This rather long post is a tribute to one of our spring tv obsessions, and is dedicated to our friends who loyally watched with us.
July 4th, 8:42 A.M. We departed from our apartment on our way to the Hamilton depot to meet a train into Boston, our destination. After Lucas' careful research of train schedules we decided to meet the Hamilton train in order to make it into Boston in time to hear the Declaration of Independence read from the balcony of the Old State Building. The only setback was that the last train to return to Hamilton was the earliest of all the trains leaving Boston after the fireworks which would mean a fast getaway was needed after the fireworks, but we felt up to the task. We caught the train, made our connections on the T in Boston and made it to the Old State House just in time to hear them announce the end of the ceremony. BUT we caught a lively parade complete with veterans, modern day soldiers and Minute Men and soldiers from the Revolutionary War! The highlight of this was spotting one of the Minute Men in line at Starbucks...apparently even the Minute Men need a little something to keep them alert.
DETOUR! Since we missed the reading of the Declaration, we wanted to take in one of Boston's touristy things from the 4th while still making it to Joel and Alli's relatively on time. We had to choose between seeing the USS Constitution go out for her once a year turnaround, complete with a cannon salute, and participating in the debate over the tax on tea at the Old South Meeting House. After considering each choice we went to the tax debate and were each assigned parts - Lucas being a Loyalist Stonecutter (Long live the King!) and me being a Patriot Wine Merchant. Unfortunately we did not get to participate in the debate as another girl had my part and was called on first, and the moderator was too busy calling on little kids to notice Lucas' hand and give him opportunity to speak his line (which he still has memorized in case anyone wants to hear his fiery delivery!). We made it out at 11:30 and quickly headed to Joel and Allie's.
We met up with Joel and Allie and after a scrumptious, and cost-effective, lunch at Boca Grande we headed out to claim a spot to watch the fireworks (with the hopes that we would be the first to reach our destination - a.k.a. the perfect spot...). After a little wandering we found it. THE perfect spot right on the water, across from the firework barge, with shade and sun and a great view of the Boston skyline. The reward a restful afternoon filled with frisbee playing, good company (in the form of Joel and Allie Schellhammer) and a delightful walk, during which we encoutered the smiley button man ("Smiles, smiles, frowns, clowns, downs, bowns....").
I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about some of the especially delightful events of the day that have nothing to do with our amazing race, but are nonetheless noteworthy. There was the chance meeting with my college friend Gail Nelson. The alliance with our chair friends (which proved to be helpful when people closed in for the fireworks and they protected the Western border of our blanket). And the highlight: Allie's flag cake (mmmm...so good). Then we saw some AMAZING fireworks. Due to the close proximity of our perfect spot and the direction of the wind we did end up being covered with soot and hit by the paper remnants of the fireworks, but it was still enjoyable. As a true fireworks lover, I have to admit that this was not simply a conglomeration of colorful explosions in the sky, this was art. They were choreographed with music and I was enthralled as I watched the display and thought about the work that had to have gone into it. Bravo.
10:53(ish): The fireworks are over and the race truly begins. We grabbed our stuff just as the last fireworks were fading away, and without folding or packing what we grabbed we ran for the subway station; bobbing and weaving through the crowd with Joel leading the way. It was like we were in one of those movie where aliens are invading the planet (or some other natural or unnatrual disaster is striking). We were the heroes of course, because the heroes are always the ones who make it, and we were passing everyone in our mad dash. We made it to the station and on to our first subway train without a glitch (special thanks to Joel, our amazing guide. We couldn't have done it without you!). We got off two stops later to jump onto the green line that would take us to the North station to meet our train.
ROADBLOCK! Our train announces at the next stop (two stops away from our connecting train) that this is their last stop and all passengers must get off. Lucas and I exited the train without knowing where we were or how to get where we needed to be. We waited for the next train, hoping it would keep going to our stop, but it was kicking off all of its passengers as well. Notably frustrated, we waited for another train knowing now that we missed the train that will get us back to Hamilton, but also banking on alternative options. The next subway train that came through was going to our connecting stop and we crammed on with hundreds of other people (it smelled like that many at least) and thanked God that we were moving on. We got off and precious minutes were lost as we ran around trying to find the train station and we finally found it and confirmed that our train left, but we could take another train to Beverly (about 15 minutes from our final destination) and then take a cab back to our car). We did that, and thanks to John from Lowell and a Boston taxi driver we made it back to the Hamilton depot and our car.
We were truly excited, despite the countless hassles and frustrations, to have this Amazing Race-esque adventure. It was a wonderful day. Joel and Allie, thank you so much for being amazing hosts. We look forward to many more similar adventures in the future!