Freedom Trail

We’ve been living in California for a few months now. I have to admit that I’m enjoying our quiet new life but I still do miss Boston very, very much. Here’s another post that I didn’t get around to posting before we left.

Boston has so much history. The Freedom Trail is an easy walk that takes you through some of the most historically important sites in the city. We’ve visited all the sites before but we did it in pieces. This time, we wanted to walk the whole 2.5 miles. Let’s go!

IMG_3275

Follow the red brick road. You’ll find spots where the trail seems to disappear or turns into a red painted line. It’s helpful to have a map just in case. Or just follow the line of tourists. Like lemmings. Remember those little green guys? I’m getting off topic.

IMG_3280

The State House. Shiny!

IMG_3289

IMG_3307

Site of the oldest public school in the country.

IMG_3314

The old State House. See that balcony? In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read to the people of Boston for the first time from that balcony.

IMG_3313

Site of the Boston Massacre.

IMG_3318

Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall. I always have to look up how to spell Faneuil. Too many vowels in the middle of that word. This place has been a marketplace since the 1700s. I like to walk through the market food court and nibble on samples.

IMG_3321

Union Oyster House. One of the oldest continually running restaurants in the United States. And the proud birthplace of the toothpick. Or so they say.

IMG_3345

The North End, Boston’s little Italy. It’s the oldest neighborhood in the city. (Have you spotted a theme here yet?) Packed with restaurants and bakeries, this is a great spot to grab a little fuel for the rest of the walk. Perhaps some Boston Cream Pie, cannoli, or a lobster tail from Mike’s Pastry? Modern Pastry is just as delicious (and usually with shorter lines) and Lulu’s Sweet Shop makes my favorite cupcakes in the city. There’s also pizza, gelato, and enough pasta to keep you going for days.

IMG_3346

Paul Revere’s house. This was one of the of the first sites we visited on our first trip to Boston. I remember being bewildered by the fact that the city had just kept growing around these historical sites.

IMG_3359

IMG_3360

Lots of churches on this trail. Back in the day, families (the rich ones) rented booths to sit in during services. The kids would face the front of the church, the parents the back so that they could keep an eye on their kids.

IMG_3375

Lots of cemeteries as well. These tombstones are incredibly old. During a tour, we learned that bodies would be buried in layers. Back in the day during a particularly bad flood, the bodies floated to the surface and washed down the street. Oh dear.

IMG_3369

It took my Mr. awhile to figure out the significance of this church. This is the Old North Church. I’ll give you a hint: “One if by land, and two if by sea.

IMG_3400

Bunkerhill Monument. Well, it’s actually on Breed’s Hill because that’s where they were during the battle. I don’t blame the Patriots for their confusion. I’m sure all the hills looked the same. “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.”

IMG_3420

USS Constitution. This giant, wooden frigate from the 1700s is staffed by a crew of active duty Navy Sailors, one of which gave the most amazing history of the ship to visitors. She was an incredible storyteller! I couldn’t believe how much she had memorized. She had us all captivated. The ship is currently dry docked for renovations but it’s still worth a visit. Stop by their museum while you’re there.

IMG_3433

2.5 miles later, we were starving and needed some pizza. This is only a portion of what there is to see on the Freedom Trail. It definitely should be at the top of any to-do list when visiting Boston!

Freedom Trail

Hello Santa Barbara

Well, we made it across the country in our Camry and are now settling into Santa Barbara. Twas an epic road trip. My Mr. is back at work and I’m spending my days unpacking, looking for furniture, and cleaning our new apartment. The sound of emergency vehicles has been replaced by rustling palm trees. Blue jays and cooing mourning doves have been traded for seagulls and my new favorite bird, sanderlings. When I look out the window, I no longer see ivy but mountains. It’s a strange, strange life. I have several posts that I never got to publish before leaving Boston so I’ll post them in the next few weeks. We’re definitely missing Boston but we’re exciting for this new adventure.

Version 2

Hello Santa Barbara

New Jersey – Family

IMG_8505E
Photo credit goes to the ever so talented Mr. Lee!

I am a lucky, lucky girl. Not only did I marry the best guy in the world, I married into an awesome family. These past ten years, we’ve been able to spend a lot of time with my Mr.’s family. They took me in the moment they met me. No one else has ever been welcomed with such love and kindness as I was with my Mr.’s family. His middle sister and her husband live in Maryland so they’re often in New Jersey as well. We all met up in New Jersey for a family friend’s wedding at the end of August. It was the best weekend. Lots of joy, laughter (“She’s like a volcano…”), love and of course, food.

IMG_3172

Puppies! Rocky is the sage old man in the house and Ron is the exuberant youngster. Ron just wants to play and poor Rocky just wants to be left alone! It’s hard to get a photo of the two together.

IMG_3182

Family BBQ with way too much food as usual. Life is good.

IMG_3189

We knew that this would be our last trip to Jersey for a long time but it didn’t quite hit me until we started to drive away. Like always, we had breakfast together, bummed around a bit and slowly loaded up our cars while Mama tried to sneak food into our bags. My Mr.’s sister and husband left first then my Mr. and I started to get ready to leave. Mama was laughing and tearing up as she said good bye to her oldest children and I laughed with her. Then I realized that this was the end of an era. We’ve made this trip so often and this would be the last time. We’ll visit again but we won’t be able to come as often. I burst into tears the minute we pulled out of the driveway. I’m going to miss the lazy days watching Law & Order, the endless Chinese buffets, celebrating birthdays, mother’s days, father’s days, falling asleep in our little corner room to the sound of summer bugs singing, the gallons of OPC, holiday parties with all the families, battling the spiders, and everyone being together. I’m going to miss being so close to them. We love you family!

New Jersey – Family

New Jersey – Point Pleasant

New Jersey, part two! I love Jenkinson’s Boardwalk at Point Pleasant beach. I grew up in the midwest so beach boardwalks are a foreign, yet delightful concept to me. All the junk food! The cheesy games! The rides that make you barf! I fell in love immediately. Point Pleasant was hit pretty hard during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The town rallied and today, it looks just like it did before. We spent the afternoon slowly walking up and down the boardwalk, nibbling on zeppoles and filling our pockets with quarters to play arcade games. It was a perfect afternoon.

IMG_3104

Lemonade is a must on a hot and sunny day.

IMG_3110

This stand is named just “Sugar.” I thought it was hilarious. It’s good to be honest.

IMG_3107

Minion’s are the current hot toy at the game stalls.

Version 2

IMG_3113

Back in the day, before I became a giant wimp, I loved this ride. It’s the one that acts like a giant centrifuge and you get plastered to the wall.

IMG_3115

IMG_3118

Woo cheese fries! Love you Point Pleasant!

New Jersey – Point Pleasant

New Jersey – Eats

My Mr. is from Jersey and most of his family is still there. It’s just a 4.5 – 5 hour drive to their home so we’ve made a lot of trips there during our time in Boston. We estimate over 40! We took one last road trip to Jersey just before Labor Day for a wedding and visited our favorite spots. Here’s part one!

First stop is Bagel Talk. There is something in the water. These bagels are so delicious, it makes you wonder why no one else in the country can make a decent bagel. Crisp on the edges and oh so doughy and chewy on the inside. My favorite is the whole wheat everything with light veggie cream cheese. My Mr. is an egg bagel sort of guy. There have been times when I insist that we visit Bagel Talk multiple times in a weekend. My Mr.’s family thinks I’m a little crazy. I am crazy. Crazy for bagels.

IMG_3098

Sometimes we go extra wild and get the challah french toast too. So very fluffy. I love carbs!

IMG_3099

Bagel Talk
8 South Main St
Marlboro, NJ 07746

Rita’s is another spot that we often visit more than once on a trip. I have my bagels, my Mr. has his gelatis. Rita’s specializes in frozen custard and Italian ice. If you get both in one cup, it’s a gelati. I think it’s weird but my Mr. loves it!

IMG_3161

IMG_3163

I’m all about their sundaes. Lovely, smooth custard with hot fudge and nuts. While there, we noticed a sign that said they had swapped their frozen custard for soft serve ice cream due to the egg shortage. Definitely not as good as their custard but I’ll take it. Hoping all those chickens get well soon!

IMG_3160

Thankfully, they have lots of locations in California. And in several other states. Maybe we can try to hit one up in each state as we drive through the country!

New Jersey – Eats

Dumbledorks

I work with some awesome people. They pass around cat videos and talk about what Harry Potter character they are based on their Myers Briggs profile. So when one of them found out that ThinkTank was doing a Harry Potter trivia night at Common Ground, it took about 10 seconds to form a team and establish our team name. Madame Pince’s Army!!

11698905_654269048006311_4738425063167174009_o

IMG_3026

Now, we didn’t think we’d have a shot at winning and we definitely weren’t there to win money. There are some hardcore Harry Potter fans in a city like Boston. I figured the real contenders were the people who play Quidditch on the weekends and have Harry Potter tattoos. Still, I studied a bit before trivia night using Sporcle and crammed the night before looking up spells and reading up on magical creatures. I felt like I was studying for a big exam and cursed myself for not re-reading all the books immediately after signing up. Still, we did pretty well and were in second place for most of the game. Once we realized that we actually had a chance at winning, we got super anxious and couldn’t stop laughing. In the end, we weren’t able to pull ahead and finished in second. We lost by just a couple of points. We were SO CLOSE!! I had an awesome time and it was so much fun hanging out with other Dumbledorks and my library colleagues. I have a feeling SB won’t have Harry Potter trivia so I’ll just have to visit Boston for next year’s Harry Potter trivia night.

IMG_3030

Dumbledorks

Ramler Park

I live across the street from the most beautiful little park. It is lovingly tended by volunteers and the gardeners planned it so that blooms in just about every season. It’s just as lovely in June as it is in February. It’s where I go to unwind and read after work. Where we walk in the evenings to visit the resident bunnies. On a nice afternoon, my coworkers and I take our Rod Dee to the tables to eat under the shade of the trees. It’s where we spent our last afternoon with Waukegan. It’s where I had one of the most perfect birthdays. It’s one of the things I’ll miss most when I leave Boston. This is my happy place.

IMG_2025

20150511_185523

20140512_182256

IMG_2524

IMG_2520

IMG_2530

IMG_2531

IMG_2541

IMG_2550

IMG_20140621_185322

IMG_8524

IMG_8516

20150608_171053

IMG_6522 (1)

20150824_200017

We caught the last concert of the summer a few weeks ago. As the sun set and the summer night settled in around us, my Mr. held me and I cried the first of what I’m sure will be many tears. The moment was just so perfect that I couldn’t stop thinking of how much I’ll miss this place.

Ramler Park