Day 732: Boston NHP, Boston AA NHS, Boston Harbor Islands NRA

Today we walked from the RV to the train station here in Malden.  With only a few minutes until the inbound train arrived, I was quite confused by the ticket buying kiosk.  Thankfully, a depot employee gave me a CharlieCard and showed us how to charge it up.  We boarded the local Orange Line train and rode the 19 minute trip into downtown Boston:

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Downtown Boston isn’t at all laid out like a grid, increasing the sense of being in a labyrinth:

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We walked to Faneuil Hall, home of the visitor center for Boston National Historical Park:
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In this room at the hall, issues of the day have been debated in public meetings for over 200 years:

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We picked up the Junior Ranger books for Boston National Historical Park, and also the Junior Ranger books for Boston African American National Historic Site since the visitor center dedicated to the latter is closed on Sundays.  We then wandered down to the harbor, where we picked up the Junior Ranger books for Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.  It turns out that in addition to the “generic” Junior Ranger book for this unit of the NPS, there are five more books and badges for each of the five major islands in Boston Harbor.  Some other time….

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M asked the ranger a question as part of his Junior Ranger work:

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The kids completed their Junior Ranger workbooks and received their Junior Ranger badges:

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Down at the waterfront the kids completed the Junior Ranger books for Boston African American National Historic Site as well.  We returned the workbooks to Faneuil Hall and the kids received their badges:

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From Faneuil Hall, we walked the Freedom Trail, passing the Paul Revere House (grey, on the left), built in 1680 and the oldest structure in Boston:

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We walked by an Italian religious ceremony which if I understood correctly was the carrying down the street of a statue brought over from Italy 95 years ago:

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Continuing along the Freedom Trail, we crossed the Charles River and ended up at the Charlestown Navy Yard.  We visited the visitor center there, which is also part of Boston NHP.  This section of the visitor center focused on the yard’s rope making facility:

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We next boarded the USS Cassin Young which is on display:

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M and B man the stern 40mm Anti-aircraft gun:

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View from the stern:

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The officers meeting room.  Note the surgical light in the ceiling, as this was the only room on the ship large enough to be use as a surgical space:

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The forward 5-inch gun:

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Looking off the bow, the Bunker Hill Monument can be seen on the horizon:

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Before going aboard the USS Constitution, we visited the USS Constitution Museum.  The museum had a fine model of the heavy frigate on display:

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The Constitution is in dry dock right now, and the copper hull plating is being replaced.  The navy has a table set up in the museum where visitors can engrave their names on the copper plating that will ultimately be fastened to the hull:

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After the museum, we returned to the navy yard visitor center where the kids handed in their Junior Ranger workbooks and received their badges:

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Our final stop of the day was visiting the USS Constitution.  Unfortunately, she is in dry dock, so her guns have been removed as well as the upper 75% of her masts and all of her sails.  The main deck can be walked, but no below deck access is available during this repair cycle:

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All of the Constitution’s 52 guns are ashore:

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I was very excited and moved to be aboard one of the first six frigates built by the US Navy over 220 years ago, the ship that was victorious in her famous engagements with HMS Guerriere and HMS Java.  I’ve read the first 19 books of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series, so I consider myself to be something of an 18th and 19th century naval warfare aficionado.  Even without her sails, masts, and guns, the sense of history was palpable:

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The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned vessel afloat in the world.  “Commissioned” means that the USS Constitution is still an official part of America’s naval fleet.  The entire crew is composed of US Navy personnel.  One of the ship’s crew gave a brief talk about the ship:

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After touring the ship, we walked to the nearest train station for the ride home:

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It was a long day, but we learned a lot about Boston’s revolutionary and naval history!

Day 730: Longfellow / GW HQ NHS, Olmstead NHS, JFK NHS
Day 733: Minute Man NHP and Lowell NHP

2 thoughts on “Day 732: Boston NHP, Boston AA NHS, Boston Harbor Islands NRA

  1. When Tom and I were on the Constitution I whacked my head going down into the lower deck. It really hurt. However, the visit was great.

    • Ouch! Trish just did that today (day 748) at an old French fort. Hopefully next time we swing through the ship will be fully open and we can go below deck.

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