Boston, Massachusetts

Growing up and living in Massachusetts for years you couldn’t help but be attracted to all places in and around the city of Boston. Whether it was going to the Aquarium, the Celtics, Bruins, or any of the Red Sox games it was always a great time. The Museum of Science, Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, Faneuil Hall or countless other classic places have been great must see stops. The North End before a game at the Garden, dinner at the ‘Catch’ and choosing to go to ‘Modern’ pastry over ‘Mike’s’ and countless other places over the years have always included more stories and the adventures that went with each one. Last Saturday was no different.

We (my sister and one of the two who’ve been on our many adventures together.) were in Boston for an event at the Omni Parker House hotel on Tremont Street. Traveling from New Hampshire on a dicey, snowy day was enough to test your nerves if you just went slow and steady. Through the Callahan tunnel a left and a right and another left and we were on Tremont Street. Valet parking at the Nine Zero hotel where we were staying was offered but when we arrived the line was more than expected. We found ourselves in the travel lane with no chance to get into the proper lane. No problem, we’ll just go around the block. Right? Right. Nearly thirty minutes later we finally arrived back to the hotel and pulled up with no problem after the unplanned sightseeing for a while (not on the list of things to do on this particular day). We checked in and headed out and about as we had several hours before the event. There were so many coffee places and we just wanted one where you could sit down and relax. Not so. So many people use these places to set up shop and sit there for hours on their laptops. Finally, we found one place, Boston Common (how appropriate and best brew), near to where we wandered and had a chance to sit and sip for a while.

It was now dark as we made our way back to Tremont Street. Lights were lit on trees in and around the Boston Common as we slogged about the snow and slush. It was a scenic area even at night. The church bells chimed the hour as we headed back to prepare for the evening’s festivities. The hotel lobby was now packed with people all dressed interestingly the same way in jeans and boots. It was the courtesy “happy hour” but different somehow. The staff was steadily serving wine but now they were wearing cowboy hats. Hmm. Finally, we asked and found out the reason that nearly all the rooms at the hotel (over 150) were booked. They were in town to attend the Garth Brooks concert at the Garden. Mystery solved as to the long line for valet parking.

We fancied up (sans boots and jeans) and headed to the Omni Parker House hotel. The worry (walking in heels or having to take a taxi) was for naught as I counted all of thirty steps from hotel door to hotel door.

It was now dark as we made our way back to Tremont Street. Lights were lit on trees in and around the Boston Common as we slogged about the snow and slush. It was a scenic area even at night. The church bells chimed the hour as we headed back to prepare for the evening’s festivities. The hotel lobby was now packed with people all dressed interestingly the same way in jeans and boots. It was the courtesy “happy hour” but different somehow. The staff was steadily serving wine but now they were wearing cowboy hats. Hmm. Finally, we asked and found out the reason that nearly all the rooms at the hotel (over 150) were booked. They were in town to attend the Garth Brooks concert at the Garden. Mystery solved as to the long line for valet parking.

We fancied up (sans boots and jeans) and headed to the Omni Parker House hotel. The worry (walking in heels or having to take a taxi) was for naught as I counted all of thirty steps from hotel door to hotel door.


Boston Parker House

Some history highlights about this area:

Opened in 1855 by Harvey D. Parker and located on School Street near the corner of Tremont, not far from the seat of the Massachusetts state government, The Parker House has long been a rendezvous for politicians. The hotel was home to the Saturday Club, also referred to as the Saturday Night Club, which consisted of literary dignitaries such as Charles Dickens, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Charles Dickens resided in the Parker House for two years in his own apartments and first recited and performed “A Christmas Carol” at the Saturday Club at the Parker House. The Parker House currently holds possession of Charles Dickens lock and key to his apartment door and also his mirror.

The hotel introduced to America what became known as the European Plan. Prior to that time American hotels had included meals in the cost of a room, and only offered them at set times. The Parker House charged only for the room, with meals charged separately and offered whenever the guest chose.

Actor John Wilkes Booth stayed at the hotel April 5–6, 1865, ten days before assassinating Abraham Lincoln. He was apparently in Boston to see his brother, actor Edwin Booth, who was performing there. While in Boston, Booth was seen practicing at a firing range near the Parker House.

The true, original Boston Cream Pie is a culinary creation of Boston’s Parker House, now widely known as Omni Parker House. The recipe was originally called the Parker House “Chocolate Cream Pie”, and was created and served at Parker’s Restaurant from the opening of the hotel in October 1856. It became so popular that in 1958 it was fashioned into a Betty Crocker boxed mix and sold nationally well into the 1990s. What made the dessert so special was its chocolate icing. When the Parker House opened, chocolate was mainly consumed at home as a beverage or in puddings. So the Parker House cake might have become well known for its rather innovative use of chocolate. In fact, the Boston Cream Pie is not a pie at all, but a two layer golden cake filled with pastry cream. The Boston Cream Pie has been distinguished as Massachusetts’ official state dessert over Toll House Cookies and Fig Newton’s.

The famous Parker House roll was also a creation out of the hotel as well as the coined word known as “scrod”.


Parker House.jpeg

Back to today and the reason we were in Boston. Entering the lobby of the historic Omni Parker House hotel we walked up the grand staircase and to the room set up for the evening’s highlighted event; The 2014 New England Book Festival award ceremony. I had nervously waited the weeks leading up to this moment. Why? I had to speak in front of the audience (as did everyone else). I was to be honored along with many fellow writers on this evening. “Today is the Day”, my first published general fiction novel, received an honorable mention. When it was my turn, the introduction of my work was paralleled with the current blockbuster book and movie, “American Sniper”. I was surprised by this but glad for the recognition. Bob Ryan and the #1 honoree with his book, “Scribe: My life in Sports” spoke right after me. All in all the evening’s attendance was a smaller crowd, not the throng I had envisioned (they were with Garth). It was a very nice event and became more personal where we all mingled and socialized with each other more than anything. The food and open bar was a perfect match. We told our stories, laughed, shook hands, and gave quick hugs on leaving wishing each other the best. Not what I expected at all but really more pleasant and fun.

Today is the Day by Deborah Curtin

The next day was sunny but chilly. And because we were right across from some of Boston’s historic areas we had to venture into one in particular.

The Old Granary Burial Ground in Massachusetts is the city of Boston’s third-oldest cemetery. Located on Tremont Street, it is the final resting place for many notable Revolutionary War-era patriots, including three signers of the Declaration of Independence – Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine – Paul Revere, and the five victims of the Boston Massacre. The cemetery has 2,345 graves, but historians estimate as many as 5,000 people are buried in it. The cemetery is adjacent to Park Street Church and immediately across from Suffolk University Law School. The cemetery’s Egyptian revival gate and fence were designed by architect Isaiah Rogers (1800–1869), who designed an identical gate for Newport’s Touro Cemetery. Even on this weekend of winter weather it was nice to see tour groups with many young adults walking in the cemetery and other sections of the Freedom Trail.

There are reports, familiar to tourists to Boston, Massachusetts, that the original Mother Goose was a Bostonian wife of an Isaac Goose, either named Elizabeth Foster Goose (1665–1758) or Mary Goose (d. 1690, age 42) who is interred at the Granary Burying Ground on Tremont Street. According to Eleanor Early, a Boston travel and history writer of the 1930s and ’40s, the original Mother Goose was a real person who lived in Boston in the 1660s. She was reportedly the second wife of Isaac Goose (alternatively named Vergoose or Vertigoose), who brought to the marriage six children of her own to add to Isaac’s ten. After Isaac died, Elizabeth went to live with her eldest daughter, who had married Thomas Fleet, a publisher who lived on Pudding Lane (now Devonshire Street). According to Early, “Mother Goose” used to sing songs and ditties to her grandchildren all day, and other children swarmed to hear them. Finally, her son-in-law gathered her jingles together and printed them.

And now you know!

Debbie Curtin writes stories about people, places, events and other topics of interest that engage the reader. As a member of the New Hampshire Writer’s Project, Debbie keeps ‘in the game’ with other like minded people. She has been an artist and creative person all her life and uses the unlimited sources of inspiration that abound everywhere in her writing as another art form.

History source information: Wikipedia