In late March of this year, Ashlawn School Academy Trust from Rugby visited New York and Boston on a 10 day cultural sports tour – which certainly didn’t disappoint. Setting their sights as high as the Empire State Building, and with an jam-packed itinerary, the students set off on their American adventure hoping to capture the true American spirit.
Lucky enough to share the experience with them was Rayburn Ski & Sports Tours Consultant, Gemma, who has penned down the top highlights of the tour, along with her favourite pictures. You can read Part One of Gemma’s Blog here.
Off to Boston we go…
Normally this would be downtime between cities, however when offered the chance to go to two sporting venues on route (you’ve guessed right) we went for it!
The first was the Basketball Hall of fame and having spent a few hours on the coach this was a perfect stop. Not only did we get to explore the history of the game and see some of the greats’ jerseys and game memorabilia, we also got to take full use of a large court area downstairs where you can shoot hoops and try out your best slam dunks. There was also another option to head upstairs where you could try your hand at being a broadcaster or test your jumping skills. It was perfect fun for all! After grabbing a bite to eat we were back on the road to Boston.
Our next stop was Fenway park, the oldest ball park in the US and home to the Boston Red Socks. It’s strange shape and pitch dimensions makes it an iconic stadium to play and we were able to see the stadium from every angle through our guided tour – from the famous green monster wall, to the press box where Brad Pitt filmed a scene from Money Ball, as well as sitting in the original 1912 seats and the famous lone red seat from an all-time record pitch! Back on our coach we finally arrived at the hostel where we would be basing ourselves for the remaining of our trip – the Royal Sonesta.
We woke up bright and early and headed straight off to experience our second American High School – Assabet Valley Technical High. This was a very different experience to New York, where both space and facilities were a plenty. Students were able to take part in academic lessons and ‘shops’, these being an elective that their students take alongside their normal high school diploma and gives them experience and qualifications in a specific industry, such as nursing, metal work, media or culinary to name a few. We even featured on the school news channel:
Our day finished with a large game of dodge ball and after such a warm welcome by the school we were looking forward to what the rest of our stay in Boston would bring! Heading back to our hotel we had time to change and grab a bite to eat before heading round the corner to the Museum of science – a really interactive way to learn about a range of topics, from the human body to natural history. We finished the day with plenty of time to shop in the mall and also take a quick dip in the hotel pool!
We headed into Boston today to find out more about the great city, starting with a trip to the top of the Prudential Tower for a 360 degree view of the city and commentary along the way.
Having got our bearings, we were off to meet our guides Charlie and Gitta for our tour of the Freedom Trail – a great way to discover some of the sites and people that played such a crucial role in the American Revolution. The tour ended at Quincy market, famous for its shopping and food hall and with around 40 international food vendors to choose from we were spoilt for choice when grabbing some lunch.
From here we were off to Harvard for a tour of the university followed by watching a game of Men’s Lacrosse. Our tour of Harvard was fantastic, not only do you get to walk round the stunning university buildings and understand its history, but you are also led by a current student, which is pretty inspiring and also a great way to find out the true university life at Harvard (yes it does seem as awesome as you would think – from dorm parties to pranks with some studying in between!)
It was now time to head over the Charles Bridge as we were off to watch Harvard vs. Dartmoth Men’s Lacrosse – at Harvard stadium. As one of the nation’s oldest stadiums, this concrete structure has an almost Roman gladiator feel to it and provides a great setting for the match, in which became an impressive victory for Harvard, winning 18-8 – go Crimson! The day was rounded off with an evening meal at the Cheesecake Factory with some time to shop and for those DC Comic fans, a chance to watch Batman Vs Superman!
Sadly the time had come to pack our bags and check out of our accommodation – it was time for our last day of our American adventure! Luckily though we still had a few things to see and do!
Our first stop was the New England Aquarium – so much stunning sea life to see and even the chance to stroke a Sting Ray! From here we were off to the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. This is a fantastic way to learn more about one of the most important events leading to the American Revolution and is definitely not your traditional museum tour! With audience participation as soon as you are seated in the town hall, you are able to relive the historic events of that night in 1773, from rallying the troops to throwing the tea off the ship – Huzzahh!
After the museum it was then time to soak up the remaining few hours in this beautiful city and there was no better way to do so with some last minute shopping and eating around Quincey Market! With our bags and bellies full it was time to head to the airport for the final leg of the tour – homeward bound!
After a smooth flight home, we had our last coach journey together to Ashlawn School. It’s was an amazing 10 days exploring these two cities and an opportunity to experience aspects of both that you wouldn’t normally get the chance to do as a typical tourist!
Thank you to the students and staff of Ashlawn School for a trip to remember! I hope you enjoyed the trip as much as I did!