Boston during the Revolutionary War: The quick and dirty

This is for my two dear friends who hate museums and boring history. We’re heading to Boston ( my favorite city) soon and  I wanted hit the highlights without boring them to tears:

Key Players:

Revolutionary War: America’s Fight for freedom vs. Britain.

King George: King of England. Never set foot on American soil. Punk.

Paul Revere: All-around bad ass.

George Washington: Virginian-born (not ‘Virgin’), general of the rebel army, 1st US president.

Rebels: Today’s average American.

Redcoats: British peeps with bayonets.

Underlined words: Locations we’ll see. SO MEMORIZE IT. Or I will push you into the cranberry bogs.

America…it’s been around forever, right?

  • No. Lots of peeps were here before us, but we act like that never happened
  • Columbus found this place when he sailed the ocean blue in 1492 (ie Florida)
  • Then the English set-up shop via the Mayflower in 1620 (re: the Plymouth Rock south of Boston)
  • Who? Mostly, English Settlers that were adventurous or looking to find religious freedom made their way to America–BYE, Church of England

Everything was gravy untilll….

  • Stuff went down. Re: The Stamp Act (1765). So, Britain said, “Hey, we want your money and you can’t say anything about it so suck it.” Colonists were like, “WTF?”
  • Enter no taxation without representation (ie Colonists had NO say in what money Britain took from them)
  • 1770–Colonists are pissed. Britain sends soldiers to get the colonists in line and it gets out of hand when British soldiers kill five colonists for NO DANG REASON (Boston Massacre at the Old State House)
  • Paul Revere gets SUPER patriotic and starts getting rebels (colonists/Americans) super pumped about hating the British

Can you pass the sugar?

  • Fanueuil Hall–A place where all sorts of town meetings happened. It’s also where they talked a lot about taxes, because Britain was greedy
  • 1773–Britain sends tea (per usual) to America and rebels say, “Screw you.” Tea, meet the ocean. Enter: Boston Tea Party
  • “Oh snap. It’s on,” says Britain
  • 1775–Americans readied themselves for the British to crash the party
  • Lanterns were to be hung in the North Church  to let citizens know if/how the British were arriving. “One if by land, two if by sea.” PS: They hung two lanterns
  • Battle at Bunker Hill: The British won this early battle in the war but Fun Fact: it was actually mostly fought on Breed’s Hill

Seventeen. Se.. se.. Seventeen. Se..se.. Seventeen Seventy Six.

  • Our Founding Fathers created the Declaration of Independence (re: 1776…July 4th-ish)
  • America says, “Bring it on, Britain pansies”
  • And it’s on. George Washington begins the fight in Boston and tried to hold down the fort with a bunch of stinky Americans (men didn’t like showers or laundry…that was women’s work). He set up shop at the Wadsworth House near Cambridge

October 1781

  • Battle of Yorktown: Defining moment because we crushed the British. The war was pretty much over after this point. Yay! This happened in Virginia, so yeah. We won’t see that

I know I didn’t catch everything so comment on any history highlights I missed. Get ready, Boston-Here we come.

Higgs takes Europe: Part III (Ireland)

After Scotland, we took a short ferry ride across the Irish Sea to Belfast in Northern Ireland. Belfast is where Titanic was built, so we had a great time learning more about the work that was put into this ocean liner at the Titanic Museum. I was wildly embarrassed to be an American when one of the older ladies on our tour asked her husband loudly, “Is this the ship we saw in Pearl Harbor last year?” Oy.


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Soon we were in Dublin and ready to take in the sites. Here are the highlights:

  • Oscar Wilde was born and raised in Dublin.

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  • We toured Trinity College and also saw the Book of Kells—an extremely rare manuscript of the four gospels.

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  • Quick visit to St. Patricks Cathedral.

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  • We took a canal cruise and at one point I ordered a Coors Light. The waitress asked, “Would you like a glass?” to which I replied, “Yes, please.” And then she asked, “With ice? A glass with ice?” Wait, what?

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After Dublin, we headed west and here are the highlights:

  • We visited a farm to learn about sheep and how dogs help farmers.

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  • I kissed the Blarney Stone to receive the gift of eloquence (Lord knows I need it).

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  • We took a jaunting ride through Killarney state park where we saw the Ross Castle. And I bonded with Kearney the horse. Then we explored the Ring of Kerry.

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  • Pop and I found The Grand where I begrudgingly drank my first Guinness…but the live music was great.

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  • The Cliffs of Moher were incredible.

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  • We ate dinner at Bunratty Castle. This was a midieval-type dinner that required us to eat with our hands. This picture is special because it was taken approximately 45 minutes before I got a piece of chicken stuck in my esophagus. Don’t worry, I got it out, but it was touch-and-go there for a bit.

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  • Clanmacnoise monastic site was an incredible site of religion. It’s incredible seeing things that are 2,000 years old.

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My big takeaways from my time in the UK and Ireland?

  • Their coffee was incredible. I didn’t have one bad cup of coffee overseas. No more Starbucks drip for this girl!

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  • The movie Braveheart was super wrong. I’m going to need to go back and watch it to tell you exactly why, but the Scottish kind of laugh at it.
  • The Irish and Scottish are so proud of their land—And they know how special it is. Everything is pristine and taken care of. Never once did I see a junked up yard or trash on the streets. And the flowers—oh my goodness. Flowers were everywhere. I wish Americans loved their land as much as these folks do.

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  • I’m ready to move there. Why? Because even though it rains, it never gets warmer than 70. Also, in the summer, sunset is about 9pm and sunrise is about 5am. Can you imagine it being light outside at 5am?!? So much time for activities!

The Scottish have a saying: “Haste ye back,” and it means “Come back soon.” Well, don’t you worry- I’m already planning my next trip. Who’s with me?

Higgs takes Europe: Part II (In Scotland, Lassie)

After a few days in York, England, we traveled to Glasgow, Scotland to meet our tour group. Did I mention we used a tour guide? Yeah. There was no way I was letting my dad drive in Europe. The tour of about 30 people was the best way for us to get around and have everything planned for us.

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We spent a day in Glasgow and it wasn’t that exciting…So onto other things.

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The next day we headed to the highlands, stopping to take in the sights as we traveled and for a cruise around Loch Ness. PS “Loch” is what the Scottish call a “lake.”

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While we were waiting on our Loch Ness cruise, it was freezing and started hailing.

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I found Nessie!

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We spent the night in Inverness and it didn’t take long for me and Pop to walk around and stretch our legs. As we walked down the streets of pubs and souvenir shops, (they were EVERYWHERE) we heard “Take it Easy,” blaring from a pub named MacCullumbs. It seemed only right that pop and I stop in for a pre-dinner beverage.

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We sipped our beers while the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac bored from the speakers. Soon, a Scottish man approached my dad and said, “Oy! Your mustache is fantastic! You know who you look like? You look like ZZ Top, man!” To which my dad replied, “I really don’t think I have enough hair for that.” Needless to say, we were fitting in well.

The following days we stopped at Blair Athol Distillery where I learned how they make single-malt whisky. Fun Fact: In Scotland you spell it “whisky” and everywhere else you spell it “whiskey.”

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Next we headed for Saint Andrews where we spent most of our time soaking in the sun on the Old Course, walking in the steps of golf’s greatest.

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^^Here are on the 18th green.

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We ended our time in Scotland in the next few days and here are the highlights:

  1. I put my 15 years of dance lessons to use when I was invited to take part in a Scottish Dance. The guy on the right was my dance partner.

IMG_83182. We visited Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Crown Jewels, and the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. It was cold so all I remember is the times I had a cup of coffee in my hand.

IMG_8384 IMG_83803. The Elephant House is the coffee shop where JK Rowling began to write Harry Potter.

IMG_83213. At this point in our adventure, we were walking in temperatures with the highs in the 50s…so we discovered that the UK is cold and windy.

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Scotland was wonderful. Lots of plaid. And lots of history. But now it’s time to move on to Ireland.