Today I braved the drippy skies and ventured to downtown Boston on both bus and subway. It was a great adventure! My goal was to visit the New England Historical Genealogical Society, which I did, but I also took in the Boston Public Library and Copley Square, where a large Farmers’ Market was being held. The Society was elegant and grand, more than I had expected, yet it was similar to many of the repositories used on the “Who Do You Think You Are?” show from Ancestry.com. I feel very blessed to have had an opportunity to speak with an experienced historian for a good length of time in regard to the brick wall around my maternal grandfather. He was able to give me some good pointers on what to try next, and complimented me on the research already done on all sides of the brick wall. Yet, in 35 years, I have been unable to knock that old wall down! (More on the genealogy section of my blog as it is developed.)
Sitting in the front picture window of Pret Manger, enjoying a hazelnut latte and a cranberry scone, my mind began to wander as I watched the lunch-hour crowd scamper through the light rain. People-watching can be mesmerizing as you begin to imagine who they are, where they are headed, and what they might be thinking. The stately building at Five Hundred Boylston dwarfed all who passed in my line of vision from that window seat. Some seemed to move in slow motion, some were prepared for the rain, and others didn’t care one way or another. What was a rather gray day was lit sporadically by umbrellas in every color, size, and pattern imaginable. The Farmers’ Market at Copley Square went on, business as usual, in spite of the rain….and the customers kept coming.
Architecture is marvelous in Boston. The Old North Church, adjacent to my subway stop, is vividly reflected in the modern glass high rise behind it. It serves as a testament to history being preserved and reflected. A tour of the Church of the Covenant, across the street, was both humbling and thrilling. The sanctuary of the immense church, built originally in 1865 in the Gothic Revival Style, was completely redecorated by Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company between 1894 and 1896. It is a place of deep spirituality and awesome beauty. The rushing of the downtown is shut out, and you almost feel compelled to whisper by the sheer enormity and splendor of the sanctuary. The sanctuary lantern, six feet by 12 feet, hangs stunningly before the altar, constructed of glass, bronze, filigree, dangling glass balls, and sculpted angels. It has been described as the “Grandfather of all Tiffany leaded glass lamps.” Forty-two stained glass windows, each telling a story based on the Bible, ring the sanctuary. This is a must-see for anyone visiting Copley Square.
Boston is an exciting city to visit. One local sitting next to me in the cafe commented that she liked Boston best for its manageable size. Culture, entertainment, restaurants, museums, festivals, many universities, and an excellent public transportation system all add up to something for everyone, whether you are here with friends and family or just sitting alone in the front window of a small cafe….and yet you are not alone.