Boston Day 4: Shopping, parks, and Boston parenting pro-tips

Day 4: Monday, July 4th, 2016

Although our first three days were exhausting, I wouldn’t change a thing. I liked how, right out the gate, we hit up a ton of sites (Freedom Trail on Friday, Cambridge on Saturday), which allowed us a more relaxed third and fourth day. Never did I feel like we were wasting our days, since the first two covered so much ground.

Therefore, on Independence Day, our final day in Boston, we were free (pun intended) to wander around to a few areas we previously ignored.

We got a later start on the day and checked out of the hostel, using their lockers to stow our luggage while we explored the rest of the day. We first walked over to the Commonwealth Books bookstore, which I’d noticed the previous couple days. It is tucked in an alley and apparently home to a ton of rare and out-of-print books. However, it was a little disappointing, as neither of us found anything worth purchasing.

We next walked west of the city to the Back Bay area, which has tons of old churches surrounding high-end retail. It was like being back in the Gold Coast of Chicago! Eric said there was supposed to be a couple second-hand stores in the area, so we sought them out. They ended up being high-end consignment stores (Only $145 for this old Marc Jacobs dress!), so we were quick to dismiss them. One store, Rick Walkers, had a mix of old and new Americana clothing, with loads of second-hand cowboy boots, belts, leather fringe coats and Rolling Stones t-shirts. Eric found himself a belt there, but I wasn’t inspired to purchase anything.

For lunch we stopped at Cafeteria Boston, a nice little restaurant with a roomy patio where we could enjoy the beautiful weather. I ordered some yogurt and pancakes, while Eric indulged on a sandwich that he ate in about 12 seconds flat.

We walked back eastward to the Boston Public garden, where there’s a large pond with swan boat rides surrounded by beautiful greenery. Just on the other side of the garden is Boston Common park, where we walked the other day. But since we were coming from a different direction, we walked through the Frog Pond area, a one-foot deep pool filled with toddlers. The pool bottom wasn’t painted the usual blue (it was just raw concrete) which gave it the unfortunate appearance of murky water. Murky water and loads of toddlers...just the water I want to step foot in. We witnessed a mom and her two 6-year olds fighting as she used the power of her Boston accent to keep them in line “Jawn-uh-then, get back heyah! JAWN-UH-THEN! LET GO OF YAH SISTAH! STAWP IT RIGHT NAW!” We also (heard, and then) saw a young boy screaming and crying bloody murder while his parents attempted putting him into a stroller. As Eric translated the raw screaming, “Either that boy wanted to play on the park a little bit longer, or he’s watching as his leg is slowly being sawed off. Can’t tell.”

We walked to the Museum of African American History, which was quite the disappointment. First, there were signs from the street leading you down the side road and alley where the museum is located, building the excitement. But then we get there and the door was marked with a sign saying the park ranger was returning in ten minutes, so we waited outside briefly until a ranger popped his head out of the door.

Him: Can I help you guys?
Us: We wanted to see the museum.
Him: Museum’s closed today, but the meeting house behind you is open to check out. This building, though, is closed. I could open the gift shop for you in here, if you’d like.
Us: (not intending on buying anything) No, thanks.

Well, that was fun.

So we went to the old meeting house behind us, which was playing a film about the history of the museum and African American history of Boston. The building is the oldest extant black church building in the United States. People filter in and out of the meeting house, but there isn’t anything to see other than the film, so people are quick to leave. Then a ranger arrives and just shuts off the film while we’re watching it. Cool, thanks. Bye!

By now it’s late afternoon, and we made our way back to the busy Faneuil Hall area to rest and people-watch. We sit at a cafe in the plaza and hang out until it nears 5pm, when we decide to return to the hostel to get our bags.

After grabbing our stuff and saying farewell to the amazing hostel that supplied us daily with free cookies, we were off to the Silver Line (bus) to the airport. Pro-tip: travel on the 4th of July during the evening, because everything is dead. Security took all of five minutes, and we were at our gate in no time. We got some Bari for dinner at the food court and took the time to have a mental break from our action-packed weekend.

When the plane took off around 9pm, we had prime aerial views of all the fireworks in a five-mile radius. Not only did we see them across the Boston area, but also when we arrived in Chicago around 10:30pm.

And so we made it home. Eric and I had a successful sibling trip that I would happily repeat!