When we last left our intrepid explorers, they were careening towards Boston for a wedding.
We stayed at a hotel right by Fort Devens, MA. The design of the hotel, which caused the slightest wind gust to sound like a howling gale past our window, led me to believe that it had once been part of the original base barracks back in WWI. It was nicely remodeled, but I’d know that barracks breeze from experience. With plenty of time before the wedding, Samurai and I set out to explore the obviously haunted barracks and historical grounds. Samurai noticed that my ghost hunting skills do not include reading signs. Signs from beyond the grave? Yes. Large, threating signs right next to me? No. Continuing across the parade grounds, we were thankful for our flu shots when reading about the 1918 influenza epidemic that killed 821 Soldiers and medical personnel. If I needed a ghost to slap an anti-vaxxer, I’d find them here.
Penguins of Bull Run
Our favorite Boston couple, codenamed the Penguins, were to be married at a historical tavern venue dating back to 1740. We joked with the Penguins about waiting for their wedding date for almost as long. These two nerds were made for each other. At the beginning of the vows, they did rock-paper-scissors to see which one of them would go first. The ceremony was peppered with references to D&D, gaming, and further fandom. It was an absolute treat to attend.
Bull Run is a beautiful venue with a historic covered bridge. The only covered bridge knowledge I had before this wedding involved Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. Luckily, the bridge ceremony took place before darkness fell, so no one had to throw a pumpkin to save the bride. Who knew a Disney cartoon could have such a lasting impression? I took my West Coast willies inside to the dancefloor where the bar was open, and the food was hot. Cheers to Mr. and Mrs. Penguin!
Boston Baked Beans
The following day, we ventured forth to experience historic Boston. Guided by Betts, a local friend who knows a bit about baseball, we navigated into the city. Before we had even parked, we passed some historic Boston baked beans in the median. FYI, everything is historical on the East Coast. Rather than concern ourselves with the future of the median beans, we chose to go full-tourist and find the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is not a red, white, and blue path to a backyard BBQ with Lynyrd Skynyrd blaring while bald eagles play baseball. It is a group of 16 nationally significant sites around Boston. Each is connected with a red brick path that covers 2.5 miles across the city. Again, my previous experience with Boston was limited to playing Fallout 4, where I explored the city in the year 2287 after a great nuclear war. I went into full geek mode, pointing out all the places I had eliminated mutants or mirelurks. Samurai, Betts, and Bee just humored me as I described the issues with zombies outside Trinity Church. Reign it in, weirdo!
Several of the sites included burying grounds (cemeteries for us tourists) with headstones of some well-known names. Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and Benjamin Franklin all stood among the many markers. Some parts of the graveyard path crossed eerily close to the faces of each stone, giving the impression that you were walking on the graves. That’s because you are. Sorry, ghosts of Boston. I didn’t design the path, but I did follow it. Hopefully, we didn’t disturb the spirits. Infer ghostly foreshadowing here.
Further down the Freedom Trail, the historic Corner Bookstore is now a historical Chipotle. I took a picture as proof because I was shaking my head in disbelief with the jalapeño chili pepper evidence burning my eyes. I suppose if you try to save every historic building in its original form, you end up with plenty of museums and no place to grab a quick bite. Still, I had to laugh. Speaking of food, we had to veer off the trail towards Samurai’s favorite travel obsession: Hard Rock Café. She has visited them all over the world and has the t-shirts and drinkware to prove it. Unfortunately, tragedy struck as we were leaving the restaurant. She stepped into a missing cobblestone and went flying in slow-motion as if she were a stuntwoman jumping into the air as an explosion went off behind her. Unfortunately, her tuck-and-roll was not on point, and she landed hard on her purse. It wasn’t until she returned home that she discovered that she had broken her Boston Hard Rock glass.
Days later, Samurai mysteriously received a new glass and the following letter:
Dearest Lady S,
We, the ghostly forefathers of Boston, hold these truths to be self-evident, that we were arseholes when we tripped you whilst on your journey of the Freedom Trail. I admit to hearing of your renown as a fellow “Sam” and am ashamed to admit that jealousy caused my boot to venture afore your comely ankle. As you lay upon the historic cobbles, the shatters of your pint glass languishing in its cardboard casket, we deeply regretted our transgression. Accordingly, all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, this spilled tea was our burden to bear. Directly, we contacted the glassblower employed at the Tavern of the Sturdy Stone. Please accept the enclosed glassware and our deepest apologies.
Samuel Adams and The Sons of Liberty
P.S. We did not pay taxes on this pint. Cheers!
The Green Monster
Our final act as tourists was to attend the last Red Sox home game of the season. In our usual fashion, we walked the 2-miles from the Freedom Trail to Fenway Park because it didn’t seem that far. The day was unusually warm, and we were soon regretting both our pace and lack of provisions. The game was close to starting, and the concession lines were too long to linger. The last four seats grouped together were beautifully positioned behind Homeplate. After making our way to our seats, and climbing over a few fans, we discovered that the design plans for airline seating must be based on Fenway Park. This historically beautiful baseball stadium is hell on your knees. I see why they invented the 7th Inning stretch. Samurai spotted vendors selling bottled water and lemonade. The desert that was my mouth got very dramatic over the thought of any beverage. Painfully, the vendors would venture halfway up the stands, not feeling the magnetic pull I trying to convey with my gaze and turn back down to the lower seats. Perhaps my rabid intensity was scaring them away. During team warmups, Samurai and I made the play to crawl backwards over four rows of seats to find any transportable liquids. By avoiding the food lines, we laser-focused on an unoccupied concession vendor and begged to buy water, soda, and lemonade. It was ambrosia with a straw and commemorative Red Sox cup. Sitting in the stands with a late summer breeze blowing up across the field, I finally understood the beauty of the Green Monster. The 37’2”-high Left Field wall has stood since 1912, making it plenty historical, even by Boston standards. Despite a close game, the Red Sox won, and the stadium erupted into a raucous celebration. It was an all-around historically American day. Appreciate history, watch your step, and have safe travels, my friends!