We decided to do the touristy tour type things on the outskirts of Boston on Thursday and Friday and save the Freedom Trail for one of the afternoons after our very productive mornings or on Saturday.
Um. Yeah. Have you met us? Very productive mornings. As if.
But I digress.
Our rationale was that these tours might be more crowded on Saturday and we might not get tickets since it was first come serve so we thought we should do Lexington/Concord and Quincy on the weekdays. But what do we know?
The concierge helped us figure out how to use the train and a bus to get out to Lexington/Concord and also told us how to get down to Quincy for the next day. He even printed out maps and step by step directions so we were gold, Pony Boy. We bebopped down to the subway, boarded the Green line to Park St. and then changed to the Red line for Alewife before switching to a bus that would take us to Lexington.
As it turns out we hopped onto the train going in the opposite direction so we ended up here instead:
Which worked out fine since we were planning to go there Friday anyway, we just flipped.
A bit of hilarity ensued at the Quincy Visitor's Center when we tried to get tickets for the next available John Adams' house tour. After a little bit of Abbot and Costello with the nice lady park ranger and another nice gentleman who had a National Park's pass we ended up getting our tickets for free.
Except the next tour wasn't until 2:15 and we had almost two hours to kill.
So we wandered around Quincy.
As you do.
We finally found the First United Parish Church which was the Adams' family church and where John, Abigail, John Quincy and his wife Louisa Catherine are buried. There was a nice lady there giving tours so we popped on in.
After touring the church and Hancock Cemetery and perusing the gift shop at the Visitor's Center it was finally time for our trolley tour out to the homes.
Did I mention that it was in the low 60s and rainy?
And that I was wearing shorts?
(I did not pack for low 60s in Boston in July.)
The cooler temps actually turned out to be a blessing because these *old* houses don't have air conditioning and it could have been miserably hot inside.
We first toured John Adams' birthplace.
The park ranger that was our guide did an excellent job sharing stories and interesting historical tidbits of the John's life growing up here and then about his and Abigail's lives in the home right next door where John Quincy and the their other children were born and where the soldiers marched right by her front door (while John was in Philadelphia, you know, all that business with declaring independence).
Except I didn't take a photo of that house. I know. Slap me. When we came out it was raining again and we hopped right onto the trolley and headed out to Peace Field.
This was the house they lived in after life abroad in France and England and returned here after living in the White House (they were the first presidential pair to live in the White House).
We had a different park ranger and she also did an excellent job showing us all throughout the house, their furnishings (not replicas, the real deal) and telling us loads of interesting details about not only the house and farm but the family. It was wonderful!
This is the stone library that John Quincy had built at his father's request so that their thousands of books would be safe from fire. John Adams actually donated his library to the Boston Public Library and they are available for the public to see. All of John Quincy's books (thousands, in several different languages) are housed at Peace Field.
I learned that John Quincy had argued the case for the Mendi people that had been captured as slaves that the movie Amistad is based on and he was given a bible signed by Cinque. It was stolen a few years ago but soon found by the FBI and returned to Peace Field (just not on display any more). I also learned about his wife Louisa Catherine who was born in England and Abigail always referred to as "that foreign woman" until Louisa showed her courageous spirit by traveling from Russia with their young son to France and standing up to Napoleon's soldiers by hinting she might be his sister (she spoke fluent French, which probably saved her life).
After the house and library tour we had some time to sit on the porch, watching the rain, while we waited on the trolley to pick us up. It was so surreal to be relaxing on John and Abigail Adams front porch!
I better get busy.
Stay tuned for more Boston posts to come!