Duck tour through Boston - Monday, July 13, 2009
My daughter slept with me last night and spent the night kicking, punching, and just jumping all over the place. I did not get much sleep. Al had to stay in the hotel and work so I took the kids to the Prudential Centre (attached to our hotel) and had breakfast at Dunkin Donuts. I studied brochures, guidebooks and talked to the concierge and couldn't decide what tour(s) to take. We walked around a bit, and finally decided on the Duck Tour.
We got lunch at Shaw's (market) so we could take it on the tour with us since we'd be on the tour for a long time. We arrived at 1:00 p.m. as we were told for a 1:30 p.m.departure. We were third from the last row to board, but took the last row of seats. The two kids sat on one row and I sat across by myself. Once the tour guide came on, she closed the ladder and added a third seat in between the 2 rows. We had a lot of space! These are interesting vehicles and the kids loved it.
The vehicles used for these tours are modeled after vehicles from World War II (DUKWs). Due to many challenges facing by the armed services during World War II, it became apparent that troops needed vehicles that could carry men and supplies on land and water. In 1942 (within six months), the DUKW was designed. D is for designed in 1942, U is for utility amphibious cargo carrying vehicle, K is for front wheel drive and W is for double rear axle drive. I know it doesn't make sense...
They made about 21,000 DUKWs and women mostly made them since the men were off at war. When the war ended they sold the vehicles and that's how Duck Tours got them. Some are original, but the majority are modified reproductions. Each of the vehicles is painted and has a cute name. Ours was painted in Red Sox colors and was named "Red Sox Nathan." My son was happy about that. Our guide was Penny Wise and she was in a Navy Uniform. All the guides must wear costumes. She wears the Navy uniform in honor of her Dad and Grandad who served in the U.S. Navy.
The tour was informative, funny and very entertaining. We drove on Bolyston St. (we drove right over the finish line for the Boston Marathon). We passed in front of the Trinity Church, Beacon Hill and the State House in between the Public Garden and Boston Common (the oldest public park in the U.S.), and many more sites. Then we went to a deserted construction site where the ramp to enter the river is found. The kids were filled with anticipation and their faces were glowing with the excitement. We basically drove in and then the propeller kicked on. It was great! We cruised on the river for awhile.
While we were on the river, we saw many sailboats. The view was beautiful with the skyline in the distance and hundreds of sailboats in the river. One of the sailboats almost crashed into us and did hit the wall of the bridge. It turns out this was one of the students from the nation's oldest boating program. Every summer, local school children (about 1600) participate in the program to learn to sail. They pay only $1.00 for the whole summer and go out every day and all day. The little sailor was fine. Our guide called for help and someone came out to help him immediately.
Our ride on the Charles River continued and it was wonderful. Then the kids got a great surprise as they were all going to take turns driving the DUCK. They both had turns and got their pictures taken while steering. We were on the river for 45 minutes or so, then we went to Charlestown, Quincy Market, and back on Tremont Street (where we saw the three mountains), and back to the stop. We bought the book, "Make Way for Ducklings" and the state book of Massachusetts at the DUCK gift cart. We had a stupendous time, and we were all glad we decided on this tour over the other ones!
We met Al at the hotel and went to the Public Garden to ride the Swan boats. We had a beautiful ride. It was very serene and the views from there were breath-taking. Boston is a gorgeous city. We walked around the park, took many pictures on the "world's smallest suspension bridge" and then took a cab back to the hotel. We picked up our car and drove to Cambridge, Harvard Square and around Harvard. We parked and explored the Harvard campus. We walked around a long time and got to hang out with some of the students as they walked around us getting to their classes and dorms.
We had dinner in Cambridge and then went back to the hotel!