We left the labyrinth disguised as a hotel at 11:00, having traversed 1031.5 miles at that point. By 11:22 we'd found our first stop at the Lexington Commons, site of the first skirmish of the Revolutionary War. Green troops on both sides panicked after hearing a gunshot somewhere, and began opening fire around the Commons. Only a handful of people were even harmed, but it nonetheless marked the beginning of the Revolution.
We visited the tavern across from the Commons, which houses the original door - a door which gained significant fame by having sustained a bullet hole during the skirmish. It's no longer the door, but is hanging inside, protected by a sheet of plexiglas. According to one of the tour guide ladies, most visitors to the tavern do so to see the door, not to stand in the very room the militia gathered in before heading out into the Commons on that fateful night.
The next stop was at the Minuteman National Historical Park, which runs along the road between Lexington and Concord and chronicles the events between the battles of both towns.
After a brief tour of the area, we drove around Concord to see the homes of the great Transcendentalist authors - first, the house of the Alcotts, then of Emerson, then Thoreau's Walden Pond (which is honestly more of a lake than a pond), and finally "The Old Manse" - the home of Hawthorne.
Between our visits to Walden Pond and the Old Manse, we stopped in downtown Concord and ate lunch at a café. They served what was possibly the best reuben in existence, despite having a typo on the menu that flipped the word's consecutive vowels. This time, it was my dad's turn to have a massive sandwich - a gigantic club that could have fed any lesser man twelve times over.
He ate it all.
We then headed back out to see the Old Manse, which was next to the North Bridge, the final part of the Minuteman Park and where the British were sniped heavily by the Americans in their retreat to Boston. Seeing this after Bunker Hill means that we're working backwards, chronologically speaking.
After this final Concord stop, we headed up the back roads to Lowell, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, the city with the second-most canals in the world (this side of Venice, of course), and the home of the Lowell Spinners. We stopped in for our customary pennant and hat, talked with the sales guy, and then got back on the road towards New Hampshire.
We entered New Hampshire (only two more states to go until I've been in all of the 48 contiguous!) at 4:00, and almost immediately saw the White Mountains - a hundred miles due north but still clearly visible. We went through a few toll plazas and exited in Manchester to get a pennant at the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
Of course, that was before we realized how backed up the traffic would be. All the traffic fed over a bridge, and even though the stadium wasn't but a mile or so away, it took us ten minutes because the traffic coming into the city not on the exit would keep going until it backed up through the intersection, regardless of the light. Once we got in, though, it was easy to get back out again.
We talked with the guy in the team store for a little while about our travels to minor league stadiums around the country before leaving. Though getting into a little bit of traffic, it wasn't anything like trying to get in.
On the road again at a little before 5:00, we passed through the second Concord of the day - this time, the capital of New Hampshire. The traffic on I-93 was busy, but not slow, and it gradually thinned out as we traveled northward.
We stopped at a rest area, and then for gas in the community of Northfield. However, there was no re-entrance to I-93 northbound, so we had to go through the sleepy downtown of Tilton to access the highway again. This didn't put us back very much, and we saw more of rural New Hampshire than we expected.
After an ominous-looking "MOOSE CROSSING" sign, we entered the White Mountains. The White Mountains are unlike many other mountains - sheer granite, poking straight up or curved. Many seemed unnatural at first glance.
We never saw a moose, though - it figures. The moose never find us - we find them.
It took us a while on a road with little to no people, but we wormed our way through these scenic mountains all the way to Bretton Woods, where we checked into the very same hotel that the Bretton Woods Financial System was agreed upon in 1944, with the end of WWII imminent and the world in the need of a new monetary order.
The only downside to this historic and fancy hotel is that they're hosting a prom from a town an hour farther north, and thus most of the four-star dining establishments in the hotel are booked. We did, however, get 8:45 reservations at a place with the same food but a little more casual dress code, which was appreciated - although we brought along suits and assorted nice bits of clothing, we really didn't want to get overly dressed after a long day on the road.
It was, quite simply, one of the best meals that I have ever had.
It was easygoing, unpretentious, quiet, and serving four-star food without necessitating getting all dressed up. We took a shuttle over to a small cottage-like converted house, originally build in 1896. The server was polite, knowledgeable, and agreeable. My dad and I had a melt-in-your-mouth filet mignon, served with a bacon-sweet potato hash, roasted asparagus, and a delicious Vermont blue cheese fondue - a cold, brown, delicious cheese sauce on the side. My mom had the Israeli couscous salad - a warm mixture of pearl couscous, tomatoes, summer squash, asparagus, and green onion.
Before the main course, we were served some kind of polenta-based concoction served on a demented-looking spoon. It was the only part of the meal I didn't like - it was followed by two kinds of bread with butter sprinkled with brown Hawaiian sea salt, and then a small dollop of apple sorbet to cleanse the palate before the main course.
Afterwards, we split a marvelous maple crème brûlée and were served two rounds of peanut butter fudge as another palate cleanser - but it was hardly necessary. The brilliant, succulent, and buttery filets were enough to serve as dessert in their own right.
We took the shuttle back to the hotel and looked around. The loud music and general busyness on the prom-hosting wing of the hotel precluded us from seeing the room where the Bretton Woods deal went down - we'll see that tomorrow morning - but we looked around the parts of the sprawling hotel that we could. They have multiple restaurants, an astonishing attention to detail kept up through the years from 1902 to the present, with unique features in every room - from massive pocket doors to curved chairs that look like they're from the set of the villain of a late-60s Bond film.
Poking around the basement a little - and even ducking into a former speakeasy known as "the Cave" - we eventually decided to head back to our room in preparation for tomorrow's travels.
Tomorrow: the possibility of Mount Washington, en route to Portland, Maine, and then possibly the Bangor area if we feel up to it.