By Barbara Nunn, Contributing Writer
We got a late start the next morning, but enjoyed a tour of the city. I highly recommend this in any city as you get to see things you would otherwise miss and you don’t have to spend much time on the sites in which you have little interest. This tour took us through downtown, past the Christian Science Plaza, to Fenway Park, past the oldest fire station in the country, across the river to Cambridge and Harvard and MIT, to Long Wharf and eventually to a stop for the Old North Church.
There are several tour companies in Boston but we went with Bean Town Tours. Highly recommend them.
Without question, Old North Church was the highlight for me. Its steeple is visible from many points in the city. It is easy to understand that it was visible for miles before all the tall buildings were built.
The interior of the church is beautifully maintained in pristine white. The pews are actually boxes with benches. Each family “bought” their box with their tithes, and kept them by continuing to support the church financially. There was no heat, so worshipers brought large, heated stones for their box. The walls of the box helped keep the heat in during the service.
The balcony at the rear of the sanctuary is home to a beautiful pipe organ and four angels, supposedly taken from the loot of a pirate ship. Each angel perches on top of her own pedestal. The chandeliers are hung with ropes and hooks that look like they came off a ship. It’s all very simple but absolutely gorgeous.
You sit there and think about how the vicar and another parishioner silently climbed the stairs to the balcony and then up the narrow steps to the top of the steeple carrying their unlit lanterns in total darkness. Then they lit those lanterns and held them up for all the colonist in the countryside to see. The lanterns were only lit for about 60 seconds, but it was long enough for the colonist to learn that the British would attack by sea. One if by land, two if by sea, as Longfellow wrote in his famous poem. And Paul Revere spread the word during the night to those who were too far away to be able to see the steeple of the Old North Church.
They don’t let you go up to the balcony and certainly not into the steeple, but it was still a very impressive site to visit.
Tucked into a building to the side of the church is the traditional gift shop. But beyond is a small garden with a present day war memorial constructed of dog tags. A fountain in the center of the long mall is flanked on either side by various plaques of famous and not so famous men from that era as well as the Civil War. I think they are crypts but am not certain.
At the far end of this mall marking the true entrance to the church (we came in the back way) is a statue of Paul Revere on his horse. It is a perfect photo op, especially if you get a sunny day. But it was still drizzling in Boston. But I took the photos anyway. It is one of my favorites from the trip!
We then headed to see Paul Revere’s home. These colonists had the original open concept floor plan homes, but the difference is they only had two or three rooms, unless they were wealthy. Paul was—he had a kitchen, a living area and two bedrooms, but some of these rooms were added on later. It was all very interesting; especially to me being a realtor and all.
Somebody had told us that at the bakery all the tourist visited was Mike’s, but that The Modern was better. Amazingly, we found ourselves right there about snack time! The display cases were packed with beautiful confections. It was very hard to choose, but we finally decided to share a piece of carrot cake and slice of cheese cake. Both were wonderful!
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