50 States Challenge: Massachusetts

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

April 27 - 29, 2016

She said I think I'll go to Boston
I think I'll start a new life
I think I'll start it over, where no one knows my name

Okay, so I couldn't help myself from singing "Boston" by Augustana my whole flight to Boston.  And while I walked down Hanover Street.  And while I was riding the Water Taxi.  Basically every moment I was in Boston I was singing "Boston."

Boston could not have arrived at a better time in my life.  I know, I just let loose a positive sentence about Boston.  Buckle up, pal.

The day before I departed for Boston was the day I wrote this post.  So all in all, taking a solo vacation with myself was the best way to start my new relationship.  Admittedly, I was anxious about taking a trip by myself but taking a trip to Boston was borderline against my religion.

Internally, I struggled through the flight but as I stood around in baggage claim and gazed at the people waiting for their suitcases, I grew excited.  I wanted to explore the city now, now, NOW!  I couldn't get to my hotel fast enough and when I did, I unpacked, ironed my clothes for the next two days, and sped out of the hotel.
After wandering around the Water Taxi station, failing to figure out how to actually get on a Water Taxi (answer: you call them and ask them to pick you up), I sailed across the water from East Boston and arrived at Battery Wharf on the North End.  Another gentleman took the trek across with me and he was kind enough to direct me in the direction of some streets with their original layout still intact, which basically means super super tiny streets.
And I wandered and wandered.  It was so reminiscent of my time living in New York that my heart started to ache.  I missed traveling down streets and knowing each building, recognizing the shop owners.  Yeah, Pittsburgh's a city but Boston felt so similar to New York (but maybe a little cleaner).

As I didn't know where I was headed, I happened to chance upon the Paul Revere House and the start of the Freedom Trail.  I didn't understand exactly what the Freedom Trail was until I was returning home and by then it was a little too late to explore it, but I did dip in and off of it throughout the day.
I strolled until I couldn't ignore the rumbling in my stomach and I stopped at a restaurant called Al Dente.  It was early and the restaurant was empty with the exception of a large party finishing up what I assumed was a very late lunch, casually sipping wine.   I ordered Penne Alla Vodka, as this is how I judge an Italian restaurant (they passed).  I've never eaten dinner at a restaurant alone before.
 Slipping my phone into my purse, I pulled out my book (Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez) and read until the party dispersed and the owner chatted with me.  He made me feel like home, like Long Island.  I told him I was from New York and said I still lived there.  I don't know why I did that, it just rolled off of my tongue.

I left and decided to go in search of Boston Common, the oldest park in the United States of America.  As Central Park is quite possibly one of my favorite places on the planet, I thought I owed Boston Common a visit.  Of course, in my search I accidentally found Faneuil Hall.
After searching for Tremont Street for a while, I headed south and ran smack dab into Boston Common.  I wanted to run through it but I held myself back to enjoy the view.  I stopped and chatted with some teenagers who I'm pretty sure thought I was a teenager as well.  One girl offered to walk me through the park, but I declined.  Determined to make it to Boston Public Garden, I trekked through.  In the middle of the park, Charles Street cuts through and a bunch of people were gathered waiting to safely cross the street.  Many of them seemed to be men dressed in suits or workout clothes.  They were from all different walks of life and I wanted to throw my arms around all of them and remember this moment.  I missed these encounters and random observations of strangers.  Large groups of people rarely gather in Pittsburgh.

When I made it to the Public Garden, I plopped down in the grass along the edge of the pond and watched some ducks.  A few dared to get close, probably assuming I came bearing gifts.  The ground was cold so I got back up and found the Washington statute and admired the beautiful flowers surrounding it.  I spotted an open bench and spread out, finishing my book in the same way I used to read in Central Park in the old days.
The sun started fading so when I closed the last page on Sierva Maria's tragedy, I wandered back up to Hanover and found these adult-bench-swings and enjoyed myself for a little while before heading north to Mike's Pastry.  It was a wild mess in there.  Pastries and money and hands flying all over the place.  I squeezed my way through the crowd and ordered a cannoli.  I decided to walk along the water and made it to the aquarium where I called an Uber and rode back to my hotel with two girls from Detroit.  When I got in my room, I devoured the cannoli.  It was delicious and amazing and worth every penny.
The next two days were spent staring out the window of my conference room at Boston.  Thursday night I lounged in the lobby, discussing the different locations other lonely individuals were from.  They didn't see me as a child, which is a weird moment.  I know I'm not a child, but I've felt for so long I've had to prove I deserved to be somewhere, that I'm a grown-up too.  As I sat there, listening to a woman's stories of growing up in Detroit, I realized I have my own story to tell and I don't have to prove my right to share it.  I got a few chuckles describing my experiences with certain individuals I encountered while working for the taxi company in Long Island.

After hanging out in the lobby, I decided on a few laps in the pool.  It was empty so I was able to swim around like a mermaid for as long as I wanted.  When I got out and was waiting for the elevator, a man asked me if I enjoyed the spa.  I told him it was lovely and we had simple elevator chat until I arrived at my floor.  When I got off, I thought to myself, "I AM an adult."  Which I proceeded to prove by dancing around my hotel suite numerous times to "Come On Eileen."

Thank you, Boston.  I'll see you soon.


  1. I just stumbled onto your blog and I'm from about 30 minutes North of Boston. I'm glad you enjoyed your time here and that you found Mike's Pastry. My husband is originally from Boston, and I grew up on the South Shore. I've never actually gone and done the touristy, just walk around thing. This might be a fun thing to do with my 2 boys sometime this summer. Thanks for the idea.
    I also love your 50 states challenge. My husband and I would like to do that too. We took a (mostly) cross country trip last summer and visited many areas of the US that we had never been. We also have a cookie tin with the names of every state (plus a few other choices) in it. Each year we draw one out and that's where we go on vacation. This year we picked "Different country- mom's choice." I really wanted to go to Germany, but it will probably be Canada because we're poor. lol.
    I'm going to follow your blog. I look forward to reading more. Have a great day!

    1. You should definitely do the touristy thing in your own city! I live in Pittsburgh and I've been expanding my horizon past the usual haunts.

      A cross country road trip sounds so exciting!! I've always wanted to do one of those but never seem to find the time. That would also be a great way to hit a bunch of states pretty quickly. Boy, do I get the poor struggle haha. Limits the possibilities! But my parents love going up to Niagara, they just discussed booking another trip so I'm sure Canada will be fun!
      Thanks for the follow :)


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