Shipping Up To…Well, You Know…
Posted by DonniT
When the Covid restrictions started loosening, HWSNBN and I decided to make a break for it. He had vacation time to burn, so I got out the old computer and started looking for a getaway destination. We decided on Boston.
Why Boston? We were often asked. A couple of reasons, really: one, I have never been and, being the history dork that I am, have always wanted to check it out. Two, we now have a nephew going to med school at Tufts (hi, Marco!) so we would be able to see him and feed him. Three, it’s such an easy place to get to, weather was good, I got good deals on a hotel, and Boston was waking up, but wasn’t swamped yet with tourists. We didn’t get to go to some places we would’ve liked, as some stuff was still closed down, but that’s ok. There’s always next time!
We stayed at The Liberty, a former jail turned into a hotel.
The rooms were cute and comfortable, the lobby is incredible, and the location can’t be beat.
Oh — and Saturday nights the lobby becomes a multi-level club!
After we dumped our luggage, we decided to wander around in nearby Beacon Hill and grab lunch. We ended up at The Paramount. You know a good sign of a local restaurant? Hungover college kids scarfing down brunch.
Being a sucker for all things old and pretty and historic, I totally geeked out in our post-lunch stroll.
After our stroll, we grabbed a cocktail in the lobby, then headed upstairs to get ready for dinner. We were headed to Cambridge, home of Harvard. We weren’t able to get indoor reservations at our chosen restaurant, Alden and Harlow, unfortunately. The location was lovely, and the food was great, but we were chilly. And, TBH, the service was bad. Polie, but slower than paying off that debt being accrued by all those Harvard students. We enjoyed our meal, then got back on the train to thaw out!
The next day was Mother’s Day, and I celebrated with one of my fave activities: a scavenger hunt! I wanted to do the Freedom Trail, but, due to Covid, they weren’t doing guided tours. But I knew from experience (which you’ve probably read about in my blogs) that scavenger hunts are a great way to explore and learn about cities. We started at Boston Common, but HWSNBN needed a coffee first. I waited for him at the starting point in the park.
I was surprised when A) he took forever, and B) he had three drinks. When he saw my raised eyebrow he said, “don’t ask.” I laughed, grabbed the extra drink, and went over to a group of folks sleeping nearby who looked like they could use a treat. My offer was quickly accepted, and we loaded up the hunt.
In case you are on unfamiliar, the Freedom Trail is a fancy name for a 2-3 mile walk linking a bunch of historic locations. The trail itself is very helpfully marked like this:
Some of the highlights for me included the Granary Burying Ground, which is the third oldest cemetery in Boston. Founded in 1660, you’ll find the graves of Paul Revere, Sam Adams and two other signers of the Declaration of Independence, and several Boston Massacre victims, among others.
We grabbed a quick lunch at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, then continued up to the North End. It’s a lovely old neighborhood — now known for lots of great Italian places, but steeped in history. We saw Paul Revere’s House, and attempted to get a drink at the oldest pub in America, The Bell in Hand. Alas, the pandemic put the kibosh on that plan, so we settled for a beer and a snack at The White Bull Tavern.
We continued onward, into parks and over bridges, up to Bunker Hill and through charming neighborhoods, until it was time to head back to get ready for dinner.
As I mentioned previously, our nephew is in his first year of med school in Boston. That night, we took him and his girlfriend out to dinner at Deauxave. We had a really nice time — so much so that we missed all their cues and had to politely be informed that they were closing. Ooops! After leaving a hefty tip, we went our separate ways, and promised to meet up for dinner again the next night.
Monday morning we went back to the Paramount and had breakfast. I had been intrigued by their boozy slushies te day before, so enjoyed one of those with a big ole stack of blueberry pancakes. Gotta love a vaca brekkie!
We set off afterwards to get the obligatory picture required of all who grew up watching NBC on Thursday nights in the 80s:
But our main goal that day was spending time at the New England Aquarium. I’m usually the one in charge of tickets and reservations and other planning stuff, but for some reason I was struggling to buy the tickets online. Frustrated and impatient, HWSNBN took over and did it on his phone. Smugly, he went up to the ticket booth to show our reservation — only to be told he had purchased tickets for another attraction in another city. The gentleman in the booth said it happened often, but I don’t think that alleviated his embarrassment. I giggled a little (I know, I’m bad.).
The aquarium was lovely! Every time I go to a place like this, I marvel at the weird life that exists underwater. I know that freaks people out, but I think it’s fascinating. For a hot minute, Sailor Boy considering being a Marine Biologist, and I was excited. I mean, he still has a career that has to do with the sea, right?
We also always have that “if money were no object” conversation, about how we would have an epic saltwater aquarium in a home if we could — the kind where you hire folks in scuba gear to deal with it. Wouldn’t it be cool to chill out at the end of the dy and just watch this kid of stuff:
This octopus tripped me out as well:
That evening, we again dined with Marco (but sans GF). We went to a beautiful place called Yvonnes’s. We ate in the gorgeous main dining room — but next time I want to try and get into the exclusive back room. In the meantime, I made myself comfortable.
Tuesday was our last day, but our flight wasn’t until the evening so we filled in the blanks. We enjoyed Boston Commons park first. Spring was in full force!
Next it was back to Harvard, to wander the campus and the surrounding area.
As is the case with every place we travel to, we didn’t get to do nearly everything I wanted — so many museums were closed, as were all the Harvard buildings, any historic sites, MIT and more. I really want to go back and visit Salem, as well. Maybe I’ll tack it all onto a genealogy research trip? Anyway: not sure where our next adventure will take us, but my bags are at the ready!