The wedding and associated events took place about 40-60km from Boston proper so I stayed at Sudbury. The whole area is picture-postcard beautiful.
Apart from the aforementioned visit to Concord, I did manage some tourist time. One day it was walking the Freedom Trail, learning some of Boston’s history, and its place in wider American history. At historic Old North Church there is a very modern and moving memorial to participants in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, made from dog tags.
Along the way …. Boston’s narrowest house, and welcome to a Catholic Church. Has no one reported this to Rome?!
Then back to the centre of the old part of town by ferry. How lovely it is to be on water.
The next day I caught up with Boston ringer Laura whom I’d met faced-to-face in London going on three years ago. She showed me around Harvard. I am still stunned by the glass flowers at the Natural History Museum. I was expecting the flower equivalent of Faberge eggs. Not so at all. These were thousands of botanically correct specimens, made from glass 100 or more years ago, to be used for teaching purposes.
After that it was off to the Boston Public Library. The main branch is two buildings more or less plonked new next to old, quite different in style, and joined up by linking corridors. The old building is beautiful, looking more like a museum but very much a working library. Wandering about, at one point I spotted a semi-darkened room where people looked like they were copying something. It intrigued me so I asked a random person nearby who looked like he worked there. No, it wasn’t his area but let me introduce you to …… And so I met Tom, the Digital Imaging Production Manager, who took me behind the scenes and explained what was happening: BPL, having looked at the Google Books option, decided to digitise their collection themselves and thus own the digitised product. An external company is being paid to do the actual work, based in the library, and BPL has become a regional centre so other organisations have their material digitised there as well. It was fascinating and I greatly appreciated the time given to me. It was pleasing to hear, quite spontaneously, that Tom admires the work of Australia’s National Library and its Trove access portal.
There are a couple of churches near the library. In the Boston gloom, the weather having become grey and wet after the wedding, I visited both. One, where you paid and the staff were, well, lacklustre, and the other, Old South Church, was free and warm and friendly.
I was about to leave the latter, thinking I had time for a gallery, when the organist appeared for a practice. I sat and listened. It wasn’t very long but it was very lovely. I didn’t regret missing the gallery slot. Instead, I walked around a few blocks of ‘new Boston’, the well-planned business city, in comparison to the winding streets and quaint buildings encountered on the Freedom Trail walk.
Many people, but not I, travelled by duck – I’ve never seen so many, a few in San Francisco.
Late afternoon, back to Sudbury to pack my bags to be ready to move on to NYC early in the morning after the birthday party evening.