Monday, June 21, 2010

Boston - Newport - Cambridge - New Haven

26/5/2010(Wednesday) NY - Rhod Island- Cambridge(Harvard & MIT)- Boston

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New England

New England is well known to people across the United States and around the world as a beautiful and distinctly American region rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. For visitors and vacationers, the region presents four distinct seasonal personalities: lush summers to explore beaches or to bicycle along shady country lanes; brilliant autumns to drive lazily through mountains blanketed with gold-and-red fall foliage; crystal-sharp winters to ski perfect mountain slopes or poke through antique shops lining a peaceful village green; and verdant spring – the time to explore the museums and shopping of the cities or to get a head start on some cool day hikes in the mountains and countryside.

New England is composed of six states, each with its own character. Connecticut, an easy day hop for New Yorkers, has exceedingly pretty villages with their central commons and steepled churches; cultural hot spots like art museums, Yale University in New Haven, and the home of Mark Twain in Hartford; and lots of antique shops in the rolling Litchfield Hills of the northwest. Moving eastward, Rhode Island, the Ocean State, offers spectacular sandy beaches; the mansions, vineyards, and boating of Newport; and the crackle of hip nightlife along the rivers that wind through Providence, the capital city. Massachusetts extends from the magnificent sand bluffs and beaches of Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, through the metropolis of Boston – the birthplace of the American Revolution – to the blue-green mountains of the Berkshires, home of acclaimed music, dance, and art festivals.

Vermont, the Green Mountain State, is the place of forested mountains, great skiing and other winter activities, and many small towns busy with traditional pursuits like dairy farming and maple syrup production. It is the only New England state without an ocean shoreline, but most of its western border is the historic and lovely Lake Champlain. Like Vermont, New Hampshire, the Granite State, has dramatic mountains – including the imposing Mount Washington – skiing and snow sports, as well as lakes, beaches, and lighthouses. Lighthouses are scattered along the rocky, picturesque coast of Maine, the state with the longest coastline due to it many coves, estuaries, bays, and small islands. As with the other coastal states, whale watching is a major draw for visitors.

25/5/2010(Tues) NY - Rhode Island(Newport)- Cambridge(Harvard & MIT)- Boston

After the Niagara Falls trip, we thought to have shorter city tour of New York before another long trip to Boston. But as family members are tired, and proposed a guided tour to Boston. We asked a tour company at Flushing, NY on Boston tour. The tour will depart only on Tuesday and Saturday. We have no choice but to leave New york again for Boston trip.

We book the tour with VIP Orintal Inc, a tour company at 40th Road, Flushing. The company is the agent for Sea Gull Holidays. We booked a two days trip, with one night at Boston. The offer also include buy three free one. As the schedule include most of the destinations we planned to visit, especially out of Boston destination e.g. Cambridge & Rhode Island, it is a good offer. The only disadvantage is that we are not able to go to Portsmouth, Maine for whale watching. The 2 days tour cost US$135 per adult. The fee did not include food and entrance fee, and tips for drivers and tour guard.

We went to Sheraton Hotel, Flushing to take the tour bus, which is parked opposite the hotel; the bus picked up passengers from Flushing and took us to Chinatown, NY. From here, the passengers are separated into different groups. There are tour group on Washington DC, Boston, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Maines, Chicago etc. We wait at the Hong Kong cafe at Chinatown for our tour bus to Boston. Breakfast was taken at the cafe, Hong Kong style. Our tour bus was old and having loud mechanical sound.

We met a Chinese woman from Kelantan who are working in NY, she came together with her friend from Taiwan. The tour group also include tourist from India, Philippines, Japan, China, Singapore, and South American. The bus did not start the journey as scheduled due to the late coming of one tourist, who is a student from China. Most of the Chinese tourists are touring USA after their children graduation ceremony.

As expected, the bus breakdown after Bronx borough. The air conditioner was not functional. The bus driver drive slowly until it was not able to move any further. We then wait for nearly 2 hours for a replacement bus. We cannot visit Yale University today, and postponed it to tomorrow. The replacement bus is much better, and newer. It continue the journey to Rhode Island. Not a good day for 1st guided tour....

The view of the coastal area along New England is beautiful, especially area near Newport, Rhode Island.

Rhode Island State

The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island, is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area. Rhode Island borders Connecticut to the west and Massachusetts to the north and east, and it shares a water boundary with New York's Fishers Island to the southwest. There are 39 cities and towns in Rhode Island. Providence is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Rhode Island, and one of the first cities established in the United States

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Rhode Island- Breakers Mansion, Newport

Newport is a city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States, about 30 miles (48 km) south of Providence. Known as a New England summer resort and for the famous Newport Mansions, it is the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport which houses the United States Naval War College, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and a major United States Navy training center. The city is the county seat of Newport County (a county that no longer has any governmental functions). Newport was known for being the city of some of the "Summer White Houses" during the administrations of Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. The population was 26,475 at the 2000 census.

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Massachusetts State
Cambridge - Harvard & MIT Campus

Harvard University Campus

Harvard University (officially The President and Fellows of Harvard College) is a private university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a member of the Ivy League. Established in 1636 by the colonial Massachusetts legislature, Harvard is the first corporation chartered in the United States and oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.

The university currently comprises ten separate academic units. Harvard has the largest financial endowment of any school in the world, standing at $26 billion as of September 2009. Harvard is consistently ranked as a leading academic institution in the world by numerous media and academic rankings.

The main campus is centered on Harvard Yard in central Cambridge and extends into the surrounding Harvard Square neighborhood. The Harvard Business School and many of the university's athletics facilities, including Harvard Stadium, are located in the city of Boston's Allston neighborhood, which is situated on the other side of the Charles River from Harvard Square. The Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and the Harvard School of Public Health are located in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area of Boston.

Harvard Yard itself contains the central administrative offices and main libraries of the university, academic buildings including Sever Hall and University Hall, Memorial Church, and the majority of the freshman dormitories. Sophomore, junior, and senior undergraduates live in twelve residential Houses, nine of which are south of Harvard Yard along or near the Charles River. The other three are located in a residential neighborhood half a mile northwest of the Yard at the Quadrangle (commonly referred to as the Quad), which formerly housed Radcliffe College students until Radcliffe merged its residential system with Harvard.

Harvard University today has nine faculties:

1. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences and its sub-faculty, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, which together serve:
(i)Harvard College, the university's undergraduate portion (1636)
(ii)The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (organized 1872)
(iii)The Harvard Division of Continuing Education, including Harvard Summer School (1871) and Harvard Extension School (1910).
2. The Harvard Medical School (1782)
3. The Harvard School of Dental Medicine (1867).
4. Harvard Divinity School (1816)
5. Harvard Law School (1817)
6. Harvard Business School (1908)
7. The Graduate School of Design (1914)
8. The Harvard Graduate School of Education (1920)
9. The School of Public Health (1922)
Harvard Kennedy School of Government (1936)
In 1999, the former Radcliffe College was reorganized as the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

A statue of John Harvard, sculpted by Daniel Chester French, sits in Harvard Yard at Harvard University. Despite its name, the statue does not depict the true likeness of John Harvard, as the sculptor had no accurate image to work from. The statue, known by Harvard tour guides as the statue of three lies, claims that it depicts John Harvard, Founder, 1638, but in reality Harvard was a contributor, not the founder; the institution was founded in 1636; and the statue is actually a likeness of someone else. French used a student as a model. The John Harvard statue in Harvard Yard is occasionally a target of humorous decorations.

John Harvard (November 26, 1607 – September 14, 1638) was an English pastor and first benefactor of the college that was named Harvard College in his honor. He directed that half his money, along with his library, be given to the recently created school. His gift assured its continued operation. The Harvard Bridge is named after him, as is the John Harvard Library in Southwark, London.

Harvard Graduation May 2010

The date of our visit is just one day prior to Harvard's graduation day. The students and staff are busying preparing for tomorrow's big day. The campus was filled with visitors and the parents of the students.

MIT Campus

The tour bus stopped opposite Building 7, at 77 Massachusetts Avenue; in front of the path to W20 building(Stratton Student Center). In view of limitation of time constraint, it is not possible to do a campus tour. We just walk around the campus near Rogers Building.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological research. MIT is one of two private land-grant universities and is also a sea-grant and space-grant university.

Founded by William Barton Rogers in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, the university adopted the European university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. Its current 168-acre (68.0 ha) campus opened in 1916 and extends over 1 mile (1.6 km) along the northern bank of the Charles River basin. MIT researchers were involved in efforts to develop computers, radar, and inertial guidance in connection with defense research during World War II and the Cold War. In the past 60 years, MIT's educational disciplines have expanded beyond the physical sciences and engineering into fields like biology, cognitive science, economics, philosophy, linguistics, political science, and management.

MIT enrolled 4,232 undergraduates and 6,152 graduate students for the Fall 2009–2010 term. It employs about 1,009 faculty members. Its endowment and annual research expenditures are among the largest of any American university.75 Nobel Laureates, 47 National Medal of Science recipients, and 31 MacArthur Fellows are currently or have previously been affiliated with the university. The aggregated revenues of companies founded by MIT alumni would be the seventeenth largest economy in the world.

MIT's 168-acre (68.0 ha) campus spans approximately a mile of the north side of the Charles River basin in the city of Cambridge. The campus is divided roughly in half by Massachusetts Avenue, with most dormitories and student life facilities to the west and most academic buildings to the east. The bridge closest to MIT is the Harvard Bridge, which is marked off in a non-standard unit of length – the smoot.

MIT Buildings

MIT buildings all have a number (or a number and a letter) designation and most have a name as well. Typically, academic and office buildings are referred to only by number while residence halls are referred to by name. The organization of building numbers roughly corresponds to the order in which the buildings were built and their location relative (north, west, and east) to the original, center cluster of Maclaurin buildings

Building 7 - Rogers Building, at 77 Massachusetts Avenue, is the official address of the entire Institute and, as the entrance to the Infinite Corridor, the main artery connecting east campus with west campus. Building 7 was not a part of the original campus, but built as a part of MIT's expansion along Massachusetts Avenue. The lobby (named Lobby 7 after its building number) is an impressive vestibule topped by a small dome that rejects the neoclassical tradition of reducing scale between the interior and exterior with the result that the "inner space remains at the less intimate urban scale." The glass oculus at the top was blacked out during World War II but was restored during a renovation in 2000.[citation needed] The School of Architecture and Planning is housed around the dome and the lobby court.

W20- Stratton Student Center

W31 - Du Pont Athletic Gymnasium

W32 - Du Pont Athletic Center

W35- Zesiger Sports & Fitness Center

W15 - Chapel

W13- Bexley Hall

W 16 - Kresge Auditorium

Building 9 - Urban Studies and Planning, Dept. of (DUSP) and other departments


Boston is the largest city in New England, the capital of the state of Massachusetts, and one of the most historic, wealthy and influential cities in the United States of America. Its plethora of museums, historical sights, and wealth of live performances, all explain why the city gets 16.3 million visitors a year, making it one of the ten most popular tourist locations in the country.

Although not in Boston, the neighboring city of Cambridge (just across the Charles River, home to Harvard and MIT) is part of the larger urban area and an essential addition to any visit to Boston.

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Copley Square
Copley Square, named for the American portraitist John Singleton Copley (1738 – 1815), is a public square located in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. A bronze statue of Copley, by sculptor Lewis Cohen, is located on the northern side of the square. The name Copley Square is frequently applied to the larger area extending approximately two blocks east and west along Boylston Street, Huntington Avenue, and St. James Avenue. The square is adjacent to the finish line of the Boston Marathon, which is commemorated by a monument in the park.

Trinity Church
An Episcopal parish, founded 1733, the church building was completed in 1877, designed by H. H. Richardson and built in the Romanesque Revival style. It is located on the eastern side of the square. Considered Richardson's tour de force, the 1893 Baedeker's United States pronounced it "deservedly regarded as one of the finest buildings in America." National Historic LandmarkIt is located in the Back Bay of Boston, Massachusetts, is a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.
it’s setting on Copley Square in the heart of the Back Bay with the Boston Public Library and Old South Church adjacent make Copley truly one of the best, urban public spaces in the US. The John Hancock Tower anchors the square's southeast corner and reflects the sky with its deep blue glass curtain walls.

Old South Church, (properly Old South Church in Boston) (built 1874), is a church of the United Church of Christ in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. It was designed in the Gothic Revival style by Charles Amos Cummings and Willard T. Sears and was completed in 1873. The church, which was built on newly filled land in the Back Bay section of Boston, is located at 645 Boylston Street on Copley Square. It is home to one of the older religious communities in the United States and is a U.S. National Historic Landmark. It is also known as New Old South.

Lobster dinner

There is excitement especially for first time Lobster eater from Asia.

Chinatown is nominally bordered by Essex Street (and the Downtown) to the north, Stuart/Kneeland Street to the south, Tremont Street (and the Theatre District) to the west, and Interstate 93 to the east. Due to its central location, it is well served by public transportation, and can easily be accessed by car as well. The Chinatown Gate at the corner of Beach Street and Surface Road (T: South Station) is the most visible symbol of Chinatown for the tourists. The urban plaza on the east side of the gate was built as part of the Big Dig highway project, which demolished and displaced residents from tenement houses along Hudson Street. 4th largest Chinatown in the United States.

Quincy Market

Quincy Market behind Faneuil Hall and across from the Government Center houses one of the best food courts in the world. The building is an old brick marketplace (~1825) restored beautifully to contain a central seating area in the midpoint of a long rectangular building. Two hallways extending left and right are completed lined with all vendors selling all varieties of food, dessert and coffees.

Our hotel is Quality Inn & Suites located outside the city. It is 440 Bedford St., Lexington, MA, US, 02420. Breakfast was provided by hotel. Being far away from Boston, we cannot go out at night.

27/5/2010(Thursday) Boston- New Haven - New York

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Massachusetts State

Boston Boat Harbor tour(change from Whale Watching boat ride), there is not much excitement compared to Chicago river cruise.

After the boat ride ; the tour bus followed Route 95 to Mystic, passing through the capital of Rhode Island, Providence city. We stopped at South Stonington, Mystic county for lunch. There is a Chinese restaurant in the small town, but we choose to have lunch with the Filipino family at a fast food outlet. A small shop normally sell by take away. Only one table is available for us. After the lunch, we hang around the laundry shop, and talk with the owner and nearby shop. One of the friendly shop owner gave us a poster, photograph of US submarine. We did not go to U.S. Navy Submarine Force Museum, and wait at the town for the bus.

Mystic County

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Mystic is a village located partly in Groton and partly in Stonington in Connecticut. It is a major tourist destination. It is located within The Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (SCCOG), which is a public agency with representatives from twenty towns, cities and boroughs formed to provide a basis for intergovernmental cooperation in dealing with a wide range of issues facing Southeastern Connecticut.

Mystic is a popular tourist destination because of Mystic Seaport, Mystic Aquarium, the touristy shopping downtown, and its maritime heritage. It is home to many marinas, historic ship-captain's homes, galleries, and traditional boats offering day-sails. Mystic is also near Foxwoods Casino.

The guided tour to Mystic county have a choice of Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration, at 55 Coogan Blvd or U.S. Navy Submarine Force Museum, Groton. The destinations are both fee paying. Most select U.S. Navy Submarine Force Museum.

U.S. Navy Submarine Force Museum, Groton The only submarine museum operated by the U.S. Navy, this is the #1 site for sub artifacts

The bus return to pick us up and continue the journey to New Haven, Connecticut State, along route 95.

Connecticut State

Connecticut is a small New England state, bordered on the south by Long Island Sound, on the west by New York State, on the north by Massachusetts, and on the east by Rhode Island. The State of Connecticut is divided into 15 regional councils, which cluster towns with similar demographics into an administrative planning region. The State's top tourist attractions include Yale University, which maintains numerous world-class museums, Mystic Seaport, the restaurant and nightlife scene in downtown New Haven, The Maritime Aquarium, and two major Native American casinos. Hartford is the capital of Connecticut, and has the state library and the Connecticut Capitol Building. Connecticut is the third wealthiest state in America.

New Haven

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New Haven is within South Central Connecticut Regional Council of Governments (SCRCOG) , an economically diverse region of 15 cities and town with a total population of approximately 550,000. The region extends from the City of Milford on the west to the Town of Madison on the east, and to the City of Meriden to the north.

New Haven is the second-largest municipality in Connecticut (after Bridgeport and just ahead of Hartford). The city is the home of Yale University. The university is an integral part of the city's economy, but health care (hospitals & biotechnology), professional services (legal, architectural, marketing, & engineering), financial services, and retail trade also help to form an economic base for the city.

New Haven is access by plane, train and bus. New Haven is located at the junction of Interstates 91 and 95. Both Greyhound and Peter Pan, the bus terminal for both bus companies are located at Union Transit Station. 50 Union Ave, New Haven CT 06519. The free service Union Station shutter bus takes riders to and from Union Station stopping by off-site parking, including Temple Street Garage and the parking lot of the former Coliseum site. The bus will also take passengers to CT Tranist bus stops around downtown to help commuters get father while reducing their carbon footprint. The route runs from Union Station on Union Avenue, up North Frontage Road, Orange Street, Church Street, Chapel Street, Temple Street, George Street and State Street. It then heads back on Union Avenue to Union Station.

New Haven is connected to New York City by both commuter rail, regional rail and intercity rail, provided by Metro-North Railroad (commuter rail) and Amtrak (regional and intercity rail) respectively, allowing New Haven residents to commute to work in New York City (just under two hours by train). The city's main railroad station is the historic beaux-arts Union Station, which serves Metro-North trains to New York and Shore Line East commuter trains to New London. An additional station was opened in 2002, named State Street Station, to provide Shore Line East and a few peak-hour Metro-North passengers easier access to and from Downtown.

New Haven - University of Yale

Yale University is a private research university in New Haven, Connecticut, and a member of the Ivy League. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Yale has produced many notable alumni, including five U.S. presidents, seventeen U.S. Supreme Court Justices, and several foreign heads of state.

Incorporated as the Collegiate School, the institution traces its roots to 17th-century clergymen who sought to establish a college to train clergy and political leaders for the colony. In 1718, the College was renamed Yale College to honor a gift from Elihu Yale, a governor of the British East India Company. In 1861, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences became the first U.S. school to award the Ph.D.

Yale University comprises three major academic components: Yale College (the undergraduate program), the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the professional schools. In addition, Yale encompasses a wide array of centers and programs, libraries, museums, and administrative support offices. Approximately 11,250 students attend Yale.

1)The undergraduate school, Yale College, is the heart of the University. More than 2,000 undergraduate courses in the liberal arts and sciences are offered each year by over sixty-five departments and programs, forming a curriculum of remarkable breadth and depth. The faculty is dedicated to undergraduate teaching, and many of Yale’s most distinguished professors teach introductory-level courses.

2)The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers programs leading to the M.A., M.S., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees in 73 departments and programs. The Hall of Graduate Studies (HGS), located at 320 York Street, contains the offices of the Graduate School administration, several academic departments, the McDougal Student Center, a dining hall, and a residential tower for graduate students.

3)Professional Schools are:

* School of Architecture
* School of Art
* Divinity School
* School of Drama
* School of Engineering & Applied Science
* School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
* Law School
* School of Management
* School of Medicine
* School of Music
* School of Nursing
* School of Public Health
* Institute of Sacred Music

Yale and Harvard have been rivals in academics, athletics, and other activities for most of their history, competing annually in The Game and the Harvard-Yale Regatta.

Harkness Tower, part of the Yale University campus in downtown New Haven

Statue of Nathan Hale in front of Connecticut Hall

Note: Yale is consistently ranked as one of the leading universities in the world. The 2009 THE-QS World University Rankings (known from 2010 on as the QS World University Rankings) placed Yale at number three in the world (after Harvard University), with Yale having featured in the top five for each of the past four years. The same ranking also named Yale as the fifth best university in the world for arts and humanities. The other best-known world ranking, Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Academic Ranking of World Universities, placed Yale at 11 in 2009.

After the visit of Yale, the bus continue to New York. The bus finally dropped us at Flushing, Queen, New York. At last after 2 days journey, we have to say good bye to all group members. We took subway to Elmhurst, Queen. It was raining while we walk back to our host's house.

Arrogant tour guide
Unfriendly young tour guide, named Andy; who used the wrong threatening tactic forcing tour group members to come back early from the tour destination. He will threaten you, that you have to take taxi back if you are late to the bus after visiting various tourist attractions. We can understand the requirement for punctuality, but not the threatening tone. It badly affected the mood of the tour members. He is the one that demand to pay the tips in advance, which is not norm common in the business. The result is even we are in Boston, we did no really tour Boston, and know Boston. He is either a new tour guide or part time tour guide, or if not a lousy tour guide without any knowledge of PR skills. I regret following the tour, I should have visit Boston by private tour.

The tour schedule is as per their advertisement, the following tour destinations:

New Haven - Yale University
Mystic Aquarium
Rhode Island - Breaker Mansion
Cambridge - Havard University and MIT
Boston - Trinity Church
Boston - State House
Whale Watching Boat Ride
Quincy Market

We did not visit State House in Boston; Whale Watching Boat Ride become Harbor Boat Ride.

The one thing I regret most was I did not walk the Freedom Trail in Boston. That is the disadvantage of guided tour, the Freedom Trail is not included in tour schedule. And I missed the Portsmouth, Maine State as earlier planned if by private tour. That is disadvantage of guided tour. I should have follow the plan to have private tour....

Freedom Trails I missed!

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