Saturday, August 20, 2011

Set to Embark! Communing with Thoreau, Boston, and the MV Explorer

Blog #2 8/20/11: Concord, Walden, and Boston

Boarding the MV Explorer: We made it!
8:00 pm, Saturday August 20: We are on the M/V Explorer, the Semester at Sea Ship!  It has been an eventful few days since we left Missoula on Thursday.   We arrived in Boston Thursday afternoon, and fortunately all 8 pieces of our luggage arrived with us.  We stayed with Dan’s old Union Seminary classmate, Tom Mousin, and his partner, Thomas Brown, in the lovely old rectory in Winchester where Thomas serves as Rector to the Episcopal Church there. 

After a wonderful reunion dinner with Dan and Tom’s old Union friend, Sharon Webb and her partner, Lisa, yesterday we spent a full day exploring the fascinating environs of Concord, founded in 1635 as the first inland settlement of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the New England literary home to the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the Alcotts, and of course, Pat’s soulmate, Henry David Thoreau.   We dusted off our grade school history memories and followed the Minuteman Trail from Lexington to Concord, and then moved forward to the 19th century to immerse ourselves in the world of the Transcendentalists.  Fascinating to visit the homes of Emerson, Hawthorne, and the Alcotts, and to imagine their 19th century rapidly industrializing world filled with the issues of their day, particularly the rapidly approaching conflict between Northern and Southern states. 

Replica of Thoreau's cabin at Walden Pond

Certainly the highlight for both of us was visiting Walden Pond, set aside now as a state park, where we saw both a replica of Thoreau’s cabin and the original cabin site where he spent two years writing down his reflections and observations that eventually emerged as his classic, Walden.  It is a beautiful and tranquil spot, set apart from what has grown into suburban Boston.

Pat on the USS Constitution
This morning we set off early to explore Cambridge and walk through the campus of Harvard University, and then drive down the Charles River past MIT where Pat had been accepted as an undergraduate (before wisely choosing the new University of California at San Diego).  Thomas met us at his new parish in Charlestown, and took us on a history-filled walk along the Freedom Trail, with stops at the Bunker Hill Battle memorial, the USS Constitution, up to the Old North Church, and through Boston’s downtown until we reached the Massachusetts Statehouse and Boston Common.  So much rich history and architecture in such a relatively small area.

Our first meal at sunset on the MV Explorer!
And now we are on the M/V Explorer!  We boarded our new home for the next 4 months around 4:30 pm, had our first meal sitting outside on Deck 6 (and Dan already lost his first meal to voracious sea gulls when he turned his back for a moment; I’ll need to be more vigilant), and now are happily ensconced in Cabin 3026, our home until we get to Montreal at the end of the week and move into our permanent cabin.  Hard to believe we have made it this far!  Exciting to think about all the adventures ahead!  Stay tuned…

1 comment:

  1. exciting! hope you have a window in your cabin... and hope you meet more restrained seagulls--or at least ones more inclined to share! ;-)