Friday, May 29, 2009

Beantown

I think we should buy stock in the Fung Wah bus company. It's becoming our modus operandi. Thirty bucks round trip and we are off to explore another great city. Sure, sure - it leaves a little something to be desired on the cleanliness scale, but when the bus is moving you can't smell the bathrooms quite so strongly and the teenage boys sitting behind us broadened my vocabularly significantly.

This three-day weekend's destination: Boston. We rolled into town after midnight and quickly pounded a McDonald's chocolate shake so as not to kill Cutlers with our canteloupe for dinner and four-hour bus ride breath.

It must have done the trick because these delightful hosts let us mooch off them all weekend!
We kept them up way too late chatting - but man, I've missed this girl. Whitney and I used to work together in Salt Lake and when you go from the morning download and the daily elliptical chat in the TSG gym to the periodic text and email, you've got some things to discuss.

Not a problem. We slept in (glorious!) the next morning then made our way to Boston Common and Cheers, because sometimes you wanna go....
Then we hit the trail. The Freedom Trail, that is.

Awesome anyway, but on the heels of reading "1776," I found it even awesomer. This is the third time I've followed the red line around Beantown, and I think I appreciate it more and more each time. I love that Boston has done this - it's the perfect way to see a lot of the city. I love to wander around a city, and wandering along a path that will lead past everything we want to see? Now that's just a good idea.

As the red line led us through Haymarket Square, I think - yes, - I believe my brain exploded. Remember when I thought strawberries for $1/pound were the best thing since strawberries for $2/pound? Well, no. It turns out strawberries for $.33/pound are the best thing. And a clamshell of raspberries for $.75. I didn't even think - I just acted. Dropping chump change on two things of strawberries and two things of raspberries before Noah's wisdom sounded faintly in my ears like a rational echo... "what are you going to do with all these? We're headed to Fenway..."

I finally came around and realized he was right, but the berries were now in our possession. So we ate a lotta berries along that trail. (You're reading right. Canteloupe for dinner, berries for lunch and a chocolate shake for a midnight snack. Because it's all about balance.)

"Oh - look. CityHall."
"Yeah. Totally. Berry?"
"Why yes, thank you."
"And a cool orange chair propped up on the stoop."
"Retro. Berry?"
"Why yes, thank you."
"Hey - that guy in the straight jacket is hanging by his ankles in front of Quincy Market."
"Indeed he is. Berry?"
"Why yes, thank you."
After summiting the Bunker Hill monument and appreciating Old Ironsides from the sidelines (wicked long line), we caught the T to Fenway in hopes of catching a little Sox/Mets action. We waited at Gate E, discussed tickets with scalpers, waited at Gate E some more, ate a hot dog and waited some more as they kept counting down the line and promising tickets were still available. Twenty minutes into the game, we got cold, gave up and took a picture.
The next day, Cutlers took us to Concord/Lexington and to Walden Pond. It was so calm and peaceful... can we stay here forever?
I know simplicity and self-sufficiency are largely at the core of Thoreau's Walden - so I can hardly claim this as independent thought. But while we were there, I found myself really reflecting on the concept and my own belief in the value of provident living. Am I perfect in my own attempts to simplify? Not by a long shot. But truly, there is something so liberating in the mindset that I simply don't need A or B or C. I believe that's true for material possessions, demands on our time, those things to which we devote our thoughts and energy, all of it. I know our very being on this earth is a tremendous gift, and I know we're meant to HAVE experiences. To learn, to grow and find joy in those experiences. But for me, my thoughts on the simple, uncluttered versus full and rewarding always seem to weave their way back to balance. You know, balance like canteloupe and berries and chocolate shakes and hot dogs.

I think I woke up smiling on Monday morning. Isn't the actual holiday in a holiday weekend the best part? I could do the exact things I would have done on a Saturday. But somehow sounds are lovelier, colors more vivid, smells sweeter because its a break from the norm.

We spent the morning walking from Cutler's quaint neighborhood, through the streets of Cambridge to Harvard's campus, where we snapped our picture with John Harvard and, hoping to channel some of that uber-motivated vibe, planned our lives on the steps of the library.


For lunch, we met up with Cutlers and our other favorite duo (plus their little Boston baked bean), the Crowells, at Border Cafe for some delicious Mexican fare, great conversation and a few inside jokes (I hope Alisa's not driving...). How could you not be completely content at this table?Truly, Boston has some great ones. There is a whole lot of talent, smarts, motivation, ambition and drive in that bunch with the humility, kindness and thoughtfulness to match.

The restaurant wasn't far from the LDS church house in Cambridge that burned last week, so we walked over to see the church and the Longfellow Home across the street. Such a treasure lost - I know that building represented a lot of memories for members of the LDS church who live and have lived in Boston.

We continued our walk along the Charles River and enjoyed a quick tour of Corey's soon-to-be alma mater before heading back toward Cutlers and the bus ride home. But not before discovering Christina's homemade ice cream.
Ohmyworditrockedmysocks.

It's probably not a secret, I'm sure it's pretty well-known around town. But wow. If you live in Boston... or really, even within a 70-mile radius, it's worth stopping by. Get the Carrot Cake. And tell them the Rileys sent you.

11 comments:

allegra said...

what's better than taking said fung wah bus as a couple? adding a baby on top of that... the first time we went to NY from Boston on that sucker, Max was no more than 6 months old. man, that kid did not like that bus so much. but really, can you blame him? it's such a good deal though!

i'm sad i missed you guys. but it looks like you had a good time here.

p.s. we've tried to get into another sox game with no success either. people are serious about those sox here. NO ONE gives up or sells their tickets. that would be a miracle!!

kenzie said...

You made me feel so patriotic with all those neat pictures. I'm jealous that you're getting to see so much. But my favorite is definitely the chair propped up on the steps. That was hilarious and I love that you took a picture of it.

Ashley said...

Sweet Alisa, I'm jealous you've had the chance to see her so often lately. And how cute is that baby? Little Elsie...

Glad you had a great Memorial Weekend full of berries.

Nicole said...

I love this post! I love all the reports on cities I've never been to and now want to see really bad. And berries!

Whitney said...

ohhhhh we had SO much fun with you guys! i missed you so much too, i loved all the catch up talking! and concord and walden pond were magical. i also loved the lunch with crowleys. so fun! but mostly your company was the best, you guys rock! i am so happy you love boston so much, i sure do too. please come again! seriously.

also, i loved the conversations during the berry talk, i am sad i missed out on that one. i laughed when the guy was hanging from quincy market! haha, so funny, berry? yes please.
you guys didn't mooch off us, we were so happy to do it. next time i will cook you a real meal! promise! :) thanks for the delicious lunch! love you guys!

Whitney said...

ps- thanks for taking great pics of us! i used that one on our facebook profile pic. i love it. i am going to steal some off facebook to do a post of you guys later this week so check it out!

candace said...

oh man! I just loved reading this. although, all this talk of berries really makes me want to eat some right now! I will be sure to read 1776 before my next trip to Bean Town, I have to agree that the red line is seriously one of the best ideas ever.

Jordan and Candice said...

I love the berries. You should try taking the Boltbus. It is a whole lot cleaner than Fung Wah and if you buy your tickets well enough in advance, you can get them from $20 round trip. And if you're really on top of it, the first ticket sells for $1. Plus, you leave from midtown instead of downtown. I'm a believer in boltbus. Smell ya later Fung Wah.

cacrowell said...

Thanks for the visit to Beantown! Elsie was in heaven at Borders--to bad she missed out on all the fun. It's no wonder I always ask for the Border's rootbeer! Just remember, if you need any clarifications or specifics on anything--you can trust me. :) I'm only hard-of-hearing and jumble facts--or forget the truth altogether. When it comes down to it, the Manhattan Temple is my favorite. :)

Claire said...

This sounds like a FABULOUS trip! Anytime you can have berries as an accompaniment, you've won.

Dominick and Becky said...

I love reading about all your fun adventures! Thank you for calling before the Mets/Sox game...Dom was sincerely wishing he was with you, and we're sorry you didn't get in.
Live it up!
~Becky