The State House is one of the landmark buildings in Boston and the state of Massachusetts as it is the seat of government. It was built in 1798 with the purpose of replacing the old State House, which is located a few blocks away. It is a stunning building, and its majestic atmosphere is enhanced by its location. It sits on the top of the hill overlooking Boston Common, in the upper-class neighborhood of Beacon Hill. The golden dome, which reflects the sun when the weather is good, makes it instantly recognizable. This monument is part of the Freedom Trail, and can be visited by tourists as part of a free guided tour that takes about 45 minutes. The tour begins in the Doric Hall, named because of the white pine columns, and continues through the Hall of Nurses, where a statue pays tribute to all the army nurses who served during the War of Independence, before finally visiting the most important rooms in the building: the Chambers of the Senate and House of Representatives. The latter is known for the Sacred Cod, a wooden sculpture hanging from the ceiling that was a gift from a Boston merchant to remember the importance of the fishing industry. It's a funny touch in such a serious place!
The USS Constitution Museum Foundation, Inc. is the memory and educational voice of USS Constitution. It collects and interprets the stories of Old Ironsides and the people associated with it. It creates a positive experience for both children and adults, inspiring them with the love of liberty that the Museum symbolizes. The Constitution allowed the ships to clear the decks for visitors who travel aboard the ship to go through it, instead of a floating museum.
If you are crossing Boston, then you can visit Charlestown Navy Yard, one of the oldest shipyards in the United States. Since 1974, the National Park Service has managed it. Among other attractions you can find the free museum ship USS Cassin Young at Pier 1 or Pier 2, a WWII destroyer. There is a box to leave a tip and a person stationed at the entrance, as sometimes there are too many people trying to visit the destroyer, and to guilt you to leave something. The Fletcher-class destroyer, 114 meters in length, launched September 12, 1943 and was named after a brave sea captain who survived the Pearl Harbor attack but died in combat during the Battle of Guadalcanal a year later. The USS Cassin Young DD-793 participated in some of the most important battles of the Pacific War, including Leyte and Okinawa (as you can learn from Wikipedia or the tv series the Pacific) and was removed from service in 1960. In 1978, the US Navy gave the ship to the National Park Service to serve as a floating museum and memorial; it was opened to the public in 1981. For much of the time since, the USS Cassin has been in the water, but since 2010 has been dry-docked for hull repairs. Thankfully, when we visited it, it was open for public access. On our visit, we saw much of the ship's main deck, although there were clear areas that weren't accessible. It was interesting to see a warship of the time, and how claustrophobic it must have been to be surrounded by boats and planes firing at you while you were doing the same while floating on the water. It made our hair stand slightly on end. We saw the 40 mm antiaircraft guns, 5" turrets, decorations, the radio area, dining room, and breakout rooms. If you pass through Boston, I highly recommend a visit, as there are usually a lot of people queuing to access the destroyer. Though we didn't have problems and we visited in August. Additionally, we saw a group of officers and Navy men, and they did have access to areas banned to the public.
Following the Freedom Trail through Boston, we found several historic cemeteries that date back to the time of the War of Independence. One of these is the Granary Burying Ground. Located in Park Street, not far from Boston Common and Park Street Church with its unmistakable high white steeple, here you can find tombs dating back to 1660. It's a small area of peace and quiet that will take you away from the hustle and bustle of the city center. Famous revolutionary figures like Paul Revere and John Hancock are among those buried here.
The New England Holocaust Memorial is a really touching and meaningful monument that represents all the Jews who died in the Nazi concentration camps. It's made up of four glass towers that are hollow inside. You can enter them and in the evenings they are filled with smoke, as a reminder of the chimneys of the camps' incinerators. Engraved on the glass are six million numbers, equal to the number of the dead.
With just a day and a half to spend in Boston, and getting a bit tired of following the Freedom Trail, I stumbled upon the port where I found an office with information about the parks on the nearby islands. I didn't have enough time to visit them, but I did take a small tour of the bay on the commuter boats. I enjoyed the refreshing sea breeze, and the beautiful views of the city. You can use these boats for a little trip to the islands, or even go to Logan Airport with them!
Cambridge, near Boston Massachusetts, houses the most famous university in America: Harvard University. I had the good fortune to study at Harvard Business School many years ago, and it was an experience that I know I'll never forget. When I arrived, I had already worked for several years, and was attending a course for managers. I found myself with fifty other people from all over the world. The setting was the first unforgettable element of the experience. I lived and studied on the campus for the first time, and it was nothing like attending university in Italy.
Harvard University is place dedicated exclusively to study and research, with an atmosphere that I can only describe as magical, and set in a seemingly old, but incredibly modern setting! Finally, the method was based on case studies and group discussion, which helped me to understand the reality, deal with my peers and meet competent, extremely helpful professors. All this in a town full of life, with clubs and restaurants to spend all my free time at! And for sports-lovers, there's everything you could need, too. I went back a year ago, and I felt right at home. It was as if I'd never left. If you go to Boston, don't miss the opportunity to head to Cambridge and take a walk through the magical grounds of Harvard University.
Copp's Hill Burying Ground, a cemetery on a hill, is a key point on the Freedom Trail. From this hill you have a strategic view of the port of Boston, and it was here that the British placed their artillery for the Battle of Bunker Hill. The house right in front of the entrance to the cemetery is the narrowest house in Boston, just 3 meters wide!
It may not have the romance of the Paris metro or the extraordinary underground stations in Moscow, but it was the first subway in the United States of America! As I took a picture, someone stopped to tell me proudly that this, the first metro system in America, had opened in 1897. The line that connects the center to Harvard pass across a bridge, and you can enjoy the beautiful view of the bay ... Funnily enough, each line has different materials, so the trains cannot change lines.
Park Street Church is located on the corner of Park and Tremont street. You can visit from 8:30am to 3:30pm from Tuesday to Saturday but only during the summer. If you are interested in visiting outside of the hours, I recommend calling for an appointment. The most beautiful part of the church is the white spire that stands against the red bricks that make up the landscape of downtown Boston. The first speech in favor of the abolition of slavery (made by Garrison) was made here. For this reason, it is the second stop on the Freedom Trail. Don't miss the Old Granary Burying Ground behind the church. There's also an exhibition of old photographs on the ground floor. The church services are held on the first floor.
The hop on and off bus tours of Boston can be a good choice if you don't have much time like us (just two days). Actually, the city needs a few more days for you to really see everything, like the museums, cemeteries, federal buildings, and all types of businesses as well as art galleries.
Converse Shoes recently celebrated their 100th anniversary in Boston, Massachusetts. It's the most famous sneaker in the country, popular with basketball players including the local hero and ex-player for the Boston Celtics, Larry Bird.
It was founded in the year 1990 with the purpose of acquiring, restoring and reopening as a museum and cultural center of the synagogue in Vilna at 18 Phillips Street in North Slope of Beacon Hill. This is a synagogue last remaining from the immigrant era (constructed in the year 1919). The organization takes its name from its establishment in 1995, with the purpose of creating a place to connect with the Boston Jewish experience.
The Massachusetts Historical Society is dedicated to studying and preserving the history of Boston. Here, they carefully preserve the stories embodied in materials, records and structures such as the Old State House. The world changed forever by the events in Boston, which were connected to this building for decades previous to 1776. The people and events of this great city helped make Boston the birthplace of the American Revolution.
The Chinatown Gate marks the entrance to Chinatown in Boston. It is a decorative arch donated to the community by the city of Taipei. Built in white marble, it has the characteristic pagoda roof and is guarded at the sides by statues of Chinese lions. It is surrounded by the small green area of Chinatown Park, a public park full of Feng Shui sculptures. Beyond this monumental gate is Chinatown, which seems almost like another world, with its specialty shops and the telephone booths with temple-shaped roofs.
The city of Boston is characterized by European-style architecture with far fewer high-rise buildings than you'll find in other American cities. The few skyscrapers are mostly concentrated in the Financial District. One of them is the Custom House Tower, the first skyscraper in Boston. The building was completed in 1849, and has the appearance of a Greek temple with Doric columns and a domed skylight. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the structure was topped by a clock tower 151 meters high. Despite not being the tallest skyscraper in the city, it still catches the eye, perhaps due to its white granite walls which stand out among the other buildings nearby. Initially a customs house, it was bought by the Mariott chain and converted into a hotel. From the luxurious lobby, a short elevator ride takes you up the 26 floors to reach the roof terrace where you can enjoy breathtaking views across the harbor.