19 May 2010

EcoRover Visits Boston

It's been a fast four years with daughter Emily swimming for the Boston University Terriers and taking her degree in Marine Science. Mrs Rover & I journeyed to east last week for graduation ceremonies, where are friends Andy & Sarah Wilson, and their daughter Emily, were able to join us for a few days. It was great fun with a whirlwind of academic ceremonies, meals out, and touristy activities. This is the first of three posts about our recent visit to Boston, Massachussetts.

Whale Watching
We spent a half-day sailing with Boston Harbor Cruises (highly recommended!). Here are Emily & Mrs R at the stern, ready to shove off:

We pass the Boston Light, the last glimpse of shore for the next few hours:

Soon, we spotted pods of Atlantic White-sided Dolphins feeding actively (the surface of the ocean sometimes shimmered  with small fish trying to escape these swift, acrobatic predators:

Sometimes they seemed to enjoy racing alongside the ship:

The dolpins often associated with Minke Whales, which we saw in abundance. Though small as whales go, at 20+ feet they are an impressive creature:

We also saw a dozen or more of the larger (40 to 50 feet) Humpback Whales. They kept their distance from the boat (I would too had my kin been hunted to near-extinction) and were not breaching, so I was photogrpahically challenged with my little point-and-shoot:

It's called whale watching for a reason: you snooze, you lose. Here's Emily studiously scanning the horizon--she pointed out many spouts a mile or more from the ship:

Sailing back into the harbor, we were glad to see the skies clear and the air warm a bit:

Back on the dock, we couldn't resist watching the clowning Harbor Seals at the New England Aquarium:

Boston City Sights
We strolled past now warm & familiar places such as Trinity Church:

King's Chapel Cemetery:

The "new" Massachusetts State House:

With its golden dome:

And of course the Giant Teapot (nevermind that it now marks a Starbucks!):

My favorite is perhaps the Lion & Unicorn of the "Old" State House. Both figures, as icons of the British Crown, were taken down and burned after Americans proclaimed the Declaration of Independence. As  Mother Goose put it:
"The lion and the unicorn

Were fighting for the crown —
The lion beat the unicorn
All about the town.
Some gave them white bread,
And some gave them brown,
Some gave them plum-cake,
And sent them out of town."

Or, according to Lewis Carroll:
"Alice could not help her lips curling up into a smile as she began: `Do you know, I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too? I never saw one alive before!'

`Well, now that we have seen each other,' said the Unicorn, `if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you. Is that a bargain?' "

It's fun to walk a city. You never know quite what sort of event -- like this infamous race -- you might happen upon:

"It that a killer squirrel?" "Oh no, it's just a fuzzy little squirrel." "Ah, I dunno, could be a killer squirrel ya know." [Apologies to Monty Python.]:

Hmmm... Now only the Masons would hide something under a hollow sidewalk and let you know about it:

Duck Tour
Totally toursity, but a Boston Duck Tour is not to be missed. DUKWs were  developed as amphibious landing vehicles for WW II. They now serve as tour vehicles, but the military origins have been kept alive with "Kilroy was here"--the graffiti icon that marked US military presence throughout the European theatre:

Novelist Thomas Pynchon (in his novel V. ) of course had a different take on Kilroy--as derived from the electrical schematic for a band-pass filter:

As our Duck rolled over Boston's streets and plied the waters of the harbor, we gained a new appreciation of the city:

My favorite views included the elegant "Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge:"

As seen here from beneath an arch of the Longfellow Bridge:

A landmark from the dawn of the 20th century, its architect was inspired by the belief that Viking ships once plied the waters of Boston Harbor:

A quick trip to Chinatown for some gift tea completes our tour for today:

We hope to see you, Boston, in future visits:

[One post down, two to go: a few favorite Boston eateries and BU graduation ceremonies.]

1 comment:

Susan said...

Not sure if you'll see this as it's an older post but the bunny sculpture shown in one of the photos is was modeled after a real rabbit named Celeste. Who ended up being a pet of my friend Celeste after her "modeling" career ended :) I guess her dad knew the artist.