Virtual Travel – Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Bay Colony was established in 1628, with the initial towns being located in Salem and Boston. This colony was established 8 years after the Plymouth Colony, but the name they chose stuck.

The state has numerous locations of historical importance, but it does not live in the past. With colleges like MIT it is at the forefront of technology.

But you have to travel to get around the state so we start with:

 

1971 – 1999 – 2012  Transportation in Massachusetts

 

According to some statistics Massachusetts drivers are statistically the worst drivers in the country.  But if you leave the hotel at 5 AM on a Saturday you get a tunnel that looks like this…

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Instead of this….

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Boston does have an extensive subway system.

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There are two major train stations in the city, including South Station

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Logan Airport is just 3 miles from downtown Boston, but it is across the harbor.

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The MTA also has a fleet of ferry boats, however most are very small.

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2009  History in Massachusetts

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As previously noted, Massachusetts has a lot of history. Below is a actor playing the part of Paul Revere

 

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Salem – House with 7 Gables

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Salem Harbor

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Lowell – Historic Cotton Mills

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2001 & 2007 – Boston

 

 

Boston is a city where the latest is next door to the historic.

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Historic Waterworks

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North End

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Fenway Park – the legend

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MIT

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Boston Main Library

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2003 – 2011  Cape Cod & The South Shore

 

The Massachusetts coast has numerous small towns with harbors.

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Plymouth Rock – pure fiction, but pure American.

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Lobstah

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Cape Cod National Seashore

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Shack where the first transatlantic cable terminated. At one time this was high tech.

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Cambridge, Massachusetts – August 2019 – Insider Tour of MIT

I am fortunate enough to know someone who has spent considerable time at MIT, and she was kind enough to show us around to sights on campus that most visitors don’t realize is there to be seen.

We started out with some familiar sites; the Kresge Auditorium. Designed and completed in the mid 1950s by Eero Saarinen, it is an excellent example of mid-century modern.






Next door is a chapel, also designed by Saarinen.






The Rogers Building serves as the center of MIT. It’s atrium is beautiful.



The windows facing Mass Avenue are equally impressive.




The Frances Russell Hart Nautical Museum is tucked away on an upper floor of the main building. It contains a number of intricately designed model ships.






As you wander the halls you come across all sort of great sights.



















While this might look like any other hallway at MIT, it is very special. It is known as the Infinite Hall, running the length of the main building and leading to a second building.

You have heard of Stonehenge, perhaps Manhattanhenge (a posting is available), and even Carhenge.

This otherwise nondescript hallway twice a year is the location of MITHenge – the sun shines straight through the entire distance, lighting up the floor. I need to come back in November!




The outdoor space is enhanced with sculptures. MIT is a very cool place, and thanks to an insider we saw some cool sights (all completely open to anyone, you just need to know where to look).






Waltham, Massachusetts – August 2019 – Simple Elegance of Early Mechanical Devices

The Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham, Massachusetts has a collection of machines and artifacts from the industrial revolution of the 19th and 20th centuries.

It is located in the former Boston Manufacturing Company textile mill, which predates those in Lowell.



The visit to the museum provided a great opportunity to show the simple elegance of the early manufacturing.

Much, but not all, of the collection is dedicated to the former Waltham Watch Company.

























Boston – August 2019 – Diverse Architecture for a Historic City

As one of the oldest major American cities, Boston’s architecture represents a diverse collection of styles. You can find Gothic architecture framed by a post modern glass and steel skyscraper.




A quiet Sunday morning is the perfect time to explore a city for the architecture as the streets are empty, and parking is plentiful.



Once we arrived in the financial district the contrasts between old and new became even more apparent.


















Our primary objective however was to find Art Deco buildings, and Boston did not disappoint.
























Brookline, Massachusetts – August 2019 – Larz Anderson Auto Museum

The Larz Anderson Auto Museum in the Boston suburb of Brookline is advertised as America’s oldest automotive museum. Larz and his wife were very early auto enthusiasts, buying their first ‘horseless carriage’ in 1899.

By the 1920s they had collected enough cars they stored them in the carriage house, and opened up their museum.




I had very high hopes for this museum, as it regularly makes the ‘top automotive museum’ lists. When we arrived we were greeted, somewhat, by a lady at the counter who barely had time to interrupt her conversation with her cousin about something to take our money and waive us towards the cars.

This obviously set a tone of disappointment, that fortunately was neutralized by a nice, small collection of some very impressive autos in a display called the Golden Age.









Further back there was a second room with a few more cars, also well displayed.







Another small room had a collection of pedal cars, and other items.



There is some nice automotive art throughout. The lower level had a few more very vintage autos in various states, as well as a bicycle collection.

The Larz Anderson Auto Museum is a nice place – however having seen numerous auto museums across the world I don’t think it rates as one of the premier ones. Perhaps had we attended on one of their numerous special events days where people bring their own classic cars.










Lowell, Massachusetts – August 2019 – The Early Textile Industry in America

Lowell, Massachusetts was an early center of the textile industry in America. It was one of the first real industrial centers, with large cotton mills being built along the waterways.



By diverting the river into numerous canals they could power the machinery for the mills. The canals remain to this day, in various states.











One of the former mills houses a museum that shows the power plant that used the water to generate the power to run the machines.







Because of the flammability of the dust, they used wooden gears that didn’t create sparks.





It is when you go into the main production floor exhibit that you get a true feel for the sheer size of the operation.

While we were there they ran 2 of the looms, which was incredibly loud. One could only imagine what these young ladies went through with 200 of them running at the same time, while working their 12-14 hour, 6 day a week job.















The National Park Service runs a replica trolley around town to shuttle visitors between the sites. A visit to Lowell is educational, and worth the visit if you are in Massachusetts.








Boston – May 2018 – The Waterworks

The Chestnut Hill Reservoir in Boston has been providing water to the city for 130 years. For about 100 years the impressive Waterworks pumping station was the engine behind the supply.

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The huge pumps and pipes pushed millions of gallons of water a day.

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Driven by large steam engines, it is an impressive sight.

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The 3 massive steam engines take up most of the building.

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Giving the entire building a true ‘steam punk’ vibe.

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The wheels are massive, nearly 10′ high.

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The building is roughly 40′ high, with the view from the balcony providing an excellent overview.

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Some of the other buildings have been converted to condos.

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A visit to the Boston Waterworks Museum is well worth the time.

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Cambridge, MA – May 2018 – MIT Buildings

A couple of hours on a Sunday morning provided the perfect time to wander the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts and check out the buildings.

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The Stratton Student Center faces Mass Avenue – featuring the 2010 piece ‘Alchemist’.

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Nearby is the Kresge Auditorium. Designed by Eero Saarinen it was completed in 1955.

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Across Mass Ave is the Rogers Building. While much of MIT was built in around 1915-1916, this building was built in the 1930s to provide an interface to Mass Ave, but built in the same style – with an impressive dome.

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The Maclaurin Building’s dome is equally impressive – highlighting a reading room on an upper floor.

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The Green Building. Cambridge has laws restricting height, so to get around this MIT built the first floor 30′ high. Unfortunately because of this design the winds around this building hamper the ability to open and close the doors some days.

The artwork in front ‘The Big Sail’ was rumored to be an effort to deflect the wind – but MIT says this is an urban legend.

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Finally the Ray and Maria Stata Center. As anyone who has studied any architecture can immediately tell it is a Frank Gehry design.

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North Adams, MA – May 2018 – Mass MOCA

The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art is located in the small far northwestern Massachusetts town of North Adams. With a name like that it has been abbreviated to Mass MOCA.

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Located in an old factory complex it is now home to 19 galleries and 100,000 square feet of space. As we arrived we stopped by the cafe for lunch and had the opportunity to listen to some musicians.

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The galleries are scattered throughout the buildings – mixing new construction with the existing buildings.

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As with many contemporary art pieces, they are sometimes subjective to interpretation.

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A fencing mask with feathers.

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Pallet art with a record player (that was stuck on the same part of the same song).

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You have to hand it to them – they are creative.

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At first this seemed like a re-used satellite dish.

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But upon closer inspection it had hundreds of small reflective panels at different angles. All the little red spots are actually reflections of a nearby exit sign.

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The building itself is interesting with it’s high ceilings.

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My favorite gallery was by an artist named Gunnar Schonbeck – who specializes in making giant music instruments.

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A guitar from a large wooden box.

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Xylophones – they encouraged you to ‘play’

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Which many did – to the amusement of their friends.

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Another gallery had commentary on the American involvement in foreign affairs – complete with walls of (somewhat redacted) U.S. intelligence memos displayed in giant form.

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Many of the pieces are huge.

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As well as the statements.

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Mass MOCA is not an easy place to get to – a 3 hour drive from Boston – but it is a very popular artist town and museum.

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Acadia National Park, Maine – Late Summer 2016 Road Trip – Day 7

Our Friday morning started with us leaving the Longwood Inn by 6 a.m. to avoid the morning rush hour and anyone leaving the city for a long Labor Day weekend, finally stopping a rest area in Maine for breakfast at Burger King and Starbucks.

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The common dining area was the dirtiest rest area I had ever seen. Every table, chair, and floor was covered in crumbs and dirt. A large painted statue of a moose stood outside at the front of the building letting us know that we were in moose territory and I thought that if the moose were in the building at least the crumbs would have been licked up.

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We had a short stop in Portland, Maine along the Eastern Promenade for a view of the harbor with the sun shimmering on the water dotted with boats. As we made our way out of town we found U.S. Highway 1, a road that goes from far northern Maine to Key West, Florida. This would be our route throughout most of Maine, passing through numerous small towns, around bays, and across rivers. While not fast, it was scenic.

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Finally we arrived in Bar Harbor, Maine and Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island. After circling the island on the west side we drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain within the park, the highest elevation on the U.S. east coast at 1539 feet.   Cadillac Mountain offered us a view of the city of Bar Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean.  From this vantage point you could see islands in the ocean and a large anchored cruise ship in the harbor, with tenders shuttling people to Bar Harbor.

Further climbing across the rocky surface of the mountain top provided views of northern and southern exposures.

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Acadia National Park stems from a name given by explorer Giovanni Verrazano in 1524. The shoreline reminded him of a part of Greece named Acadia.

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Completing our hike, we headed into the town of Bar Harbor, checking into the Bar Harbor Grand Hotel, where we were given a complimentary upgrade to a private suite with reserved parking. Our hotel room was a suite with a living room, full kitchen, bath, and king size bed, and it’s own entrance from the parking lot.

Once the bags were dropped we walked down the street for lunch at a restaurant called Blaze, where we had a crab cake and duck breast arugula salad that was very good, as well as a duck and pork belly burger topped with a fried egg. A very interesting lunch to say the least.

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After walking through town to check out the small touristy shops along the way, we headed down to the waterfront. For an hour and a half before until and hour and a half after low tide it is possible to walk across the rocky sandbar of the ocean floor to Bar Island. We arrived just as the water had cleared way, so we headed across.

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Once on the island we hiked the mule trail up the mountain to a vista to look back at Bar Harbor. You can view Cadillac Mountain from this spot, providing an interesting contrast since we were on the mountain at high tide when this island was only accessible by boat.

As we hiked back down and rested on a log at the rocky bottom, finding a fossil in stone that I kept as a souvenir.

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After crossing back over to town, we continued our tour of the local shops. Many shops were open for the Art Walk serving wine and cheese or snacks to visitors. We stopped for dinner at Café This Way hidden in an alley. We had a whole lobster that I had to crack open to eat, as well as lamb with mint pesto sauce and mashed potatoes, which as delicious.

Later we continued the Art Walk, as well as a stop at the Atlantic Brewing Company microbrewery. After a bit of refreshment, we continued on to the Eclipse Gallery, a glass shop with really interesting vases and glasscapes (scenes made completely of different types of glass). One scene resembled Acadia National Park with layers of trees and rock made of colorful glass.  Another glasscape of mountains was made of glass mounted into wooden slots and of trees in a technique called frit (tiny bubbles of glass fused together).

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Finally the temptation of 100 T shirt shops got the best of use, so we stopped in one with giant lobster claws hanging from the store front with lanterns and a lit moose form mounted on the store’s rooftop for our obligatory souvenir. The town was bustling with people drinking wine, eating ice cream, and strolling the streets as we returned to the hotel for the evening.