Tuesday, June 7, 2011

V-formation (The Geese Travel): Boston, MA

In late May, Dave and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. We decided to go to one of our favorite places, Boston, to celebrate. In 2007, we were THISCLOSE to moving to Boston, but found the farm instead and decided to make it our home. Needless to say, we love Boston and so enjoy each visit there!

Our hotel room

We stayed at the Inn at St. Botolph, my favorite hotel in Boston (trivia tip! Boston's original name is actually St. Botolphston, and St. Botolph is the patron saint of travelers). It has the feel of a pied-a-terre with the comfort of a luxury boutique hotel (without the price tag of either). It is located right where the South End, Back Bay and Theatre districts meet. It has a residential feel while only being steps away from some of Boston's finest attractions.

When we arrived in our room, a bottle of Prosecco awaited us to kick-off our weekend. After a quick cat-nap, we freshened-up and dressed for the American Craft Beer Festival (held at the Seaport World Trade Center, which was only a quick T-ride and walk away). I would post pictures of all the amazing craft beer I sampled, but I was honestly too busy enjoying myself. Besides, trying to take pictures while double-fisting beer, downing about 30 samples, and keeping track of beers I adored (or hated!) was a bit tough. I think my favorite of the night was the Goose Island Bourbon County Vanilla Stout (though there were many others I loved - let me know if you would like more info in the comments).

Giacomo's, via Stef's Smorgasboard

We grabbed a cab back to our "home base" and then walked to Giacomo's for some tasty Italian. The atmosphere was super-cozy, and the food unbelievably good (we split an order of garlic bread, Dave had the best Chicken Parmesan either of us have ever tasted (no lie), I had the other-worldly Pumpkin Tortellini in Fresh Sage Sauce, and we shared the Chocolate Bomb for dessert). The quick walk back to our hotel was the perfect digestif for our beer-laden, Italian-stuffed bellies.

Saturday morning, we grabbed a quick coffee at the Prudential Center, then headed down Boylston and Newbury Streets to do a little window shopping. We decided to sit-a-stay by the Lagoon in Boston Common and watch the Swan Boats pass slowly by.

We crossed through the park to enter the Beacon Hill neighborhood. We hopped in the (45-minute long!) line at Paramount for lunch. Dave opted for breakfast (egg, bacon and cheese on toast with homefries), while I had the apple, candied walnut and bleu cheese salad with chicken. Both were worth the wait. We walked through the history-rich district and stopped to pick out some antique artwork and prints (our anniversary tradition - we buy a piece of art each year!). I also picked up a great old Currier and Ives book of plate listings and illustrations. While there, Dave found a Dartmouth yearbook from 1939. We looked for Dave's grandfather (both Dave's dad and grand-dad went there), but the book post-dated him.

I am obsessed with boating and sailing, and Dave indulged me and took me down to the Charles River Esplanade to watch the dinghies. It made me love boats even more. We headed back towards the park, stopping at Cafe Vanille for a coffee and sweets (I couldn't choose between a chocolate eclair or a Night and Day bar - a bruleed sponge cake paired with vanilla bavarian cream and chocolate mousse), so I bought both, eating half of each (file this under This Is Why You Are Fat). We stopped to smell the new blooms on the roses in the park and laugh at Boston's pride for its sports teams (the Bruins were in the Stanley Cup finals, so all available statues donned jerseys, including the famous ducks (of Robert McCloskey fame) and George Washington).

After getting gussied-up at the hotel, we took the T down to Long Wharf to board a yacht for a sunset cruise of Boston Harbor. We met a lovely couple from London and chatted with them for a bit before witnessing sunset ceremonies of the USS Constitution (aka Old Ironsides).

Bad Blackberry photo of our view from the Top of the Hub

We walked around downtown and the harbor under the romantic glow of streetlamps, then headed back to the South End for dinner at Mela. Listen, I have had Indian cuisine all over the world, and I can honestly say this was the best I have ever tasted. Once our dishes arrived (Naan, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Vegetable Korma - all organic), Dave and I spoke nary a word to each other. Our faces were in our plates for the rest of dinner. The waitstaff was so incredibly nice, and when I mentioned how much I loved the food, our waiter brought us a $10 gift card for our next visit. Don't worry that we are not Bostonians... we will definitely be back! Even though our bellies were full, we decided that the night sky was too clear to not take advantage of the views at the top of the Prudential Center. We journeyed up 52 stories to The Top of the Hub, where we enjoyed a Kamakazi (Dave), Gin Gimlet (me - downed in about three minutes because of how perfect it was!), a plateful of freshly baked cookies, and perfectly-perked coffee. Needless to say, we slept hard that night.

Views of the South End

Splash Fountain

Sunday morning was a bit lazy, as we strolled through the South End, grabbing a quick bite at Thornton's and making our way to Splash Fountain at Christian Science Plaza. We sometimes fantasize about buying a little apartment in Boston, so we snuck into an open house to check out the real estate scene in the city. Finally, we headed back to the car and out to Brookline for a late lunch at Zaftigs, one of America's Ten Best Delis (as rated by National Geographic). We could have built our whole meal just on the bagel chips and herbed cream cheese (complimentary with every order!), but we also shared Holly's Heavenly Salad and the Challah French Bread.

Dave and I always joke that we must look like we know what we are doing when in Boston, because we get asked for directions so much (on this trip, we were asked five times - it must be the Irish lass in me). We are now home, safe and sound at the farm - albeit fatter, but more in love than ever. It was an amazing trip, and I can't wait to head back to Beantown!


Lynn said...

Sounds like an amazing trip!!! So glad that you had such a great time. Boston's on my list of "must visit" places.

Prippy Handbook said...

Beautiful pics! Looks like you had an absolutely wonderful time. So happy for you two and your gorgeous family!

Christine said...

That photo of you sitting by the water is gorgeous! You have an old-school classic look :) Beautiful.

Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

The trip was a blast, gah, I LOVE Boston. Lyn, definitely visit! The boys would have a blast, I know it! Tara, thanks! Boston meet-up? Christine, I knew there was a reason we've been friends for so long... because you always have something nice to say about me! Haha, j/k. Thank you for your sweet comment, it really made my day!

CAPow! said...

I miss Boston SO much! So glad you tried Giacomo's!

LindsB said...

Beautiful photos! Reminds me why I love my city so much!!

Glad you and Dave had a good visit!

Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

@CAPow Loved it! Thanks for the recommendation.

@LindsB Your city gets better every time we visit. Thanks for keeping it so lovely for us.