America, Countries

Boston Tepee Party

If you’re going to throw the King’s best tea into the harbour you’d better disguise yourself which is why this act of sabotage was more like a Boston Tepee Party.

The patriots who hurled the crates of best leaf into the New England bay were we know now patriots.

But to the 55-strong British Crown crew on the three boats they looked like Indians.

The parties who file through the Boston Tea Party Museum would, of course, be strange to an 18th-century Bostonian.

But such is the attention to detail of the museum that our guides look, and sound, as if they’ve walked off the pages of history.

Oyez, oyez

We assemble, or are called oh-ye, oh-ye style, to a gathering in the Meeting House to discuss the tea tax imposed on Bostonians.

Historians, of which I am one, will recognise the speaker at the lectern as Samuel Adams.

While anybody who has spent any time in Boston will recognise him from his statue in the old town outside Faneuil Hall.

In the tap room and in his beer which you’ll see in our supermarkets now.

Say it again, Sam

Sink or swim: A conspirator

King George III would turn in his grave as he wanted to haul Sam’s treasonous hide over to England for his part in the destruction too.

He was after me too as it transpires… me a Scot Son of Liberty, James Swan, An insider in the tea industry.

Or at least it says so on the card, Mrs Storey, the feisty wife of a well-known physician, informs me.

She talks us through how we should respond to Sam’s oratory.

The usual cheering, stamping of feet and booing and hissing.

But also putting our thumbs to our noses and waving the other fingers at the object of our displeasure.

Fieing and blinding

While shouting Fie (pronounced fee).

All quite sedate and a much tamer f-word you might think but this could get you killed in 1774.

Liquored up though on rum punch shared in bowls down at the Green Dragon Tavern, near Quincy Market, the patriots are fired up.

Which might come as a surprise to a modern-day audience but Caribbean rum was popular then.

And the Crown had preceded the hated tea tax with a molasses tax, molasses being the sugar cane extract used for our fave drink.

The Boston Tea Party will give you a fuller, interactive and family-friendly reenactment of the Boston Tea Party.

All aboard

On the right side: With the rebels

You’ll board a boat, the Eleanor, and even get the chance to throw a crate over, though obviously it’s on a rope so won’t pollute the harbour.

While they also put on an entertaining film on Boston’s part in the Revolution.

And Adams and George III duke it out.

As they burst out of their framed pictures through that tech wizardry beloved of Harry Potter.

You’ll also get the chance to finish things off by sampling all five of the East Indian teas which were thrown into the harbour.

All without milk or sugar of course and all pretty insipid it must be said.

And which was another good reason to throw it into the water.

I’ll have a Sam

Taste of Boston: The five teas

Better head off to Samuel Adams’ Tap Room (he was a brewer).

Or of you have the good fortune to be staying at the Envoy Hotel just five minutes across the bridge.

As the last stop on your mini-New England tour sponsored by Aer Lingus and Amtrak.

You can retreat to your room and drink a can or two of his diverse range of craft beers.

Huzzah, as they say in these parts, at least in recreated 1774 Boston. For the Boston Tepee Party.


America, Countries

For Dog, For Country and For Yale

Yale’s Handsome Dan XIX is the best date I’d been on for years which is why I say For Dog, For Country and For Yale.

In fact I didn’t even know I was on one.

Handsome Dan has been the prestigious Connecticut university‘s sports mascot since at least 1890.

And before you start doing the math, Dan is, yes, the 19th Old English Bulldog mascot at the Ivy League University.

And he is the nephew of Dan XIIX who has decamped to New York.

Puppy love

Dan fan: Handsome Dan

HD XIX is still at the puppy stage, born a year last month, during Covid.

And he is making up for lost time by licking everyone he meets.

Either around the campus in New Haven or on the seat where we find him on the green.

A seat of learning if you will.

Animal magic

Hero: Yale alumni and Revolutionary martyr Nathan Hale

Yale, which dates back to 1701, boasts the oldest live collegiate mascot in the world.

Fair play though to fellow Ivy Leaguers Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, from where I’ve come.

They would have a job bringing a live bear to their events.

Ivy League

Oarsome: Ivy League sport

A word now on Ivy League universities…

There are eight across the north-west universities.

And the ivy comes from ivy-planting class days at Harvard in the 1800s.

While the Ivy League dates back to 1935 when it was picked up by a sports writer to explain the inter-universities rivalries.

Bulldog Day

Welcome: Yale

Handsome Dan may not be the only Bulldog when we visit, it is Bulldog Day, but he is the most important.

If you’re imagining a dog show of jowly-hounds in the hallowed halls of Yale then it’s a nice thought.

But it is the raft of lucky students who have been accepted as the next intake of students.

And who bunk down with current students while they give the university which was founded in 1701 a recce.

We’ll return to Yale when they realise that I would be enhance the pantheon which has included the Bushes and Clintons.

And thanks to our guide, senior Aidan from Arizona, who is off to Washington, for suggesting it!

Cost it up

Pool your talents: Yale

I’m sure Yale could waive the $79,370 costs of attending a university which opens doors to the best positions in life.

Although with aid it’s estimated at $17,549.

And for that you get to… well it would take longer than we have here but check out their prospectus.

I guarantee you’ll be taken by a church building where it’s all educational symbolism and secular stained-glass windows.

And a cathedral to the body, yes a many/floored gymnasium.

Not that we’d want Yale’s Handsome Dan XIX go on the treadmill.

We love him the way he is, cuddly and waddling around campus.

And so, I say again and with apologies for playing with your motto…

For Dog, For Country and For Yale

Alas, though, I have to give Dan a big slobbery kiss goodbye.

I’m back on the Amtrak to Boston. Huzzah!