Saturday, August 29, 2009


Steve had a meeting at Harvard this week, so Olivia and I tagged along because Boston is such a cool city.

The first time Steve and I came here was in 2003 when he was finishing up grad school and the job options were all over the board. He interviewed with a law firm in Boston's World Trade Center for a position in intellectual property. It had a snazzy salary associated with it and Boston seemed like such an interesting place to live, but we soon realized that in a city like this the cost of living would be considerably more than the rural State College to which we were accustomed. And then there was the issue of three years of law school (at night while lawyer-ing by day) after he had just finished his PhD. Boston is a very walkable city and we did walk a lot. We stayed down near the trade center (with one of the most beautiful bathrooms I'd ever had in a hotel), walked up to the North End for dinner one night, to the Pru for a view, met my high school friend Melanie at Quincy Market, and I walked through (and dreamed of living in) beautiful Beacon Hill during Steve's interview. Dining out and paying for taxi rides made it seem like we were hemorrhaging money from our grad-school budget. I didn't even want to walk down Newbury Street because I knew I couldn't afford anything.

Fast forward a few years to our next trip here together. Steve was working in sales (he didn't take the lawyer gig), it was Spring 2006, and we stayed in Cambridge. More on that trip here... We did window shop in Back Bay that time because I remember seeing the Simon Pearce store. (He's a glass blower based near where we were living in Delaware.) We spent most of our free time in Harvard Square and even ran into one of Steve's grad school labmates in Cambridge. At the bead store I found Tom Boylan focals (before we met him in California) and these wonderful gold-foil lined Czech glass beads that I'd never seen before or since.

This time we stayed right downtown. Like, in the same block as Union Oyster House (America's oldest tavern) and across from Faneuil Hall. Our balcony has a nice view of Mariott's Custom House (looks more beautiful than it sounds). The first night we walked around Quincy Market and had a late dinner (lobstah roll) and then called it a night for the sake of Olivia's bedtime. On Day 2 we walked over to the North End for brunch (Cafe Pompeii) and noticed the nice new park where the freeway got put underground (finally). Later that day I saw on the news that Ted Kennedy's funeral procession passed just steps from our hotel, but I had been in the room while Olivia napped so I missed the whole thing. In the afternoon we joined Steve at Harvard's Natural History Museum where they have the most phenomenal collection of glass flowers & parts (read: cross-section of pollen grain at 5000K magnification). They were commissioned by the university for study by botany students, the most exquisitely detailed lampwork/enamel work I've ever seen. One of my favorite classes in college was plant taxonomy so it was also kind of cool reviewing family classification and plant anatomy.

We also walked through the gem and mineral exhibit.  Incredible!

Gift shop is the best part!
After that we had dinner in the North End at the same place we had wandered into during our first visit to Boston years ago. We had to know if it is still the best eggplant parmigiana and chicken cacciatore we'd ever had. It is. This time we didn't have the place to ourselves, but we did have a cute little baby to entertain the waitstaff.

Breakfast on Day 3 was at the hotel restaurant and I ordered Bananas Foster French Toast, which was as good as it sounds. Oh, and fresh-squeezed orange juice, which is basically liquid sunshine and so worth the $5. We walked around the Common and sat by the pond in the Garden, then headed to the airport for our 4:20 flight. Except hurricane remnants were hitting DC so the plane's arrival was delayed a couple of hours. We took turns walking Olivia around in the stroller and she slept maybe 45 minutes. And then we boarded and were ready to leave the gate when the control tower informed our captain that there would be a VIP arrival so all planes would be grounded for another hour. So we deplaned without the luxury of the stroller, which had been gate-checked. And sure enough, a large plane bearing "United States of America" landed and taxiied right in front of us. Air Force Two, according to a confident man on our flight. We finally took off at 8 and Olivia still would not fall asleep, although she was busy and happy so we really couldn't complain. She finally fell asleep right as we landed, slept in the car on the way home from Dulles, and woke up this morning at 8am as usual.


These cupola-dome thingies are my new favorite architectural element in Boston.

Boston Garden

Make Way for Ducklings (a favorite book of mine as a kid)

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