the river cleaned up by taking out the phragmites that are choking the river. By taking them out, the river will flow quicker and take out the sediment that has settled on the bottom. It will make the river healthier and bring back even more animals. When I was there, they had orioles, frogs, eels, little fishes, and signs of groundhogs. So well on their way.
Saugus Iron Works is open until the end of the month and is free.
At work, we have some maps up and try to encourage people to mark where they are from with pins. At the end of every week, we take the pins down and “reset” the maps. I took down the old maps the other day because certain areas (like Hartford, CT and the Netherlands) were completely obliterated, but it was really interesting to see the distribution of all the pins. Here are some pictures (and proof, if you’ve ever needed it, that people come from every continent to visit Boston):
It will be interesting to see how the map morphs and changes over the next few weeks as most of our visitors will be from New England and Western Europe. Most of our cruise ships are carrying people from the New York/New England area or Britain to Canada and back again, so probably fewer South Africans or people from the South Pacific, but who knows!