Saturday, May 23, 2015

On Boston, Mr. M, Mr. A, New Friends, and SNOW!

Yes, you heard that last part right - woke up this a.m. to snow. Seriously, there is no water in California and we have snow on May 23rd. Have decided to dedicate the rest of my life to fighting global warming.

However, in the meantime, I'll tell you about my trip.

Boston, was, as always, perfection.  I love Boston so much and I am reminded of that every time I return.  Many of my ancestors were American (have lots of distant cousins to prove it!) and my great-grandfather lived there all of his life and we used to go visit him regularly and then my great aunt Gladys after he passed. The city has changed a lot since the 1960s in many ways, but the people have not; they are as friendly as can be.

So we could walk easily to our reading by David McCullough, we stayed at the Harvard Square Hotel, a teeny little boutique hotel in the heart of Harvard.

The rooms were small, but well appointed and conveniently located across from the subway.  There is no restaurant in the hotel, but there are lots of little cafes nearby, as well as the Charles Hotel, which is the larger and nicer hotel, but with a larger and nicer rate to prove it! 

It was a bit of a flying trip.  We didn't arrive until Sunday afternoon.  The weather was glorious, so we changed quickly and had a great walk around Beacon Hill and the Boston Esplanade.

Our restaurant that evening was in the heart of Beacon Hill, 75 Chestnut, and I highly recommend it - it was charming and the food was delightful.

The next morning, these Canucks were first in line for the tour of the three John Adams' houses located in Quincy/Braintree, a quick 30 minute subway ride away.  We were the only ones for the 9:15 tour, which meant we basically had the whole tour to ourselves, and well, you can imagine what THAT was like for me....  I believe I may have been described as the most interested tourist they'd had in weeks.  Yes - I was that much of a geek!

The trolley you road from the birthplace houses out to Peacefield House was quite lovely:

I love a good trolley... Makes you feel all Judy Garland-ish...
For some reason, I was too excited to take any pictures of the birthplace houses, which, while wonderful, were disconcerting as they are in the middle of a city neighbourhood!  They take the pictures so they look as if they are isolated:

But the reality is that there is a bank across the street and the plot of land the two birthplaces sit on are half the size of my own acreage.

But Peacefield....  That was wonderful!  The last house where Adams lived (and where he and Abigail died) was a beauty:

Peacefield was home to four generations of Adam, including the two presidents, and was given to the Federal Government in the late 1920s.

The antiques and memorabilia were astounding and inspiring.

Below is the stone library built by John Quincy's son, housing over 10,000 books!  It was exquisite, though sadly, you can't take pictures in any of the buildings...

This is well worth the visit, considering that the two hours of the tour cost each of us five bucks!

Then we partook of lunch and some shopping and got ready for The Great Man.

Barry and his McCullough background....
He meant it as a joke for me and then fell quite in love himself...

We were early in line and sat 3 rows back, almost across from his wife and children. Mr. McCullough did not disappoint.  He spoke about the Wright Brothers for 30 minutes, took questions for 30 minutes (I asked none since all I could think to ask was "how can one man be so brilliant and charming?) and then signed books.  We waited in line for 30 minutes and it was worth it! The only issue was that Barry gave my camera to one of the staff and the pictures were all fuzzy.  Some were downright impossible to make out!

Sorry for the blur - cellphone pics don't enlarge well!

He was charming and friendly.  When we told him we had driven 7 hours to see him he was tickled pink and said he was very fond of Canadians. Since I am so fond of him, it was a happy meeting!

The next morning we headed home, stopping for a visit with our Lane en route. We had a great time with her and Mr. Lane, whom we both thought was extraordinarily smart and witty and felt like we were old friends meeting again, rather than new friends meeting for the first time.  I took no pictures out of respect for their privacy, but suffice to say, when I get to heaven, I kind of expect it to look like that...We were kindred spirits on all things and isn't that a wonderful thing?

I found a couple of goodies on the way during my travels, but mostly this was about seeing The Great Man (or perhaps I should say men, considering the Presidents Adams) and friends.

We are fortunate in life if we meet our heroes and they meet our expectation. In fact, David McCullough exceeded mine!

Come to think of it, so did Lane!  So, to quote the poet laureate Charlie Sheen: "winning!"

More stories this week, but now I must get out into the garden.  The sun has actually re-emerged and while it is still freezing, I have a garden to weed!

xoxo wendy



  1. Sounds like a wonderful expedition!
    On my first trip to Boston, my sister and I escaped the parents' clutches and raced up the (roped-off) steps of the Old North Church tower to yell "Wake up! The British are coming, the British are coming!"

    And for your next visit to New York, here's a link to an Adams connection that's a short walk from my apartment. Difficult to believe this is in the city!

  2. REALITY CHECK Utterly expected re. Lane, M. Lane and their corner of the world. But so glad author crush David also surpassed your suppositions. Reading and the web world do lead to so many great connections and global meet-ups. As for global warming/ climate change, with you, and like poverty, basic universal health care, can't really get those who choose to utterly ignore. We don't have to agree by any means, but acknowledge the issues at least. Also, you have made me want a trip back to Boston, wicked bad. Happy weekend WMM.

  3. I love Boston and it's rich history. I went to University there. Very fond memories of weekend trips to the Cape and up to Maine for the Lobster. Looks like youhad a wonderful time.
    SNOW?? Disgustingly late in the season.Although I do remenber that June in NY when it snowed...xoxo

  4. Have been considering going back to Boston...went with kids when they were younger and,well, ya know. Glad you had a great time. Ms. Lane is quite a beauty, no?

  5. Don't think I've ever been to Boston - how fabulous! Would love to go in summer and then head up for lobster in Maine.
    Pretty wisteria library
    Love pic of Barry.
    Snow? That's weather alright. Its chilly and dull, then hot and dry here, cannot make up its mind!

  6. Still mostly off grid but see if this works...

    Yes, it was an instant click with Wendy, MLane was amazed by this! "Like your sister"! She is as articulate, charming and adorable as she seems. I've thought of many things we neglected to discuss, but next time. And that Barry,well, he is the bomb!

  7. What a fabulous trip Wendy and you're killing me with the #winning :) !!
    I can't wait to go back to Boston and re-trace your footsteps, what a perfect trip.
    Snow?! aaaaargh

  8. Oh Wendy, you are so witty yourself they must have love meeting you as well. Glad you had a great time, I love Boston but haven't visited for several years, probably time to go back. We always seem to be in sync somehow, this weekend I took a trip to Hyde Park, home of FDR, I was actually thinking of you and that you'd enjoy that too. I just blogged about it in fact. The weather is colder than expected here but I am enjoying it. Snow is pushing it though, wth???

    1. Adding it to my list and off to the blog!

  9. Sounds like such a great trip! I went to school in Cambridge and definitely enjoyed my time there, though I am kind of embarrassed to admit I never made it out to the Adams'. The place you stayed was definitely not there in my time -- my parents would never have stayed at the Charles, so they always stayed across the river some ways away in a motel and then drove in. Glad you had (relatively) good weather AND got to meet up with blog friends on the way back!

  10. This was the first time you met Lane? I was sure you'd spent time together before. Would've doubled down on it, Vegas style. I saw your Instapic and was happy to see it. Of course you wrote here to bring it to life. Love it! Oh and yes, yay for Mr. McCullough for living up to your imagination and more.

  11. Sounds like a wonderful getaway. Snow! It's 30 degrees C here today so I can't imagine. Bizarre year for weather.

  12. Wendy what a great small jaunt! I still have to get to Boston one day. I'd love to see these homes of Adams. David McCullough is the best! He sounds like he was charming. Glad you had fun.


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