We’ve lived in New England now for almost exactly 2 months and have been in our house for about a week less than that. In that period of time I have gone to St. Louis twice to be with my mother and for Thanksgiving. I’ve unpacked and worked on finding things around Salem, New Hampshire. I’ve started to look for things to do in the area; I’ve prepared for Christmas and Hanukah and now I’m enjoying the company of my children and my husband as we wait to welcome in the New Year.
But, there is a very big city about 45 minutes south of here, and except for a few trips to the nearer suburbs for sushi and Chinese, I really haven’t been there at all. I keep saying I’m going to go, but it just seems like a daunting prospect. Do I drive and pay $30 or more to park for the day? Do I take the train? Do I take the express bus? I’ve managed to think up an excuse not to try it almost every day.
However yesterday we had our first tourist to entertain (Sarah)! So off to the city we went. It was easy to decide where to go. We let our individual needs, desires and curiosity determine our path. First stop was Faneuil Hall. It was easy to find and even easier to park as long as we were willing to pay the price, which we were. Lee wanted to look at a jacket in Orvis. He’s been pining after one in their catalog but doesn’t want to buy it if he can’t try it on first. Unfortunately the store didn’t have one either, so he left without making a purchase.
We walked around the hall and stopped into a few interesting shops, including a pewter store where we compared their wares to the items that we own. When we got married we asked for pewter instead of silver. I’ve glad we did because pewter doesn’t tarnish so our pewter service has stayed on display throughout our married life and doesn’t need anything except an occasional dusting.
From Faneuil Hall we walked over to the Boston Commons. Lee and I had been to Boston once before many years ago, before we were even married. It was in the spring I think and the city was green and beautiful. We followed the yellow “freedom trail” and walked all over the city, visiting all the historic neighborhoods. This time things were pretty cold and grey, with an icy wind. I was not dressed warmly enough. I had on a sweater and a down vest and gloves, but my arms and head were very cold.
From the commons we walked over to Chinatown. There were not a lot of people out but the shops were bustling. We saw roast duck in the restaurant windows, pork buns and other Chinese pastries, fish swimming sluggishly in their tanks. The signs were in Chinese and the language on the streets was mostly Mandarin. I pricked up my ears, hoping to hear a bit of Cantonese somewhere but no such luck. We are determined to go back for dim sum sometime soon.
Chinatowns make me feel happy and sad at the same time. They are ghostly reminders of a distant city that has forever captured my heart. I want to be reminded because I don’t want to forget, even though it hurts sometimes to remember.
From Chinatown we hopped on the ‘T’, Boston’s subway system, to head to Cambridge. It’s easy to use and the trains run frequently, even on a Saturday, but the cars are creaky and old. They have a bit of a historic look to them, which I guess is fitting for a city like Boston. Since Sarah had never been to Boston before we made sure to walk around Harvard Yard, which always looks just like a movie set to me. I halfway expect to see a young Meryl Streep walking out of one of the buildings or something.
The cold was really beginning to get to me, so we headed to a discovery of Daniel’s: a hot chocolate shop in Harvard Square. http://www.burdickchocolate.com/stores-and-cafes-cambridge.asp. This place serves hot chocolate that is a little like drinking candy. We all got a small hot chocolate and after a couple of sips I wished I had gotten the demi. It was delicious but very, very rich.
One more subway stop to a place called Porter Squareabout which my Japanese manicurist in Salem had told me . A little bit down from the square is a place called Porter Exchange. Inside are a bunch of tiny Japanese restaurants and a shop selling various Japanese items. Apparently there used to be a Japanese grocery store too but it has just closed, which is a shame.
By now we were all thoroughly frozen and tired so we headed home. But I feel encouraged. I picked up a brochure for the Cambridge Adult Education Center and it looks like they might have some classes I would be interested in. I feel more confident about either driving and parking or trying the train or bus. I’m hopeful that this will be a turning point for me in the process of making this place my home.
I have to apologize for the lack of pictures but it was just too cold!