A Road Trip Down History Lane in Boston and Plymouth, USA

I’m awakened at the backseat of my mother’s friend’s car after an hour long drive from our hotel in Boston to..

PLI-MUTH,” corrected right before any of us made the mistake of pronouncing it as “PLY-MOUTH”

A lot of people pronounce it how it’s spelled but it’s ‘PLI-MUTH’—that’s the correct way of saying it,” explained my mum’s friend and I’m glad I woke up right on time to hear that.. for the lack of research.

We landed in Boston to check out the city and visit some family friends. This whole US trip was for my dad mostly. This was his way to cope and take a breather from the 2016 Philippine elections where he ran for mayor in a provincial town. He wanted to travel and reconnect with as many friends in the US as possible and we were right behind him, cruising along.

Tita Cory and Tito Rene, mum and dad’s friends, offered to host us in Boston and to bring us around for one whole day—because we literally had only one whole day to explore. Having slept in the car most of the time as it took an hour each from point A to B to C, in my mind we were still touring around Boston. It was later on when I realised that we had already hit three cities in Massachusetts—Boston, Plymouth, and Foxborough.

Massachusetts is a goldmine for history buffs. What better way to walk back in history than to go to where it all started—Plymouth, Massachusetts.

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Parked in between charming wooden houses and the open sea, we spent an hour stepping on to where the Mayflower pilgrims took their first steps in America in 1620.

The Plymouth Waterfront.

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No, I did not retrace the steps of the Pilgrims for the lack of a proper guide but I could have because, why not? Throw in a pilgrim costume and a turkey, I’d be strolling my way to the Mayflower ship in full character—except, the ship was not there!! The Mayflower has sailed on for reasons I do not know.

Missing the Mayflower
Missing the Mayflower

On to the next best first thing, the boulder that the pilgrims first stepped on when they disembarked—the Plymouth Rock. Sheltered in its own monument, it’s not much to look at because it’s no bigger than a car but I’m sure it used to be enormous. People chipped off pieces of it throughout the years as souvenirs and a part of it is kept in a museum. Stamped with 1620, this rock can no longer be harmed.

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Back on the road and past another hour, I wake up again to find ourselves back in Boston and on our way to

Harvard University

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It was graduation week and aside from the numerous tourists like ourselves loitering around campus, there were lots of graduates in togas with beaming smiles plastered on their faces and a congratulatory theme song that followed each one of them as they walked—Ok, maybe not but I assume they’re over the moon!

Congratulations!,” dad said as a graduate walked by with his family.

10 feet away after, he added, “Will you lend my daughter your toga for one minute? So she can pretend that she graduated here as well.”  — Oh thanks, papa! haha.

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Nothing could have emotionally prepared me for what’s next. Our hosts brought my family to The New England Holocaust Memorial and from afar it was just six blue-green glass towers lined up side by side.

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The air shifted to heavy as soon as I walked inside these towers. I was surrounded with numbers and it didn’t take long for me to realize that the small white inscriptions on all the glass panels are the seven-digit numbers of the Holocaust prisoners.

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Glass panels have quotes from Holocaust witnesses, memories written to be forever remembered. I read as many as I could with a heavy heart. These little anecdotes described life in that dark time—a life that should never have been lived that way.

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“From our barracks we could see the glass chambers. A heart-rending cry of women and children reached us there. We were overcome by a feeling of helplessness. There we were, watching and unable to do anything.”
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“My younger sister went up to a Nazi soldier with one of her friends. Standing naked, embracing each other, she asked to be spared. He looked into her eyes and shot the two of them. They fell together in their embrace, my sister and her friend.”

Right across the Holocaust Memorial is a National Historic Landmark located on the freedom trail—America’s oldest restaurant, The Union Oyster House.

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Serving meals since 1826, this restaurant holds a lot of history in itself. Quick fact: Did you know that the toothpick was first used in the United States in this restaurant? Next fact: A special “Kennedy Booth” is dedicated to the late JFK in the upstairs dining room for patronising the Union Oyster House for years.

The booths are small and we were all cramped inside but it’s all part of the experience. Of course, when in Boston, one can’t miss having a slice of the Boston Cream Pie and what better place to taste it than in the oldest dining establishment. History sure is delicious!

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On the last leg of our Massachusetts day trip slash road trip, we sped off to the next town for a therapy session at Wrentham Village in Foxborough—Retail Therapy that is!

Premium Outlets. No Tax. Need I say more?

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Having men in our group, it was only fair to balance the town experience so we also checked out The Gillette Stadium, New England’s premier sports, entertainment, and event venue. 

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The sun has set and I’ve dozed off once again in the car heading back to Boston. Half the day spent on the road and the other half exploring three towns, we were all beat! Ideally, one day in a city should have been spent exploring the main city but I’m happy tita Cory and tito Rene had a more out of the box plan for us. That was all the history I squeezed in a day and I absolutely loved it!