Boston

16th November; there is more work to be done on these pages.  Come back soon

This was the last of Eric’s birthday holidays.  Together with our good friends Kev & Sarah we went to New England for a 2 week touring holiday.  Read on

Day 1 – Friday

Early morning taxi from Kev & Sara’s at Lichfield to catch the 8.10 flight from Birmingham to Dublin.

img_2739

Flights all succesful arriving in Boston about 1345 and at the sheraton Hotel after an hilarious shuttle bus trip with driver Elsie

img_2727

Celebrating our arrival in the usual style with Sara going for the Pimms; a very full bodied concoction which took about ten minutes to prepare. Anticipating tomorrows nights gala meal we moved on from this rather flashy bar to a more humble Irish Pub where we sampled traditional steak & chips, pork chop, fish and chips etc washed down with beer etc. Although Boston time was 8.15 our frail bodies thought they were in 01.15 zone, so time for bed.

Day 2 – Saturday

Still suffering jet lag Eric and Ros were in the Starbucks in the hotel lobby partaking of coffee and croissants prior to meeting at 8.15 to make our way via the subway system to find the rendezvous for the ‘Freedom Trail Walk’ which we had booked online. After a very indifferent breakfast in a greasy spoon cafe we met our tour leader Alan who gave us a very comprehensive tour and explanation of the historic parts and events leading to the present day. He interestingly told us that one turning point in Boston’s development was as a result of the Irish potato famine which caused a massive influx of Irish to Boston, changing what hitherto was totally Protestant to 70% Catholic, and today more than 50% of Bostonians are either Irish or Italian. The walk was two hours and included many examples of Boston architecture, and a trip to the top of Beacon hill, which had had its top removed to get flat land to build on. The resultant spoil was chucked into the bay thus creating more space to develop the town, and in a similar fashion the tidal Back Bay was also filled over a period of 50 years to make what is now the rather plush area known as Back Bay.
The walk ended in Copley Square where we retired to the cafe within the library for lunch.
Our original plan to take a bus tour in the afternoon was abandoned in favour of walking to the Boston Tea Party experience, followed by a trip to Quincy market, and then home on the subway to the eagerly anticipated evening meal at ‘Top of the Hub’ on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Building.
The Tea Party event was a participating 90min tour which told us about the famous event of chucking all the imported tea into the harbour. This was a great show very professionally delivered, with Sara and Ros getting well into the swing of things by helping chuck the tea overboard. V
Quincy Market was heaving with people and where the central building was devoted totally kind of street food imaginable. We were not in need of food, but did find our way into an Irish Pub for afternoon refreshments.
The evening meal was everything that was expected, with fine wine magnificent food (lobster bisque, french onion soup, New York Steaks, great desserts), all delivered with great aplomb.

img_2894

The roof top situation was spectacular, and we watched the transition from light to dark on a night that was as clear as can be with fantastic views over the whole of the Boston Harbour.

Day 3 – Sunday

Left the Sheraton Boston in a very flash taxi to pick up the hire car from Alamo about 2 miles away. We have between us four very heavy and large suitcases so a little doubt that the car we ordered might be a bit of a squeeze. That turned out not to be the case, so after the initial shock over the size of a Dodge Derango, and a couple of laps of the 7th floor of the car parking lot in an effort to find the way out, Kev, with help of three independent map readers, all reading different maps plus two not too well programmed sat navs, got us swiftly (occasionally a bit too swiftly in the view of some passengers) and safely to the first stop of the day at Salem. img_2913Salem is home to the famous witches and the present natives have seized upon this part of their history with great enthusiasm, for in Salem there is no shortage of museums, witch experiences, ghost tours, fortunetellers and dressing up boxes (at a cost). It is a bit like the Goth Centre of the universe, second only to Whitby in North Yorks. But amongst all these trappings there is no shortage of eateries, one of which we chose to have a mid morning brunch, and introduced to ‘eggs benny’ accompanied by the mandatory two pounds of fried potatoes.img_2897
So now brimming with confidence and Kev still confidently at the helm we set off on the ‘Essex Scenic Coastal Route’. Just to ring the changes one of the map readers abandoned her map and took on the role of brown sign spotting, which involves a lot of “left here Kev” or “RiiiiGHT” invariably delivered a bit too late for Kev’s liking, but nevertheless we had a great trip around this fantastic typically New England landscape. The brown signs eventually petered out and we then headed directly to Portsmouth, with an additional lap of Gloucester thrown in for good measure. Portsmouth is a very pretty and busy town and being Sunday there appeared to be continuous street show with a variety of musicians and singers. After yet another modest food break we then set off on the last leg of the day to our one night hotel the Kennebunkport Inn, where we arrived just in time to partake the last half of ‘happy hour’. After which a quick change, shower, kip or whatever off to Federal Jack’s for dinner – at the opposite end of the culinary spectrum to last nights feast. We are all still not totally recovered body clock wise from the flight, so after the second ‘one for the road’ we retired early. If these last two days are anything to go by we are in for the holiday of a lifetime. Bon nuit.

Day 4 – Monday

Left the Kennebunkport in after a light breakfast and a walk around the town. ED drove the 45 miles or so to Wolfeboro the oldest ‘summer’ town in the states. On a very pretty waterside location on lake Winnipesaukee.  The drive was quite stunning as some of the leaves were turning and many typical New England buildings. An early brunch which confirmed that in future a sandwich to share would be very satisfactory.  Earlier in the day we had seen some reference to a ‘Castle in the Clouds’. So having  mastered the sat nav we set a course (12 ml) to go see this attraction. It in fact turned out to be a house built by Tom Plant in 1914 or so high up on what was then a 63,000 acre sight. The house is high up on the top of a hill with magnificent views all around. The drive up was very winding with last quarter ml being done on a trolley (bus to us Brits).  We then did th last leg of the day to North Conway, vis Conway, where I recognised the L L Bean outdoor shop from where i bought some kit on his previous visit, probably 20 years ago.  Our destination, The Red Elephant Inn was found with ease, and bore many similarities to the Elephant House hotel where we all stayed during our trip to SA. In 2010. Beware of the Elephants. A nice stroll to the village centre brought to to the Mountain Ski bar which provided us with good beers. We dined across the road from our hotel at the Muddy Moose. Just about Ok. I have the beginnings of a cold and Sara had a queasy tummy.

Total driving miles today 104, yesterday 122. Another great day.

Day 5 – Tuesday

Woke up to heavy rain which the hotel proprietor assures me will be gone in two hours; hope so since today is Cog Railway day. When we arrived at the Cog Railway the weather had improved to blazing sun and Crystal clear views. Our train boarded about 11.10, left at 11.30 and arrived at the summit about noon. We took all the photos and spent a quick hour exploring the summit where it was freezing cold in the wind.

Being reasonably early in the afternoon we went further North to Bethlehem where we had a sandwich and coffee before retracing our steps back to North Conway and had a look in Zebs. The local dept store.  I then drove to McGraths restaurant where we had a quite good meal then back to the Muddy Moose for a drink served by the very frosty bar woman. The breakfasts at the Red Elephant were stunning cooked by the proprietor who also provided a bottle wine chocolates and fruit for us to nibble on. A great place to stay.

Day  6 – Wednesday

We left the Red Elephant and proceeded along the Kancamagus highway stopping at various viepoints. The weather was not good with poor views but a least we had a walk and some exercise.  We then went on to Lincoln and stopped for lunch in a roadside cafe before setting off to walk to the fume at Sabbaday falls in the Fraconia park. Stunning. We the went on to Woodstock, by the most direct route to arrive at yet another stunning location and accommodation. A few drinks in Bentleys bar before going home to smarten up before going to to the Prince And the Pauper for dinner. Very good.

Day 7 – Thursday

The owners of the Woodstocker Inn came from Chester and Leeds so a Yorkshire accent joke was shared before a stunning breakfast. Left Woodstock about 10.30 after a walk around the town. A visit to Billings farm then on toward the Seth Warner in Manchester but a stop for sandwich and drink at a brewery cum pub ( no alcohol though) at Bridgewater corners. After lunch we proceeded on our way stopping at Weston where we spent a long while looking around the famous hardware shop there.  Then onto our overnight stay. A meal booked at the

Day 8 – Friday

Left the Seth Warner at

Travelled on the Mowhaeck Trail including the Indian store, Memorial Park followe by a visit to the Bridge od Flowers, together with tha salmon Falls and potholes  the lunch stop was at a posh pub in Deerfield

Lunch Stop

Activity

Afternoon

Miles driven

Stayed at Lennox in the Gateways Hotel, dined in disaster no VERY expensive

Dinner

Day 9 – Saturday

Left

Travelled to the Gingerbread House and the Bish Bash Falls, morning coffee at a French patisserie

Lunch Stop omelette at one of the towns en route and a walk around Lennox

Activity

Afternoon

Miles driven

Stayed at Gateways again with dinner at the Bistro in Lennox, fooled mt music in the Gateway

Dinner

Day 10 – Sunday

Left

Travelled to Hartford to see Mark Twain’s house.  Lunch at some roadside cafe with good value food and rice pudding for dessert; a eat treat.

Lunch Stop

Activity

Afternoon

Miles driven

Stayed at Mystic we had a great room Kev & Sara’s not so good, but made a bit more palatable with a full refund.  Dinner at an Italian restaurant not far from the lifting bridge

Dinner

Day 11 – Monday

Left

Travelled to Newport and had a walk along the coast and back inland to see some of the famous and massive mansions.  En route to Hyannis we stopped in Sandwich, a really pretty town where we only just got in the cafe a few minutes before closing time

Lunch Stop

Activity

Afternoon

Miles driven

Stayed at Hyannis in a great Htel and had dinner at the legendary and much looked forward to Spankies where we had ur lobster; a bit overrated in my opinion.

Dinner

Day 12 – Tuesday

Left

Travelled to Provincetown at the end of Cape Cod where we explored the town, Kev & I ascended the tower with its spectacular views, the mandatory morning coffee followed

Lunch Stop

Activity

Afternoon

Miles driven

Stayed at

Dinner at a restraunnt opposite Spankies, a short walk from our hotel

Day 13 – Wednesday

Left Hyannis and drove to Plymouth to see the Plymouth Plantation, where we learned of the history of the original british settlers, then onto Plymouth itself where we had a tour of the Mayflower, and a very chippy lunch on the sort of seafront.  Then the drive back to the airport with Kev at the helm, and very well driven through a nightmare od roads to the airport.    A sad fairwell to our close friend Dodge Derango who had carried us about safely in style and comfort..

Flight back home as tedious as expected and arrived in Lichfield about lunch time hen back home in time for tea

 

WHAT A HOLIDAY with our great friend Kev & Sara.  Where shall we go next.

Travelled to

Lunch Stop

Activity

Afternoon

Miles driven

Stayed at

Dinner