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Ben’s STEP Adventure- Day 1

 Written by    December 27, 2016

Walden Pond, Old Manse, Emerson’s House, Downtown Concord, Harvard

4:30 a.m.
Nothing says “FUN! RELAXING! ENJOYABLE! VACATION” like waking up at 4:30 a.m. in the middle of December. Well luckily, THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I DID. I’ll skip the boring part, but just to inform you of my journey, my brother, my Co-Ra, my friend, and myself all set off for John Glenn International at 5:15 a.m. Yes, it was cold. Yes, we were tired. Yes, it was worth it.

(Note to reader, I will be referring to “we” throughout these entries, referencing both my brother and myself, unless otherwise stated. Okay, now back to the show.)

(In case you forgot, here’s a blurry picture of us c.1998)

After getting lost a few times, waiting in line for security for 25 minutes, and frantically taking off my shoes and belt in order to walk through the metal detector, we finally boarded the plane bound for Boston’s Logan International. I was blessed by what I can only believe to be the spirit of adventure and knowledge with the gift of free Sky Preference seating. Essentially, I got a lot of extra leg-room (I could cross my legs without crushing my spleen! It was bliss).

I don’t remember much of the actual trip, mainly because I was listening to a podcast and gently fell asleep on the window of the craft, but I apparently awoke from the middle of my sleep to take this picture:

Pretty? I thought so (I guess. Remember, I was 15 seconds out of sleep).

Around 8:30 a.m., we safely landed in Boston to a beautiful and clear blue sky. It was flawless. To be frank, my largest source of anxiety leading up to the trip was disastrous weather, and the conditions on Monday were exactly what I needed. After hopping off the plane, we retrieved our rental car #1. It was a cute li’l Chevy (I was going to take a picture of it, but I forgot. I was going to come up with a better excuse for not taking a picture of it, but I also forgot. Oh well!). Cute li’l Chevy did not work, and so we transferred our belongings to car #2: a sleek, silver beaut of a Toyota that actually worked. After a few hours, we were off to our first location: Walden Pond.

After getting lost a few times (I’m probably going to keep a running tally of the number of times that we’ve misplaced ourselves throughout this journey), we finally reached Henry David Thoreau’s renowned and celebrated Walden Pond.

First of all, Walden Pond is not a pond; it is a lake. I can say that, because a park ranger informed us that it is not a pond; it is a lake. Strolling down the path to the pond/lake/ocean hybrid, I was struck by the complete and utter stillness of the place. Sure there were people here and there taking hikes along the pond, there were swans and other animals frolicking throughout the park, and my brother and I made a lot of noise walking on the crunched leaves on the paths; but among all this movement, the entire aura of the place seemed still. The pond itself seemed to be frozen (both metaphorically and literally in some places).

We walked along the plotted paths for about 20 minutes, reaching the former site of Thoreau’s cabin. It’s an awe fill thought to picture living so close to such a major city yet so secluded from society yet so in touch with oneself, Nature, and nature (you have to separate the two if you’re a true Transcendentalist). There were piles of rocks stacked upon each other, balancing perfectly, seemingly a perfect metaphor for something that I can’t exactly articulate. I may or may not have taken a small rock and have it on my nightstand now.

About an hour and a half later, we moved on to our next location: Old Manse. Here’s a one sentence crash course on the place, in case you have no clue what it is. Old Manse is a house built by Emerson’s grandfather that housed a number of famous writers (Hawthorne, Melville, Emerson, etc.) during the 19th century, and it is located directly next to the Old North Bridge of The Battle of Lexington and Concord. There, now you’re “woke, fam.”

Being a Monday, Old Manse was closed when we arrived. However, that did not stop us from admiring the beauty and simplicity of the building. In appearance, it’s just a house. Nothing more. But there is beauty in simplicity; something the Romantics lived their lives by, and inspire so many to do so today.

Next to Old Manse is the Old North Bridge, which as a past nerd, I love the history of it all. “The Shot Heard Round the World” took place at The Battle of Lexington and Concord, and the thought of being in that same location is surreal and fanciful. The infamous bridge was still there, and although I am not sure if it was the original or a replica, it was still pretty rad to walk on history (well, we do it everyday, but some places reek of it more than others).

Similar to Old Manse, Emerson’s House was also closed. While slightly heartbroken, we decided to reroute our journey and explore downtown Concord, which by far is one of the cutest, quaintest, and social conscious towns I’ve ever visited. Just take a look and see what I mean:

After exploring the sights of “downtown,” we decided to take our talents to South Beach and play for the Miami Heat–What’s that? Oh, sorry. We decided to take our talents to Cambridge and visit America’s oldest university: Harvard.

Like all Ivy Leagues, Harvard is a gated campus, allowing access to visitors only in certain locations (which doesn’t at all give it the allure of a self-aggrandizing and conceited school) (Thank you, Ohio State, for not doing that) (Am I allowed to criticize other schools in this? LET’S FIND OUT!!!!!11!!!1). Nevertheless, the grounds of campus are incredibly beautiful. I love old architecture and style, so I found the red brick and stone very pleasing. The greatest part of visiting campus? Getting to enjoy some coffee and gingerbread at a small café while people-watching students. It felt very Parisian. Tres chiche, mon ami (look, Dad, I still remember some French).

Finally, at 5 p.m. (which to us felt like midnight) we arrived at our hotel in Bedford, MA, which, to say the least, radiated Bates Motel vibes. I’m only kidding, but I’m pretty sure we were the only people renting a room in the entire building, and the open floor plan of the hotel’s layout made sure of it. Like that scene in the Shining when he goes crazy? It was reminiscent of that (I probably shouldn’t be typing this now, considering I’m writing this while in my bed in that hotel) (They’re probably monitoring me) (It’s fine) (NSA). In actuality, it’s a very nice hotel for the price I’m paying with all-inclusive breakfast, so who could ask for anything more?

Considering I’ve been up for 20 hours, I’m going to sign off for now. Check out the link below for a complete compiling of my photos throughout the trip! Let me know what you think. I’ll be back to do this all again tomorrow. Best wishes.

Academics, Advice, Arts, Author, Classes, Dining, Events, Personal, Personal Events, Recreation, Relaxation, Research, Student Life, Study Abroad, Studying, Travel, Uncategorized, Why Ohio State?

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