Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Boston Trip, October 2013

Last October, Drew and I took a trip to Boston. I'm just now getting around to sorting through the picture and writing about it.

If you only care about the pictures and not the details, click on the oysters below. Go ahead! They don't bite...

Boston 2013

Otherwise, here's what we did...

Drew and I love Boston! We love everything in New England, especially along the coast. I love it so much I set the location for my Lyssa Winfield Mystery book series in Boston. We planned a long-weekend trip last October just before Halloween to visit Boston, and the surrounding area. I made it very obvious to anyone that would listen to me for more than two minutes, that this trip was about one thing, and one thing only.

My book.

I wanted to visit everywhere I talked about, all the streets everyone lived on, where they worked, ate, and played. Yes, the book is fictional, but a lot of it was based heavily on actual places. 

FRIDAY - After a beautiful, sunny drive across New York and Massachusetts, we arrived in Concord. Home to many writers: Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne. They lived there; they died there; they're buried there at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (no relation to the story). 

Concord is also the site of Old North Bridge where the "shot heard round the world" was fired, which was essentially the start of the American Revolutionary War.

But the main reason we came to Concord was this...

PRISCILLA'S CANDY SHOP!!! It's where Lyssa stopped for a small box of ganache truffles while she was out driving around, avoiding the FBI, and trying to figure out if Alex was going to kill her. Like my heroine, I did the same thing. (Got chocolates, not the driving thing.) I got Dark Chocolate Mint, Hazelnut, Dark Chocolate Tiramisu, and (my favorite!!!) Champagne. We also got about thirty bucks in other chocolate goodies. So dang good!!!

While in Concord, we ate lunch at Helen's Restaurant. I got a Shrimp Po'Boy, which was excellent. Drew had the Chicken Thai Wrap, which he said was really good!!

After Concord, we decided it would be fun to live like a true Bostonian and tried to take I95 on a Friday afternoon into Boston. Frustrating, but not nearly as bad as Wegmans parking lot on a Saturday morning.

I took the opportunity to contact our friend Jessica. She's a college student from back home whom I'd met at work where she interns during the summer and Christmas breaks. She attends Emerson College in Boston and she's been a huge inspiration for the next Lyssa Winfield Mystery book. She happened to be home and we promised her dad Mike, whom we also happen to work with, that we'd stop by at some point to install a new locking doorknob on her bedroom door. I got the address and we got off the interstate.

I wish I took a lot more pictures than I did. The suburb of Boston that Jessica lives in is crazy. I can't even describe it. It's like if Chinatown invited Greenwich Village over for a rave in the middle of a hundred-square blocks that are comprised entirely of college student housing. Just insane-o. If I were a college student, I'd live here too. I bet you can get in all kinds of trouble here.

And be careful that you don't get hit by a train, because cars and trains share the same intersections and stop-lights. No joke.

Drew giving Jessica a lesson in DIY.

Don't be fooled by the photo. Jessica is neither fat nor pregnant. She's actually very thin. My camera was jealous.

After fixing the door and catching up for a few minutes with Jess, we headed into Boston to find our hotel. Wish we'd done that in the daylight! Boston traffic is psychotic. It took two trips around the block, but we did eventually find the Park Plaza.

I don't have much to say about the hotel. It was your standard hotel room. Nothing special. Except it was near EVERYTHING!!! I've visited Boston a number of times in my life. Enough that I don't really need a map to get around anymore, but I've never stayed inside actual Boston. I always stayed outside and taken the train in. I am now spoiled beyond belief.

We walked a lot around Concord, and we were in no mood to walk much further for the night, so we decided to eat at MJ O'Connor's. An Irish Pub on the same block as the hotel.

GOOD CHOICE!!! I got their "Award Winning" Clam Chowder. They weren't kidding. The BEST EVAH!!! Oh my God! One taste and you instantly start talking like a Southie. Drew got the Guiness Onion Soup and that was amazing too! The place was hopping and the staff was great. We really enjoyed it there.

SATURDAY - We got up early and started walking. We hit the Emerson Cafe for a simple breakfast. Danishes and coffee. Then we kept walking. Today was all about taking in the sites. Not the tourist sites. We've done those before. This was about getting over into the sections of town where Alex lives, where Val's yoga studio resides, and where future murders will likely take place. (The books! I'm talking about the books!)

I won't bore you with all the details, but it was just incredible to walk around this gorgeous city. Now, before you think I tortured Drew with my little fantasy walking book tour, he loved it just as much as me. And to prove it, I let him buy me lunch at The Union Oyster Bar.

See! He so happy!!! Actually, he is. It was very touristy, but the bar was super cool, the Union Oyster Ale draft was great, and the fact we could be there was just neat. It's fun to say we ate at America's Oldest Restaurant. 

Afterwards, at the insistence of Jason (another huge Boston fan), we hit Mike's Pastry for some super nommy muffins for breakfast the next morning.

The infamous box!

In the late afternoon, we met up with Jessica again. She took us down Newbury Street. I soooo have to come back here to do some shopping in warmer weather. We stopped at Pinkberry for frozen yogurt. Jess had raved about this place at work so we had to try it. It was just as amazing as she said.

We traveled down to Quincy Market. By now it was dark. It was the weekend before Halloween, so the costumed partiers were starting to come out. I would have loved to stay, but we were getting tired. We bid Jessica a fond farewell and promised her that when she graduates and moves to Boston permanently we will visit all the time. Especially if she has a guest room.

For dinner, we ate very, very late at a restaurant across the street. It came highly recommended by Jessica and is a fave of her father's.


It was one of the best meals we have ever had. They do something with roasted potatoes which has to be illegal. I can't describe it, but Drew has been perfecting the recipe ever since we returned. When Mike visits his daughter in Boston, the first thing he says to me upon returning is, "We went to Maggiano's." He says it in this deep, evil voice with a villainous twinkle in his eye. I say, "Describe it to me. I want to know everything." It's sinful and delectable. I would travel all the way to Boston just for Maggiano's.

SUNDAY - We got up early and said goodbye to Boston. We successfully navigated our way out of the city, heading North.

The Gloucester Fisherman's Memorial

The artist community of Rockport

Lots of galleries and shops!

Motif #1

Our last stop on our weekend getaway. Rockport. A community full of artists and craftsmen. It just love it here. I visited once and always swore to come back.

And yes, it's in the book. The Waldron Art Gallery (named after my good friend and artist Georgia) is in Rockport on Main Street.

After a few hours in Rockport, Drew and I drove home. We were sad to leave. We truly love it here. I don't know if we ever got the opportunity to move here if we would. We also truly love Key West. And London. But at least Boston is only six hours away. We can visit at any time.

If only Boston had a Wegmans...

If you want to see more pictures, click on the beauties below.

Boston 2013