Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bully for Beantown

Magnet # 37:  Boston Icon Letters

Material:  Rubber

Purchased By:  Mom & Dad

As of tomorrow, Boston will have been a town for 379 years.  Yep, back in 1630 on September 17,  Puritan colonists from England founded the area.  They named the city after Boston, England, whose name is actually short for "St. Botolph's Town."  Whoever came up with the nickname had a good idea - that full name is a bit much.  Interestingly enough, Boston's first name was Tremontaine - talk about a mouthfull!  I wonder if it ever could have gone so far with such a formal, intimidating name.  I have to say, of all of the names available, Boston is by far the best choice.  And, of course, it's the place we've all come to know and, in many cases, love.

I visited Boston over a decade ago and had a good time.  We did plenty of sightseeing.  On our way into town, we passed by the Good News Garage owned by Click and Clack, the famous Tappet Brothers.   They've been hosting Car Talk, a call-in radio show for automotive help, since 1977.  You can listen to them on NPR - if you've never heard them before, you'll be amazed at just how funny car maintenance can be.  We spotted a car outside that may have been one of theirs, but we weren't sure.

We then stopped by Boston Common.  There, we saw Bull & Finch Pub, which was the inspiration for television’s Cheers bar.  It looked like Cheers from the outside, but inside, it was pretty crowded and didn’t at all resemble the fictional bar, so we didn’t stay long.  I did spend awhile having a look at the Memorial for Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Colored Regiment.  It was featured in the credits of Glory, a film that depicts the story of this exceptional unit.  I’m not usually a fan of war movies, but had seen this a few years back and really liked it.  So having a look at this carved relief in real life was pretty fun for me. 

After Boston Common, we headed over to Harvard Museum of Natural History for a look at their Glass Flowers Collection.  There are over eight hundred pieces sculpted by artisans Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka, a father/son team.  This collection was incredible!  There were so many specimens with such extraordinary detail.  And every last one of them could have been mistaken for a real flower.  It’s definitely a must-see if you’re in Boston. 

One place we didn't see during our journey through Beantown?  An actual bean factory.  While Colonial Boston had a number of factories baking beans in molasses for hours, thus earning its nickname, there are none produced there nowadays.  Apparently, it's also tough to find restaurants that serve Boston baked beans.  I wouldn't know - I wasn't looking.  For food, we went to Legal's Seafood, a local chain.  It was really good - I definitely recommend their clam chowder.

So there you have it, a few places to keep in mind if you're ever in Boston.  Given it's very long history and the important role it played in US colonial times, it's a great choice for anyone who wants to have a better idea of where our country has come from.  And with its modern industries, it's also a good sign of where we're going.

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