Saturday, April 20, 2019

Saturday, April 20: Boston


Our last day!  It's been a whirlwind of a trip.  It seems most are ready to go home to sleep in their own bed (actually, just plain sleep anywhere!),  see their families,  and share stories of the trip.

Our morning was still filled with important historical sites. We took a guided tour of the Freedom Trail that starts on the Boston Commons.  We saw the grave sites of many famous people including Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock.  We also saw the State House, the Old South Meeting House, and Faneuil Hall.  Although it rained heavily at the beginning, it was warm, and the rain soon stopped so everyone dried out.

After lunch at Quincy Market, we headed to the Old North Church, Boston's oldest surviving church and most visited historical site.  It is most commonly known as the first stop on Paul Revere's “Midnight Ride,” where he instructed three Boston Patriots to hang two lanterns in the church's steeple as a signal from Paul Revere that the British were marching to Lexington and Concord by sea across the Charles River and not by land. This fateful event ignited the American Revolution.

Our last stop was the U.S.S Constitution, Old Ironsides: a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy named by President George Washington after the United States Constitution. She is the world's oldest commissioned naval vessel still afloat.

With our last goodbyes to our wonderful tour guides, we headed to Logan airport.  We have been to 7 states (Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts) plus the District of Columbia.  We have been blessed by safe travels, great company, good spring weather, impactful morning devotions, and history which truly came alive through the many sites and activities we experienced.  Gratitude to all who made this trip possible for your students.  Truly, it has been a trip of a lifetime for the students and chaperones alike...not something which could ever be duplicated.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Good Friday, April 19: Plimoth/Boston


This morning, we visited the 1600s at Plimoth Plantation, a recreation of a Plymouth colony where we interacted with "residents" who were dressed in historical clothing.  We visited a Wampanoag Native American village; a craft center where we saw people making cloth, warrior headdresses, pottery, and delicious baked goods; and the homes of a pilgrim colony.

Next, we visited the Forefathers Monument in the city of Plymouth Rock. Made as a tribute to the Pilgrims who landed the Mayflower at Plymouth and their religious values, and reaching 81 feet tall, the National Monument to the Forefathers took 30 years to build in the late 19th century. A 36-foot-tall sculpture representing “Faith” tops the monument. It is glorious and inspiring!  Here is a visual image depicting what we have learned over and over on this trip.  Our country was founded by people of deep, abiding faith in God, many who came to seek religious freedom and spread the Gospel.

We also saw THE rock, Plymouth rock!  It is protected now as it used to be chipped away at for souvenirs (so American!). Everyone had a chance to explore the waterfront of this small, quaint city and many enjoyed lobster for lunch.

From 6:00-9:00 p.m., our group sailed out into Boston Harbor on the Spirit of Boston. The ship has been recently renovated and is very classy.  The students were greeted with delicious passed appetizers and later served a full buffet.  Then, the dancing commenced!  There were lots of places to explore above deck to take in the sites of Boston Harbor, which was especially beautiful at night.  The evening concluded with a sundae bar,  a bit more dancing, and a tray of cookies offered on the way out.  The students looked very impressive all dressed up.  Parents, you should be proud of your students as they behaved maturely tonight.

Tomorrow is our last day in Boston....still several important sites to see before heading to the airport.  We ask for your prayers for safety and traveling mercies tomorrow evening.  The students will be eager to see you, with stories and pictures to share!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Thursday, April 18: Lexington/Concord/Boston


Goodbye Big Apple, Hello Massachusetts!  Today was very exciting as we visited the Lexington and Concord battlefields where the Revolutionary War started, our nation's war for independence from Britain.  The town of Lexington is charming, and the students had a chance to explore and have lunch there.  Then, we headed to Concord on a road that parallels the dirt road, called "Battle Road," that is still in existence and on which the "lobsterbacks" travelled. We had a chance to walk across North Bridge in Concord. It was here that British and American forces gathered on either side of the river for the Battle of Concord in April of 1775, considered the first true battle of the American Revolution.

In Boston, we visited the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum where students heard from colonists, including Samuel Adams, and boarded a ship at Griffin's Wharf where the Boston Tea Party took place on December 16, 1773.  The students even got to toss tea boxes into the harbor!  In the museum, we heard from some other Patriots, watched a movie about the battle at Lexington, and saw an actual tea box, "The Robinson Tea Chest," which is one of the oldest Boston museum artifacts.

We finished our day at Quincy Market, a historic marketplace constructed in 1824.  It if filled with a variety of food vendors and shops.  The students enjoyed dinner here, many trying lobster rolls or clam chowder.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Wednesday, April 17: New York City


The first stop today was the "Top of the Rock" to see a 360 degree view of New York City on a very clear, sunny morning. It was spectacular!  Then, the chaperone groups had 2.5 hours to explore the city and have lunch.  Groups visited a variety of sites including Trump Tower, Grand Central Station, Central Park, Radio City Music Hall and enjoyed shopping at such popular locations as the NBA store, American Girl, and FAO Schwartz.  Mr. Lanning challenged the students to eat at a New York eatery, or any place or food we don't have in California, in order to get bonus points on the next test.  Many students had hot dogs from the street vendors; others opted for deli sandwiches or local pizza and burgers.

The group boarded the motor coaches for the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center to see "My Fair Lady."  Our seats were fantastic in the orchestra section, and the show was quite humorous.  An usher commented to Mr. Ferrante on how well-behaved the group was, and she also pointed out that our students were interacting with one another and were not on their cell phones, unlike all the adult patrons in the theater.

After the show, we headed to Times Square where the chaperone groups had more time to explore and shop at the many stores in the area.  Before leaving Times Square, we gathered for a group picture with all the glowing marquees in the background.  Finally, we walked over to "Buca de Beppo" for a meal served family-style with two types of pasta, two salads, salmon, and chicken parmesan topped off with brownies for dessert.

It was quite the end to our time in New York. Tomorrow, bright and early, we are off to Boston.  Thank you for all your prayers.  Our trip is going smoothly, and God has been present in the details and in how well the group is relating to one another.  We end our day with gratitude.