June 13, 2007
We got up early on Sunday and drove South through and around Boston to Cape Cod. There wasn’t much traffic, and it took a little more than an hour to get to the bridge over the Cape Cod canal. Then it was just 15 minutes to Hyannis, and the ferry terminal. There’s a brand new ferry, just put into service in 2006, which is for pedestrian passengers only and takes less than half the time the auto ferries do. The ferry runs about 40 miles an hour (FAST for a ship) and really churns up the wake. It costs more, but it makes twice as many trips during the day, so that’s the one we got tickets for. Roman and me and about ten youth-league lacrosse teams, going to a tournament on Nantucket. They were remarkably loud!
The sun came out and the day was pretty nice by the time we got to the island — in just 55 minutes! Like I always do on Nantucket , we just walked around , looking at the historic houses, the shops, the landscapes and the ocean. It’s obvious, though, that Nantucket has really ‘gentrified’ over the last 25 years– every house in the real estate magazine was priced at over a million dollars, and there were some very fancy boats in the harbor.
Roman developed a hankering for Italian spaghetti, which was just the wrong thing for Nantucket, one of the seafood capitals of New England. We had lunch in a beach bar, and both enjoyed whatever it was we had. We shopped, bought t-shirts and gifts for friends , got coffee, and toured the whaling museum (totally renovated with new galleries since the last time I was there). We walked out to the Brandt Point lighthouse at the entrance to the harbor, and by the time we got back to the center of town, the 5:00 ferry was leaving. We realized we were exhausted, and the thought of sitting down on the ferry sounded pretty good. So we caught it back to Hyannis.
I drove a short distance to our cheap hotel- a third the cost of a Boston hotel- and we swam in the heated pool. Later that night we went to an English pub in Hyannis, where we had “pasties”- pastries like calzones, filled with cheese and stuff. I had the “New England Tradition” pasties– turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, peas and cranberry sauce, wrapped up in a pie crust. Something unusual, and good.
The next morning, Monday, we slept late for once, and got on the road at 10AM. My plan was to return the car to the airport and then take the subway downtown so as to avoid the parking problems. With some backtracking (I missed the airport exit and had to navigate the narrow streets of the North End to get turned around), we turned the car in about noon, took the bus to the terminal, and were all set for our 6:15PM flight. So with 5 hours to wait, we took the new Silver Line bus trolley across to Boston. It uses a restricted lane on the Interstate to go to the new Convention Center on the old South Boston waterfront (30 years ago, that was all warehouses and fish wholesalers); then it has its own underground tunnel which links to the subway system at South Station.
When we got out of the subway, Roman was surprised- this was the Financial District , the super new part of Boston, and looked very different from the half of town we walked through Saturday. He was amazed at the variety of the skyscrapers, and how everything was oriented toward the piers and waterfront. We walked around what will soon be the Rose Kennedy greenway, on top of the now-underground “Big Dig” expressway, and got to Fanueil Hall and Quincy Market. The Market has every kind of trinket and food for sale you can imagine, and that’s where Roman finally found his Italian pasta.
We bought more gifts, walked up to the Blue Line stop at the Old State House, and took the subway back to the airport. (The odd photo of an octacycle… 8 people pedaling the hills downtown. It looked like work!) We still had a little wait for our flight, but after a quick change of planes at LaGuardia in New York, we got back to Raleigh about 10PM. Roman was hungry enough to eat week-old doughnuts… and did!
June 12, 2007
Saturday morning was not quite as sloppy as Friday night, but it was still drizzling enough to make the Sox vs. Braves baseball game problematic. It was set for a 1:30 start, which would allow them to schedule a doubleheader for the evening, and catch up on the Friday game that was postponed. We left North Andover and drove to Cambridge, where I (from memory- impressed myself!) found and parked at the Alewife T station (the end of the red line subway, where there’s a ginormous parking garage). We took the red line all the way into downtown Boston, getting out at Park Street– the north side of the Common. We walked around the common, so Roman could get a taste of Boston, and then got lunch before taking the green line trolley south to Commonwealth Ave.- the BU stop- which is about 3 blocks from Fenway Park.
We walked in the rain to Fenway, which was packed with people even a hour before the game. We shopped the official paraphenalia stores (the UNofficial stores are actually more expensive!) and finally went on to our seats, because they were under the upper deck and therefore, dry. We watched them ready the field, rolling back the tarp as the rain let up. At game time, it was dry, though gray and cool, but by the end of the game the sun actually peeked out for a minute or two.
By luck (Saturday afternoon being the spot in my schedule for the game, no matter who was pitching), we saw the Red Sox’s new phenom pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka vs. the Braves (and virtually their entire pitching staff, since the Sox got so many hits the blew out more than half a dozen Braves pitchers). “Dice-K” (as his name is actually pronounced) is just as good as the PR says. The Red Sox won, 13-3. It was a great game to watch, and fun to be there in person. It was all new and amazing to Roman.
After the game, we actually walked all the way through the Back Bay and across the Common to Beacon Hill, and caught the red line at the Charles River stop. Roman was interested in that part of Boston looking so European. (I didn’t realize until Monday that he thought ALL of Boston looked like that.) It was a good hike and by the time we caught the subway train into Harvard Square, we were glad to sit down.
But once at Harvard Square, we started walking again, so I could show him the Yard, where I lived as a Freshman, Widener Library, the Lampoon, Mather House, the central spaces of my college career. I was surprised at all the infill construction… nothing left of the few vacant lots or parking lots I remember from the old days. We ate dinner at the John Harvard Ale House, something Italian and filling, as I recall, with a good dark ale. Beside us was an attractive blonde woman from Finland who had been at Harvard as a Fulbright Scholar, and was visiting on business.
It was late when we took the subway back to the car, and raining again as I found I-93 in the dark and made it back to North Andover. The Sox and Braves did play the night game, and John Smoltz turned the tables for Atlanta in the rain- Boston lost that one, 14 to 4.
June 12, 2007
The flight up was quick! We got into Logan at 11:15 and got the rental car on the road by 11:45. On the drive to Lowell (about 45 min.) Roman was starving so we stopped at a Cracker Barrell- and now it’s Roman’s new favorite place to eat. I met with people at the museum and then we checked into the hotel. That night we saw Shrek 3… the next day my meeting was until 2, so Roman wandered around Lowell . Then we drove around some in the rain and went to North Andover, where Diane Fagan-Affleck let us use their beautiful house while they were in New York. Friday night we drove in the downpour to see Spiderman 3 at the IMAX, but it’s an IMAX at Jordan’s Furniture- the biggest furniture store in New England. It’s at a mall, but free-standing beside the Home Depot- a big 3-story box where, besides the furniture store and the IMAX, is a trapeze training school (!), a Fuddrucker’s , an ice cream place , and the “Fireworks Fountain”. It’s crazy what all they have in a furniture store– and there’s another one like it on the South side of Boston! The movie was fun to see in IMAX, but the whole Jordan’s furniture experience was weird and crazy. That could have been the highlight of a trip all by itself.
Saturday– the Red Sox in the rain!
May 16, 2007
Roman and I will be flying to Boston tomorrow. I’ve been elected to the Board of Trustees of the American Textile History Museum in Lowell (see http://www.athm.org ) and the museum’s annual meeting is Friday. I’ve been working with them for many years, first in research, then with their historic machinery collection. Last fall, they decided to truck most of it here to NC, where the warehouse rents are cheaper and the possibilities exist to open a branch of the museum that might use the equipment to actually weave fabric for sale in museum shops.
After the meeting at the Museum, we’ll look through the National Park (http://www.nps.gov/lowe/), including the Boott Mill Museum (http://www.cr.nps.gov/NR/TWHP/wwwlps/lessons/21boott/21boott.htm ). Saturday I have tickets for the afternoon Red Sox/ Atlanta Braves game at Fenway Park (getting the tickets was an education and a financial shock!). Sunday we’ll drive to Hyannis (a rental car came with the airline tickets), and catch the ferry to Nantucket, where we’ll spend the day, catch the ferry back, and spend the night in Hyannis (MUCH cheaper!). Then Monday we’ll go to Fanueil Hall and the Aquarium, and catch the flight home Monday afternoon.
Roman will miss 3 days of school, after having a perfect record this spring, but I think this trip is probably more educational than any of the last 3 weeks of high school in NC. The prices for plane tickets on Thursday and Monday were half of what they are for flights on Friday and Sunday, so that’s why it’s a 5 day trip instead of 3.
Anyway, it will be our last big trip together, and probably my last real vacation trip for a while, given how much I’ve spent travelling since February. But I probably would have gone to Boston this spring even if Roman weren’t here or the Museum hadn’t put me on their board, since this is the 30th reunion of my graduating class from Harvard. There’s a big deal made about that, of course, and it’s even bigger this year since Bill Gates is giving the commencement address and Harvard is finally giving him the degree he skipped out on 32 years ago. But Harvard’s graduation is the same Thursday (June 7th) that Roman graduates from Eastern Randolph; so I’ll be in Ramseur at 6PM, not in Cambridge.
So, expect more posts on our Boston trip.