Thursday, August 1, 2013


And now (finally) the rest of our week in Boston . . .  (part one is here)

Wednesday we finally made it into Boston. We went on an interesting tour in the morning about Samuel Adams to the site of the Boston Massacre, Old State House, and the Old South Meeting House. Then we visited some sites on our own, ate lunch in the Chipotles that is now housed in a building that was the publishing house that Alcott, Hawthorne, Longfellow, and several other authors whose names escape me at the moment, visite the Great Hall in Faneuil Hall where we happened to catch a ranger talk about the Great Hall. I had to laugh, there were probably at least 20 people at the talk, but the only ones the ranger interacted with were Sassy and MiniMe, who were, of course, on the front row LOL.

Then we headed out for another tour. This one was about Paul Revere and led us by his house and the Old North Church. Right away the ranger (Ranger Eric) zeroed in on Sassy and MiniMe and appointed them his assistants. The rest of the tour, they walked with him, talked to him as they walked, and had the time of their lives! After the tour, mom and I were talking to Ranger Eric for a few minutes and thanked him for involving the girls in his tour. He said he could see in their eyes that they're really into history, so knew they'd be great assistants :)

It was an EXCELLENT tour, but involved quite abit of walking. In anticipation of that, and the fact that, while Little Bit rarely naps anymore, she does still get tired and fussy in the afternoons, I had brought along my trusty wrap. I bought this wrap when the twins were 2 or 3, and it has served me VERY well! Little Bit's never been big on baby carriers but now, at almost 4 1/2 she's decided it's a pretty cool thing LOL. I put her on my back and she fell asleep. Can I just say, despite being THE BEST (IMO) carrier for heavy toddlers, when you NEVER wear a toddler on your back, walking long distances with a 4 1/2 yr old on your back finds muscles you'd forgotten existed LOL. Still WAY easier than carrying her OR dealing with a tired, fussy, whiny 4 yr old would have been!

After the tour, and after Little Bit had woken up, we noticed a cute little door in the side of Old North Church. No idea what the door is for, but it was pretty cool to see a door that makes Little Bit look like a giant. She thought it was cool too :)

Then we stopped and watched a chocolate-making demonstration (all 3 are my kids, they all love the very rich, VERY dark, colonial drinking chocolate! GOOD STUFF!!!) and also a printer. I was thrilled to see that in this smaller, more one-on-one (or one-on-three, anyway) environment, Little bit seemed to actually be interested as well. I'm hopeful that she'll start to catch the history fever this fall at Williamsburg.

Next we headed back along our tour route to actually tour through Paul Revere's house. There's an extra fee to tour the house so Papa and Rodney decided to take Little Bit across the street to a "park" area to run around while Mama and I took the big girls through the house.

The Junior Ranger book had a note saying that you could try on colonial clothes there, so we asked and sure enough. AND there weren't any kids' dress-up clothes either. They were authentic colonial clothes!! The girls, especially MiniMe, were IN HEAVEN! There was only one outfit, so we had to take turns, AND photos weren't allowed in the house, so we had to dress one kid up, take her outside and take her picture, then go back inside so the other kid could get dressed, then back outside to take HER picture. And I must admit, they ARE identical twins, sometimes they seem SOO different to me, but when they're dressed the same AND have their hair up, yeah, they look kinda similar LOL.

Thursday we headed back into Boston. But this time my parents had some National Park passport stamps they wanted to get, so they went to do that while our family went back to the Freedom Trail. Our first stop was the Boston Gardens where I wanted to make sure we saw the sculpture of "Make Way for the Ducklings" all 3 girls thought it was cool!

Then we gave Little Bit the choice to hang out with Daddy by the duck sculpture or go with the big girls and me to tour more buildings. She chose the ducks LOL. I think she made a good choice, while we were enjoying history, more on that in a minute, Daddy spoiled her at Starbucks, where she also got to watch some Netflix on the iPad, a TREAT after a week at a hotel with such a slow internet connection that Netflix wouldn't work on the iPad! Then they rode a carousel and played at a playground at Boston Commons :)

Meanwhile, the big girls and I headed back up the Freedom Trail. Our first stop was the Old South Meetinghouse. We'd been outside it during our tour on Wednesday, but this time we went inside! I've always been abit confused as to how speeches to large groups worked pre-electricity. We got a taste of it on Wednesday in the Great Hall, where the ranger's voice echoed, plenty loud, through the whole space.  Even more interesting, in the Old South Meetinghouse, we saw a "sounding board" above the podium, to bounce the sound out to the audience, how cool is that?!?!

We also toured the Old State House, VERY COOL, including an interactive area for younger kids! Then headed back to see how Daddy and Little Bit were doing. It was lunchtime, so we ate lunch and then went to visit Cheers for Daddy's benefit, but it was MOBBED, so he just peeked inside and called it good :)

By then it had started raining, so we scrapped sightseeing for awhile and took a Starbucks break :) When the rain stopped we decided to go back to the Old State House and let Little Bit enjoy the interactive area. There's a fee for adults, but kids are free, so Rodney waited outside while I took all 3 kids in. We'd been there a little while when they announced a living history thing, where someone dressed up like, and pretended to be, someone from history, and gave a talk/answered questions. Sassy and MiniMe LOVE LOVE LOVE stuff like that, so I told them to go ahead and go to it while I stayed in the next room with Little Bit happily playing. While that was still going on, my parents got back from their adventures and it was raining again, so when the living history thing was over we all headed back to the hotel.

Friday we went to Charlestown Navy Yard. On Wednesday, when we'd talked to Ranger Eric, we'd found out that he'd be giving tours there on Thursday and Friday (both areas are considered Boston National Historic Park, so the rangers move between them), and we hoped we'd be able to figure out and take another of his tours at Charlestown. As SOON as we got there, we happened to see him, and he was just getting ready to lead a tour to Bunker Hill, so we joined in.  Again, he talked with Sassy and MiniMe the whole time we were walking, they loved it! Little Bit still isn't into all this talking, she entertained herself playing peek-a-boo and such LOL.

After our tour, my parents took the big girls up the 294 steps to the top of the Bunker Hill Memorial. Much to Little Bit's dismay, I only let her go up the first 75 steps, then told her it was time to come down, she was doing good but as tired as MY legs were getting, I knew she'd hit a breaking point before much longer and I really didn't want to have to carry her DOWN those steep spiral stairs (because we had planned to wait and do a tour in the afternoon, I hadn't carried my wrap from the car, and didn't have time to go back for it and still join Ranger Eric's tour, so I didn't have it along).

After lunch we waited! To get to tour the USS Constitution "Old Ironsides" SOOO COOOL!! Even Little Bit got into it a little bit LOL.

Next we headed to the museum where there was TONS of interactive stuff. The kids had a blast "sleeping" in ship hammocks, "cooking", sanding the "deck" and climbing in the "rigging".

Finally, near closing time, we headed back to the visitor center to get their Junior Ranger badges. Because the visitor center is in the Navy Yard (I guess?), you have to go through security to get to it. As we were waiting through security, my mom saw Ranger Eric go into the Visitor Center, and commented that it would be really cool if HE could give the girls their Junior Ranger Badges. By the time we got through security, he was nowhere to be seen, but Mom asked at the Ranger desk and they called him. He was just leaving, had changed out of his uniform and, I think, was literally on his way out the door, but when he heard the girls' request, he agreed. The counter was too high for Little Bit to see, so I was holding her and couldn't take pictures. My dad got some pictures, so hopefully sometime soon I'll remember and get his pictures. Because the girls had done the requirements for both downtown Boston AND the Charlestown Navy Yard, they also got a "Master Junior Ranger". Instead of being a badge shape like most of them it's a round button with a picture of a ranger hat on it, and Eric mentioned, as he was giving them to the girls, that it's actually a picture of his hat, that he photoshopped to make the buttons. The girls thought that was SOO COOL!!

And proof that Ranger Eric made an impression with all THREE of my girls, later in our trip, when I said something about going to talk to the ranger, Little Bit asked "can we find Ranger Eric?" So she's a member of his fan club too LOL.

Sabbath we started our trip home, but took some time to visit New Beford Whaling on our way. It was fascinating! While I was helping the girls with their Junior Rangers, the woman (not sure if she was a volunteer or ranger) behind the desk told my mom that in a little while she and another woman would be dressed as "Ruth and Abby" from the 19th century, and in a garden nearby. So, after we finished up most of their Junior Ranger requirements, we went in search of Ruth and Abby.  We found them, and one of them (Ruth?) was knitting. She proceeded to teach both MiniMe and Sassy the stitch she was doing, and let them practice on her project, and write down the pattern for her. The girls stayed talking to them forEVER, and had a blast!!

Sunday was mostly driving home, but before we headed out, we stopped by Springfield Armory so dad could get some passport stamps, and since we were there, the girls decided to do the Junior Ranger there as well. I have to say, I'd hoped there would be more about the history of the Armory itself and less "boring" (for us girls, anyway) stuff about the specifics of various guns. But the girls stuck with it and finished that Junior Ranger too. I think the only reason MiniMe stuck it out was the promise that the final requirement was to make a "doll", she LOVED that part! And it WAS a cool idea! They gave the kids a little kit that had a wire hanger bent into a person shape and then the kids used yarn and fabric scraps to make a "Rosie the Riveter" type doll. On the drive home MiniMe proceeded to use the embroidery floss she had along for her current cross stitch project to add a face and other details to her doll LOL.

Most of the requirements were over Little Bit's head, but she enjoyed the puzzles and crafts, and thought it was fun to "be a park ranger" LOL.

One of the questions for the big girls was to estimate how many muskets were in a "gun organ" there in the armory. MiniMe, who's usually my "everything must be done perfectly" child, rolled her eyes, groaned, and said "can I just say 1,000?" Yup! And we moved on. But Sassy wanted to actually figure it out. I'm not sure how much help my dad gave her, but she got within about 50 of the actual number, so I was impressed!

Once we finished at the Armory we found a Chipotles for lunch and then headed home. It was a fun trip, but it was good to sleep in my own bed, and start back into our normal routines :)

By my rough count, Springfield Armory was Junior Ranger #40 for the big girls, give or take a couple that I might be forgetting, or that they started but didn't finish.

The final list of Junior Rangers earned on this trip (for all 3 girls) is:
Saugus Ironworks
New Bedford Whaling
Springfield Armory

Not to shabby for a little over a week, huh? :)

1 comment:

Melanie said...

Loved reading about your Boston trip! I got to have my own "adult" homeschooler trip there 3 years ago...can't wait for our whole family to go. It was a nice reminder of my own trip, to read about yours!


Btw....I'm doing an art lesson on Copley's "Paul Revere" painting (held by your daughter) for the 5-Day Blog Hop on Wednesday!