I know, I know…I’ve been quite behind on my blogging lately. The first part of December brings our large conference at work – one that demands tons of time in November to finalize projects. As this is my first year at this conference, I’ve had to catch up on the “comings and goings” and get tasks done in preparation. But things have calmed down now and I’m able to focus on getting tasks done for my blog! (And it was a great conference by the way – watch for some pics from Baltimore soon!)
But now to Boston and Halloween in Beacon Hill!
Whether you’re a long time resident or new to the area, you may not have experienced the wonder of Beacon Hill on Halloween night. I met a woman who used to work with Boston by Foot, a local nonprofit who does some amazing walking tours around the city. And she told me that on Halloween, they provide the ultimate “local” experience, Beacon Hill with a BOO!
We started off at the State House near Boston Common. I had to work on Halloween but walked the few blocks up the hill to meet my tour group after work. I had to taxi it home during a late lunch to let my precious pup, Brenna, out (she’ll post some experiences at some point) and THAT was a whirlwind trip so I didn’t have to rush home after work or miss the tour. Made me consider having a dog walker on stand by to fill in during these types of circumstances…but that’s another story…
Here’s a pic of my precious Brenna, taking over the bed and looking at me like she doesn’t care about it at all. Yeah…that’s most mornings. But I digress…
We started off at the State House, which is the state capital with a gold dome. It’s beautiful and you may have just heard about it on national news because of the time capsule they just found, buried by Sam Adams and Paul Revere in the 1700s. Oh the mysteries to uncover!
We started at the statue of Mary Dyer, who was the first of five women hanged in Boston Common during the 1600s. She was banished from Boston TWICE, but kept coming back, and was hung during her third visit.
Our next stop was the Boston Athenaeum. It was founded in 1807 as a private library but I think you can now do tours during some special occasions (check their website – it’s on my to do list). As part of our “BOO” tour, we learned that there is a book in this library…somewhere…called the “Life of a Highwayman,” written by a prisoner who was incarcerated in Charlestown. The creepy thing? The book is bound IN HIS OWN SKIN. Yuck!
(Yes, bad pic and I apologize.) As we started through Beacon Hill I learned a few things:
- Joy Street is one of the oldest streets on Beacon Hill.
- The south slope and the north slope are designed very differently. The south slope has very clear plots while the north slope is “messier” in its design.
- By the mid-1850s, 80% of the free black population lived on the north slope. There are parts of this area that are believed to be part of the Underground Railroad.
Oh, there’s my tour guide…
The African Meeting House is where the New England anti-slavery movement began. It’s on the north slope of Beacon Hill and this is the original building. The second picture shows the school that was built in 1834; it was segregated until 1855 when it closed down. It’s now a museum that you can tour (again, to do list!) to learn the history of the free black Americans during the 1700-1800s.
Holmes Alley is VERY narrow and cuts through parts of the north slope of Beacon Hill. It’s believed to be designed as part of the Underground Railroad to help smuggle slaves to freedom prior to the Civil War. It was kind of creepy walking through this – the pictures don’t quite capture the feel of having walls about an inch from each shoulder as you walked through.
The Debutante Murder happened here, in Beacon Hill. Suzanne Clift was the niece of Montgomery Clift, the famous actor.
Also, the last victim of the Boston Strangler lived on Charles Street – I pass by the house on my walk home from work! Eek!!
Louisburg Square is where John Kerry lives – someone from his family was coming out with candy to hand to the children, but I didn’t see him. However, I did see his motorcade a few days earlier as I walked home from work down Charles Street. I didn’t know what it was, but overheard a mom telling her child about it. I’m more excited that Louisa Mae Alcott lived here. And Jenny Lind. Lots of history in these brownstones!
I’ll leave you with other fun pics from the night. Families were out in full force – children and adults dressed up in Halloween finery – children with candy crammed everywhere they could fit it – adults with beverages in red solo cups. It was a fun night and I’d invite friends to come stay with me next Halloween so we can take your kids out together – what FUN that would be!!