Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Great Escape, part 2

Ok, part 2 of our trip.  After eating pizza for lunch on Wednesday, we had to decide what to do for the rest of the day.  We knew that we wanted to go see a Red Sox game and it started at 7:10pm, so we had a few hours to kill before we needed to be at Fenway.  We decided that in the meantime, we would head in that direction and spend some in Cambridge.  So, after about a 15 minute subway ride, we were walking around in Harvard Square.  It was a gorgeous day.
I found it interesting that there were ropes around all of the grassy areas.  I wonder why?
There were some students and professors building a wigwam.  Of course we wondered what that was all about.  So, we read that little plaque near their "construction zone" and saw that they were building it to honor the 360th anniversary of the 1650 Harvard Charter that dedicated Harvard, "to the education of English and Indian youth of this country in knowledge."

So, after walking around the University for a while, we walked a couple of streets and did a little shopping.  After our little jaunt in Cambridge, we hopped back on the subway and rode to Back Bay, home of the world-famous Filene's Basement.  I have experienced Filene's before in NYC.  The store in Boston is the flagship and I had to go have a look-see.  I liked what I saw.  I made 1 little purchase and we were on our way again.  Destination: Fenway Park

Now, Matt and I aren't really sports peeps.  Well, we like football.  But not just any football.....we only like SEC football.  We don't follow any professional teams....at all.  Now, Matt may watch the last few minutes of the Final Four or the World Series, Olympic Events and other major sporting events like these, but only because men are just "supposed to know" those scores and who won and all those details.  I digress....I have never been to a Major League game before and Matt had only been to a couple of Braves games.  And, since we were in Boston and we are all about new experiences, we knew we HAD to go to Fenway Park and see a Red Sox game.  Its just part of the Boston experience!  

I must say, coming from non-sports peeps (SEC football excluded), this was one exciting ordeal!  We had done a little research and knew that we needed to arrive at the park about an hour before the game.  So, we get there and go straight to the ticket sales/will call box office.  Matt had read on the Sox website that they have an inexpensive block of tickets for around $25.  That's what we wanted to spend because, well, since we aren't baseball fanatics, we just thought we would go to the game, eat our hotdog, drink a beer and leave, just so we could say we went to Fenway and be done with it.  We quickly found out that our price of admission was going to be MUCH higher.  Around $52 each.  The ticket sales guy said that they were great seats and that this was a great price for those seats.  We didn't believe him:(  

Until, we got to our seats....
Ummm, we were right behind home plate.  Only 2 sections above it....we had prime seats.  How did that happen?
Well, we found out a little later, from our kind seat neighbors, that each visiting team is given a block of tickets.  If the players don't use reserve them by 2pm of game day then they are released at a VERY reasonable price.  So, we were sitting in the comp section for visiting teams family and friends.  Very cool.  It was really cool when right across and two row down from our seats I noticed something winking at me.....I realized it was a big ole' diamond ring...I don't think it was a CZ.....then I noticed that the gal whose hand it was resting on was extremely jittery.  Her knees were bouncing up and down so fast that I thought she was going to take off!  Then, she started covering her face with her hands and using lots of dramatic hand gestures.  Then, I noticed the hair....it was big and blond....the face, cute but not pretty.  Bingo-she was the wife of the Texas Rangers' pitcher.  I wish I had taken a pic!

Here is a pic of us beside our seats at the game.  It was taken by the Japanese tourists sitting in front of us....they were confused by the camera.  They didn't understand that they had to look into the view finder...its not like a digital camera, they just didn't get it.  I'm just glad our heads made it into this one.
And here we are again with a background view of the Big Green Monster.  I had no idea what that even was...

Our concession stand supper...

We had a great night at Fenway.  We left the game at the bottom of the 7th, right after the whole stadium sang, "Take me out to the ballgame".  It was great fun:)  I loved my first experience at a Major League game and it was really neat to go to the oldest Major League park in the country.  Did you know that on the day that Fenway Park was opened that the Titanic sank?  The announcement on the sinking of Titanic was the first broadcast announcement at Fenway.

The next day was Thursday and we were leaving the city and headed north to Maine.  I had made us a rental car reservation a couple of months before, so, we had to go back to the airport to pick it up.  It couldn't have been an easier process.  One thing that made it so easy is that 1. there is a subway stop at the airport, 2. there are FREE shuttles that pick you up 24 hours a day at any terminal and take you to that subway stop.  The shuttles will also pick you up 24 hours a day at the subway stop and take you to any terminal for your return flight...Very conveinent.  So, we hopped back on the subway and rode it to the airport stop, hopped on a shuttle to get to a terminal and then waiting for a rental car shuttle to pick us up and take us to the Enterprise lot at the airport.  The whole process, subway ride to arriving at the lot, took less than 30 minutes.  It was GREAT!

So, we hopped in our rental car, plugged in our GPS, pulled out our map and headed out!  BTW, yes, you read that right....my husband uses a GPS and a map.  He likes the technology of the GPS....but the true purpose of the GPS, in our household, is a little game called, "let's see if Matt can beat the GPS".  It gets exhausting.  First, he reads the map and decides which route we are taking and studies this throroughly on the map.  Then, he folds the map in such a way that its easy for him to reference periodically in the car.  Then, he plugs in our destination on the GPS.  Then, he puts in the accent he wants....he really wanted  to listen to a New England accent but that wasn't an option.  And so our journey begins.  We head north, but not in the direction that the GPS would like us to travel.  This begins a little competition between the GPS and my husband.  It drives me a little crazy but I secretly think its really cute how he wants to outsmart the GPS. 

Our first destination was Freeport, Maine.  Home of LL Bean.  Our goal was to see the flagship (and only) store and to eat lobster for lunch while looking at nice scenery.  We saw the store, it was massive.  I was able to pick up 3 of my staple 3/4 length sleeve cotton shirts.  Matt bought a new jacket.  It was neat to browse around in there for a while.  Then, it was time for lunch.  We wanted to go to the Haraseeket Lunch and Lobster.  We drove there and then discovered that it doesn't open until the "season" begins...in May.  Talk about disappointed!  So, we whipped out the trusty guide book (Frommers) and decided on the Jameson Tavern.  Its known as the "birthplace" of Maine.  And, technically, it is because in 1820, papers were signed there that legally seperated Maine from Massachusetts.  We were going to eat in the Tap Room but since it was such a lovely day, we decided to eat outside.  It was so nice!  I had the lobster stew and it was some kind of wonderful!  Matt had the rueben because he loves a rueben.  And, he said it was a good rueben but wishes he had gotten the lobster stew:)  I let him have some of mine because I'm a sweet wife.

After lunch, we got back in the car and drove to Portland which is Maine's largest city.  It didn't seem that large to us.  But, it was a great city.  Lots of small town charm with big city appeal.  One thing that stuck out was that there wasn't a chain or big box retail establishment ANYWHERE close to downtown.  We thought it was very cool.  Its a city of small businesses and they have set it up so that they can survive and thrive.  We drove around and got a good feel for the city, checked into our room and then headed to the waterfront.  There were tons of restaurants, pubs, shops, etc.  We went to a pub called "Gritty's", had a couple of local beers and decided what to do for supper.  We knew we wanted lobster and not fancy lobster.  We wanted to go to a place that just felt "local".  Well, we asked out waitress at the pub where she would go under those circumstances.  She reccomended J's Oyster House.  We walked to J's.  We walked in, sat ourselves and waited.  After about 10 minutes, the waitress came over.  She was running all 10 tables by herself.  I kind of felt bad for her, so we made it easy.  We ordered our beers and lobster all at once.  She liked us right away. 

After about 15 minutes she brought us 2 of these...
Pic quality not that great because I took it with my camera phone.  That small bowl of murkey stuff is actually warm clam broth.  Apparently, you have to give your steamers a bath before you can eat them because they are a little gritty.
It was heavenly.  I had never had steamers (clams) before and they were pretty good.  But, of course, the lobster took center stage.

After our supper we wanted a little bite of something sweet and we drove by this building and after reading the name, I told Matt to turn around because that restaurant was written up in Gourmet Magazine and had been on Food Network. 
Becky's Diner
So, we decided to give it a try for dessert.  I have always been intrigued by the Whoopie Pie.  The chocolate cake part looks so yummy but I have never known what kind of filling that white stuff really was.....I imagined a marshmellowy goodness ooozing out of the sides.  Not the case with this Whoopie Pie.  The cake part was ok, it needed salt.  But, the filling just wasn't appealing...to me at least.  It was more like a buttercream.  Not what I had in mind, but, it was still ok.  Here is a pic. 

The Whoopie Pie

After our dessert, we headed back to our room and settled in for the night.  Friday morning we left before breakfast was served at our Bed and Breakfast because we were headed to a private lake in Wakefield, New Hampshire.  Why New Hampshire you ask?  Well, Matt's family has some hunting friends that live in Topsfield, Massachusetts but they have a lake place in New Hampshire.  And my goodness, its quite a place!  Jack and his lovely wife Ann graciously hosted us for breakfast Friday morning.  Now, Jack is quite the cook, at least that is the word from all the menfolk down at the hunting camp.  I have been hearing this rumor for years about these crepes that Jack whips up and cooks in a cast iron skillet.  Well, guess what we had for breakfast....that's right, homemade crepes.  And they were some kinda' wonderful.

Nice shot, honey.
There were lots of fillings to choose from...I had a hard time deciding because I couldn't choose between sweet or savory.  I decided on both.  I filled mine with a piece of bacon and then topped it with a little maple syrup.  Amazing! 

Here is a pic of the amazing view from their house.  I wish we had more pics but it seems that Matt was more concerned with photographing Jack's game room and workshop than of the beautiful scenery;)
Jack and Ann have a beautiful place and we look forward to returning!!! 

After breakfast, we headed back to Massachusetts to see a few more sights.  Our first stop was in Lexington.  For all of you history buffs out there, you will know that on April 19, 1775, the first shots of the American Revolution were fired.  Minute Man National Historical Park was our destination.

Pretty neat stuff.  The park has a great visitor center with some nice exhibits and a film.  It was nice to see where the actual combative "fight" for our Independence began.  Just a few miles from Lexington is the town of Concord.  Now, I think most of you know that I'm a reader.  Its not just a hobby, its a passion.  I have been really excited about coming to Concord because one of my favorite authors was from Concord and is buried there as well.  Louisa May Alcott's most famous novel, Little Women, is based loosely on her and her sisters' lives growing up in Orchard House, located in Concord.
My pics of the house didn't turn out:(  I think I was having a flash issue.
But, I was there and that's what mattered to me....I just wanted to see what inspired the novel.

After Orchard House, we went down the road to...

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.  A little morbid?  Yes, but still very interesting.  After walking around the cemetery, we started walking up the little hill and we saw a sign for "Authors Ridge". 

So, we kept climbing up the hill until we saw these....

You can't see this one very well but its Ralph Waldo Emerson.

All the Transcendentalists resting together.  It was nice.

After Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, we drove to downtown Concord and walked around, window shopped and ate a snack.  Then, it was time to hit the road again.  On to Salem!

We checked into our great little Bed and Breakfast, the Amelia Peyson House.

After checking in, we drove around Salem and got our bearings and then drove back to the B&B and parked the car and took off walking. 
We ended up at the Salem BeerWorks and sampled some local brew.  They even had some that had blueberries floating in it! Then, we met up with a couple more of Matt's hunting buddies that were kind enough to drive over from Topsfield and eat supper with us.  I don't have any pics but it was a fun night!  We ate supper at Capt's on the waterfront.  Matt and I of course had lobster....again.  And beer, lots of beer.

I will hopefully finish up with part 3 tomorrow!  I have had a Bubba that doesn't feel so great:(  But, I know that with some TLC, he will be feeling better in no time. 


Sarah Barry said...

Erin, thank you so much for your comment on my blog. It made my day, no my week! Plus it gave chance to see your blog and family! Your little boy is SO cute. I love the picture of him on your header.

Also, your trip looks fantastic. I have always wanted to take a trip to the north east region of the country. All the food looks amazing. The beer sounds pretty good too!

Thanks for reading my blog. I look forward to keeping up with yours too!

Erin Caden Rogers said...

Yay! Thanks for the compliments:) I hope I can keep up with mine as well as you keep up with yours!!! I'm setting a goal of 3 posts per week....we shall see how it goes.