I’ve been trying to put my finger on why this day was my favorite of the trip, because I missed our Chicago friend already and I went through something pretty momentous, but I think it has a lot to do with the neighborhoods we visited, and that most everything we did was absolutely free. For this broke teacher, that made all the difference.
Our day started with a recommendation from a Library Think Tank my friend had me join years ago. They said if you do anything in Boston, it has to be the mapparium. The mapparium is located in the Mary Baker Eddy Library. She founded the Christian Science Monitor. It is a gorgeous building that is adjacent to two beautiful churches. We arrived just in time for a tour (they depart every twenty minutes) and paid $6 for a trip inside a three story stained glass globe that was created in 1938. Pictures are not allowed inside, but I’ve attached one from the website here: https://www.marybakereddylibrary.org/project/mapparium/
My breath was taken away-literally-as I forgot about my claustrophobia. I did this in the Statue of Liberty crown, too. Stupid. Well it took me close to ten minutes to calm down, but when I reflect, I think it also had a lot to do with me realizing that I was so very small in such a massive place that we call home. Being inside the Earth and able to surround yourself with every location possible was mind altering. I also heard the voice of a dear friend of mine whispering “just let it all go.” I’ve been carrying a lot with me-especially the last three years-and it has not been healthy. So I did. I let go. I realized that life is way too short to carry such anger and pain around daily. And being encased in such an amazing piece of art gave me a different perspective. The globe itself is magnificent. We gazed at the distinctions made within countries since the time it was created. For example, Vietnam was called Annam. Other places no longer exist. I couldn’t find Aruba because it still had a Dutch name. And, after playing with sound inside the globe, we exited, took a selfie outside of the room, and saw that tours of the church were also free.
The two churches we viewed still host services; one was rebuilt in the thirties, while the other has been in existence since 1894. We joined a tour already in progress and were awed by the millions of pipes in the mother church organ and the stain glassed windows in the older church. We also were pretty impressed that thousands of children Skype in for Sunday school and Wednesday evening classes through an international children’s program. After all the listening and walking, we were ready for food.
Doyle’s Irish Pub in the Jamaica Plains neighborhood was our pick since it offered affordable Boston eats, was the original tap for Sam Adams beer, and had a free trolley ride to the Sam Adams Brewery. We all tried different brews. Mine in particular was tasty: a black cherry (Guinness with Sam Adams Cherry Wheat). I finally had fresh calm chowder that I was seeking every time we sat down somewhere. And it was in a bread bowl: heaven. This may have been my favorite meal, and we ate very well on this trip. The lobster Mac was delicious, but so packed with lobster our friend couldn’t finish hers. The fish and chips were also tasty-not too greasy and just the right amount of fried flaky coating. Fries were delicious, but most of us didn’t have room the entree portions were so large. The trolley came every 20 minutes, so we ate slowly and waited in the sun.
We ended up waiting more than twenty minutes but it was nice out and then, a party bus pulled up. “Is this our trolley?” our eyes spoke to one another. People just kept coming out with glasses full of Sam Adams and smiles on their faces. Why yes. Yes it was. Children, a family reunion of sorts, men, women, all giddy with excitement to eat at Doyles. I was thinking we should have done this the opposite way, but then the “trolley” emptied out and we boarded. Alone. Ah air conditioning. Leather seats. A pole to…hold onto. And all free of charge.
Arriving at the brewery just in time for the famous free tour we were subjected to “bad puns” like “This is Jack, say Hi Jack. It’s ok. He won’t bomb you,” but it was all worth it once we hit the tasting room. I am not sure what I expected except for a free glass and one pour, but the pitchers just kept coming. I think we tried four different beers. We must’ve spent at least forty-five minutes in that room alone, and luckily, we had the best seats in the house: three stools closest to the bar. We let out a whoop when the Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat was poured since the cherries hail from our Great Lake state. We also had a lot of fun with “Yas Queen” and wished the fabulous five had joined us on this tour. After the tour, and a few purchases to go, it was most definitely nap time.
For our night out we decided to start at the recommendation of a friend we had met up with earlier in the week: Lawn on the D. It is free with live music, lawn games, light up swings, concessions, and drinks. The night was perfect for this type of fun, and the band was playing a sped up rendition of the White Stripes as we entered. I was happy. We walked the premise to take it all in, grabbed a few drinks, then got in line for swings. Let me give you a tip if you are living under a rock: people are ruthless. If you are there with a group, get in a bunch of different lines because these lines do not move quickly. At one point I was hoping for a Disney Fast Pass. Then a girl tried to snag our swing and well, we can’t have that. Burton Carrie emerged for a brief moment to take care of business. Finally we got to swing and take pics, then it was life size connect four, and off to the Blue Dragon for Ramen since one of our friends (GASP! The Horror!) had never eaten it before. Well it was nearly closing time at the Dragon and Ramen is only on their lunch menu, but the fish tacos were great. They also had Shorts on tap so that was cool. Ramen will happen next time.
Back to our River Bar near the hotel. Tonight we sat at the bar and enjoyed people watching. The local brew, Grey Lady, was my choice for the night. It’s made by Cisco and has a cool teal mermaid can. When the Seinfield theme song came on we knew it was closing time and felt like locals even though I still asked everyone to repeat everything to me: I understood, I swear. I just really like the accent. After drinks we had a hankering for truffle fries that we knew were still available at Earl’s so we wobbled back, eager to eat off some of our delicious buzz.
If you go: Take a blanket and group of friends to the lawn. Get a good spot early (chairs are available first come, first serve) to play the maximum number of games (ping pong, jenga, bocce, checkers) since it closes between 10-11. If you want to swing, be sure to get in line around 8:30-9 so your pictures are lit.