Overland Expo to TBEX: 24 hours in Boston – Part 1

After a night catching up with high school friends, it was time to figure out what to do about our altered arrangements. Wendy had given us some great ideas of things to do in Falmouth on a dreary day… which is what we expected to have as we set out to explore.

Star-struck Car Talk fans…

Except that isn’t what we discovered. The previous forecasts called for the storm to ease its way out slowly but when we awoke, it was to clear, blue skies. It was a shock to our eyes now accustomed only to grey skies. I’ll admit it took me a little while to believe I wasn’t dreaming but once it sunk in we hopped in the car and headed to a local coffee shop to eat and figure out what to do with this new situation. Having just driven south to Falmouth, the thought of turning around and going back north to Boston to pick up our trail was not entirely exciting to me. Plus, hanging out at Wendy’s was fun.

But as we considered our available time and the items on our travel wish list, it was clear we needed to take advantage of this good weather and get to Boston. Having abandoned our campsite at the disappointing Wompatuck State Park, we had to make alternate overnight arrangements for our Boston exploration. I did a quick hotel-booking from my phone so we could explore the remainder of the day and the following morning in Boston before heading to Concord.

And with that we backtracked north towards Boston to check in to our room before so I could get another round of creative tent-drying happening before we headed out to explore. But first, more hiccups…

Seriously…?

Because you know we’re the Lil’ Abner of road-trippers, there was really no way we could simply drive to Boston without incident, right? Well, clearly we hadn’t weathered enough troubles on this trip. In the relatively short drive to Boston from Falmouth, we got rear-ended. Yep… poor Blubaru got smacked.

It was from a stop so when I felt the jolt, obviously I knew it wasn’t catastrophic. But I sat for a few moments just dumb-founded… all of the events of the last few weeks sort of flowing over me. The kids were fine. I was fine. I just didn’t want to get out of the car to look. It must have freaked out the poor fella who hit us. He approached the car kind of wondering why it was taking so long for me to get out. So I took a deep breath and slowly moved towards the back of the car, just kind of numb and tired.

I gazed at Blubaru’s bumper, perplexed. There wasn’t a scratch. I looked at the dude. He looked at me and shrugged. We looked at his car. Not a scratch. Of course, prudence required a more thorough inspection but after checking every nook and cranny, even crawling underneath with a flashlight, I simply couldn’t find anything wrong with the car. It seemed sort of irresponsible not to go through standard procedures to cover myself should any issues show up later but I decided to take my chances rather than spend a couple of hours creating a useless paper trail. And so, you might say we finally caught a break. If you can call getting rear-ended a break.

Car Talk Plaza …

After getting checked in to our hotel and spreading our enormous tent out in a variety of creative ways to dry it, we headed out to another surprise I hadn’t told the boys about. It turns out our hotel was not all that far from Harvard Square. If you’ll recall, the Camp Granola crew is quite fond of the Car Talk dudes so without letting on, I headed towards the Car Talk headquarters at Harvard Square.

After struggling through the huge learning curve of deciphering Massachusetts traffic, we managed to get ourselves there and find parking. This is no small task considering the area so it was a lot to go through for a little bit of wow-factor. But I knew the boys would be thrilled even though there isn’t much to do other than just seeing the door of the office.

It took them awhile to put together where we were. I dropped little hints here and there but it didn’t really sink in until I pointed it out to them. They were both speechless. George was so star-struck he could barely walk up the stairs.

Car Talk Plaza…
True to form…

After thoroughly enjoying having blown their minds, it was time to our next stop to refill their geek reservoirs…

Boston Museum of Science…

With limited time in Boston, we had to be selective in our choices of places to visit. After being good sports through bad weather, waiting out car repairs, and pulling their weight in soggy camp exits, they boys were due for something purely their choice and they laser-focused on the Museum of Science.

We only had a few hours left until closing by the time we got there. With our limited time, we only scratched the surface of what the museum had to offer but it still ended up being a highlight of the entire trip for Fred and George. They could have spent days exploring there. After days and days of “real life” travel ordeals, they escaped into the glory of scientific discovery.

Here are some highlights of our visit:

The Mathematica section caught the boys’ attention. They spent a large chunk of the time there. For all of their grousing about doing math, places like this are a subtle reminder to them to them about how much math is involved in our everyday lives.
George spent so much time exploring this display, I was worried he wouldn’t see anything else.
Experiential education is all about hands-on and the Museum of Science delivered more than we could get to in a few hours.
Fred absorbed at the Museum of Science.
Of course, I geeked out over the geology and natural science stuff. I was as entertained as the boys.
From basic scientific concepts on up, the Museum of Science was impressively diverse in it’s offereings.
The naturalist in me enjoyed seeing lichens getting some museum cred…
Getting the bigger picture…
Fred highly recommends the planetarium show.

If you’re planning on visiting the Museum of Science

  • Allow at least a half a day but a full day would be best if you have very curious budding scientists on your hands.
  • Fred and George recommend the planetarium show. It was a big hit with them.
  • Parking and driving in Boston is not fun. Fortunately there is parking to be had at the museum which makes this an easy attraction to visit.

Next up…

So with a rough start to our morning, we actually managed to pull out a memorable and worthwhile travel day. With a good night’s sleep, we’d take on another half-day in Boston before heading to Concord. But that’s for next time…

And now for your moment of green…

I had to run outside the Museum of Science to catch the sunset. It was such a foreign sight to me at this point on the trip.