Date of Trip: July 2009
We have been to New York and Washington for July 4th celebrations, so this year we decided to see Boston’s festivities. We included a unique Boston tour as well as a short trip to Gloucester and Martha’s Vineyard.
During World War II, the army developed an amphibious vehicle, half boat, half truck, used to deploy troops from ships to land. A boat with wheels, they were called DUKW vehicles in army speak. They were used extensively on D-Day in Normandy. Thus, the Duck was born. In Boston and several other cities, Ducks are used to provide a unique view of the city from the street and from the water.
The MBTA costs $2.00 per one way trip and Charlie Tickets are available at any station. The Charlie Ticket is a reference to the Kingston Trio song MTA about a passenger who needed 5 cents to get off the subway. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VMSGrY-IlU)
In Boston, you can find the 80 minute Boston Duck Tours at the Back Bay MBTA stop on the Orange Line. They also operate from the Museum of Science (80 minutes) and an abbreviated 55 minute tour from the Boston Aquarium. There are a couple of tour companies who use Ducks, but over the 4th of July, 2009, we used Boston Duck Tours. Their website is www.bostonducktours.com. The price was $29.50 or $26.00 per person for seniors. There is a $3.50 charge for Internet ticket purchase.
We saw the 4th of July fireworks from the Community Boating Dock on the Charles River. The organization (http://www.sailcbi.org) provides sailing lessons for any child from Massachusetts for $1 a month. They sell out their docks including the sailboats as seating for the spectacular fireworks display on the Charles River. They also provide food and non-alcoholic drinks for the price. Bring your own chairs, as the plastic folding chairs they provide would be more likely found in a church hall. The performance of the Boston Pops Orchestra from the Hatch Shell is played over loudspeakers at the site.
On another day, we drove to Gloucester taking the scenic route through Salem. Salem is the home of the 17th century witch trials. Arriving in Gloucester, we drove by the famous Fisherman’s statue honoring those lost at sea in the trade. Farther up the street is the Gloucester House, a great restaurant on the harbor. Fishing and whale watching boats go in and out as you enjoy your choice of seafood.
On our last day, we took the car ferry out of Wood’s Hole to Martha’s Vineyard, a 45 minute ride. The ferry docks in Vineyard Haven, which is a very touristy and (in July) very crowded little town. To add to the fun, it is loaded with one way streets. We drove around the island, visiting Tisbury, West Tisbury, Aquinnah Cliffs and ending the day in Oak Bluffs, where the ferry returns to Wood’s Hole. The island reminded us of the forests in Pennsylvania, as the road around the island is not a coastal road, but travels the interior of the island. Beach Road east of Oak Bluffs was the only place where we saw the ocean on our drive. For ocean views, leave Vineyard Haven from the ferry and drive over to Oak Bluffs to begin your drive.
We had dinner at the Island Bar and Grill in Oak Bluffs, a great lobster dinner for not a great deal of money. Good service, good food what else can you ask.