Posts filed under ‘Boston’

New England 2010

The final leg of the Canadian Road Trip took place in New England, USA. Since everything relating to travel is more expensive in Canada than in the United States, I had opted to fly into Seattle, rent a car stateside, and then return it in Manchester, NH, after 30 days. Chele, who lives just over the MA border from NH, volunteered to pick us up and we spent the weekend with her. Christina and I love Boston, and Jules had been wanting to go for ages, so we were happy to squeeze a few extra days out of the trip.

When we left Canada, we drove over the U.S. border into upstate Maine. Upstate Maine is…well, I think some call it “rustic.” Perhaps also “quiet.” We, however, would call it at least moderately creepy. The highway had hardly any exits and the ones that existed were deserted. We stopped in a rest area, where the only other car in the parking lot, in Christina’s words, “had been there since 1987!” A guy was sitting in the front seat, alone, and I remembered all of the times my mom had told me not to stop at rest areas while driving alone at night. Well, it wasn’t night and I wasn’t alone, but I wondered if any of that mattered in Upstate Maine. Fortunately, we got out of the rest area without incident, discovered that all gas stations in Maine are full serve (thanks for the best windshield wash ever, Ke’von!), and stopped in Portland for lunch with Daphne. Downtown Portland was super cute and we loved the lunch buffet at David’s.

But we really wanted to see some of the legendary Maine coast, along with lighthouses, of course. One of the guides we picked up had advertised the world’s largest lighthouse store, so that was a must, and we pointed the car towards York Beach.

York Beach
It’s easy to see why people rave about Maine’s shoreline! I don’t think I’d mind staying here for a summer holiday.

At the world’s largest lighthouse store, all of the car’s doors had just slammed (and locked) when Jules said with wide eyes, “I just locked the keys in the car.” Sure enough, there they were, right on the seat. Earlier in the trip, I’d commented on how irritating it was that I’d been given two keys to the rental, but they keychain was fused together, so I couldn’t separate them. And then at our very last stop, when we were barely an hour from the Manchester airport to return the car, we locked the keys in the car. Thank goodness for AAA and the ice cream shop across the street, which helped pass the time while we waited!

Sometime in southeastern Maine, Jules, Christina, and I had started speaking in southern accents and we just could not quit. I have no idea how it started, but once I get going, it’s hard to stop. I perfected an Oklahoma accent when I was young, spending time in Tulsa with my grandparents, and with kids who told me that I talked funny. So I learned how to talk like them. I think Chele spent five solid minutes laughing when she picked us up, because of course she didn’t expect it. And you know, sometimes the accent just feels more natural, especially when I’m tired, I guess because I heard so much of it growing up! It’s the same way that I pick up Ontario vowels so easily when I spend time there, how I will mostly likely pick up a lovely British accent when I spend two weeks in London at the end of the month. I’m fascinated by speech patterns.

Anyway, enough about speech. I’m also fascinated by lists (obviously), so I have a goal of visiting all 50 states. I’d been to Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts before, but not Rhode Island. So Chele took us shopping in Providence.

RI Capitol
We didn’t do any sightseeing, but when we left dinner, this was the view down the street. Hello, Capitol Building.

Then it was back to Chele’s in northern MA for a good night’s sleep before our big day out in Boston!

Travel photography was the part of photography that I have always loved, since long before I knew anything about apertures and the rule of thirds, when I was still using a black & pink “Fun Kodak” 35mm film camera. But there’s something tricky about Boston.

My Boston photos typically do not survive.

My first trip to Boston was Thanksgiving 2003. When my computer crashed in February 2004, Boston was one of 3 groups of photos that I lost due to slacking on backups. I went to Boston again in August 2008. By this time, I was a “real” photographer and much more diligent about backups. So when my laptop died for good that year and Best Buy’s Geek Squad took it back and gave me a refund instead, I didn’t panic. Everything was backed up. Well, somehow, everything got backed up except Boston. So one of the jokes on this final leg of the Canadian trip was that I could not leave New England without triple-backing-up my Boston photos. Of course, this time, I haven’t lost any of the drives, but when it happens…I know I have my Boston photos copied 3x over! And here are a few:

Holocaust Memorial
Boston’s Holocaust Memorial is one of the most chilling monuments I have ever seen.

One of the things I love about Boston is how cramped and diverse it is. New buildings, old buildings, unidentified heavily-ornamented building, boys in matching outfits—all easily had in the same frame.

After a bit of sightseeing, we paused for a pub lunch. I was craving “chowda” and a lobstah roll, and we went to Hennessey’s. We were sitting pretty far back in the pub, far from the view of the windows, so we didn’t realize just how hard it was raining until it was time to leave, until we’d already left our table and were standing awkward in front of the hostess stand. Chele confirmed that Fanueil Hall was about a block and a half away, so we decided to just bolt.

Only we hadn’t realized the full magnitude of the monsoon. My favourite part was wading across an intersection that was flooded up to middle of my calves. My flip-flop came apart in the rushing water and we barely made it across the street without getting swept away. Mel’s first Flash Flood, check! Fortunately, it didn’t last too long, although it did take most of the afternoon for us to dry off.

Once the rain stopped and we had some ice cream, we headed for the Boston Common and Public Gardens. I was determined to get a photo with the Make Way for Ducklings ducks. And not lose it this time.

Me with the Ducks!

Girl in Boots
The by-product of the monsoon was that part of the Public Gardens had flooded. There’s supposed to be a pond there, but the water had crept over its usual banks. We made some duck friends and some swan friends, and also watched some cute kids stomping around in their rain boots.

Old South Church
Our walk towards the Pru and shopping took us past Old South Church, which I absolutely loved. Beautiful building!

Fenway Park
Fenway gets a little tricky to find once you’re only a few blocks away and you can’t see it in the distance anymore, but we finally made it! No game that night, unless you count a huge drunken scavenger hunt going on around us. Since I’m a fan of the other Sox, and since they won the Series in 2004 (ending an 86-year drought) before we won the Series in 2005 (ending an 88-year drought), I feel a little bit of camaraderie with the BoSox, so it was nice to see Fenway in person.

So despite the unexpected flood, my trip to Bostonia was pretty great! And, for once, still documented by photographs almost a year later.


June 6, 2011 at 12:26 pm 1 comment


A serial road tripper chronicles her adventures.


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