This is the second posting of a week-long road trip to New England.
Following our arrival and first day in Boston, we continued to play tourist in the beautiful neighborhoods around Charlestown, went into downtown Boston a bit, and explored the Boston Navy Yard.
Although we did not go with a Duck Boat, that certainly was an option. These amphibious vehicles are everywhere! We saw the old traditional military style, as well as newer larger ones that just look like any other tour bus…except they go in the water!
At the Navy Yard, we walked by the gorgeous Commandant’s House. This Federal style mansion is one of the oldest structures in the area and has been host to more than one presidential visit. Today it is owned by the National Park Service.
Everywhere you look in the Navy Yard is historic charm and beauty. Large ships in the water, old restored buildings, as well as lots of day-to-day commerce and activity. Across the harbor is a view of the Boston city skyline that you wouldn’t be able to see if you were in Boston!
Also on the grounds of the Navy Yard is a new hospital. The Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital was newly built when the Boston Marathon bombing occurred. It was replacing an older hospital and patients had not been moved over yet. Fortunately this meant there was a cutting-edge –and vacant–hospital near the bombing site and many of the victims were brought here.
It somehow seems especially “Boston” to find a billboard on the side of an apartment building in the North End advertising the Trapp Family Lodge. The hills are alive and solving a problem like Maria is as easy as a toll-free call!
By noon on Day 2 my friend Denise (at whose place we were staying) had returned from the Cape and was ready to play tour guide. She took us downtown to see a rather impressive “aerial sculpture” that looked like multi-colored netting suspended over the Rose Kennedy Greenway. It was hard to capture with a good photo because of the sun and the time of day but I recommend you google it.
Cultural obligations fulfilled, we then headed to a new bar from an old Boston favorite. The Legal Oysteria, part of the legendary Legal Seafoods empire was in Charlestown. We were parched and stopped in only for a quick mid-day libation but it was clearly the type of casual neighborhood spot where one could spend the entire afternoon!
That was not the plan however. Denise had invited Mary, the most youthful of our old college friends to come in from the suburbs and visit. I love when you visit a friend and they gather up your other local friends simply because you’re in town!
Denise has a knack for being ahead of popular trends and she served a cocktail that I expect I will start seeing later this summer and be able to say I first had it at her place. The secret ingredient was a purple liqueur called Creme de Violette. As you might guess, it was somewhat floral. She mixed it with gin and lemon juice and floated a couple dried flowers (look up “violas”) to make the perfect presentation.
As we sipped our drinks looking out over Boston Harbor we laughed and told stories. Denise was needling me about my bald head, and all in the world was perfect!
We did not sit there all day however, because more fun lay ahead. I have 7 cousins on my Dad’s side of the family and one of them owns a winery in Napa (please visit Castrucci Wines!) I have been feeling a little guilty that I have been out to see David in Napa several times but hadn’t seen the other 6 cousins who all live in New England. So this vacation would be the “Cousins who don’t own a winery” tour.
Stop #1 was my Aunt Mary and my cousins Karen and Elena. Karen has an adorable young son whom I had not seen since he was a newborn. Both cousins also have great husbands whom I always enjoy seeing.
We picked a central spot, Margarita’s in Framingham and all met for dinner. We laughed all night, we took lots of pictures and told lots of stories. As I write this on Father’s Day, 2015, I think how my dad, who we lost 7 years ago, would have been so proud to see us all together carrying on the family tradition of gathering and enjoying each other’s company.
At this point we were a mere 36 hours into a 1 week road trip and it was already a smashing success! 3 college friends, 3 family members, lots of great sights, and a few excellent cocktails! Tomorrow it would be on to New Hampshire.