Boston to New York and the end of the road trip. (August 2015)


Our hotel in Boston was some distance from the down town area. It was here that we found the Tavern at the End of the World. It was ostensibly an Irish pub but more like a drinking, eating and music venue for the locals in Charlestown.

Like so many of these small establishments that we have found, this one also served great food, excellent beer and wine, all at an affordable price.

The music was Rhythm and Blues but sadly lacking the rhythm.

We discovered that there was a train line very close to our hotel and took a ride into Boston. We initially bought the wrong ticket but after some help from the locals and a reluctant railway employee we were on our way.

Founded in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England, Boston, Massachusetts is one of the oldest cities in the USA. It played an important role in the American Revolution, hosting such significant events as the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Boston Massacre and the Siege of Boston.

The sites of many of these incidents can be seen by following the Freedom Trail. This is a 4km brick path, created in 1953, that links all the local historical landmarks.

We stated in Boston Common and meandered past such sites as the Massachusetts State House, Granary Burying Grounds, King’s Chapel, the Old City Hall, the Old South Meeting House, the Old State House and Samuel Adams Park.

It then stated to pour down, so we took refuge in the fruit and vegetable market and waited for the deluge to subside.

An hour later we were back on the Freedom Trail and chasing history through the streets of Boston.

Next was the Paul Revere House and the Old North Church. From there we walked to the Charlestown Navy Yard where we discovered, in dry dock, the USS Constitution or ‘Old Ironsides’ as she is affectionately known.

Built in 1797, for the fledgling US Navy, this wooden-hulled, three-masted frigate was named by George Washington after the Constitution of the United States of America. Old Ironsides was most famous for her actions agains the British in the War of 1812 where she defeated five British warships.

The last stop on our walk through history was to the Bunker Monument.

The Battle of Bunker Hill, in 1775, actually took place on Breed’s Hill which is a lot closer to Boston. There is a popular belief that the Americans intended to set up their defenses at Bunker Hill but chose Breed’s Hill by mistake, thus surprising the British by their error.

It was then back onto the train for an easy trip back to Charlestown.

The next day we drove to Milford, our last stop before The Big Apple.

As we neared the end of our road trip across the US, I can’t help but recall the miles and miles of roadworks we have had to endure.

This is in part due to the poor state of many highways, that lacked funding following the GFC.

It’s also a result of the road building method. When freeways were first constructed in the States they followed the German method of laying them in concrete. Over time the concrete cracks, breaks down, leaving huge gaps between the concrete sections.

Rather than pull them up and replace them, with the much more elastic bitumen, most repairs are done by just covering over the concrete sections, breaks and all. After time the same problems reoccur, resulting in the large stretches of roads now under repair.

Henry Ford, while revolutionising the motor industry, could also be accused of being the single biggest cause of obesity in America.

The auto industry, that developed in Detroit, spawned a total reliance on the car.

The cities swelled leaving essential services such as shopping, banking, public transport and even hotels spread out over a large area. People have no choice but to hop into their car just to get a pint of milk.

All distances are measured by ‘minutes in the car’ not on foot. There are no strip shopping streets, like we found in Canada and the sort that are also an essential part of many urban Australian communities. Many towns don’t even have footpaths, so it becomes dangerous to walk from place to place.

The automobile rules.

The old public transport systems such as rail, trolly bus and trams that were set up at the end of the 1800, have been dismantled and replaced with freeways.

Many of the downtown city areas have been given over to parking, admittedly much of it is now under ground. While pedestrian streets are few and far between.

The average American rarely walks – they are forced to drive their car.

Hand in hand with the auto industry are the petrol companies.

Buses replaced trams and trolleys in many cities and the electrification of the train network only exists in the large urban areas. Except Milford that had an electric train, probably coming from NY.

All national rail and goods-trains are diesel, with no electrified railways between major cities.

All this reliance on the car means that in order to get any exercise people have to make a conscious decision to run, visit the gym or go to the park.

From what we could see this wasn’t happening in many places.

Lack of exercise isn’t the only cause of obesity, there are a lot of other factors that come into play.

The proliferation of fast food outlets, portion sizes and food type all have a part in adding to the problem.

My concern is that most Americans are forced to drive their car if they want to go anywhere.

And this situation was deliberately engineered to benefit the oil companies and car makers.

The last meal before getting to NYC was at the Stonebridge Restaurant in Milford, which not surprisingly was right beside an old stone bridge.

This was a real find with live music, excellent food and a pack of Cougars (forty plus, single women looking for action) on the prowl.

My first beer was unfortunately served in a plastic cup. I then asked for a second beer, this time in a glass, and was told: Oh, you want a ‘Big Boy’ glass.

An establishment that clearly separates the men from the boys.

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