Thursday, August 18, 2005

Boston Massachusetts & Maine

As is extremely obvious from the time lapse from my last post (June 2004) to this one (August 2005), I haven't exactly caught the bloggers bug yet. To be honest, I've only read a handful of blogs anyway. I thought that I would make a post that documents my (and my wife Alison's) trip to New England.

We left on Tuesday August 9th. We arrived in Boston very late. The T wasn't running anymore so we had to grab a cab that took us to Ben and Jen Iverson's apartment - where we were staying. They were very kind to allow us to camp out with them in Cambridge while we went around touring the city.

On Wednesday August 10th, we slept in a bit to try and get used to the time change before heading out to walk the Freedom Trail. We also went to lunch with Ben and Jen before returning back to the Freedom Trail. After passing all of the old churches and historical sites, I wanted to see the movie National Treasure because I think that some of it actually takes place in Boston. We went to the Boston Museum of Fine Art this afternoon and spent most of our time browsing the Renaissance collection of paintings. My favorites were (as always) the Monets and the Van Goghs. After the art museum, we went to the Prudential Center and went up to the 50th floor to get an awesome view of the city. They have an audio tour that accompanies you and I found it to be quite enjoyable. We had purchased a city pass at the BMFA and most of the attractions that we ended up visiting were actually on it. We met Ben and Jen for dinner at the Cheesecake factory - Alison and I shared a four cheese pasta bowl that was delicious. After dinner we walked over to Fenway Park, found our seats down the right field line and enjoyed the game. The Red Sox were playing the Texas Rangers and beat them 17-6. It was a great game. Kenny Rogers pitched for the Rangers and Arroyo pitched for the Red Sox. We walked home to Cambridge after the game.

On Thursday, Alison and I spent more time doing the touristy things in Boston. We went first to the Boston Museum of Science. Here we watched an electricity show that I found to be quite interesting (I don't know if Alison would say the same or not). We just browsed the exhibits and got to see a movie of a natural birth as well as a cesarean section. Interesting to say the least. We left the Museum of Science and went down to the JFK library and museum. Neither Alison nor I had ever been there and it turned out to be one of our favorite things that we went to in Boston. The museum starts out with a video of JFK's early years and then the museum is set up to mimic the democratic convention and the white house. It was really cool. After the museum, we rode back into downtown and watched a few street performers in front of Fanieul Hall and I made some calls for work while sitting outside Quincy Market. We were planning on eating at Durgin Park (Classic Boston experience) but, there had been some manhole explosions in the North End and as a result, the power was out and they weren't serving people. We found a small Chinese (Panda Express like) joint that we ate at instead. After that, we went home and chilled with Ben and Jen, playing the guitar and just talking.

Friday was another exciting day. We first went to the New England Aquarium and saw the penguins and all of the other amazing sea creatures. We weren't there too long before we took off to pick up our rental car. I had scheduled to pick up our car from the Alamo in Cambridge, near Harvard Square, so as to avoid any airport taxes. Once we got our car (a gray, sporty Pontiac G6, with under 10,000 miles), we drove out to Walden Pond. I was amazed at how many people were there at the Pond swimming. Alison and I just walked over to Thoreau's cabin site and waded a little bit in the water. If I had brought my suit, you can bet I would have been in the water to escape the humidity and heat. From Walden, we drove over to the North Bridge in Concord and then down to the Minuteman Visitors Center outside of Lexington. We didn't spend too much time at either of these places because we were trying to hurry back to town. We drove back to Cambridge (getting a little lost on the way) and then went with Ben and Jen to an amazing Pizza restaurant in the North End. If I could remember the name of it I would tell you but, alas, I cannot (later note: Pizza Regina). After dinner, we came back to the apartment changed, grabbed the car and drove out to the temple with Ben and Jen. The Boston Temple is a majestic building both inside and out. We really enjoyed the session there.

On Saturday, all four of us jumped in the car and we headed out to Cape Cod. We stopped at Plymouth Rock on the way (measly little thing) and then got stuck in a one hour+ delay on a highway, waiting to go around a rotary (roundabout). The designers and planners of this road were obviously not well schooled in road planning. There were huge delays from al directions. We stopped at a glass museum in Sandwich - which we didn't pay to enter but we did eat our sandwiches on a bench outside. We also stopped at the French Cable Museum. It was a small museum about the underwater cables laid across the Atlantic for the telegraph. The drive to the beaches on the cape was a long one and when we finally made it to the National Seashore, there were signs saying the first few beaches were full - so we kept driving. We finally found a beach with some spots to park and it was $15 to park. There weren't even any foot washers, change rooms or showers but they still charged us $15. Unbelievable. I had a blast swimming in the ocean though. The water was cold, we even saw a few seals but the waves were good for riding. We stayed there for a couple of hours and then drove down to Chatham and got a couple of picture in front of the lighthouse. We ate pizza again at a little town on the way back to Boston and I taught everyone how to play Keno (we didn't pay of course). We stopped for some Cape Cod ice cream and then made the drive back home.

On Sunday, we went to church with Ben and Jen. They are in one of two Cambridge wards that meets in an old boiler and ___ building. It was a really cool building. A historical building so they couldn't even put a sign up. The ward had some strange ideas but, the church is still true in Boston. After church we ate dinner that Alison and Jen whipped up and then Al and I went for a walk through Harvard - having to hide under some awnings to wait out some ferocious thunder storms. After our stroll though Cambridge, we said our goodbyes, and drove up to Kennebunk, Maine. We stayed in the Kennebunk Inn a nice little Inn that I would recommend to anyone. I wished we could have stayed longer than one night.

The next morning, we had reservations to go whale watching but when we got to the place, they had been cancelled because of inclement weather and high seas. Instead, Alison and I went out to look at George and Barbara Bushes summer home on Walker Point. While we were looking at it, we saw Barbara Bush get into the passenger side of an SUV and we decided to follow her. It took a few minutes to catch up with her and she took us back through Kennebunkport and then turned down a small lane. To be inconspicuous, we didn't immediately follow but went down a moment later. I was surprised to see both George and Barbara Bush walking up to a small house (with their SS people watching as well). Because our whale watching trip was cancelled, we drove up the coast and stopped at a few lighthouses along the way. Our favorite one was the Portland Head Lighthouse. It was right outside of Portland, Maine. We stopped to shop at some crowded outlet stores in Freeport where they have an L.L. Bean factory outlet the size of Wal-mart and open 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Before stopping at the outlets though, we stopped to see Eartha. She is a 3 story globe built by a crazy map company. After all of this excitement, we continued our drive up to Acadia National Park. We got to Bar Harbor and reserved a couple spots on a whale watching trip the next day and ate at a Chinese Buffet. We stayed in a quaint little cottage just off the island where Bar harbor and Acadia are located.

The next day we went straight to Acadia National Park, paid the $20 entrance fee and went on a couple of hikes. The first one, Ocean View, from Sand Beach to otter Point was just beautiful the whole way. It was a postcard hike about 3 miles round trip. The second hike was a little harder and little longer. It wound around Jordan Pond (of course we bought a postcard to send to Elder Squire). After that hike, we drove up to Cadillac Mountain, the highest point in the park. We then headed into town to get ready for our boat ride. We grabbed an appetizer (spinach artichoke dip) to hold us over and then went down and boarded the Friendship V. This boat hauled. It was huge too. There were 365 seats on board (FYI). We saw all sort of whales: Mincke, Finback and Humpback as well as a basking shark, puffins, tons of porpoises, tuna, a great seal, etc. It was extremely fun and extremely cold. A wonderful finale to a wonderful trip.

We spent Wednesday driving to Boston to catch our flight out and how, here we are home again. I plan to add picture later (once I upload them) so everyone can see all the fun we had.

TS 8/18/2005 7:10 AM