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The Farm, The City, The Monument

aka Boston, Day 1

Back in June, I went to a Gordon Research Conference. GRC’s are quite often held in Boston, but are also always held not-in-a-city but instead in a fairly remote location outside of the city.

I flew out on a Sunday morning, arrived just a couple of hours later in the afternoon (thank you time-zones), made my way to the city, waited a bit in a hotel, took a shuttle bus to the conference college, and launched almost immediately into lectures that ended at 9:30pm Boston time (2:30 am brain time).

My impression of the conference was really good. It was definitely exhausting- with breakfast (and mingling) starting at 7:30 and final talks ending at 9:30 pm every day (with a couple of hours after lunch for an activity or posters or – to be honest- lying face up on my bed staring at the ceiling).

But the science was interesting, and the organisation encouraged interactions with a wide range of people.

The college also had a farm, complete with chickens, so I managed to spend a nice afternoon activity that involved talking about the farm while watching those little guys peck around.

Two other things of note:

  1. I got to wear my newly-made Opt Top, which was really fun to switch up and style throughout. Plus I got to have one of those ‘I like your top’ ‘thanks III MAAYDE ITTT!!!’ conversations that everyone who sews dreams of.

2. Because Boston, the final dinner of these GRCs is quite often Lobster. Plus some oysters and shrimps and other delicious sea creatures. Actually, one of the few qualms I had about the conference was that while the food was amazing, the veggie food was definitely less great (sometimes no evening protein options), which is particularly weird given that it was an ecology meeting, and that group is becoming more and more plant-centered.

All up, I have to say it was a pretty solid conference. I came out of it all feeling scientifically invigorated, but also wanting to talk to any other people for another week or two.

The conference shuttle dropped us back in the city around lunchtime, so I spent the afternoon wandering around and looking at all the things to see in Boston.

I wandered past Faneuil Hall area (a bit too touristy), and kept on moving, before turning the corner into the Boston Public Market- a really nice space with a focus on local produce and makers.

I was lucky enough to walk straight into a free tour, which (even luckier) included free taste tests.

Strong recommend on the apple cider donuts.

I strolled on, crossing the Boston Greenway (and stopping briefly to swing on the swing-benches), and then hit up Little Italy’s Famous Mike’s Pastry shop for cannoli.

For some reason, Mike’s has decided to be whatever the opposite of cashless is, so there was a bit of a faff trying to find an atm and take out some actual US bills, but ultimately I procured a cannoli (cannolo?).

And I mean it was fine… but… maybe I just.. don’t really love cannoli that much??

I intended to visit the also-famous Regina Pizza for a slice, but when I arrived there was a queue going quite a way around the corner, and I decided that I maybe didn’t like pizza that much either.

The Next Stop was the Granary Burying Ground, final resting place of Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine; Peter Faneuil, Paul Revere as well as five victims of the Boston Massacre.

If you are as terrible at USian history as I am, and most of these names mean nothing to you, have no fear. You can download a nice GPS-locatey podcast that tells you facts as you move around the site. (Note- this will absolutely eat up your phone battery, so you will have to be a bit shameless about stealing power from chowder shops later in the day).

Post-cemetery, I had to take a quick break to refuel (hello market mango my love!), before launching myself from the Boston Common along the

Boston Freedom Trail!!!

(feels like it needs to be quite dramatic).

Once again, I’d strongly advise you bring along either a middle school education in US history, a friend who likes reading wikipedia, or a podcasty app-y thing.

Or apparently, you can also hire a person with a fancy hat to show you around, if that’s more your vibe.

^ Massachusetts State House

^Boston Latin School with a statue of Benny F in front.

^ Democrat Donkey with Elephant shoe/Republican ‘Stand In Opposition’.

*insert favourite eyeroll emoji*

I enjoyed following my Freedom Treasure Trail for a bit for some Boston Famous Clam Chowder, and then kept on Walking To Freedom.

^Old South Meeting House (aka where the Boston Tea Party began!)

^The site of the Boston Massacre.

^ The Old North Church, complete with statue of Paul Revere making his midnight ride.

Final Destination: The Monument!

By the time I’d trailed myself to Freedom, I was pretty exhausted- partially also due to post-conference exhaustion and the overall dampness of the day.

So I holed myself up inside a cafe for a bit, ate some food and called Sameer… and then slowly trudged my way up to my airBnB to settle in for the night.

June 9th, 2023

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