[Maryanne]On my last full day in Boston, I stole away from preparing the boat for our early start the following morning, and aimed to use up the last of my public transport card for Boston with what I planned to be a quick tour of a few of the free sites.... On my tours I came across this building - it is beautiful - I admit these aren't the best pictures in the world, but can you guess what it is?
Did you guess? Nope? Well it is the Boston Public Library, the first free library in the country and just stunning - what a beautiful setting. To be precise, the The McKim Building. The offer a free architectural tour daily and If you are ever in Boston I absolutely recommend it. I hadn't intended to go to the library but (cheap as I am) I had noted it had a free tour.
I first went to the Custom House Tower where there is a 26th floor observation deck over the city - that is supposed to be really good. The tower currently a Marriott time share building, but they have a daily schedule for public viewing from the observation tower. I turned up for the 10am tour, only to be told they changed it to 2:00pm. Doh! So I moved on to Faneuil Hall. We had seen the outside of it on our Freedom Trail tour, but this time I went inside for the free presentation. This meeting hall has a huge part to play in American History, and is neatly preserved - the bottom floor, an old market place, now basically a small shopping mall, the 2nd floor the meeting Hall, and above that the home of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts with a snazzy little museum of their artifacts.
Next I went for the Black Heritage Trail Tour (another free tour). My knowledge of Black American History just about tripled, and it really was a very well presented walking tour, ending at the museum (also free). Boston has a rich Black history as one of the early free states, and the tour focused on the South side of Beacon Hill, where the early free black community settled in Boston. By the time I'd finished at the Black Heritage trail, I'd missed my chance to return to the Custom House so I picked the next tour (2:30 at the library) - I had to sprint a little, but I made it; and as you can see I'm glad I did.
Whilst on the library tour the guide told us about the Trinity Church just across the square and described it as one of the 10 most beautiful buildings in America. I decided I couldn't miss it and paid the $6 for a self guided tour. Pretty impressive, but I'm not sure how it ranks #10 and I could not find any evidence that such a list even exists. By then the day was getting late, an I knew I still had to get and stow last minute grocery supplies - so I rushed the tour and rushed back to the boat (and I still had $s left on my transit card!).
Whew - a hectic day, way longer than I had planned, but I'm so glad I made those extra tours. I'm writing this we are crossing the Massachusetts Bay, heading south. Kyle is grinning, sailing downwind with full main and the screacher up - all is well with the world. Farewell Boston.