This past week or so I’ve been on my annual east coast birthday trip.
While I usually visit New York, this time I felt like doing something different, namely visiting my pal Ellen in Boston.
While I got my tickets to New Jersey pretty early, I hemmed and hawed for the longest time about how I’d get to Boston from New Jersey. Flying seemed inexpensive but I hated the idea of going to the airport so many times within a 10-day period. The bus is super-cheap, but my back hurts if I sit too long. That left the train, which is pretty expensive and takes as long as the bus.
But then I hemmed and hawed for so long that the plane tickets ended up being too expensive, and I took the train anyway.
The four hours didn’t feel long at all. It helped that I had no one next to me so I was able to spread out; that there was free wifi that worked (well, mostly); and that we actually got to Boston on time.
Since it was only about three, I headed over to Ellen’s workplace. Our other buddy, Aki, had come in the night before so she was already there. While Ellen finished up some work, Aki and I snacked, spaced out, and browsed our phones.
After we headed out, we almost immediately we ran into one of my must-sees:
When I saw the statue from far away, I admit I was a little disappointed that it was “small.” But actually upon closer inspection, I loved that it’s street level and person-sized.
Me and Mr. Poe #edgarallanpoe #boston A photo posted by actung9 (@actung9) on
Next we strolled through the Boston Common and then down Newbury and Boylston Streets, eventually ending up at the marathon finish line.
I wouldn’t be going to the race so I was glad to at least see where it ended.
That night we had a yummy Italian dinner at this place called Vinny’s in Somerville. From the outside it looked a little hole-in-the-wall-ish, but the food was really good. We shared a few dishes: a calamari salad, the stuffed calamari, the Sicilian rabbit, and a side of angel hair pasta. Everything was delicious but I especially liked the rabbit (very tender and not gamey at all) and the angel hair.
Museum, cider, and ramen
The next day was packed with activities. We spent the morning visiting various food shops (two bakeries, a Greek grocery, and a cheese shop) before heading out to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which, Aki found out, was free if it was your birthday, which on that day it was.
It’s been many years since I’ve been at the Isabella Stewart. I was glad to see the new wing — — and the old courtyard, as lovely as always —
Courtyard #isabellastewartgardner #boston A photo posted by actung9 (@actung9) on
After the museum, we hit a couple of hard cider tastings. I’ve never had hard cider before, and it turns out I like it. The first was at at Bantam Cider —
— and the second was at Downeast, which was out on the docks. After a bunch of cider, I was feeling sassy:
We capped off the day with a late dinner at Santouka Ramen in Harvard Square, another Aki find. Apparently Santouka is a well-known chain in Japan. I got something with a little kick:
Spicy long noodles for a spicy long life #birthday #cambridge #ramen #noodles #boston #harvardsquare #santouka A photo posted by actung9 (@actung9) on
Long spicy noodles for a long spicy life.
On Sunday we drove up to Ogunquit, Maine.
While it was freezing (luckily Ellen had a winter coat in her trunk for me to borrow), it was absolutely beautiful. We took a walk down the rocky shore —
— and had a seafood lunch. My buds had lobster rolls and lobster stew while I had clam chowder (I also had an excellent hot dog when we first got there). We also saw a lighthouse:
Cape Neddick Light #maine #capeneddick #lighthouse A photo posted by actung9 (@actung9) on
It was so lovely just to walk around, get lots of sun, and breathe in the fresh salt air.
By the end of the day, we were pooped. We had dinner at a Mexican place near Ellen’s apartment — shredded pork, yum! — and then crashed.
And back home
The train back to New York was a bit more crowded and about 15 minutes late, but I managed to get some work done in between dozing off. An upside to getting into Penn Station was that I could just run across the platform to catch another train back to my parents’.
Since Monday I’ve been catching up with work and being a lazy bum. On Thursday I head back to San Francisco.