Our third and final day in Boston started off along the Boston Harborwalk. Once complete, the Harborwalk will cover 46.9 miles from Charlestown and East Boston in the north, to Dorchester in the south. We, however, only covered a small section of the Harborwalk in the downtown area, where we zigzagged in and out along the edges of jetties.
Along the way we paid a visit to the New England Aquarium. The centerpiece is the 4-storey tall Giant Ocean Tank that houses turtles, sharks and a whole variety of fish (some of which are massive and very ugly!). As you ascend the aquarium you gradually make your way up this massive tank, until you finally reach the top where you can watch the aquarium staff throw in brussels sprouts for the turtles to eat!
At the base of the tank are enclosures that feature three different species of penguins, whilst other tanks dotted around house various other sealife. Outside is a tank that includes sealions, and there is also an indoor shallow tank where you can touch some rays as they glide past.
It was a good aquarium, although we much preferred the Vancouver Aquarium, and probably even the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, especially as they both had sea otters. Our experience at the New England Aquarium probably wasn’t helped by how ridiculously busy it was, given it was the Christmas holidays!
We continued along the Harborwalk until we reached the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. I’m sure we’ve all heard of the Boston Tea Party, but unless you’re American, you probably aren’t sure what it was. So what happened? Bostonians were angry at being taxed by the British parliament in which they had no representation, rather than being taxed by their own elected representatives. In 1773, three British ships sat in Boston Harbor, each carrying a load of tea. As soon as that tea was unloaded, tax would have to be paid to Britain. So what was the easiest way for Bostonians not to pay tax? Board the ships and destroy the tea by throwing it into Boston Harbor!
Great Britain reacted with a series of measures, which didn’t go down well with the Americans. Cue even more discontent, fuelling the American Revolution, and eventually leading to the American Revolutionary War. In standing up and hitting the British where it hurts – their beloved tea – this became an iconic and important event in American history.
The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum must be fairly new, as it didn’t feature in our recently published guide book. I have no idea if it is in the same area where the actual event happened, but it features a couple of ships which you can go on and throw the boxes of tea into the water. Despite our dislike of tea (and coffee), we restrained from joining in the fun due to time restrictions, and the fact that it felt just a little unpatriotic.
Our time in Boston finished with afternoon tea at Emma’s namesake hotel, The Langham. We’d been to the original London hotel for afternoon tea earlier in the year, and so had high expectations. In London we got unlimited tea (yes, yes, yes, we dislike tea), unlimited sandwiches, cakes and unlimited scones.
Here, although the sandwiches were better (no yucky foie gras for example), they were not unlimited. The cakes were good, but we only got 4 small scones, and no more were forthcoming. Also, they didn’t really look like scones, and the clotted cream, jam and lemon curd weren’t up to scratch either.
All of this leads me quite nicely into summing up our time in Boston. A recurring theme from our trip was how Boston was a focal point for the American Revolution and independence from Great Britain. Well America, you’re welcome to your independence, as we wouldn’t want to be associated with such poor scones, clotted cream and jam! 😉