Hello from the Chicago Airport! Hard to believe that my time in Boston has already come to a close…it’s been an incredible trip. I thought that I would break up our experiences into 2 posts: one with the touring we did around this amazing city and one of the conference which was incredible! Wow…so much to share – it’s hard to know where to start!
After we arrived in Boston, so happy to have a break and be traveling together again, Mikey and I dropped our luggage off and went straight to the mall. The mall? Yeah – we were about 40 minutes on the T (their subway/train system) away from downtown Boston and there was nothing within walking distance of our hotel, so we hopped on the free shuttle to get a few supplies for the week from Target.
I loved seeing all the fun seasonal Halloween candies and things that are only in the great US of A – it was good to be home. 😉
We headed back to the Marriott Quincy and read our books in the hot tub, which was right next to the gym and in full view of the weight room. I could only take it for about 10 minutes before I just HAD to go MOVE! So I did a great 20 minute workout, showered and gathered my pruny husband from the hot tub and we hit the hay. 😉
The next day, we took the T downtown and bought a pass for the Duck Boat Tour – a chance to see all the history of Boston, to get out and walk and explore, with museum fees included sounded perfect to us. We started by seeing some famous statutes, loved hearing about history along the way and had fun getting off at our first stop: Fenway Park.
The Boston Strong and Red Sox fever was everywhere! …what a great time to be in this city.
Fenway Park was amazing…so much rich history and being in the first ballpark in the US made me really proud to be an American. We were there taking a tour on the afternoon before the Red Sox won the World Series – so we even got to hear DropKick Murphy’s warming up! Big time bonus.
After the tour and loving the excitement for the Red Sox that you could feel sweeping the city, we hopped back on the tour, explored by walking around a little more and stopped for an important visitor who zoomed by in his motorcade – President Obama! We didn’t see him, but we did see his car go by and the American flags on the side. So cool! We hoped we’d see him in speak at Fenuiel Hall in Quincy Market but, after waiting for about a half hour, we lef the area and gave up a shot for a glimpse at the President – but I don’t think he ended up surfacing there in view of where we were anyway. Still a neat, crowd experience!
Eventually, after another museum stop in the Old South Meeting House, we ended up eating our first “real” meal of the day in the oldest pub in Boston – the Bell in Hand. Mikey especially loves the architecture of the old buildings, which are older than the life of the city of Calgary! The Bell in Hand was wedge-shaped, and we took up residence at a high table in the skinny part of the wedge. When in Boston, eat fish, right? I had the Baja Tacos, which were delicious, and Mikey ate the fisherman’s platter which he couldn’t even finish! I had my first sip of alcohol since the 24 day Holiday Hustle, a half pint pumpkin beer with a tasty sugar and cinnamon rim but didn’t even drink half of it! That ended up being my only alcohol of the week; I chose to go with more candy options coming off my food challenge. 😉 Maybe some of these habits will actually stick!
We also helped each other with our presentations for the upcoming conference; it was fun brainstorming together on a napkin in the oldest pub in America.
We took a long walk after that, around Little Italy which was beautiful, safe and full of great looking Italian restaurants – wish we could have stayed for some gelato or a coffee! We were actively staying away from sweets after a “lightly battered,” as the menu said, meal of fish, so we passed, but we did walk by the Thinking Cup coffee shop that Janetha told me to go to – can’t believe we didn’t have room for a canoli!
We continued meandering down the Freedom Trail to Old North Church (where Paul Revere lit the lamps signalling the British were coming!) and Paul Revere’s house. Although I didn’t get a good picture of it in the darkness, I loved the statue of Paul Revere on a horse rearing up, proudly wearing a Red Sox jersey. 😉
We finally got back on the T and rode home, walking back up to the hotel and flopping down, switching on the Red Sox game until the end, cheering them on even though we wouldn’t really call ourselves baseball fans. Being at Fenway Park earlier in the day made for an exciting game and we loved watching that game-winning strike-out and the thrill that was so obvious in the stadium! Boston needed this, and I was so happy that after the Boston Marathon bombing that this happened; it was an emotional and powerful week in this city.
Day 2 of our explorations began as day 1 ended for me: with a short workout!
I came back, woke the boy and we enjoyed with some oatmeal, a banana and some baby oranges in our hotel room bought from our Target trip. We also got some carrot pack, cherry tomatoes and raw nut trail mix to help with snacks during the day, some buns with individual peanut and almond butter packs for quick sandwiches so we never purchased lunch out and some mint tea for the evenings. A cheap and easy way to travel!
Back on the tour (we bought the multi-day pass), we started off with a stop at the USS Constitution, the world’s oldest wartime boat still afloat. We got there right in time before a big group and enjoyed a free 20 minute tour from one of the active-duty navy men and learned a lot about the fascinating history of the boat and the battles “Old Ironsides” engaged in against the British.
We were also able to pop over to the nearby museum and strolled around, reading more about the history of the boat and the era. It was a great start to the day!
After the boat tour, we hopped into the harbor on a different kind of boat – a Duck Boat! As with every tour guide we had, the drivers were hilarious, disarming and charming. I think I’d be intimidated by younger Boston men but I sure think the older ones are fun! I love the people out here…similar feel to San Francisco but a little brashness to the friendliness of Bostonians – cool city and cool people.
On the way to our first destination, I also had my first coffee in 24 days! It was simple, like I always have it – a short, dark roast with 1 shot, this time from Starbucks. It was perfect sipping a coffee with Mikey as we made our way to the next destination on the double decker bus.
The rest of the day was dedicated to being in Harvard Square, where we checked out some great exhibits at the Museum of Natural History (tough call between that and the MIT museum, but we only had time for one!) and then just strolled the campus.
It must be incredible studying in a place with so much history! Although the day was gray, it was warmer than the day before and we loved walking through the old brick buildings, steeped in history and so beautiful.
That evening was all about hockey – we made it to Boston Gardens and took in a hockey game! It wasn’t the greatest game (although former Flame Jerome Iginla won the game for the Bruins in a shoot out! That’s our boy!), but it was fun to be in a famous arena and the steep seats provided great views even from our place in the upper balcony.
This is also, to be noted, the night I had candy corn – on Halloween! YUM! I bought a bag, ate half and threw the rest away – that’s how I portion control and help myself with will power. 😉
Friday brought a day to stick around the hotel, visit with a super amazing friend, Jaime, from our Grand Canyon trip this summer (who drove for 2 hours from Connecticut to have lunch with us tired folk! SO thankful to have seen her face to face) and a day of working on our presentations. Can’t believe we failed to snap a pic with Jaime, but we went into Quincy (which is actually about 25 years older than Boston!) for Mexican food and had a great time catching up and chatting.
And…for the rest of the trip, the full day conference on Saturday, you’ll have to tune in later this week! I’ll also pop back with a glimpse at my before and after photos of the Holiday Hustle challenge and my wrap up thoughts on the experience. I think for coming off such a challenge I did fairly well throughout the week away! I definitely allowed candy indulgences and did have 1 donut (pumpkin pie) from Dunkin Donuts (first time ever there!) on our first day of exploring Boston, but we hadn’t eaten much all day and I figure pumpkin’s already on it’s way out up in Canada, so I might as well enjoy it. 😉 More on that later, but I just wanted to share the fun time we had in Boston. We crammed a ton in (hence why we were so tired when we connected with Jaime on our “day off” to study and work!) but it was worth it. If you love history, friendly people and a beautiful area, take a trip to Boston! We had a blast.
Talk to you guys soon! I’m back for a full week of work while Mikey is in Rotterdam in the Netherlands for his first international conference – so proud of him. God has been so faithful to us in our story and I’m grateful for this trip to remind of that. Live well & be well, friends!