Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Before we left Kansas City, I knew on the days we went to Boston, we would park somewhere outside the city and ride the subway into town. Monday night when Janice and I were looking at maps to see where we could park and catch the subway, I noticed that at one of the subway station locations it said Adams Historic Site.I asked Janice to google it and see exactly what it was. 

That is how we discovered one of the highlights of our whole week ... the residences of John Adams, the second President of the United States and his son John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States and their graves.

We decided to drive to Quincy and after seeing the Adams' residences, catch the subway, also known as the "T", and ride to the JFK/UMASS exit where we could catch a free shuttle to the JFK Presidential Library. 

Setting our alarms so we could get an early start and putting the address in the GPS, we were off to a day with the "Presidents". The Visitors Center for the Adams National Historical Park is located in downtown Quincy. There is a big parking garage and the Center will validate your parking so it is free. A trolley picks up the visitors and takes them first to the birthplaces.

Birthplace of John Adams
Birthplace of John Quincy Adams
These two houses are 75 feet from each other on their original foundations. When John and Abigail married in 1764 they bought and moved into the farmhouse nearby (second picture). John Quincy was born in this house in 1767.

When John returned to the U. S. in 1788 after years of being a diplomat and minister plenipotentiary, he and Abigail moved into a house that John named Peace Field. It was on 75 acres and a little over a mile from their farmhouse and a working farm. After John's terms as the first vice president and the second president, he and Abigail retired to Quincy and the Old House at Peace Field to live year round. Eventually Peace Field changed from being a working farm to a country estate.

What impressed us the most about this national park is that four generations of Adams lived at Peace Field from 1788 to 1927 when Brooks Adams, the last descendant to live in the house, established the Adams Memorial Society to manage the property. In 1946 the National Park Service accepted the estate from the Society and the Adams National Historical Park was established. That means that the house is full of items from John and Abigail...from when they first married and lived in the farmhouse a mile away to John's death in the house. We saw pieces of the china they used in the White House, their actual furniture and even the chair John was sitting in the day he died. John enlarged the house considerably after moving in...the back portion was added and about half of the front portion of the house.

Peace Field

John Quincy requested in his will that a detached fireproof building be built for his books, maps, and letters. In 1870, his son Charles had the Stone Library built.

Stone Library
We were not allowed to take pictures in any of the rooms in the park,but I took this picture of a poster in the Visitors Center.

Inside the Stone Library
Of the over 12,000 volumes, 10% belonged to John Adams and most of the rest belonged to John Quincy Adams. My picture didn't do the library justice. It just left us speechless.

Riding back to the Visitors Center, a very nice couple from Utah that we met, told us about a deli that had been recommended to them by one of the park rangers. Since we were starving, we decided to give it a try. Gunther Tooties not only has great sandwiches, but their reasonably priced "sweets" were the best. I got a brownie big enough to share...

This is a statue of Abigail Adams and son, John Quincy. 

Our next stop was at the The United First Parish Church, church of both of the Adams presidents. This particular building is the fourth building for the church that started in 1636. This building was finished in 1828. 

John Quincy Adams' pew is still in the church. I didn't think to ask if they allow people to sit in it for church.

It is the burial place for John Adams

Abigail Adams

John Quincy Adams

and his wife, Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams

This is a picture of the church's record as recorded by the Reverend Peter Whitney of John Adams' death on July 4, 1826. It says, " Died July 4th The honorable John Adams late President of the United States just fifty years from putting his signature to that memorable instrument which declared these United Colonies to be free and independent States." His funeral was attended by an immense concourse of People and a discourse was delivered from 1st of Chronicles 29th chapter 28th verse. "He died in a good old age, full of day and honor." 1826. (There is actually a blob over the end of the last word. I can only read "hon" clearly.)

Across the street in the Hancock Cemetery is the family vault in which John and Abigail were originally entombed. John Quincy had their bodies removed and moved to the basement of the church where they are still today.

Utterly overwhelmed with our experiences of the day, we managed to get tickets for the T to go to John F. Kennedy's Presidential Library on the University of Massachusetts campus. 

View from the back of Dorchester Bay Boston Harbor (See a lighthouse in the distance?)

Impressive hanging flag inside the library looking up at it.

Our day almost over, a chain of events occurred that would make this day even more memorable than we could ever have imagined. Somewhere in the library, I lost the parking ticket for the parking garage that had been validated in the Visitors Center. I retraced my steps, but it was nowhere to be found. Back in Quincy at the Parking Garage, what seemed like a catastrophe turned out not to be when the parking attendant accepted one of our tickets for the Adams Historical Park as proof and didn't make us pay the $12 for a lost ticket. Then right after leaving the parking garage, the car in front of me stopped and yelled back at me, "I think you just blew a tire." I could hear the air escaping when I lowered the window to hear what he was saying to me. Catastrophe again! But no...while I am looking up the address of a service station nearby on the GPS, Leon gets out to go ask two young girls where there was a station. One didn't have any idea, but the other one said, "Turn right, then .... and there is a Sullivan Tires on your right." Sure enough, she was right. I pulled into the empty parking lot, saw that it closed at 6, looked at the clock in the car that said it was a few minutes before 6, and thought we are saved. But no, the clock was slow in the car. They had just closed. But Leon saved the day again though when he noticed a back door closing, and talked a young boy who worked there into coming out and helping us. They opened the doors and pulled the car into the shop to fix the flat. Only problem was whatever had punctured the tire had made it "unfixable". John, a saleman, ordered us a tire and said it would be there the next day if we wanted to come back. The boy put the spare tire on the car and John said we didn't owe them anything. We insisted and he said we could pay the boy for his work. After we left, I headed for the nearest gas station to get some gas as we were close to empty and to check the air in the tire as the "car" was giving me a message of low tire pressure. John, from Sullivan Tires, drove by, saw us at the station, and stopped to make sure we were ok. What a considerate man!

Before we got back to Mashpee, we stopped at a Ninety Nine Restaurant and Pub to eat dinner. I had seen one in Mashpee and had thought we could give it a try. So when I saw the sign on the highway for one in Braintree, we stopped there.

Needing to "settle down" after the events of the day, when we got back to our cottage, we played another game of canasta. This night though Janice and I just couldn't get any cards, as they say, and the guys beat us. We went to bed with plans to stay on Cape Cod the next day since we needed to call Budget to see what they wanted us to do about the tire.


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