Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot
Wouldn’t you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
Couldn’t resist it. We always loved Cheers and it’s synonymous with Boston isn’t it? Plus some of the lyrics may be appropriate to our little JWalking experience who knows? Anyway, if you fancy a quick view of the Cheers introduction just click here.
Obviously we were aware that the TV series Cheers was set in Boston but we had no idea that it was based on an actual bar that really existed. Apparently the producers were touring around the city looking at places for inspiration and as soon as they entered the Bull and Finch pub on Beacon Hill they decided that this was exactly the type of bar they wanted. So being big fans of the series we just had to get in a visit.
It’s situated on the edge of the Beacon Hill area of Boston and we just couldn’t pass by without popping in for a beer. That would have been crazy! So down the stairs we went and I even managed to get Norm’s seat right at the end of the bar. How excited were we?
It’s not all drinking and sitting around you know, we do actually get up off our ****** and explore places sometimes. We’d planned to walk up through the area of Beacon Hill which is the old classic townhouse part of Boston. We crossed the public gardens with its weird Swan Boats on our way up the hill. These boats take up to twenty passengers with a couple of people punting and they just circle the small lake. But they’re all designed like great big swans! So odd and completely daft but the queues of tourists waiting for a ride were huge. We just didn’t get it.
So a long walk up past Louisburg Square along the Black Heritage Trail and down the famous Acorn Street. Very picturesque area and very hilly. Finally ending with a visit to the oldest independent library in the USA, the Boston Athenaeum. Like a Victorian gentleman’s club from the 1890s, fascinating.
So on to the biggest problem of the week. As some of you will know there is a football tournament going on in Europe called Euro 2016. It’s all over the papers and the tv and everywhere unless you live in America where they have no idea it’s even on. We didn’t have a TV in our Airbnb accommodation unfortunately so if we were to watch Englands opening match against Russia we needed to find a bar. On our walk along the Freedom Trail we’d passed several Irish bars and decided to give one of them a try.
Euro 2016 at Paddy O’s
Heading for the Irish district we noticed that several were now advertising the Euro soccer tournament (wrong!, it’s football) but we went for Paddy O’s as planned. It’s a long bar with a huge open area at the far end and massive TV screens hanging from the ceiling. Perfect. Saw the end of the Wales game and had some food as the place started to fill up.
Just as the match started we heard the bar manager talking to his staff about how he hadn’t realised that the USA and Mexico weren’t in the soccer cup and that they should switch all the screens to baseball immediately. After some discussion he left one of the big screens on the FOOTBALL and all the others showed something called Baseball. He also turned the sound off and replaced it with club classic disco. Not a massive problem until after 10 minutes the live rock band at the front of the pub started. Oh and did I mention it was Gay Pride day and the bar suddenly filled with a whole bunch of hyperactive excitable rainbow-wearing Priders?
So picture the scene if you can. Jo and I sitting politely and quietly watching the silent England Russia game on a single screen in the midst of a wall of baseball, with ‘Born to be Wild’ screaming in our ears from the not quite-in-tune hillbilly band, and hundreds of frilly ladies(?) screaming and dancing around. Football eh?
The Harbour Walk
We’d seen a lot of the city but Boston is a harbour town on the edge of Massachusetts Bay so we had to explore there. A beautiful sunny again as we passed Faneuil Hall and headed for the harbour. A souvenir shop enroute caught our eye and Jo just had to mess about.
The harbour is fabulous, lots of pleasure craft taking tourists out for jaunts around the bay, and lots of bars and restaurants catering for those same tourists when they get back. It has a really nice laid back atmosphere and we just took our time and wandered. There are a lot of trips and experiences relating to the Boston Tea Party (where the locals rebelled against the British in 1773 and threw chests full of tea into the harbour), the New England Aquarium and many small museums. Loads to see.
Down over Seaport Boulevard and the fantastic rusty old swing bridge and onto Fan Pier Park. The views from Fan Pier are just brilliant as you get all of the city on one side and then the open Massachusetts Bay on the other. Plus, one of the really strange things about Boston is that the airport, Logan International, has been built on reclaimed land right over the bay. It’s so close to the city but separated by a narrow stretch of water.
Although Jo’s shirt says Chicago she really loved Boston, history is her thing and Boston has oodles of it. We felt it was such a great place just to walk and explore and it felt so friendly and safe. As we’d walked many miles again we treated ourselves to a smart late lunch at Tia’s restaurant on the edge of Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park.
Tramp of the Week
There are a few homeless people in most US cities and you get the occasional beggar. They’re no bother and usually hold up signs asking for money but one fella we saw on our walk did something a bit different. As we walked by we noticed the sign said “Give me a dollar and I won’t vote for Trump”! Brilliant. Wish we’d taken a photo.
Did I mention that we went to Cheers?
Remember? Well the bar was so successful tourist-wise that they built another by Faneuil Hall with the exact same layout the TV bar had. How could we walk past that without a look? Couple more beers at the bar and equally amazing, unfortunately no-one shouted ‘Norm’ though as we walked in. We loved it.
A lot of the cities we’ve visited have been fabulous tourist destinations and great to look around but probably not the types of places we could live. Boston however is exactly the sort of place we could live in. It’s a city of course but not a huge city and retains that friendly welcoming feel that we just love.
12.6 – 16.6.2016