Monday was a bit of a rest day spent close to our temporary Cambridge residence. We started with an early morning walk around Fresh Lake accompanied by legions of joggers and dog walkers all of whom seemed happy to share with us the morning sunshine and vivid autumn colours – it being Columbus Day and a public holiday nobody seemed to be in too much of a hurry.
A short bus journey took us into Harvard Square, the hub of the world famous university; within the space of a few yards you get an interesting contrast between the leafy squares and elegant colleges and a high street that seems to have more in common with Watford than Oxford! Harvard must be a great place to study if you have the brains and the money – if you can put up with the continuous stream of tourists wandering around. Bit of a strange place really.
We walked home along Brattle Street which is one of Boston’s most desirable residential areas – not hard to see why when you look at some of the mansions, several of which pre-date the War of Independence. We ate our sandwiches in the garden of the former home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (which had also served for a while as George Washington’s headquarters in the opening days of the Revolutionary War) before taking a turn around Mount Auburn Cemetery which it seems was the first ‘landscaped’ burial ground in the US. Perhaps not something that you would normally think of as a tourist attraction but well worth a visit with lovely leafy lanes, impressive monuments and some great views of Boston.
After collecting our hire car on Tuesday morning we started our drive up the Massachusetts coast stopping off briefly at Salem – the focus for a series of notorious witch trials in the 1690’s. Perhaps it would have been better if we’d managed to avoid visiting during the build up to Halloween – the town was a little too commercialised for my tastes ……….. and if I never see another pumpkin or hear another ‘hideous witch-like cackle’ ever again, it will be too soon!