Archive | October, 2012

Day 2: Boston Temple & Portland, Maine

The morning of Day 2 found me well rested. I seriously slept like a log and was ready to tackle another day of being a tourist.

Our first stop was the Boston LDS Temple. But on the way, I saw this… The Laundromutt.  A self-service dog wash.  I thought the name was very clever and humorous and so I snapped a picture.  Hey look, there’s me in the lower left corner.  Upon reviewing my photos at home, after Vacation was over, I noticed the billboard for the Mini Cooper.  “Wicked cheap gas. Easy tah pahk.”   Did you know New England has it’s own language???  Now, you do.

Knowing we were a bit early for the fall color, I had to take a picture of these leaves since they were the first red we had seen, just in case we didn’t see anymore after that!!!

The Boston Temple is stunning, inside and out. We did a session, then walked around the grounds. I kept thinking how lucky the brides were to have such a photogenic temple. Beautiful architecture, lush vegetation, a greenbelt on one side of the temple, and a breathtaking view. I love being in a temple or on temple grounds. There is such a sweet spirit there. The temple is truly a place to escape the worldliness and ponder more heavenly and sacred things. I had brought a book with me to read in the airplane, and on the return flight I came across this passage: “You have to regularly clear your thoughts. This is best accomplished in a calm, quiet, soothing environment that inspires – a place where the constant noise of the regular world is not heard.” I started laughing. Here I was reading a business book that was tesifying of the importance of going to the temple! Being in a temple, a House of the Lord, is calm, quiet, and soothing. To say that the temple inspires is an understatement! The world IS constantly noisy. In the temple, we can clear our thoughts and focus on what really matters.

The greenbelt.

The view from the back side of the temple. So lush! And no rocky mountains!!

Sadly, our vacation could not be multiple weeks long. My husband could only take off so much time from work and we were trying to fit a lot in to just a few days. And so we bid adieu to Boston. I would love to go back sometime (hint hint!) and spend at least a week just in the Boston area.

And so, we were off to Maine. Luckily, states in the east are small and you can easily get from one place to the other in a very short time. The drive to Portland was just 2 hours. And what are Maine Points?? I don’t really know, but I thought it was a fun play on words.

Yes, we are in Lobster Country.

Just as an FYI, neither Chris nor I had ever been to any of these places. This was all new to both of us. However, once I did have my sights set on going to a photography school in Portland. So, we visited the school and got a little taste of what it would’ve been like had I gone there. Portland is an interesting city. Very artsy, and even with though it’s a city, it still felt small-townish. And old. Hello, everything back east is just teaming with history. The brick sidewalks and cobblestone streets just fascinate me.

My heart soars when I see people flying the flag. And this sweet girl was selling cupcakes out of her trailer. Later, we discovered she made the front page of the newspaper for being the first “foodtruck” in Portland. We should’ve stopped and purchased a cupcake or two. Support small businesses & entrepreneurs! Rock on, Love Cupcakes!!!

After exploring downtown Portland, it was time for our schooner sail. I’ll be honest. I was super super excited for this sail. And it did not disappoint!!! We sailed with the Portland Schooner Company on a 100 year old boat. The crew was friendly, humorous, and informative. We were able to help hoist the sails, and learn more history (of course!) and learn about the lighthouses.

Portland is the closest US port to Europe and therefore is a very important and busy port.

The Portland Headlight Lighthouse. Porbably THE most photographed lighthouse. Ever. Ok, at least in Maine.

Another schooner, the Frances. One of our deckhands and a family of little girls that sailed with us pretended they were pirates were threatening Frances’ passengers with their menacing “ARGH!”s.  (And there is a fort!  To the right of Frances.  I think that one was a Civil War era fort.)

We booked a “sunset sail” which means…. we were sailing at sunset. Coming from the west coast, it was interesting to experience the sunset-ing…. not into the ocean. It was definitely different being on the water and having the sun set behind the land.

Dinner. Everyone recommended the Portland Lobster Company and well, we can’t come all the way to Maine and not have lobster.  Chris got the Feast and a feast it was.  Not too much left over, eh?  The oysters were a little hard to stomach :/


Day 1: Massachusetts, Boston & Hull

If you don’t want to hear about my fantastic trip to New England, you should stop reading. If you don’t want to see photos shot through airplane windows, car windows, while sitting on a bike, and self-portrait style, you should stop reading. If you don’t want to read my travelogue, you should stop reading and don’t come back until at least Friday. Then I will have a birth to post and we’ll be back to regular posts and not vacation posts.

But if you DO want to hear about my fun trip and and take a peak at a *few* of my vacation photos, please stay a while and continue reading!!! 🙂

My husband Chris and I reached our 10th wedding anniversary this last spring, however, our celebratory activities have lasted (and will continue to last) all year long! Ten years is big milestone and why not celebrate all year long?!?! Earlier this year, I knew I wanted to take a trip without the kids. After ten years and four children, I think we’ve earned ourselves a few child-free days together! So, I began planning for a trip near our anniversary. We wanted to visit some friends in Vermont, but it just wasn’t working out. Finally, it was suggested that we wait and come in the Fall. Because Fall in New England is GORGEOUS!!!! Truthfully, I’m pretty sure New England would be gorgeous anytime of year, but Fall (even early Fall, which is what we experienced) is quite nice.

And now, you have the privilege of joining me on sort of a Cliff Notes blog version of our five days of fantasticness!

To start it all off, I want to share with you what an airplane looks like from the very back row. That’s right, the very very back row, as in, right next to the bathroom and the seats don’t recline. All night long. We booked a red-eye flight which was perfect in a loud-airplane-noises & uncomfortable-seats & hard-to-sleep kind of way. We did have a short lay-over the next morning in Newark, New Jersey, which resulted in a nice sunrise view of New York City and the Statue of Liberty.

After landing in Boston and getting our rental car, we immediately set out for a place called Hull. We promptly missed our unseen exit and then enjoyed winding our way through the cute towns of Braintree, Weymouth, and Hingham before finally making our way the pennisula that is home to Hull. It was here that we learned how vital a GPS is when driving in a place you have never been before. This is the view of Hull from our return flight, but I am including it here so you can see what I am talking about.  That white line is the beach.  Boston is that land mass in the right corner of the photo.

It almost felt California-ish….  only with no palm trees…..

I like the sign above the garage door.

Our reason for visiting Hull was this: Chris’s ancestor John Benson who immigrated from England settled in Hull, and according to this guy, he even owned the island that is to the right of Chris is this photo. (The penninsula of Hull is to the left). He is standing in the cemetary, because that’s where the good view was.  I did put in a phone call earlier in the week to inquire whether John Benson was buried there (he died in Hull in 1678/79).  The nice lady on the phone said she would have to research that, but never got back to me 🙁

Right next to the cemetary was Fort Revere.  It’s a pretty cool fort that was used from the Revolutionary War up through World War II.

Sigh. Who wouldn’t want to live here??

After our adventures in Hull, we found our way to Chris’s cousin’s house. She was kind enough to host us for the evening. The house below on the left is a Hull beach house, the house on the right is in his cousin’s neighborhood. Sadly, I did not take a picture of her house nor her street, both of which were really cute.

After parking the rental car, we set out to explore downtown Boston by bike. Boston has a sweet bike system called the Hubway. I totally recommend it. If you have a smart phone so you can find where the next hub station is. Alas, we have not yet joined the 21st century and do not have smart phones. Therefore, we were trying to decifer a paper map I had printed off my computer and get our bikes back to a station before our time ran out. Lol, only slightly stressful a few times.  We road down the riverwalk, passed many joggers (apparently, running is the cool thing to do in Boston), passed MIT and Boston University (I didn’t even know those were on our itinerary!!), tried not to get run over (wow, traffic was crazy!), and marveled at the beautiful architecture and brick sidewalks.  Because we had spent so much of the day in Hull, it was already late afternoon and we weren’t even downtown yet.  So, rather than get lost on rental bikes in the dark in a strange city, we opted to enjoy where we were and what we were seeing and then head back to the cousin’s house.  We visited the Boston Public Library, MIT campus, and a neighborhood called Back Bay which is most of the following photos.  The architecture is just stunning, and I’m sure I only saw a smidgen of it all.  Also, it’s kind of hard to ride a bike and take pictures at the same time.  At least when I was in the car, I could shoot whenever I wanted out the window.  I had brought a camera bag that I normally don’t use and it proved to really be a hinderance, since I wasn’t used to using it.

Check out their stoplights.

This is one of the roads bordering Harvard campus.  And ivy growing on one of the buildings on campus (above right).

Point-and-shoot self-portrait. After returning from Mr. Toad’s Wild (bike) Ride, we opted to walk to get dinner. And I didn’t want to lug the big camera, so point-and-shoot it is! We walked across the river, through parts of Harvard, to Harvard Square for dinner, and then walked home. It was a wonderfully relaxing way to end the day. Going for walks is very nice, especially when there is a river involved. And cool night air. And trees.

And an awesome Colosseum-type stadium.  (Sorry, I guess you can’t really tell from this picture that the outside of the stadium looks like the Colosseum).

After our walk, we promptly crashed in our beds and slept soundly until morning.