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Greater Boston

Started: 2005-09-25 19:24:57

Submitted: 2005-09-25 20:02:23

Visibility: World-readable

I may or may not take the opportunity to write a proper changelog documenting my adventures in Greater Boston over the past forty-eight hours. But here are the highlights:

Friday evening:

Left work at 1600; there was nothing else I could do. Wandered around my hotel room for a bit, changed all of my relevant reservations to extend my stay in New England through Monday evening (thanks to a schedule modification to send me up to see a customer in New Hampshire) and decided to go into Cambridge in search of sushi. Parked at Malden Center on the Orange Line and transfered to the Red Line to get to Harvard Square. Once there, I got a bit turned around and couldn't quite figure out where I was, so I grabbed a sandwich at au bon pain, wandered around Cambridge a bit, and headed home.


Parked at Wellington Station (where I meant to park the previous night but the lot was full) and took the Orange Line inbound into Boston. I walked from North Station to the Museum of Science to take a Boston Duck Tour. A sign informed me that today's tours were sold out, but they did in fact have single seats available throughout the day. Since it was just me, I took one for the 1230 tour. My con-duck-tor was Sargent Pepperz. (Rather expensive, at US$25/each, but definitely amusing. And informative.)

Next stop was the MIT Museum, which was high on my list of things to see last time I headed through Boston, but I didn't quite make it. After the museum, I wandered around MIT a bit, took pictures of various buildings, and headed out on the T to Boston Commons and the Public Gardens, then on the T again to the Prudential Center, where I took the elevator to the fiftieth floor of the Prudential Tower for the Skywalk Observatory. I was a bit shaky after going fifty floors straight up, but I kept my distance from the edge and all was good. I got to the top minutes after sunset, so the city's lights were on and there was still enough ambient light to see Boston Harbor. I got a great view of the John Hancock tower and skimmed an anti-xenophobic immigration exhibit. Upon entering (and paying US$9.50), I was issued a personal audio device that let me listen to descriptions of what I was seeing out the windows.

Back on the ground, I ate supper at the food court and headed back to my hotel (a half-hour drive on I-93).


My first stop wasn't in Boston at all, but in Lowell, a ten-minute drive west from Andover: Lowell National Historical Park, which documents and preserves the rise and fall of Lowell, the city that brought the Industrial Revolution to America (thanks to some industrial espionage by the town's namesake), and the town's rebirth as a tourist attraction and high-tech center. (Lowell fell after its factories moved to the American south, where they found cheap labor and advantageous taxes; those same factories are now closing due to cheap labor abroad, causing the same wailing and gnashing of teeth.) I visited the visitor's center, saw the little movie, and walked along the canals to the Boott Cotton Mills Museum, which recreates a mill floor with 88 power looms.

I headed into Boston itself (parking once again at Wellington Station) and took the T to the Museum of Fine Art. For the bargain entrance price of US$15 (not counting the special, extra-cost Ansel Adams exhibition), I got to see original works by Monet, Rembrandt, van Gogh, and Renoir, as well as a special exhibit with the unlikely title "Things I Love: The Many Collections of William I. Koch".

I swung by the Prudential Center's food court after the museum and finally got my fast-food sushi. I thought about sticking around for the fireworks celebrating Boston's 375th anniversary (how often does one of those celebrations come around?) but really just wanted to vegetate for a while (and doing laundry, since I packed only enough clothing to last me through my originally-scheduled return on Saturday), before waking up early tomorrow morning to drive through New Hampshire and back to Boston's Logan Airport to catch a 2130 EDT plane (landing in Denver at 2359 MDT) back home. I know I said I didn't want to start another Megafest sleep-deprived, but I may not have much choice.