Monday, August 12, 2013

Day 6 in Boston- Concord and Harvard

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is just minutes from Sylvia's condo.  It was established in 1872 and takes up 281 acres of Boston.  While Fred identified trees Sylvia and I walked through a big majority of the arboretum.  It is a great escape from the sounds of the city.  

We then headed for Concord, where Walden pond is located.  It is also home to Fred's stepdad's sister and brother-in-law, Karen and Jake.  We met up for lunch at a trendy, delicious cafe. 

The author, transcendentalist, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau lived at Walden pond in the 1840's.  His writings have inspired people to respect nature and conserve the lands.  
This is a replica of the home that he lived in on the pond.  It looks as though he also inspired the current small house movement.  

Along our walk around the pond we found a garter snake who just caught a frog.  Nature in action, Thoreau inspired. 

This caterpillar of a Canadian Tiger Swallowtail has evolved to have large pseudo eyes on the top of his head.  Mimicry is incredible.  

I can only assume that Thoreau would not have been a fan of Walden now, a packed beach with screaming kids and an ice cream van in the parking lot... but at least people are outside and the pond is protected.  

On the way home we stopped at Cambridge, founded in 1630 and most known for being home to Harvard.  

Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States; it recently celebrated its 375th anniversary.  

The statue behind me is John Harvard, or at least claims to be.

Our plan was to have a beer at John Harvard's Brewery but since they were catering to a private event we ended up down the street where we had dollar oysters and clams... even better. 

We met up with Keith for dinner at Grass Fed.  We ate a lot on this trip, but it is hard to resist Bostonian cuisine.  
After dinner and before dessert we strolled around Jamaica pond.  
My first time in Boston was unforgettable... thanks to Sylvia and Keith, and our amazing and mild summer weather! 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Day 5 in Boston- The Hub and Clam boil

After a yummy breakfast in Roslindale we went to the SoWa open market which is like an upscale farmer's market but with antique stores added into the mix.  

The rest of the day was spend walking around "the Hub" which is Boston's nickname, short for "the hub of the universe".  
I suppose when you make up your own nickname there are no rules so may as well go big.  

Since this is our first trip to Boston I was completely unaware that the Boston bombings at the finish line of the Boston marathon was amid the above churches and store fronts in the heart of Boston.  

The view from Top of the Hub on the 52nd floor is incredible.  We got a fancy martini and enjoyed the sights.  

Our dinner plan was something that we had been looking forward to for days.  Keith was going to make us clam boil... corn, mussels, onion, potatoes, clams and whole lobsters cooked in a large pot with seasonings.  The entire meal, including 4 lobsters and dessert, was less than 60$.  

I prompted Keith in this picture to be proud of his work.  

After dinner, which was unbelievably amazing, we digested on the porch.  
I cannot imagine a better way to wrap up the summer.  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Day 4 in Boston- Mattapoisett and BJ Palooza

Since Fred and I were not able to attend Sylvia and Keith's wedding in Mattapoisett we thought it would be fun to take a wedding tour.  We started at Ned's Point Lighthouse (built in 1838) where the ceremony took place and then headed to the little nearby village where the reception was located.  It is a cute area and just minutes from where Keith grew up.  

Brandon (Keith's brother-in-law) has a party, BJ Palooza, every year around his birthday and the whole neighborhood along with old and new friends are invited.  BJ Palooza is always a big success, and our trip coincided with the local event.  People across the pond arrive on boats and jet skis.  

The pond is about one mile by four in size.  We had a discussion about the difference between a pond and a lake before our arrival arguing if the definition is based on depth or surface area only to find that there technically is no difference.  

Keith has been working this whole week (it is difficult for us to understand the concept of work in summer). Since it was Saturday it was our first full day to spend time with him.  

How cool that we got to party with a bunch of Massachusites.  
Who knew, for example, that a hot dog steamer is a common appliance?  
Inquiring minds want to know...

Friday, August 9, 2013

Day 3 in Boston- Salem, Massachusetts

It was raining hard so our plans for the day changed a bit.  We decided that a trip to Salem, where the Salem witch trials took place, couldn't be more fitting.  
We started at New England Soup Factory with homemade soup and then wondered around in search of witches and pirates.    

We went to the Witch museum, and then the Pirate museum right after.  It is hard to believe how much history has taken place in Salem.  
19 people were killed during the witch trials, but this was nothing compared to the tens of thousands that were killed in Europe for the same ludicrous accusation.  

I was a little skeptical about going to the pirate museum... I thought they would be playing A Pirate Life for Me.  Who knew that there were so many famous pirates that spent time right here in Salem.
Not all pirates had the traditional Jolly Roger flags (the skull and cross bones), many of them had hearts in their motto, which stood for life... and is super cute.  

Fred found a Gilbert pirate (an ancestor possible?) who was from Mexico and had a pirate ship called the Mexican.  
He was inspired.  

I could not think of a better type of day to spend in Salem than a dreary rainy day.  Being flexible while traveling is a good thing.  

After dinner and the Patriots game we had our cards read to us by Sylvia, who was Wicca inspired.  Our future is looking good in Boston!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Day 2 in Boston- Cheers

Let's pretend that we didn't drink too much last night, and that it wasn't three in the afternoon before we got started, and that Sylvia felt like going out...

Fred and I ate at a pizza/sandwich shop down the street.  The eggplant sandwich was to die for (but I am glad I didn't... Boston can be dangerous!).

Boston Common is the oldest park in the country, until 1817 public hangings took place here.  

Now they sell fried dough.  

I was super excited about going to Cheers, and super disappointed to see the inside.  It doesn't look like the Cheers bar that I know!  Not because Woody Harrelson wasn't there, but because it was small inside and completely unfamiliar.  

We ended the evening at Tia's on the waterfront having lobster.  
It felt like a second third anniversary.  Love it.