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A Second Trip into Boston

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

After our initial journey into Boston for the baseball game we rested near our campsite and community on Thursday, July 27. We walked a total of 4 miles that first night we traveled to Fenway Park, so we needed to rest up before the next trip into Beantown.

This trip on Friday, July 28 was on the train out of Lincoln, MA which is south of Hanscom AFB. We drove to the station and parked in the commuter train station parking lot for free. We boarded the train and paid for our roundtrip fares, two seniors at $8.50 each. The trip took 40 minutes and arrived the North Station below the New Boston Garden. This station is also a hub for Amtrak and the MBTA metro lines. We exited the station to look for the nearest ON/OFF Trolley Bus stop. But first a photo with the statue of "The Goal".

Bobby Orr's Flying Goal won the 1970 Stanley Cup for the Boston Bruins. It's considered by many hockey fans to be the most famous goal ever. And it produced an iconic photo that has been reproduced countless times and was made into a poster that is still selling more than five decades later.

We boarded the Trolley Bus at stop #4 and headed to stop #10 at the Marriott Hotel to pay for tickets. When we saw the stop across the street for the Boston Duck Tours it got us thinking about a different tour. So we took a lunch break and talked it over before committing to the Trolley. We decided to duck out on the trolley...quack, quack, quack!

We hopped aboard the 2PM Boston Duck Tours and enjoy a fully narrated and guided historic tour of Boston in a “DUCK", a W.W.II style amphibious landing vehicle that travels on land and water. We were greeted by our legendary ConDUCKtor Max Marshall Arch, who narrated our tour. We cruised by all the places that make Boston the birthplace of freedom and a city of firsts, from the golden domed state House to the Boston Common, the historic North End to fashionable Newbury Street, Quincy Market to the Prudential Tower, and more. Just when we thought we'd seen it all, it was time for a Big Splash as our driver drives the DUCK right into the Charles River for a breathtaking view of the Boston and Cambridge skylines.

We saw a different view of Boston and Max, being a former stand up comedian, was hilarious as our ConDUCKtor. After the DUCK tour we found our way to the U.S.S. CONSTITUTION before it would close at 6 PM by using the Metro system back to North Station. From there it was a 1.2 mile walk. We crossed the Charles River by the locks and headed for the former Charlestown Naval Shipyard.

The Boston Navy Yard, originally called the Charlestown Navy Yard and later Boston Naval Shipyard, was one of the oldest shipbuilding facilities in the United States Navy. It was built in 1801 as part of the recent establishment of the new U.S. Department of the Navy in 1798. After 175 years of military service, it was decommissioned as a naval installation on July 1, 1974.

The 30-acre property is administered by the National Park Service becoming part of Boston National Historical Park. Enough of the yard remains in operation to support the moored USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides"), the oldest warship still commissioned in the United States Navy and afloat in the world. USS Cassin Young (DD-793), a 1943 World War II-era Fletcher class destroyer serving as a museum ship, is also berthed here. The museum area includes a dock which is a stop on the MBTA Boat water transport system. Among local people in the area and the National Park Service, it is still known as the Charlestown Navy Yard.

USS Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides, is a three-masted wooden-hulled heavy frigate of the United States Navy. She is the world's oldest ship still afloat. She was launched in 1797, one of six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794 and the third constructed. The name "Constitution" was among ten names submitted to President George Washington by Secretary of War Timothy Pickering in March of 1795 for the frigates that were to be constructed. Joshua Humphreys designed the frigates to be the young Navy's capital ships, and so Constitution and her sister ships were larger and more heavily armed than standard frigates of the period. She was built at Edmund Hartt's shipyard in the North End of Boston, Massachusetts. Her first duties were to provide protection for American merchant shipping during the Quasi-War with France and to defeat the Barbary pirates in the First Barbary War.

Constitution is most noted for her actions during the War of 1812 against the United Kingdom, when she captured numerous merchant ships and defeated five British warships: HMS Guerriere, Java, Pictou, Cyane, and Levant. The battle with Guerriere earned her the nickname "Old Ironsides" and public adoration that has repeatedly saved her from scrapping. She continued to serve as flagship in the Mediterranean and African squadrons, and she circled the world in the 1840s.

Constitution was retired from active service in 1881 and served as a receiving ship until being designated a museum ship in 1907. In 1934, she completed a three-year, 90-port tour of the nation. She sailed under her own power for her 200th birthday in 1997, and again in August 2012 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her victory over Guerriere.

Constitution's stated mission today is to promote understanding of the Navy's role in war and peace through educational outreach, historical demonstration, and active participation in public events as part of the Naval History and Heritage Command. As she is a fully commissioned Navy ship, her crew of 75 officers and sailors participate in ceremonies, educational programs, and special events while keeping her open to visitors year round and providing free tours. The officers and crew are all active-duty Navy personnel, and the assignment is considered to be special duty. She is usually berthed at Pier 1 of the former Charlestown Navy Yard at one end of Boston's Freedom Trail.

She is a beauty and I got a warm feeling inside being onboard this remarkable piece of naval history and tradition.

We took our time visiting Constitution and her related museum until they chased us out at 6 PM. On our walk back to North Station we stopped for dinner. We were both "feeling" the length of the day, the summer heat, and the mileage on our legs and feet. We got back to the train station and waited for the Fitchburg Line Commuter Rail back to Lincoln.

We got back in the dark but found the truck in the empty parking lot and headed back to Hanscom AFB tired but satisfied. Friday was a full day's worth of American history, great local food and drink and plenty of walking (5.62 miles worth) under our belts.


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