So you’ve got 24 hours in Boston. The first night was spent indulging your little nerds at Car Talk Plaza and the Museum of Science. With one morning left to explore a city in which, by all rights, you could easily spend a week just tackling the most famous of spots, you have some tough choices to make.
Compound that with the fact that your travel-mates are 10 and 13 years old and the decision-making process becomes… convoluted. And that’s before you toss in the practical aspects of navigating the city itself and still get yourself to a campsite in Concord by that afternoon.
That’s how we found ourselves spending our one night in Boston surrounded by acres of drying tent fabric while we sorted out our plan for the following morning. After much debate, our plans amounted to two stops before high-tailing it out of Boston…
George discovered the Mary Baker Eddy Library Mapparium while browsing the brochure stand in the hotel lobby. My little geography nut had his heart set on visiting and it seemed a great choice for road-schoolers.
The Mapparium is basically a giant, inverted glass globe created in 1935. Visitors can talk a walk back in time to see the world map as it existed then by walking across a bridge to view it from the center. The light and color is nothing short of stunning in this three-story masterpiece. Because of it’s shape and construction, the Mapparium has the added intrigue of unique acoustics that make it both a whispering gallery at the edges and an amplifier in the center. It’s truly a marvel of history, geography, art, and science all rolled into one.
Photography isn’t allowed in the Mapparium itself so I don’t have any to share with you but be sure to check out the photo gallery at the Mary Baker Eddy Library website to get a feel for this worthwhile Boston stop.
With George’s geography desire sated, it was time to move on.
Being from Atlanta, Fred and George are pretty much saturated with Civil War information. As we all know, Boston has a slew of offerings with regard to American Revolution history so this was our chance to branch out. But with so many choices and only time for one, it was a tough call. Knowing we’d be getting more Revolution action in the calmer environs of Concord, we opted for something we couldn’t get there, the U.S.S. Constitution.
Fred and George aren’t necessarily ship buffs but of all the places we had to choose from, it seemed like this one would hold their interest most. Having heard about the ship through our favorite American history book series (A History of US – Amazon), I was hoping they’d connect with seeing it in person as they often do when they get real, impactful road-schooling experiences.
Having actually had a rare day of successful travel on this expedition, we were feeling giddy about our next stop and the possibilities that awaited us in Concord. So we set off westward to make camp at a private campground. I’ve not had much success in this arena but with no other campground options, we really had no choice but to give it a shot.
On the way there, we stopped in Concord for lunch and to get a feel for the area. The small-town, New England coziness was like a warm blanket after the frenetic vibe of Boston. It felt like a movie scene with the walkable tree-lined streets, friendly locals, and charming shops. We stopped for ice cream, book shop buys, visitor center information… we were entirely transported from the difficulty of the previous weeks of travel.
After our leisurely time in downtown Concord, we set off to resupply our food stores, pick up a few geocaches, and get settled in at camp.
It’s amazing what you can do in 24 hours when things are going well.