11/16/2014

Our Story - Honeymoon Adventures in New England - Boston to Portland

Whew! It's been a while since I've posted anything. Started the new job in August, and it's felt like a whirlwind ever since. Driving to and from and working in downtown Atlanta is hugely exhausting for me (Hellooooo, introvert!), and energy is basically non-existent most of the time now. But, life is good and marriage is sweet.

When I left off with our last "story" post, we had just finished up Day 1 in Boston.

Day 2 dawned rainy and cold. I was very happy that we had seen so much the day before and had nice weather to do it.

One thing that Levi had wanted to do when we were in Boston was go to a Boston Red Socks game, and I, being the not-at-all-a-sports-nerd, wasn't too keen on spending honeymoon time at a baseball game. So, we compromised and decided to go to Fenway Park and do a tour instead.

So, we packed up, said farewell to our host at the B&B, grabbed some tea and muffins, and headed towards the legendary stadium.

On the way, we found this....

 

It was tucked away on a quiet side street up on a hill. And it was beautiful. We got out of the car and just walked around it for a few minutes and looked. I loved all of its details.




I can't imagine going to church in a place as beautiful as this, but I bet it would be pretty awe-inspiring!

After the little detour, we finally made it to Fenway, and Levi was as happy as a kid in a candy store! Our guide was very knowledgeable about the Park and the Red Sox and told us so many interesting facts and stories about the team and its history.



I enjoyed seeing all the displays and hearing the stories, but I enjoyed seeing how happy Levi was even more.



 

Yep. That's Babe Ruth's signature on that ball. They had a whole wall of signed baseballs going back to the early days of the game! It was really cool to see.





 I'm happy we got to go to somewhere that has been on Levi's bucket list for a while, and I'm happy we both had such fun!



As soon as we left the park, we saw the Boston House of Blues right across the street! So I took a picture, because that's what I do.  


We decided to take one last spin around town before heading north to Maine. Goodness, I love the architecture in Boston. Just look at it. 


We also decided that it wouldn't be a true trip to Boston without visiting the Boston Harbor, the site of the Boston Tea Party.  Happily, we discovered that there was a Boston Tea Party museum there WITH a tea room called Abigail's Tea Room. We just had to go there! We were a bit done with museums and exhibits for the time being though, so we  walked around and looked at the ships where the museum docents do reenactments of the Boston Tea Party and dress in pretty awesome costumes while doing it. And Levi made a friend - Sam Adams. They chatted about the Red Soxs. ;)

Levi then indulged me by having tea with me at Abigail's Tea Room. I was in heaven! They had three different blends of tea you could taste, all of which were historically accurate to what the colonists drank in the late 1770s. And you got to keep your souvenir mug after the tasting! When we were finished drinking tea, I then did what a true Patriot would do and dumped tea in the Boston Harbor! Total tourist, I know. At least I kept the bag. 

 


 After our little tea party, it was time to head north out of Boston to our next stop. Kennebunkport, Maine! Instead of taking the interstate,we decided to take Highway 1 up the coast so we could see more than just billboards and cars. And I'm so happy we did! So many little villages and hamlets!

The farther north we went, the foggier it got. And the emptier it got. Less and less towns and more and more trees. We even saw some snow, the first we'd seen since getting to NE.

 

 

We arrived at our cozy B&B and were the only guests. Apparently tourist season had just started that weekend, and we basically had Kennebunk Port to ourselves. It was lovely. We stayed at the 1802 House just outside of town.


Our room had a fireplace and a jacuzzi tub, and we had this wonderful breakfast the next morning. The souffle was amazing.



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The next day, we went out to explore Kennebunkport. I didn't know this at the time, but Kennebunkport is a very popular tourist town in the summer, and the Bush family even has a vacation home nearby. Since we were there in early April, though, the town was just waking up from winter, and I think we may have been the only tourists around. It was so nice to explore without having a crowd of people pressing everywhere. And the town was just what I expected a coastal New England town to be. 






After walking around and checking out some of the shops (most weren't open yet since the season had just started back up), we decided to drive out to the ocean and see what a real "Maine coastline" looked like.





I "knew" what to expect, but at the same time, I was completely blown away by how different it was from the Southern coast and how beautiful! The wind was so cold, the waves so loud, and the rocks so big! It was breathtaking.




We climbed along a rocky bit for a while and looked into the tide pools and just stood in amazement at everything.





All of it was simply magnificent.





After getting thoroughly chilled from the wind and sea spray, we drove back into town and stopped at a place called Alisson's for lunch. The. Best. Chowder. Ever. And I tried a lot of chowder in New England and since we've gotten back! Seriously. If you're ever in Kennebunkport, go to Alisson's and get the chowder. I dream about this chowder sometimes.

Levi had clam strips and said they were pretty amazing as well.



After getting lunch, we said goodbye to beautiful Kennebunkport and continued north to Portland, ME. We got there by late afternoon, checked into our B&B. We stayed at the West End Inn. The innkeepers were quirky, cat figurines were scattered about with the antique books and furniture, and our room was tucked away in a quiet corner off the main room. I loved that inn. After we got settled in, we took our innkeepers advice and drove down to the ports to eat at Flatbread Company Pizza. Organic wheat crust, homemade sausage, fresh veggies, and Maine Root Ginger Brew. It was extremely yummy and had a wonderful view of the harbor where we could watch boats come in for the night while we waited for our pizza. It was a good night of taking it easy and enjoying good food. 





The next day, we visited Portland Head Lighthouse, one of the most photographed lighthouses in New England. It was chilly and windy that day, and we had the park almost to ourselves. It was beautiful! I wanted to stay there forever with the rocks and the huge waves crashing against the cliffs and the wind blowing in fresh sea air. 





After Portland Head, we drove back into town and visited the International Cryptozoology Museum on Avon St. in Portland. We had seen an ad for it on a brochure and had no clue what to expect, so we went on an adventurous whim. Sooooo, it was a museum just about Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and chupacabras. It was... Interesting. But we had a good laugh out of it. And Levi made another friend.



We then said goodbye to Portland and headed north again! Destination: Montreal!!

Next "Our Story" post: Montreal

8/20/2014

Our Story - Honeymoon Adventures in New England - Boston (1 of 2)

As you may have read in my last "our story" post, getting to New England for our honeymoon was a little bit crazy. After finally arriving in Boston at 2:30 a.m. and crashing into our bed at The Beech Tree Inn, we woke up around lunchtime the next day ready to begin our Boston Adventure!

Days 2: Boston, MA

Since we had arrived in Boston so late at night, our first view of the city was not so exciting. However, I did learn that if you want to avoid traffic in Boston, drive the streets at 2:30 a.m. ;)

First thing we did after waking up was to meander downstairs and meet our B&B host - a very sweet, quiet, small lady with a little voice and a talent at making coffee and muffins. Seriously. She was the best. She gave us a couple city maps and some tips for places to see and sent us on our way full of yummy baked goods and hot drinks.



The weather was a bit cloudy and cool but warmer than we expected for NE in early April. We started off at the Charlestown Navy Yard and the USS Constitution Museum.




I'd never seen piers like what we saw in the Charlestown Yard. It was fascinating, and we spend some time walking along the edge and just looking. Northern waterways definitely have a different feel than Southern waterways. And a vastly different smell. I loved experiencing the new scents and sounds!

We then made our way to the USS Constitution Museum that's all about the history of "Old Ironsides," a national icon for over 200 years of American history. It was fascinating to learn about the battles she was in, the transformations she underwent throughout her career, and about some of the more famous crew members during her seafaring years. There were so many fascinating exhibits at the museum, and I would definitely recommend a visit there if you're ever in Boston.




Unfortunately, we didn't get to tour the ship itself since tours were closed the day we were there, but it was still awe-inspiring to see it from a distance.



After touring the museum, we decided to walk part of the Freedom Trail and make our way into the North End of Boston. As usual, I was so focused on the map that I missed one of the most obvious parts of the Freedom Trail until multiple blocks into our walk - the famous Red Brick Trail Blaze. I know, I know. Can't see the forest for the trees.


I totally had a nerding moment when I finally realized it and made a complete, excited spectacle of myself in the middle of a public street. Thank goodness I have such a good-natured husband who simply put his hands into his pockets and smiled at my freak out.  

Boston is beautiful, by the way. I loved the old architecture and the overall feel of the parts of the city we were in. 

 

We passed by the Warren Tavern, the oldest tavern in MA and founded in 1780. Notable people such as Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington used to frequent it. We then made our way up to the Bunker Hill National Monument commemorating the famous Battle of Bunker Hill fought on June 17, 1775. It was a bit shocking to have such open green space in the middle of crowded brownstones, and it was so quiet so far above the rest of the city. We spent a while just walking around and taking it all in. 


We then walked back down from Bunker Hill and crossed over the Charlestown Bridge and into the North End. The North End is known for its mostly Italian American population and its old history. People have continuously lived there since the 1630s! We followed the trail through Copp's Hill Burying Ground, by the Paul Revere House, and to Old North Church where Paul Revere hung his two lanterns warning the Patriots of the British advancement into Boston during the Revolutionary War on April 18, 1775. 


After that, we kinda got off the trail (since I'm known for being distracted and wanting to "go over here and look at this! Oooo! Look at that!") and "got lost" in the North End's Little Italy. It was amazing! We felt like we had stepped over the Atlantic Ocean and ended up somewhere in Italy. Beautiful, olive-skinned women and children dashed in and out of doorways, laughing and shouting something in Italian back to an unseen person standing inside, pasta ristorantes around every corner, and lovely, understated clothing stores tucked here and there. 

We happened upon a WONDERFUL, small Italian bakery called Bova's Bakery. We walked into the door and were instantly overwhelmed by the heavenly smell of fresh bread and a whole display of cannolis and colorful cookies and pastries. 


We're instantly greeted by an exuberant Italian man smiling widely and booming "Whaddya have? Huh? Want some canoli?!? Some bread?!? Get the scali! Fresh! Hot outta the oven!" So we got scali. And Oh. My. Goodness. This bread. Just look at it. 


We got a HUGE loaf for like $2.50, and I was in foodie heaven for the next few minutes as we continued to wander aimlessly through Little Italy. We walked by a cute, little Italian grocery, and as I glanced through the open doorway to look at the rows and rows of sausages and olive oils, I heard a voice calling me.
Bella! Bella signora. Benvenuti! Vieni dentro, bella donna.
I looked back into the store to see a little, old man dressed in a black suit and a grey golf cap sitting on a stool in the corner behind the door holding his cane in one hand and gesturing to us with his other. I usually don't let old men hit on me, ESPECIALLY now that I'm a married woman, but he called me "beautiful" in Italian!!!  I grabbed Levi's hand and dragged him in the store before he could protest too much. ;) The sweet old man kept murmuring about how lovely I was the whole time we walked around, and we ended up buying Italian chocolate and San Pellegrinos from the guys I assume were the old man's grandsons.

Excellent marketing ploy, gentlemen. ;)

We finished up Day 1 of Boston and Day 2 of the honeymoon at The Daily Catch seafood restaurant on Hanover Street in the North End, a little hole-in-the-wall place with almost no seating and even less room to move around. A Boston local, decked from head-to-toe in "Boston Strong" and "Boston Red Sox" gear recommended it, and he definitely did not disappoint. We had the clams linguini, the fried calamari, and more soft and fresh Italian bread. Again, I was in foodie heaven! I wish we had remembered to take a pic of our gorgeous pasta, but alas. We did not. You'll just have to take our word for how beautiful it all was. :)

Next "Our Story" post: Boston to Portland