The tour started at John Harvard's Brew House, a historic restaurant (is everything here historic?) and brewery just down the street from "Harvard yard." (That's what the fancy Eastern intellectuals call the campus, except they pronounce it "Hahvahd yahd") I scarfed down my chicken sandwich and fries, forgetting that dessert was included, so by the time I waddled out of the restaurant, I was ready for a walking tour. This is Harvard's main gate, which we learned was bad luck to walk through, unless entering as a freshman and then the only other time you should walk through is as a graduating senior. Since we accidentally walked through it ourselves, I guess that means we are in for a spell of bad luck. I hate when that happens.
Our tour was "unofficial" led by 2 students, a freshman girl and sophomore guy, who gave us the inside scoop on famous pranks between Harvard and MIT, freshman hi jinks and the ongoing feud between Harvard and the town of Cambridge. Oh, and they gave us some historical information, of course, but I really only remember the funny stories.
This is one of the dorms for freshman. Apparently people like John Adams and other famous historical figures lived here. Like I said, I only remember the funny stories. Like when our tour guide Collin said that he lived here as a freshman and saw a limo pull up and the Dali Lama got out. And then a few weeks later he saw 3 limos and a Lincoln Town Car pull up and wondered who was more important than the Dali Lama and saw Oprah get out.
This is Memorial Hall, dedicated to honor the students who fought in the Civil War - but only for the North. A few died in service to the Confederacy, but they aren't honored here. I guess we can figure out which side Harvard was on.
The inside was like a church. Beautiful stained glass windows and archways, but it was built as a completely secular memorial. The freshman eat here and their dining room was the inspiration for the great hall in Harry Potter. What other claim to fame does one need?
The grounds were being prepared for graduation, which was happening in 2 days. Harvard boasts some pretty big names as graduation speakers, people like Bill Clinton and Bill Gates, who is the only man to have dropped out of Harvard and later given an Honorary Diploma. Of course, it doesn't compare to some of the big-wigs Maranatha gets for graduation . . . wait, I can't even remember who spoke at my graduation.
This is the statue of John Harvard, which reads: John Harvard, Founder, 1638. It's known as the statue of the 3 lies, because John Harvard didn't found the college, he just bequeathed a bunch of money to it, and it was founded in 1636, and there are no surviving images of John Harvard, so it's pretty safe to say he didn't look like this. Anyway, it's historical (do you sense a theme here?) so we had to take a picture.
After we got back to the hotel, we collapsed for about an hour and then met up with some new friends for dinner. I was still digesting lunch and didn't plan on eating, so when the group decided on seafood, we were good-natured and agreed, even though neither Dan nor I like seafood. We were encouraged that every seafood place has other choices, so Dan was satisfied.
We ended up going to the Union Oyster House, the oldest restaurant in America. The building is over 250 years old and boasts housing Revolutionaries. We sat down to order, our entire group (save Dan) ready to eat lobster or oysters. Dan opened the menu and realized there was nothing but seafood available.
Don't be mistaken, this is not battered fish he is eating. Never deterred, he saw a small menu for children 12 and younger which included chicken fingers. He asked the waitress if he passed for 12 and she obliged his squeamish appetite.
This was the most expensive children's menu platter of chicken fingers he has ever eaten.
Tim, our new friend from Iowa, enjoyed the lobster. I had to take a picture to prove to Elijah that people actually do eat those creepy things that swim in the tank at Walmart.
After dinner, we wandered the cobblestone streets and learned that if Paul Revere were alive today, he would still recognize these parts of Boston. Coming from Wisconsin, where the most historic landmark we have is Lambeau Field, that impressed me.
We ended the day in a picture-perfect moment. Window shopping around Faneuil Hall, music pouring out of pubs and restaurants mixed with the chatter and laughter of people enjoying their evenings, walking hand in hand with the man of my dreams in beautifully perfect weather and still revelling in the fact that Kris Allen beat Adam Lambert on American Idol. What more can you ask for?