ICYMI, I want to see ALL the things.
For so many years, I sat and day dreamed (even night dreamed) about traveling. I have never really had a huge desire to do any kind of international traveling, but I have wanted to explore the United States. I feel that there are so many places here in my home country that I need to see before I can expand to traveling in other countries. Perhaps it is my love of U.S. history mixed with the many Instagram posts I see from fashion or lifestyle bloggers across the country that makes me want to pack up every weekend and explore.
When I first moved to California, I put on a little adventure hat and decided to explore different parts of SoCal every week. Now that I have a better income, I have been able to branch out and take that adventurous mindset a step forward and visit other places that are not that close to home.
One of my “bucket list” items was to see New England in the fall. I still would love to take a week to just drive along the Atlantic coast and take in all the picturesque autumnal scenes. However, since I had already slated Christmas week to see my family in Ohio, I had no more vacation time left. Thank God for federal holidays!! I came up with a plan to visit one New England city for Columbus Day weekend. And what better city than Boston?? I was about to book my plane ticket when I thought of my bestie and figured I would reach out to her just in case she could go (she has gone on a lot of my SoCal adventures with me so I knew no matter what we got into out there, it would be a great time). Within minutes of receiving my text, she replied with an excited “I’m down!” And so the adventure planning began…
I took care of planning transportation while she planned the activities. Special thanks to Expedia, Groupon and Uber - you guys are the real MVPs here.
After a restful red-eye flight from LAX (no sarcasm here), we arrived in beautiful, historic Boston.
We immediately took an Uber to the nearest Starbucks (what else do basic people do?), put our faces on and set out for Copley Square. This is where we waited for our bus to begin a 7-hour tour of the city.
Surprisingly enough, we missed our bus. But like, why would the bus name be a totally different name from the actually company name?? Setting us up for failure right there...So after a series of inadequate taxi drivers, numerous phone calls to the tour guide company and tripping over cobblestone drives in high heeled boots, we finally found our bus at their next stop. No big deal, they only waited thirty minutes for us to find them. Needless to say, all the passengers recognized us from that point on.
If possible, I recommend doing a guided tour early on in your vacation (or daycation) as it will give you a lay of the land and you can plan the rest of your time there based on what you saw (or didn't see) on your tour. We drove past Harvard at the beginning of our tour and Claire and I decided pretty quickly that we would be heading back there the next day.
One of our first stops was this cutesy little tavern that has the most amazing root beer. I'm normally not a root beer fan because it's just not sweet enough for me (unless it is poured over a scoop of ice cream), but this was actually a real treat. And the little lady at the cash register was dressed in the traditional colonial garb. Bonus points for the accent too!
Not only did we get to see so much natural and architectrual beauty, but we were also able to hear about many of the famous inhabitants, which I found fascinating. For example: did you know Louisa May Alcott lived near Boston? Ralph Waldo Emerson? Henry Wadsworth Longfellow? Basically any famous author with three names lived there at some point.
We stopped in Concord at the spot where the first shot of the Revolutionary War was fired: "the shot heard 'round the world". Although it was the sight of such a traumatic event, it seemed so oddly peaceful.
At lunch time, we found ourselves at a marketplace of some sorts with many food vendors and a few restaurants. Yet to me, our dining choice was a no-brainer: we were finding ourselves an Irish pub. The Black Rose did not disappoint. With everything from Celtic music to Gaelic poetry on the walls to menu items like "bangers and mash", we found ourselves very happy with the decision.
In the afternoon, we visited the dock of the USS Constitution. The line to board the ship was a mile long and we only had thirty minutes so, based on our track record of missing buses, we decided to just walk around for a little bit. One thing I found quite interesting at this location was the dry dock. This dock fills with water and allows the ship to come in, then it drains itself so workers can perform maintenance on the bottom of the ship.
While touring the city, we drove under and over many bridges. Our tour guide told us that, while driving through a tunnel, if there are brown tiles you are underground and if there are blue tiles you are underwater. She was very quick to get out of the tunnels with blue tiles and I did not blame her.
Our tour concluded back at the starting point and the wait for an Uber driver to take us to Billerica began (staying in Boston was either too expensive or too sketchy, so I opted for a little town about 20 minutes out).
Day two began with a little rain, but we didn't let that stop us. We started the day off at a Peet's Coffee in Harvard Square.
After I got back from my trip, one of my friends asked me what my favorite part of the trip was. My mind instantly went back to this moment. Claire and I grabbed coffee and bagels and sat outside on wet chairs and talked and laughed for about an hour. There was a cool breeze blowing, little birds watching for us to drop our crumbs, locals walking around or sitting to chat at tables beside us. I loved this moment. To me it seemed like the world started to slow its turn and we were able to enjoy much needed bonding time and have great uplifting and enlightening conversations without the feelings of being rushed or the anxiety of having to be somewhere at a certain time. Personally, I put a lot of effort and planning into a lot of things I do and I feel like I begin to miss out on the current moment because I am so busy planning the next. That was not so with this trip: I purposely did not plan this day and it was an amazing feeling to be able to fully enjoy the moment and wherever it took us.
During one of our conversations, I stopped mid-sentence as I heard the sound of trumpets and drums. We looked to the left of us and there was a small parade happening on the streets. So of course we followed them! Apparently they were having some sort of an Oktoberfest celebration and there was a little street parade happening right next to us. The groups were very diverse and ranged from political views on immigration to Black Lives Matter to women's rights to LGTBQ rights - all of which had amazing musical numbers. My favorite was a group who did a mash up of Britney Spear's "Toxic" and Taylor Swift's "Trouble". If you know me, you'll know I had tears.
After waiting for the parade to end, we made our way to Harvard. All I can say is...wow. The natural beauty, the architecture, the history...I could have just died right then and there. But I didn't - I lived long enough to take a few pictures.
And what would a trip to Boston around Halloween time be without a small trek to Salem??
Oddly enough, we were there during the Halloween Biz Baz festival in downtown Salem, so we were able to see all the festivities. This place truly was a Halloween town.
We toured a historical museum, saw some witches, met a psychic and saw Michael Myers all within an hour. Nailed it!
We ended the night with some fresh Boston lobster and I wish more than anything that I had recorded Claire trying to get into hers. The struggle was so real, the ladies at the table next to us came over to help her pry it open. We laughed so much, I'm sure everyone thought we were high. And we were...high on life, son!
We caught an early flight the next morning, thanks to an Uber driver with the strongest Boston accent evah, and made it back to LA by noon.
Claire and I agreed that we need to do a repeat trip and spend more time in New England: there is so much to see! But two days was a great appetizer and experience for us and I'm so glad she could enjoy it with me. As always, I hope that my sharing my little adventures inspires someone else to do the same: see all the things! If you want to travel, do it! Find a partner or go solo: it's great either way!