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Martin's Travel Journal Just a few photos and ramblings from my trips.

Boston to Pennsylvania and Back Again

USA | Wednesday, 15 November 2006 | Views [345]

Boston is a beautiful city. A city obsessed with Irish heritage it is packed full of pilgrim history, however upon arrival in Boston I was unable to take any of the city in as my first port of call was in another state, Connecticut. Having taken in Harvard University in Cambridge enroute I would spending some time at the University of Connecticut as the campus was closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday.


The first thing that struck me when driving through the New England countryside was that, due to arriving in mid-November, I was gutted that I had missed the infamous gold and brown leaves of Fall – I just caught the tail end of it – and made a promise to myself to come back and see it one day.


Several days later I returned to Boston. Thanks to a fantastic hotel location I was easily able to take in the highlights of this sport mad city. The obvious highlights of Faneuil Hall and Old State House were musts, as well as the grave of Sam Adams, one of the signatories on the decleration of independence. There is a beer brewed in Boston named Sam Adams and, of course, whilst there I had to partake in a few pints in one of the hundreds of Irish pubs in the City – and watch some live sport.


One must see in Boston is the Holocaust memorial. A series of glass towers represent each concentration camp and are covered in the names of victims. The towers emit gas to represent the chambers.


Having spent some time in Boston I was due to head south towards Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving, however I decided whilst passing I would be able to afford one night in New York and undertake some whistlestop tourist actvitiy.


Flying into New York the flight was less than 40 minutes and soon I was in my rickety hotel on 30th Street, a stones throw from the Empire State Building. This was my first port of call after getting my bearings I headed straight out, taking in the staggering views of New York at dusk before heading back down the tower and into the New York night. Times Square was next followed my dinner in Little Italy and then the Greenwich Village nightlife before returning to the hotel for an early rise.

I woke early and set off for the southern tip of Manhattan and a boat ride out to Liberty Island to take in the Statue of Liberty. Knowing my train was at 4 that afternoon I spent around an hour on the Island before heading back across the harbour. I decided to take in Ground Zero, site of the World Trade Centres before the terrorist attacks and then slowly made my way back north. Before going back to the hotel to checkout I undertook some of the infamous shopping that New York has to over – even better at a time when the exchange rate between the dollar and the pound was 2:1.


I made my way to Penn Street Station, situated below Madison Square Garden. Trains are staggeringly underused in the USA, so the train was empty though, unlike the British rail system, was comfortable, spacious and, shockingly, on time!


Arriving in Philadelphia I was met by a family friend and we had some drinks before returning to her student house before heading back to the family home the following morning. The student homes in Philadelphia are mainly in the rougher areas – so much so I was told not to fall asleep on the sofa downstairs but always to make sure I made it upstairs. Gunshots are commonly heard in this neighbourhood.


We set off for the small town of Dillsburg, which is about a 2 hour drive from Philadelphia and just south of Harrisburg.


Most of the time in Dillsburg was spent with family friends and relaxing over the Thanksgiving Day holiday – and also included the Thanksgiving Day feast. Obviously I was aware of Thanksgiving but had not real exposure to it – other than what was on television. The dinner is amazing. A large number of family descend on the house and the amount of food was ridiculous, especially as constantly I was having more food put on my plate and had nowhere left to put it.


American Football is also a central part of the day. A couple of games are live and the men of the family were gathered around the TV with light ale. The celebrations go on late into the night.


After a week spent with the family we headed back to Philadelphia as college was due to start again and I was due to take the train North, this time straight through to Boston to get my return flight to the United Kingdom. This wasn’t the first time I’d been to the USA and it wouldn’t be the last but it was the first time I had been to some of locations I had over the few weeks and would definitely return to see more of these exciting places.

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