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Coming to America

It would seem for the third time in my life I am to be granted the pleasure of visiting Benjamin Franklin’s sceptred continental homeland. If there are any bloggers in the Boston MA area willing to show a certain tight-assed Brit where the tea was thrown overboard in the harbour, I am more than willing to buy them a drink, as we discuss the consequences of this immortal event.

Alternatively we can talk about the far more important merits of American beer versus British beer, if you can think of a bar suitable for such a debate!

If the US immigration service let me in, I should be at home in Massachusetts between the 26th and 29th of January.

32 comments to Coming to America

  • Bring the tea, I’ll take you to the harbor.

  • Mike

    But wasn’t Benjamin Franklin from Philadelphia?

  • Andy Duncan

    Cheers Sylvain,

    I’ll email you via your Chicago Boyz email address, nearer the time. Hope we don’t all get snowed in! :-)

    Mike writes:

    But wasn’t Benjamin Franklin from Philadelphia?

    Hey, same continent! ;-)

    BTW, this biography reckons he did come from Boston, before he moved to Philadephia. Greatest American of all time, anyway, wherever was lucky enough to call him its true son.

    (After Al Gore, of course :)

    Love this line from the biography:

    Thomas Jefferson supposed stated that the only reason Franklin didn’t write the entire Declaration was because he would include too many jokes.

    What a star. Has anyone (apart from perhaps Jefferson?) ever come close?

  • Andy –

    I live in Boston; send me an email at jwilde@catallarchy.net.

  • Andy Duncan

    Kashei writes:

    Come to NY!

    I’m saving myself up, for the big one.

    I’m sure I’ll get there one day, when I’m ready for it, probably with a copy of Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead in my pocket. I’ve also got to buy a friend of mine, Sean Hull, there, a very large drink.

    Plus go looking for Woody Allen outdoor location shots! :-)

  • Doug Collins

    If your travels should bring you down to Houston, give me a hollar.

    The Alamo is in a suburb west of town.

  • D Anghelone

    “tight-assed” might help:

    Boston Weather Forecast

  • mike, benjamin franklin was born in boston and went to philadelphia as a young man.

  • If the weather is halfway decent during your trip, head over to the Boston Common and drop in on the Visitor’s Center. You can get some info on strolling the Freedom Trail.

    Spend some time at the Old Granery Buring Ground. There are some gravesites that need visiting. Sam Adams for one, John Hancock for another and the victims of the Boston massacre.

    After you see Paul Revere’s home and the Old North Church in the North End, go visit Mike’s Backery and get some pf the best pasteries you’ll ever enjoy on this side of the Atlantic.

    As for beer, well, I don’t drink anymore, but there are any number of local places you can enjoy local microbrews.

    Google is your friend, in this instance. beeradvocates.com is also a decent resource for local beer info.

  • Crap!

    That’s supposed to be Mike’s Pastry, not bakery.

    It’s worth it. Trust me on this one.

  • S. Weasel

    I’m in Boston, but I’m a giant misanthrope. Let me know where and when you’re arriving, and I’ll set fire to a small toy dog of some kind and aim it in your general direction.

    Eh. Just find the red line on the sidewalk, and follow it around town to see everything worth seeing in New England.

  • Andy,

    Next time, come on down to Dallas — I’ll host your shooting at the range.

    You can pretty much pick any gun you want — someone will have one.

  • wiliam

    If you can take the purple line up to Salem and visit the excellent restored Peabody Essex Museum…and some Wertches

  • Philly may have Franklin’s bones, but there’s cenotaph for him in the area’s most prominent cemetary (on the Cambridge/Brighton line) awaiting the day we defeat the evil Quakers in war and retrieve his remains!

    We are currently in a cold snap. Bring clothing for Siberia or Whitehorse. The best time to visit Boston is the summer — we will host the 2004 World Science Fiction Convention this year — when you won’t have trouble breathing because it’s so cold.

    I second the Peabody/Essex Museum — ignore the rest of the ‘Witch City’ hype –as well as the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stuart Gardiner Museum (nice Titian.) Salem can be reached by going to North Station and taking a train (note: signs in the subway that say ‘All Trains’ mean all subway trains. But they do connect you ultimately to North Station.) The MFA and the Gardiner are on the Green Line/Huntington, past Northeastern University.

    Don’t expect to walk around much, or if you do take very small steps. We will probably have lots of ice and snow. There may be local subway passes available for foreign visitors; find out from your travel agent. Otherwise, most subway stations have someone on hand to sell tokens. It’s been so long since I’ve used them I don’t know how much. Buy more than one when you first go on it. At somes tations you can just go up stairs and transfer from outbound to inbound and back again, at others you cannot. You cannot on the outside Green Line at Auditorium and beyond.

    Most of the Chinese restaurants have daily specials for under $6.00. Chinatown has its own subway stop. Also Korean, Thai, Burmese, etc. There are excellent Chinese bakeries where you can get Chinese crullers, shu mai, bao tse, jao tse, etc.

    There is also the Old South Church museum, with artifacts from the period. The North End where the Old North Church is located is now the mainly Italian area and has the best Italian restaurants.

    You can also look at Boston’s utterly monstrous post-modernist City Hall.

    Enjoy.

  • I am in the area, but will be preparing to head back to California to collect my lovely “accidental” bride about that time.

  • Guy Herbert

    Boston in January? Brr. Wrap up warm!

  • Just stay away from any pubs called “the Black Rose”, especially the one near Fanuel Hall.

  • Adrian

    Try the Beantown Pub on Tremont – drink Sam Adams beer over the road from the Granary burial ground where he’s buried. And it’s close to a T station (ride the T – it’s great, like a cross between the London underground and a ghost train ride!) Do the Freedom Trail, too.

  • Bah! Boston in January?!?!? Insane. You should come out here to the Outback that is New Mexico – I can guarantee better weather.

  • Sergio

    I notice that no one has mentioned going to see the actual site of the Boston Tea Party.

    Just so you know, they built a highway over it.

  • James Dudek

    The Boston Tea Party boat got hit by lightning about two years ago and burnt up. They are yet to rebuild it and open it to the public.

    Anyway the only cool thing about it was getting your photo taken as you threw a box of tea overboard (the box was tied to the boat so that they could haul it up so that the next sucker could ‘throw’ tea overboard).

  • Susan

    I second the recommendations for the Patriots’ Cemetary, the Old South Church and Paul Revere’s house. You may also want to visit Boston Commons and the Civil War bas relief dedicated to the black soldiers of the Civil War (shown prominently in the movie “Glory”.) Also “Old Ironsides” (aka the U.S.S. Constitution.)

  • Andy Duncan

    Jonathan writes:

    I live in Boston; send me an email at jwilde@catallarchy.net.

    Cheers Fella. Will do :-)

    Doug writes:

    The Alamo is in a suburb west of town.

    I have this feeling my life will end in one of several ways. Dead at the bottom of the Atlantic after an Al Qaeda bomb goes off. In an EU lunatic asylum for the liberally inclined. Or in Texas, New Hampshire, or Nevada, as a citizen of one of these fine places. When I get to Texas, as I’m sure I will one day, I’ll be sure to buy a very large hat and come over. Was it Richard Widmark in that Alamo film as Davy Crockett? I was always a John Wayne man, myself.

    D Anghelone writes:

    “tight-assed” might help.

    Yes, I was rather afraid of the potential weather. Oh well. If I’m ever to be a citizen of New Hampshire I better get used to it.

    Chris writes:

    go visit Mike’s Backery

    Que? :-)

    Oh, bakery!

    S. Weasel writes:

    I’ll set fire to a small toy dog of some kind and aim it in your general direction.

    I was on Vancouver Island once, and a chinese man set light to a lantern and set it out towards the Pacific Ocean. Will your dog be as dramatic?

    That Canada’s a funny place. They’ve got some weird broad on the money. She looked remarkably like the Queen. Can I add British Columbia to my list of places I may end up in? Especially North Vancouver. If anyone knows of a woman called Kathy Hatton who used to live there once, would they mind letting me know whatever happened to her?

    O, Canada.

    Kim du Toit writes:

    You can pretty much pick any gun you want — someone will have one.

    Well, as a former rifleman with the Kings Own Border Regiment, I know how to fire an SLR. But I look forward to firing something a little smaller, once I’m over there with you all, permanently (if the US immigration service ever let me in, that is).

    william writes:

    If you can take the purple line up to Salem and visit the excellent restored Peabody Essex Museum

    It’s a business trip, I’m afraid, so I haven’t got much free time. But next time I’m in Boston, with a weekend stopover, and/or a bit more time, I’ll be sure to follow your advice! :-)

    John H. Costello writes:

    Most of the Chinese restaurants have daily specials for under $6.00.

    Fortunately, a large financial multinational will be picking up my tab (using illegal money based on the inflationary principles of fiat money), so I may be able to go beyond a six dollar limit. But hey, thanks for the rest of the advice. I’ll try to squeeze as much in as I can.

    You can also look at Boston’s utterly monstrous post-modernist City Hall. Enjoy.

    Ah, statist buildings, built by bureaucrats. It’s always a pleasure! :-)

    Jay Solo writes:

    …but will be preparing to head back to California to collect my lovely “accidental” bride about that time.

    By Gad, that sounds like a story and a half. Good luck with your ‘collection’! ;-)

    Andrew Ian Dodge writes:

    stay away from any pubs…

    No, sorry. Can’t stay away from pubs. Not part of my nature, I’m afraid. But do you have ‘pubs’ in the US? I thought it was all ‘Sports Bars’, like in ‘Cheers’?
    Adrian writes:

    Try the Beantown Pub on Tremont

    Now that’s more the spirit. I still can’t believe you’ve got ‘pubs’ though? I’d always thought MA was part of the New Dutch colonies, rather than the New England colonies. Or is that just New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey? Or am I talking out of my derriere, again?

    Garth writes:

    Bah! Boston in January?!?!? Insane. You should come out here to the Outback that is New Mexico – I can guarantee better weather.

    It’s business, I’m afraid, not pleasure. If it’s ever pleasure I’ll try to get to Phoenix, if I can. Should I add it to my list of Texas, Nevada, and New Hampshire, or do you have Democrats down there?

    Sergio writes:

    Just so you know, they built a highway over it.

    Cripes. How could they? Was that desecratory act committed under a Democrat administration? It’s probably too embarrassing for them to celebrate the site of an anti-tax revolution, I suppose, if that’s the case.

    To everyone. Thanks for all the replies. It looks like it’s a cabal of three, with Mr Weasel burning dogs in the distance. Well, America, here we come again. God bless it.

  • Another Bostonian for you here!

  • Susan

    Andy, just a hunch, but I think that folks were trying to warn you (in a polite way) that there are certain pubs (or “bars” as we call them) in Boston where a person with a British accent would not be especially welcome.

  • T. J. Madison

    God damn immigrants coming to poison our culture and breed with our women! I bet you’re going to bring more of your socialist cooties with you. How do we know you’re not a deep cover Islamic terrorist?

    God save us from the British Hordes.

    :-)

  • billg

    Sam Adams (John’s more animated cousin) is buried in a small cemetery in Boston, next to a few other Sons of Liberty, the victims of the Boston Massacre in 1770, and other notable subjects of the crown. By American standards, the cemetery is ancient.

    Boston is a surprisingly good walking city. Don’t drive; it’s miserable. Worse than London. Real trains and a real subway, too.

    It’ll be cold, especially when the wind whips around the buildings.

  • billg

    Oh…Americans tend to blame the Brits for MA. The Dutch settled New York, but the settling of Boston and environs was pretty much an English thing. The Pilgrims arrived in 1620 and still get all the press, but the arrival of shiploads of the endearing Puritans in 1630 really got things going.

  • What an embarrassing typo! Substituting “Bakery” for “Pastries” and not even getting it right.

    Still, make some time for a visit to Mike’s. Great stuff. As is any Italian restaurant you might happen to walk into nearby. Amazingly good food.

    If you need a taste of British cuisine, well, there’s a slew of good Indian restaurants just across the Charles in Central Square. A restorative curry or vindaloo is but a short ride on the Red Line.

    If you want to travel on the local public transit, AKA, The “T”, you can get a weekly pass at almost any token booth. You can also get a daily or three day pass, as well.

    Annoyingly, the bus and subway fares are different. 75 cents for the bus and US$1.25 for the subway. The bus farebox will happily accept the subway tokens.

    See here for the MBTA (local bus/subway agency) website.

    The T is the best way to get around Boston. You really don’t want to get involved in the MMLARP of “Deathrace 2000″ that passes for driving here.

  • Andy writes re New Mexico:

    “It’s business, I’m afraid, not pleasure. If it’s ever pleasure I’ll try to get to Phoenix, if I can. Should I add it to my list of Texas, Nevada, and New Hampshire, or do you have Democrats down there?”

    Well, we do have Democrats (as well as Republicans) but not to worry, there are a couple of Libertarians hanging around as well. Albuquerque is what Phoenix was 30 years ago: manageable (and we are only 50 miles south of Santa Fe, which most visitrons feel compelled to enjoy). We are not quite as warm as Phoenix, but we have plenty of skiing in the higher elevations.

    Now why in the world would you want to go to Texas for pleasure?

  • Dave S.

    Boston still holds on to much of its English Puritan heritage – be warned, they start rolling the sidewalks up at 10:00. Really pisses off Euro tourists. Don’t make late dinner plans.

    Do. Not. Drive. Take the T.

    The “Cheers” bar does exist. Don’t know what it’s called, though.