Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Our Tour Guide, Lorenzo

Last week, the images of Kennedy family members was beamed into the homes of millions due to the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy. So, too, the airwaves carried that most distinctive of American accents, the Boston, which, according to the people I talk with on the phone from California for business, is a lilt they love to hear. Enter the "Hahvahd" Tour.

With friends visiting from out of town we decided to go ahead and play tourist for at least part of the weekend. Although Cambridge has been a lifelong stomping ground we have never actually taken a tour of Harvard so we opted to join in on the entertaining ride which came in at the right price: free. It's run by students and our guide was the ever loquacious Lorenzo, a Junior.

The history of Harvard is, of course, akin to the history of America. The tensions between the historic University and the local Cambridge politicians was the stuff of legends in my own home. Take this tiny guard house built by the school for example. The sprawling structure maintains just enough space for one, single individual, standing no less. It's initial design was rejected by the City of Cambridge, on whose property it sits. So, the school was asked to redesign. And then again. And then again. And then two hundred and ninety six additional times until the plan was finally accepted. With architect's fees included it stands as the most expensive (per square foot) piece of real estate in the City at a cost of $57,000.00. Oh, how government loves efficiency.

The most expensive guard house in America.

You'll also learn all kinds of juicy tidbits about what Matt Damon got up to while here (besides not graduating) and why the creators of "The Simpsons" were booted out of their dorms. So, it's not all about John Harvard and all that high falutin educational stuff.

The Hahvahd Tour begins at the kiosk in the center of Harvard Square by Out Of Town News. All are welcome.

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