I fell in love with Boston, so hopefully, I’ll be here for a long time – Johnny Damon
Back in ninth grade, I had an opportunity to travel to Boston for a band trip during the month of April of 2011. I cannot recall a day by day basis, as it has almost been seven years but I still do have some vivid memories. Let me begin by telling you that this was my first trip alone without my parents. It was exciting and scary at the same time, but I knew it was going to be the trip that will forever be integral.
Before I left to Boston, I did not know what to expect traveling all by myself. It was a new experience for me, almost like a rite of passage. My mom, being the protective mother she is, was a little incredulous about me traveling all on my own. However, she wanted me to take this opportunity and experience it at an earlier age. Yes, my mom called and texted me millions of time during the night, but I didn’t quite mind as it gave her a peace of mind and didn’t make me feel homesick.
After a long and excruciating twelve-hour bus ride to Boston, I remember the excitement that kicked in. Staying at a hotel without parents and lounging around, talking until four in the morning with my roommates, was almost like the beginning of my life. It almost made me feel like I was already a grown up and that traveling on my own was no big deal. I obviously missed home, but I did feel a sense of independence.
When I first arrived in Boston, all I could think of was how remarkably beautiful the city was. With so many preserved historical buildings with modern additions, Boston felt like an all-in-one city. Until this day, I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that I was there!
During our trip to Boston, we touched based on most of the prominent landmarks Boston is known for. For shopping and leisure time, we had the opportunity to shop and explore Faneuil Hall, which is a marketplace located in Downtown Boston. Filled with locally unique, and nationally recognized shops, Faneuil Hall was a place filled with almost everything! I remember purchasing a Build-A-Bear for my little brother, dressing the bear in Boston Celtic gear as a souvenir to bring back home. (Okay, as a 15-year-old girl coming across Build-A-Bear, most of the girls in my group and I were pretty excited!) Not only was Faneuil Hall filled with shops, it was also a passport to worldwide cuisine. Since we were able to dine during our last day in Boston, my group and I decided to try authentic Italian cuisine. All I can remember is that I was not disappointed but my memories are faint when it comes to the way the food tasted.
For the touristy component of the itinerary, we got the chance to tour almost the entire city and walked along the Boston Common, the Freedom Trail, and Beacon Hill; Boston’s historical neighbourhood.With our lovely tour guide, we were filled with enticing insights of the city, including the deep and dark history that accompanied many of Boston’s notable landmarks. Not only did we do a tour during the day, we also did a ghost tour during the night!
The ghost tour, to be completely honest, was my favourite part during my stay in Boston. Now, when it comes to ghosts and the paranormal, I am a little bit of a believer and a bit of a skeptic, but going on this ghost tour was definitely an experience! When we first arrived at the starting point, we were greeted with staffs dressed in time period costumes looking like actual ghosts. As soon as my teacher checked us in, we were divided into groups and boarded trolleys that awaited us on the side of the road. Once everyone was on the trolley, we proceeded along to two cemeteries and were filled with stories of Boston’s darker side. The tour, as I can recall, had two twenty minute walking portions. So yes, there was a lot of walking done but during certain parts of the tour, I felt a sense of discomfort. No, I did not see any real ghosts, but the hairs on my back stood on end during some parts of the tour. Seeing as I was only fifteen years old back then, I was a little terrified, especially visiting cemeteries and walking amongst the dead that were nearly four hundred years old. In addition to that, stories about the Boston Strangler were brought up and conspiracies that he was still alive and around made me ten times more terrified. Anyway, we ended the tour in the Boston Common, hearing stories and watching a reenactment of how executions were carried out during Boston’s colonial period.
Furthermore, we also got the chance to cross to Cambridge and tour Harvard. We had two students guide us through campus and at one point came across a man whom he claimed was a Harvard celebrity (Sorry dude, I still don’t know who you are). Be that as it may, Harvard was a stunningly beautiful University, especially their library where it looked as if it came right out of a movie set! With historical architecture accompanied with a touch of modern, the campus alone had so much character!
The other landmarks we got to visit included, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Boston Harbour, Boston’s Public Library (which was stunningly beautiful), the New England Aquarium, and Symphony Hall to watch and listen to the Boston Symphony perform.
All in all, out of all of the band trips that I have gone on, Boston is ultimately my favourite trip by a landslide! It was not only just the city but also the people that I went on the trip with that became my family.