The two best parts of yesterday:
- I (thankfully) recovered our East Coast photos.
- I made spicy sesame tofu lettuce wraps.
You’ll have to wait until later this week to hear about the food!
I don’t think anyone who has spent time in the Northeast in autumn could deny that it’s a special place. While we experience the changing colors of fall in the West, it’s different there. The colors are simply everywhere. We were a little early for the true “leaf peeper” season, but it was completely magical nonetheless.
John grew up in Connecticut, and I was overjoyed to see where he frolicked as a child. Something I adore about this part of America is the history– you see it in the furnishings, in the details, in the buildings. People have lived and worked and raised families and entertained guests in these homes for hundreds of years. We arrived at his father’s place with enough daylight left to stroll Greenwich Avenue, making our way down to the harbor for a drink on the waterfront. We returned home to enjoy dinner with John’s dad and stepmother, sipping wine at the dining room table until the clock struck midnight. A cozy snooze tucked into embroidered bedding in matching twin beds ended our first day in Connecticut.
In the morning, after coffee in bed, John and I met a dear friend for lunch at Ginger Man before I was treated to the Tour de Greenwich. We drove all over town, from Bedford to Glenville and everywhere in between. I saw John’s childhood home and his skating club and his school. I heard stories of friends, the girls he liked and the boys he got into trouble with. I saw unbelievably old buildings and parks and wished we had time to wander the ancient cemetery.
I was mesmerized by the intermittent trees already in their full autumn glory, blazing red like a volcano. We stopped for coffee (“no room”). We stopped for a slice of East Coast pizza. We returned to the apartment at sundown, in time for happy hour beverages and dinner at the Round Hill Club. I fell asleep smiling at the thought of John as a child, a handsome little troublemaker with no idea yet that he’d find his true soul out west.
In the morning, we said our goodbyes to John’s dad and stepmom as we went in different directions on separate trips. Our time in Connecticut was over as soon as it had begun, but not before a stop into John’s beloved Stateline Deli for classic New England wedges: chicken parm and chicken cutlet.
Our day was long. We sat for two hours in a train station, attempting to wait out the Amtrak delays for our train to Boston. Instead, we caught a ride with John’s brother and nephew, who were driving north to meet us from their home in New Jersey. Another 4 ½ hours and a lot of brake lights later, we arrived in Boston. Dinner at Cafeteria on Newbury Street was all we had energy for. Dear Westin Hotel: Thank you for your “Heavenly” beds.
The view of Copley Square from the 35th floor was incredible. What a perfect day! The four of us decided to see Boston by land and water on a Duck Tour. I’d been on a Duck Tour with my brother in Seattle, so I knew what to expect. The guide was hilarious and very knowledgeable about the city- I learned a lot! Perry even got to drive the Duck.
By the time our tour was over, John’s sister-in-law and other nephew had arrived. We went to lunch and then crossed the bridge to Cambridge for the true reason for this trip: to visit John’s mother, buried at Mount Auburn ten years ago.
I don’t find cemeteries to be sad places- I believe they are a place to remember and celebrate life. Mount Auburn was founded in 1831 and I found it fascinating to stroll around the grounds, imagining the world back then. At John’s father’s place, we’d seen an old photo of the Howe men. John’s grandfather was just a boy, sitting on some porch steps with his brother, dad, uncles, and grandfather. That would make the patriarch in the photo John’s great, great grandfather. He had an incredible white handlebar mustache and a charming smile. We saw each of their names there, engraved on the granite headstones in the Howe family plot. The history of a city is intriguing, but it’s a whole new level when the history of your own family is there in front of you.
Our last night in Boston was my favorite part of the trip. We took a train into the North End, Boston’s “Little Italy.” The area has very little room for parking, so people walk, making it come to life on a Saturday night. Our dinner at Rabia’s was dangerously good- I could spend every night eating legit Italian food in the North End. Lobster risotto = perfection.
It was Henry’s birthday eve, so we wandered through the streets after dinner and found an Italian bakery named Bova’s. We trusted that the long line of people waiting for a sweet treat were onto something and said, “Cheers!” with our cannolis and cookies. It’s probably a good thing I don’t live anywhere near this area.
There was a heavy fog over the Charles River when we woke up. We went to breakfast and explored the reflection pool at the Christian Science Plaza before parting ways with John’s brother’s family. I hate saying goodbye.
We had a few hours in Boston before our flight, so John and I started walking. We strolled through the park that runs down Commonwealth Avenue, checking out the statues and the row of houses dating back to the 1800s. We sat under giant willows and watched the swans and giant squirrels in the Public Garden. We made our way through Beacon Hill to the Liberty Hotel, which was once a jail. The bar there is called “Clink” and the lobby is gorgeous. They’ve retained the history of the building and you can see the old prisoner cells. They also have a ridiculously extensive Bloody Mary bar.
After some delectable burrata and a drink, we made our way back through the old cobbled streets of Beacon Hill. The architecture will never cease to captivate me. Remnants of the time when this neighborhood was created were here and there. An old electrical box, half-buried under a window. The alley ways, which are precisely 17 feet across (the width that allows two horse-drawn carriages to pass each other). The gas-lamp street lights and uneven brick sidewalks. It feels like another world.
By the time we arrived at the airport, there was really just one more thing on my must-do list: eat some true New England chowdahh. It was the perfect way to end our whirlwind tour of Connecticut and Boston. I can’t wait to go back.
I’ve already dreamt of that peanut butter cannoli.
**Check out more of my travels on the Travel Bliss page!**