A contrast between Presidents, Cape Cod Canal and the Big Apple, The High Line Stroll, lunch at the Empire Diner

At noon Sunday, we left the Boston cruise terminal south of the city for our tour of the Old House (Peacefield) at the Adams Historical Park, followed by time at the JFK Presidential Library and exhibits. The trip to Quincy, south of Boston, was pretty quick and soon we pulled up in front of the historical house that John and Abigail Adams bought in 1787 and occupied on and off until their deaths, including during the time while John Adams served as Vice-President and as the second president of the United States. Their son, John Quincy Adams (sixth president of the United States) also lived here with his wife and family. Two more generations of Adams resided in the house (sometimes in the summer only) until 1927. The National Park Service received the home and much smaller property in 1947. The Adams never threw anything away, so the house was full of their belongings and books.

The Park Service divided our bus into small groups. Interestingly, we visited on the weekend celebrating the 250th wedding anniversary of John and Abigail Adams. Our park ranger was absolutely superb, one of the best tour guides we have ever had for a historical site. She brought the history of the house alive, showing us the original rooms in the small, unusual brick structure, as well as the additions overseen by Abigail and the stone library constructed after the passing of Charles Adams, the third-generation member of the family and the ambassador to Britain under Abraham Lincoln. We couldn’t take pictures inside the buildings, due to the narrow confines and the plethora of fragile antiquities. This was a wonderful visit, however, and we walked away with renewed admiration for John and Abigail Adams and their legacy.

Next, we journeyed to the JFK presidential library and archives, situated on a spit of land with a beautiful view of Boston proper. The exhibits begin with a 17-minute film, narrated by JFK himself, talking about his youth, WWII service, book-writing and burgeoning interest in politics, including his congressional and senatorial campaigns. The film ends with him accepting the 1960 Democratic nomination as their candidate for the presidency. The exhibits take off from this point, with the election, the inauguration, and the years of the presidency. The assassination is handled with small TVs in a black wall with the breaking news from Dallas. There was also a special exhibit on the Cuban missile crisis. Although this facility very interesting, we enjoyed the visit to Peacefield much more. Our country has diverged so much from the ideals of the Founding Fathers, with all of their faults. JFK was a classic liberal, in many ways, but he was also an heir to the philosophy of big, paternalistic federal government.

After our time at the library, we returned to the ship just in time to sail (missing trivia). Regatta cruised through the harbor, then turned south to the Cape Cod Canal. We ate in the Grand Dining Room last night (good dinner, very low-key service) and had a table by the window; we were able to watch as we entered this historical canal that cuts off the journey around Cape Cod for smaller ships. Regatta traveled under three bridges (with tight clearances) and often the towns and roads were right by the canal.

This morning (Monday), we slept in and woke to clear blue skies over Long Island Sound. The views were spectacular as we cruised into New York, under the Verrazano Narrows bridge, past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and along the west side of Manhattan to the cruise dock at pier 90 (mid town). We disembarked about noon, caught a cab and went to the south end of the High Line trail, an elevated walkway created out of an old abandoned railroad line on the lower west side. The High Line is wonderful, with many plants, works of art, places to sit and interesting views of the city skyline, we walked 12 blocks (from 12th to 24th streets), exiting at 24th to find lunch. We picked the Empire Diner, recently bought by Food Network celebrity chef Amanda Freitag. Lunch was classic grilled cheese with yummy fries (low-calorie of course). We’re back at the ship right now killing time until our evening tour to Fulton’s Landing,across the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building and Times Square.

More from the city that never sleeps! We sail tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 pm.

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