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Sunday, June 03, 2007

I'm Back - Boston Recap

I'm back, and my vacation was great! Over too soon, of course. I really liked Boston, and would go back again in a second. So much to see, lots of history, and walkable for the most part (not like SF hills…). And of course, the company was great. I'm glad that I have friends that I can get together with and interact as if no time had passed since we last talked. It also helps that the 2 couples never made me feel like a 5th wheel (which is usually not any one's intention, but you single people know how you can get that feeling as the one single person in the group?).

My friend Caitlin took a few days off of work, so she drove me around her hometown on Thursday afternoon (after I'd had a nice nap - not much sleep on the red-eye, hence the term). We picked up her husband after work and went to dinner, then headed back to their condo to hang out and plan the next day. Above is a photo of one of the Kennedy's homes, I believe...(Cait - correct me or clarify if necessary. I can't remember which town this was in.)

Caitlin in front of The Witch House in Salem, MA

Friday, Caitlin drove me out to Salem and we hit the Witch History Museum and the Pirate Museum. Both were pretty cool, but involved life sized scenes with creepy-looking human figures. We also did a fair amount of just walking around and talking. And it was really, really hot that day...97 degrees, according to the temperature gauge in the van. It didn't feel that hot, and it was humid.

Me & Caitlin in The Burying Point in Salem - self-portrait

We could have spent more time there, but had reservations that night for a ghost tour in Boston, so we braved the rush hour traffic and headed back home to meet back up with Kyle. After dinner, we took the T into the city and ran around Boston Common (Kyle considered it "walking") before the ghost tour. The ghost tour itself was not too ghost-centric, but included a lot of historical info, so wasn't bad. It included the Omni Parker House, where Dickens used to stay when in town, the Athenaeum, The Cheers Bar (formally the Bull & Finch - which they have actually renamed Cheers, after all the tourist questions), some graveyards I can't remember the names of... We had a nice small group of people on our tour, including a 3 people from Iowa from the town where they filmed Napoleon Dynamite (which I still haven't seen). Apparently, the girl on our tour actually designed those teal dance costumes that were in the performance at the end of the movie. I guess during filming, the crew was given free reign of the high school, and found the old outfits in storage. Of course, when she originally designed them, they were in style... (Sorry I can't be more specific, as I haven't seen the movie...but now I might need to check it out.) After the tour we hit Fanieul Hall for some ice cream and people watching. And there were lots of people to watch. Mostly drunk and under 25 (and I'm being generous with the ages).

Saturday started out slowly. I wasn't feeling great in the morning, and apparently Kyle hadn't been feeling great the night before. So we hung around the house until it was time to pick up our friends Moriah and Eric from the airport (they flew out from Ohio). We all went to dinner at the shore (and I got some good New England Clam Chowder). Later, we played Cranium - guys vs. girls. We women whipped their butts good. Yep, total modesty from me at all times... After Cranium, we kept the same teams and played Taboo. The guys started complaining that we were doing so much better because we had more players, so my team sacrificed me to the guys. Then my team won. Yeah, I'm a tad competitive...

On Sunday we hit Newport, RI (so we could see how the other half lives?). We toured 2 mansions (castles would me a more appropriate term!) - Marble House and The Breakers (The Breakers is on the left). Both "summer cottages" were owned by two of the Vanderbilt brothers - William and Cornelius. And Caitlin's service dog just happened to relieve herself on each of their well-manicured lawns... Not intentional by us, but we couldn't stop her! Both homes were gorgeous, and it was neat to learn about Alva Vanderbilt's personal suffragette mission (she designed Marble House, I believe, and used to hold suffragette rallies there).

View along the back of the Japanese tea house behind Marble House

Newport was beautiful, but ended up a lot colder than we expected it to be. And none of us thought to bring a sweater... Shouldn't we all have known better? You'd certainly think so! But after the 2 mansion tours, we went to Caitlin's favorite restaurant, Sardella's, and sat outside where the heat lamps were set up. NO heat reached us, and we were all freezing. We were joking (well, probably only half-joking, really) about sending someone down to the tourist section on a sweatshirt run. We toughed it out there, but we did all end up running into a souvenir shop and buying sweatshirts right after dinner. We went around a few little shops at the shore and then Caitlin bought us all hot cocoa (or whatever we wanted) at Starbucks, where we sat around chatting for a while.

Me & Moriah in our snazzy matching tourist gear

Monday we all ran around Boston. We got a late start, since it was raining that morning, so weren't able to cover too much of it. Plus, we had issues deciding what to do that day... We headed into the city and stumbled upon the Holocaust Memorial. Each of these tall glass towers represents one of the concentration camps, and has the numbers of all of the prisoners etched into the glass, all the way to the top. Kind of staggering. There are also quotes and factoids on the stone walkways and inside the towers. I'd encourage any visitors to the city to make a stop off there.

Next up - The Freedom Trail... We didn't do too much of the trail, since we didn't have all that much time left. We did run by Paul Revere's House, and past the tower that signalled him for the famous ride. We walked through the Paul Revere Pedestrian Mall (I think that's what it's called), which has the monument to Paul Revere's Midnight Ride, a fountain in the middle, and plaques commemorating historical figures from the city. I have to say, Boston had a lot of cute little park areas throughout the city.

Kyle and Eric hit Fenway Park that night and caught the game between the Red Sox and the Indians. And Eric is a big Indians fan, so went all decked out in support of his team. He didn't get any crap from the Sox fans for rooting for the other team though. And it sounded like the guys had a good time there. While they were at the game, we girls sat out on Cait's front patio gabbing. Then we moved inside, and gabbed some more.

Anyway, that's my trip in a nutshell. All of us out of towners flew home on Tuesday, and I've been trying to catch up at work since I got back. Today was the baby shower for my friend Christyn, but I'll get to that later.

I'll leave you with a creepy life-like sculpted (maybe molded) piece of the street lamp from in front of The Breakers. It's eerie, I tell ya!


BellaKarma said...

So awesome! Sounds like a terrific trip! And I love how you all played games! Marissa and I keep saying how we want to start a Friday Game Night.

Dagny said...

You haven't seen Napoleon Dynamite???? My kids have seen it several times over. Catch up, mustard. (Sorry. Old joke from when I volunteered at a daycare center the summer I was 13. I said that I always wanted to work with kids.)

Cool photos of Boston. Did you know that Paul Revere's dad was a Huguenot and changed the spelling of the family name after arriving in the Boston area? Just one of the fascinating tidbits I picked up from this fab book I just got from Scholastic. The book is a companion piece to the PBS show. And it was only $14.95 on Scholastic.

Kristin said...

finally, vacation info. OH and I think the last picture is kinda cool, I think you said its on street lamps or something

Kyle said...

Hi Tami,
Cait and I are glad u had a great time. We are still feeling tired from all the stuff going on too! We have been busy since. It is like u need a vacation from your vacation.