October 18, 2003

By 9:00 am we had been inspected by Customs and watched as the Scotia Prince slipped smoothly into the harbour.  

Some passengers on board were making a return trip and treating the 23 hour round trip as a mini-cruise.  The ship was outfitted with lounges, dance floor, casino, a cafe, coffee shop and restaurant and there was 

always some sort of entertainment going on. 

Sherrie put on the wristbands before sailing and had a most pleasant voyage. 

At 8:30pm we docked in Portland, Maine and stayed in a motel close to the terminal.

 

October 19, 2003

Drove from Portland along old Highway 1 which followed the coast line.  In Kennebunk (just as you turn to go to George and Barbara Bush's sprawling compound in Kennebunk Port) we stopped at a flea market and came away with a 1884 bound collection (spine and some pages missing) of "Harpers Young Peoples Weekly".

South of there we popped in for a photo op of the beach at Wells and then another stop at a fruit and vegetable stand to picked up some apples and carrots to munch.  

Crossed over into Massachusetts at Portsmouth and were able to check off another state we have traveled ~ Massachusetts makes it 17 for Sherrie and 20 for Terry.

We drove into Lynn and then north-east to Salem. 

  In Salem we walked around to the Witches House and the Witches Dungeon but didn't go into either.  With Hallowe'en just a week or so away, there are daily activities designed to attract tourists. 
Our time was limited and we chose to go to the library to do some genealogy searching before it closed (we were surprised it was even open on a Sunday).  Some ancestors of Sherrie's had lived in Salem ~ actually just about the time of the infamous witch hunts ~ and ancestors of Terry's had lived in nearby Lynn.  Each of the books the librarian led us to held familiar names and we opened reference books and took digital pictures (rather than photocopies that take up space and add weight to the trunk) as fast as we could before they announced the library's closure.  
The last names we were looking up were Read, Reed and Reid as well as Thorn and Thorne.  Although we don't know yet if it was indeed a relative .... we took a picture of a page that stated "Wilmot Reed executed as a witch."   Well !!

A search for accommodation that suited our budget and desire to be close to a commuter rail line into Boston led us north to Haverville and to the Comfort Suites where we booked for two nights into one of the nicest rooms we have yet had on this trip.  

October 20, 2003

We were on board the commuter train to Boston at 8:43 (it was running a bit late) and the trip in took approximately one hour.  Once off the train, we maneuvered our way under Boston using the subway system and came up from underground into a charming city bathed in sunlight. 

We booked ourselves onto a "jump-on-jump-off" Gray Line Trolley Tour and made the first full circle without disembarking.  It is a great way to understand the layout of a city.  The driver/tour commentator, Paul, was excellent and laced his informative talk with humour.  The full circle took about one and three-quarter hours with nineteen possible stops.  We got off where we started, at stop #1.

Before taking a harbour cruise (included in our tour ticket) for a view of Boston skyline from the water, we took a break to have ~ what else? ~ Boston clam chowder at Legals Fish and Oyster Bar.  We ordered two Legals clam chowders ~ the same soup recipe that has been served at the last six Presidential Inaugurations. 

 

Boston Harbour shows a modern skyline with only a few heritage buildings to hint of centuries of activities upon the water and shores of Massachusetts.
The cruise stopped at the Charlestown Naval Yard and we disembarked to take three-quarter hour tour of the destroyer USS Cassin Young.  Standing in the crowded quarters, we could only imagine the horrific environment endured by fighting forces during WWII. 

Another fighting ship tied up at the same dock is the USS Constitution.

The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat and was launched in 1797.  During the War of 1812, she endured intense enemy fire and emerged victorious earning the nickname of "Old Ironsides".  Her 200 year career includes service as a warrior, diplomat, school ship and transport vessel. 

To remain a commissioned warship, the USS Constitution must sail one nautical mile each year.  This ritual sail is made each fourth of July. 

Instead of crossing the harbour again, we "jumped-on" the Boston Trolley below Bunker Hill and headed back to town.

It was from the balcony of the Old State House (pictured left) where the waiting masses heard the wording of their new Constitution of the United States for the first time.  The building now sits above a metro (subway) station.

Since its construction in 1742, Faneuil Hall has provided a forum for public debate in Boston.  During the Revolutionary era, Faneuil Hall was the seat of local government.  Here on the second floor, town meeting members discussed issues of the day. The ground floor below has housed a marketplace for over 250 years.  
  Charles Bulfinch, a Boston architect, expanded Faneuil Hall in 1805-06.  His most dramatic contribution was this most beautiful of meeting rooms, designed to accommodate public gatherings, ceremonies and special events.  
It was in Faneuil Hall that sometimes heated protests were expressed over taxation policies. These debates led to opposition to the Sugar Tax of 1764 and the Stamp Act of 1765. In December of 1773 many took issue with the newly arrived consignment of tea and the tax to be paid on it.  The Hall continues to be actively used and an important place for Bostonians.
Beside Faneuil Hall is Hay Market filled with small boutiques, fast food outlets and restaurants.  We had to take a picture of the patio at Seattle's Best Coffee for Ange.  
We went to Duggins for a dinner of Boston Baked Beans (we still prefer Libby's) and Boston cream pie .... which is really not a pie ... but cake.  

We made our way back on the subway to the train station at the new Fleet Centre ~ home of the NBA Celtics and the NHL Bruins.  The train left on time at 6:15 pm (our ETA back to Haverville was 7:15pm) and the train zipped along until we reached the station at Reading.

 Boston Cream Pie

There it gave several lurches and stopped.  Twenty minutes later the Conductor said "May I have your attention?  The train's engine has lost power.  After working on it in conjunction with the maintenance department we are unable to fix the problem.  They are sending a train up which will then push us to Haverville.  We appreciate your patience."  
After more waiting and finally the arrival of the train, our train car was pushed into Haverville.  The long trip had taken two and a half hours.  While some commuters were anxious, tired and hungry; others were quietly resigned and read, napped or just listened to others on cell phones.  We played card games on the Palm and contemplated another entry into our travel journal.

 

October 21, 2003

Before leaving Haverville, Massachusetts we searched out and made reservations for Long Island, New York.  Drove Highway 95 which acts as a ring road on the west side of Boston and commented, as we had already done several times this morning, of how much we had enjoyed being in Boston.  We continued to drive south and slightly west and crossed into Rhode Island just north of Providence.   Still staying on Hwy 95 (other than for pit stops) we crossed into Connecticut.  The temperature has been fluctuating between 20.5c and 15c along with variations in weather from pounding rain to sunshine and high cirrus clouds.  

Two more states have been added to our list - Rhode Island and Connecticut. It was late when we reluctantly booked into our hotel room in Jamaica - a suburb of New York City.  The neighbourhood was somewhat deprived.  The desk clerk was behind glass walls, the check-in card made statements such as "Your signature below confirms that ..." among others .... "the monies used to pay for the room have not been secured illegally" and "the room will not be used for illegal purposes."  When we asked what area codes were not long distance so we could connect our lap top to a local number, she said "local calls are fifty cents each and you need to leave a five dollar deposit before we open the phone line."  We showed her a letter from Choice Hotels which extended to us certain privileges including free local calling.  She phoned her boss and then opened up the lines.  We had booked three nights - but gave notice we would only be staying the one that had been guaranteed.  

The room, which overlooked the chop shop next door,  was clean enough to allow us to stay.  It was just before dark and we went out in search of food.  After walking a few blocks, one of which was through a flea market in the parking lot of Aqueduct (horse racing) in the processes of breaking down and packing up, we came upon a busy pizza shop and shared 3 different slices and a Greek salad ... and made plans to find new accommodations tomorrow.  

October 22, 2003

The morning was spent in search of new accommodations.  The drive gave us some appreciation of just how long Long Island is.  Once we checked in to a Quality Inn in a nicer neighbourhood and with a nicer view, we walk the six blocks  to the commuter train and began our first journey into New York City.

As we emerged from Penn Station the sky loomed high above the skyscrapers.  Macy's was straight ahead and it was difficult not to just stop and gawk at the buildings and let it sink in "We are in New York, New York."  

The city is bigger than life.  It is a city of excesses.  tall buildings, signs almost as big as the buildings themselves, streets flooded with yellow taxi cabs and black Lincoln Towncar limos with blacked out windows competing with delivery trucks and vans, the occasional private vehicle, tour buses and courier bikes that zip in and out a deathly pace.  Hundred year old buildings are reflected in the glass towers of new structures.  The best way to feel New York is on foot .... at ground level with the people that call this busy city their own .... shop people, business people, street hawkers, students, most sane ... some insane and more than just a few teetering on the edge showing their own style of "extreme".  For example the Naked Cowboy who stands in an advantageous spot with Times Square as a background so people ... mostly women ... but not all .... can have their pictures taken with his buff body, his geeetar strategically placed, a white hat and cowboy boots.  When he turns around he is wearing white underpants with the words "Naked Cowboy" printed across them.  The first time we saw him is was close to freezing temperatures .... but I guess the money people stuff in his boots at least keep his feet warm.

We even saw a billboard ad for him at one of the outlying bus stops.  Then there was the fellow dressed to the nines in a beautiful tuxedo, a big floppy white handkerchief buqueting out of his pocket, a spiked Mohawk hair-do and a pleased grin on his face from the double-takes people were giving him.  Oh, and then there was the fellow walking his rabbit on a leash .... and those were just three out on the streets.
Food places are abundant at ground level and their meal portions sometime seem obscene.  In New York, especially in Times Square, it is difficult to tell when darkness falls as mega-watts of lights fill the space between earth and stars.  We took a night tour.  It was cold but the view from the open-air-top of the double-decker tour trolley felt like the best seats in town for the show.  New York overwhelms the senses to excess and our minds and emotions were 
abuzz as we made our way back to our suburb room on the subdued commuter train.

October 23, 2003

Back to New York and a morning of jump-on-jump-off touring double-decker and then it was back to ground level and the excited yet orderly chaos of New York streets.   We sought out the address where Rev James Kennedy (Sherrie's great-great grandfather) ministered to his first North American church flock from 1871 to 1896.  If the church address has not changed then the space once known as the Reform Presbyterian Church is now a hotel,  however, on a nearby street corner stood a Presbyterian church that was undergoing major structural changes (putting a basement under the existing building).  

We were able to attract the attention of a construction foreman and after hearing our story and our desire to see the inside of the building, he went back in and brought out the church's building supervisor.  He explained that it was not open to the public ... danger of being injured where work was being carried out ... but that he could sympathize with our desires.  The foreman and the churchman ... led us into the building and into a magnificent church.  

Terry talked with the gentlemen while Sherrie took one picture after another (some blurry as a result of the excitement being felt).  We came away with the name and email address of a lady in the church that may be able to confirm whether or not this was indeed James Kennedy's church.  

Back on the trolley and off again just down the block from Carnegie's Deli (across from Carnegie Hall).  Inside Carnegie's the only thing stopping it from being wall to wall people were tables ladened with corn beef sandwiches, huge slices of cheese cake and other assorted menu items.  We each had the smaller version of the Carnegie's corn beef sandwich;

those who ordered the "Woody Allen" received a sandwich twice as thick.  Again the description "excess" comes to mind. Sherrie couldn't envision eating so much corn beef in one seating so put two-thirds of it aside and along with some from Terry's sandwich the two of us managed to have two more dinners from the take-home package (a common sight leaving the deli).  

We joined the rush hour crowd in the subway and on the train.  Our New York excursions had been both exhilarating and exhausting.

October 24, 2003

A day off.   It is good to take a day off now and then when traveling.  Although fun and enjoyable ...

traveling is a physical and mental activity and can burn most people out.  A vacation from a vacation is recommended and if, like Terry, one is struggling with a cough or cold ... a quiet day or two of rest ... will be rewarded in better health and rejuvenated enthusiasm.

October 25, 2003

We left New York.  Blue skies, sunshine with a scattering of clouds.  Drove across Staten Island to New Jersey, headed south and then west into Pennsylvania. Toll bridges and highways cost a total of $17.20.  Driving south-west through Delaware we entered Maryland and found accommodations in College Park ... about a three-quarter hour light rail commute to Washington DC.

Continue to October 26, 2003