Day 12 – Icons of New York

Had a very busy today and saw some of the great icons of New York.

Started by taking a subway train from Grand Central terminal. It is a very busy station and is primarily a terminal for regional trains rather than subway lines. There are quite a lot of different lines on Manhattan, take a look at the subway map.

We then took a ferry around the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, which is unfortunately closed due to damage following Hurricane Sandy. We did have an excellent view of both attractions from the ferry, however. We also had a great view of the Island of Manhattan and other area of New York City.

We then visited the New York branch of the National Museum of the American Indian. The museum is quite small, however it does have some very valuable artefacts. The museum also had an exhibition on Native American museum such as Jimi Hendrix.

MoMa, the museum of modern art has one of the greatest collections of modern art in the world. The current special exhibition is Edvard Munch and includes the painting “the scream”. The museum also includes some classic artworks such as water lilies and the starry night. The museum is extremely popular and we had to wait for 20 minutes to check our bag. Thankfully we didn’t have to queue for tickets as I had already purchased the New York City Pass which not only saves money but also time waiting in line.

On the way to our broadway show we also stopped off for a photograph of Times Square.

Last stop for the day was Spiderman Turn off the Dark. The show was a lot of fun and showcased many high flying stunts which were generally reminiscent of the comic book. The way Spider-Man and Peter Parker move and behave is very authentic o the comic book. The villains are also old Skool comic book. (Spider-man always had pretty weird villains anyway). The music was well performed and the show was well acted. The key to this show is to appreciate it for the way it was designed to be -a fun reselling of a comic book, not a super serious production. Make sure you bring extra money because at the end of the show they give you the opportunity to donate some money to Broadway Cares, a long run Inge New York charity. You can get some awesome stuff for donating – I got a bracelet made from the lines used to fly spider-man around and pieces of a spider-man costume. A great souvenir and great to be giving to charity.

Overall a fun day filled with very New York type things.

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Following the nature trail

I am reviewing both Rhode Island and Connecticut together as we saw them both and one day and are similar in lots of ways, including lots of orchards and farm-side stands.

My total score out of 50 is 29.

Categories out of 10

Home comforts Quality of food, accommodation, etc. Score of 7. Didn’t get to stay overnight in these states, but did enjoy some of the local foods.

Attractions The quality of the attractions and generally how fun and interesting they were. Score of 4. Not a lot of touristy activities, but it would be good to chill out in these states.

Natural Beauty The aesthetic vistas of the state which make the drive easier. Score of 6. Fairly urban, but some nice forests and brooks along the side of the road.

Culture Historical and cultural sites and interactions with the locals. Score of 6. No big name art galleries or history museums, but some historical markers, statues, etc. Probably not the destination for history tours, but certainly interesting areas to look at. Also has the famous Brown University.

Value Financial value – bang for your buck, so to speak. Score of 6. Costs are pretty decent.

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Day 11 – Writers Past

We visited Rhode Island and Connecticut today and saw very different memorials to different decesased authors.

The first, located in Providence, Rhode Island, was for HP Lovecraft, a famous horror writer. He has one small memorial located across the road from Brown in Providence. His grave, which is quite difficult to find, is located in a cemetery in Providence. His grave is frequently visited by many fans who leave small memorial gifts, such as coins, rocks and handmade notes.

The second is located in Hartford Connecticut is Mark Twains house, in which he lived for 17 years and wrote many of his best works. The house is still being restored but contains many original features and furniture. The house is quite elaborate and contains Tiffany glass and elaborate wallpaper. The house has been turned into a museum and guided tours are run frequently through the day.

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Bye Bye Beantown

My rating out of 50 is 35.
Boston is a lot of fun, lots of good restaurants, lots of history, lots of style.

Categories out of 10

Home comforts
Quality of food, accommodation, etc.
Score of 7. Stayed in the oldest continuously operating hotel in the Us and while the room was quite small the hotel itself was quite amazing. The food in Boston was also really great. I particularly liked the Panera Cares Cafe which has great, fresh food, was located across the road from the hotel and also looks to address issues relating to food insecurity, so you can feel good a out it all around.

Attractions
The quality of the attractions and generally how fun and interesting they were.
Score of 6. Lots to do, especially for those interested in history, perhaps less so for others. Good services for tourists.

Natural Beauty
The aesthetic vistas of the state which make the drive easier.
Score of 5. Pretty city, but it is very urban.

Culture
Historical and cultural sites and interactions with the locals.
Score of 10. Boston is the cradle of the revolution and fostered the Sons of Liberty.

Value
Financial value – bang for your buck, so to speak.
Score of 7. Costs won’t break the bank, but still not cheap. There are a number of free activities though.

Day 10 – Trials and Witches

The Salem Witch Trials occurred in Salem and so rounding towns in 1692. About 150 people were wrongly convicted of witchcraft following some accusations caused by group hysteria, small town politics and poor judicial decisions. This had very little to do with actual witchcraft.

Salem today is a strange mix of psychics, cheesy tourist and a few historical and cultural attractions.

The Salem Witch Museum is kind of surreal experience. The story of the witch trials is told in a series of vignettes utilising wax figures. The lasting message of the presentations seem to be that while it was bad, it wasn’t as bad as events in Europe and we only did it once. Weird.

The Salem Witch House is an historic site which was owned by own of the key judges in the trials. The house provides some insight into life during the time period, as well as some context about natural healing.

The Salem Witch Trials were a dark period in US history which teaches us what can happen when people put aside reason and gave into fear.

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Day 9 – We the People

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

A good way to remember the preamble is taught by school house rock.

This is the preamble to the American Constitution, developed after the revolutionary war and many events which were born in Boston.

We walked some of the Freedom Trail today, which links 16 of Boston’s most historic sites related to the revolutionary war. The trail is a fantastic link to some of the most important moments in Us history.

The start of the trail is at the Boston Commons, now a lovely public park inhabit item by squirrels, was crowded with red coats during the British occupation of Boston in 1775.

Next stop was the new Massachusetts State House, designed in1798 is still the Capitol Building for the state. A statue of Mary Dyer who was hung due to religious intolerance at the time.

We also stopped at the Granary Burying Ground which includes the graves of Franklin, Sam Adams and Mother Goose

The Kings Chapel and burying grounds one of the oldest burying places in America and includes graves of people who came to America on the Mayflower.

The Old South Meeting House was the location were many Boston residents met to discuss their dissatisfaction with the British taxes and Samuel Adams spoke the words

Gentleman, this meeting can do nothing more to save the country

, which was the signal to the Sons of Liberty to commence the destruction of 342 crates of tea, known as the Boston Tea Party. The site was also used by many to promote free speech, such as women’s rights activist Margaret Sangar.

The Old State House is know a museum which has tours and exhibits relating to the revolution. This is also the site of the Boston Massacre, in which 5 people were killed by British redcoats. It is interesting to note that John Adams was the defence lawyer for the soldiers involved in the incident and the bulk of the soldiers were found into guilty of murder. The exact facts surrounding this incident are still contentious.

Paul Revere who was immortalised in the poem by Longfellow had a house in Boston which has been a museum for over 100 years and portrays life as it would have been.

Fun fact: Boston has solar powered bins which are also compactors.

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Newer England

I am reviewed Vermont and New Hampshire together as we saw them both and one day and are similar in lots of ways. I found both of these states to be lovely and have a great vibe, they are very mountain chic. By that I mean that they are very artsy and have lovely highway drives. Maybe not worth spending weeks in, but definitely worth a trip for a long weekend or short break. My total score out of 50 is 32.

Categories out of 10

Home comforts Quality of food, accommodation, etc. Score of 7. Didn’t get to stay overnight in these states, but did get to try several types of locally produced food, which tasted very genuine.

Attractions The quality of the attractions and generally how fun and interesting they were. Score of 6. Antiquing, art galleries, museums and unique stores. Nice states to browse and loose some time.

Natural Beauty The aesthetic vistas of the state which make the drive easier. Score of 7. Nice forests covered in light snow. Long windy highways and picturesque towns.

Culture Historical and cultural sites and interactions with the locals. Score of 6. No big name art galleries or history museums, but lots of fun smaller places to look through.

Value Financial value – bang for your buck, so to speak. Score of 6. Financially affordable but a little pricey for what they are.

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