Monday, August 29, 2016

All the way to Boston, all the way to Lynn

My cousin Sarah and I spent a week out in Massachusetts with my parents who are out there serving as missionaries for the Church. Sarah was the best traveling partner and my parents are the greatest. It was the tops. To recap:


I'm going to live in Orchard House. Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women here, from a desk that you can cry over but cannot sit at, which is a dirty trick if you ask me. They're probably (rightly, in my case) worried that someone will snatch her extremely charming inkwell. (You cannot take pictures inside the house, which is another dirty trick.) It's the tiniest of desks, next to a larger desk that she purchased after she got good and rich from her book. Treat yo self, Lou! I bet people called her Lou. I certainly would have. The home was saved from ruin and turned into a museum all the way back in 1912 which means that just about everything in it is original and belonged to the family. Like the Alcott sisters' dress-up clothes they used for their theatrics. I wanted to clutch everything to my bosom and lay down in her bed but they don't allow that sort of behavior. I settled on visiting her grave. She's buried up at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, very near Hawthorne, Emerson, and Thoreau. Do you like cemeteries? I think they're kind of nice.

2. We loved Cape Cod so much that we went there twice. It should be noted that the weather was perfection. Whenever I would tell people that I'd be in Massachusetts in August they'd gasp and say, "The humidity!"  and I don't doubt it but we did not have much. And I am a delicate flower who wilts in just a hint of moisture in the air so you can trust me that it wasn't bad. It was glorious for beach sitting and ice cream eating, of which we did a lot. Particularly at this place called Ice Cream Sandwich in the charming little town of Sandwich when you first cross into the cape. (Look at me, I just called it the cape, like I'm a local who has been eating lobster rolls her whole life. Fact, I ate my first lobster roll on this trip. Can I be honest with you and say that I don't get it. Lobster tastes like all other shell fish. And I think I may prefer shrimp. But this is not about lobster it's about ice cream on the cape.) This ice cream was so good that it was a driving factor of returning a few days later. When you go get the Sandy Neck flavor. It's graham cracker with little chocolate covered honey comb. Holy moly! But avoid Sandy Neck beach a few miles down like it is the plague. Because it may actually be that plague. It costs a fortune to park and it is nothing but a bunch of rocks and flies that bite. And it's on the bay side so the water is colder. Other than that bad decision everything about the Cape was perfect. 

3. Overheard at the Nobska Lighthouse from an 80 year old gentleman: "I used to come to Christmas parties here. The Commandant and I became good friends when we both belonged to the same platform tennis club." I mean, come on! Platform tennis withe Commandant?! What luxury. But when asked when this was he said 10 years ago, which was a disappointment. He talked about it like he had to trudge through the Mists of Time to retrieve the memory. 

We ate the best fish tacos of our lives sitting on the beach near the light house and watching the sun set. Luxury indeed.

4. Ah, the Gilded Age! Newport RI is the birthplace of American Elegant Leisure. The Tennis Hall of Fame is there, for crying out loud. We took a harbor cruise and looked at Jacqueline Kennedy's summer home of her youth and the church she was married in and then we toured Rosecliff, one of the many mansions on display, and I dreamed of descending the elegant staircase that was designed specifically for gliding in tulle. Only my imaginings always ended in me tumbling down, as that is what I usually do on stairs. But a girl can dream.

This is the Lady of the House. Doesn't it make you think of Rebecca? 

What a dump.

The Great Gatsby (Redford addition) was filmed at Rosecliff and from the lawn you can look across the harbor to a stretch of land that is not East Egg , but I still wanted to wait until dark to see if a light was shining from the dock at Daisy Buchanan's house.
5. I found myself getting a little claustrophobic there. There are so many trees! You know how when you drive down the highway here you can see things. Not so in Massachusetts. You see trees. Nothing but tall, tall trees. I remember the first time I was back east I was mesmerized by this and now I think it's just weird. How am I supposed to spot a gas station? Is this my exit? I'll never know because the trees all look the same! I have a very strong sense of direction and it was thrown all akimbo because of those trees. Although the lack of billboards was refreshing. And, let's get real, they're gorgeous. 

6. Other things:

There's a statue of Thoreau at Walden Pond. I promised him that if he let me hang out in his cabin in the woods I wouldn't say a word to him. We could be loners together.

Along with a red coat the British soldiers were issued a fanny pack. I'm not kidding, if they had sold this in the gift shop I would have bought it.

I did not buy the tri-cornered hat but I absolutley should have.

And I should have bought this hat of Elegant Leisure in the gift shop at Rosecliff.

We had planned to canoe down the Concord River but this was our hottest day and we were kind of spent. Which means I'm just going to have to go back.


Rob & Linder said...

I am so glad that you enjoyed the old stomping grounds.
There is just too much to see and visit.

Valerie said...

It's such a fun place to visit. Like, as different as you can get from good old Southern California. Concord (and that cemetery) was one of my favorite places to visit.

Regarding tea, there's a ship you can take where they re-enact the tea throwing incident, if you were interested. Though, I have a friend who would take visitors down to Boston Harbor to throw tea into the water, which, ultimately, served the same purpose and was a bit more cost effective. You know, depending on how much you've budgeted to throw tea.