Tuesday, 5 November 2013

There are no beans in Bean Town

For me, food plays a big part in my travel adventures.  A girl's got to eat, right? And what's better than home cooking?  

Everywhere you go there's always that thing or things that everyone tells you, you absolutely HAVE to try.  In Boston it's clam chowder.  And trust you, me I ate A LOT of clam chowda.  Like, a lot.  As in, I'm pretty sure my blood type was chowder after 4 days.  I ate chowder from fancy restos, supermarkets, cafeterias, bistros, but my favourite was in Quincy Market.  DELICIOUS! Just the right ratio of clams to cream. mmmm.... (OMG.  I just realized how XXX of a comment that was.  I don't care, it's staying)

And well, since Boston is often referred to as Bean Town ( I realize it's really for coffee, but it could have a double meaning), and the recipe is called Boston Baked Beans so I expected to find baked beans on menus everywhere, but I found them nowhere.  I gotta tell you, I was a little disappointed.  Baked beans are one of my favourite breakfast treats.  So I am left wondering, where have all the good beans gone?  I guess that gives me a very specific mission for the next time I find myself in Boston. 

Missing beans aside, Boston is a great place to visit.  We were on a ladies' trip, so we were sure to get some shopping in.  US cities always have great shopping! I think it has something to do with all those great deals we don't really get here in Canada. And it's always easy to shop in cities that are perfect for walking around.  Boston is really scenic with lots of interesting architecture and green space.  It was refreshing to see a city that hasn't totally been run over by ultra modern, super tall highrises.  Ahem, condo explosion in Toronto.  Ya, I'm looking at you. 

We made the trip to the Kennedy museum on this trip.  It's a pretty big museum and is really popular with tourists.  I actually found it to be overwhelmingly crowded at times.  The visit begins with a little bit of a video introduction to JFK and the museum before you are guided through the exhibits.  You'll find lots of expected items like printed copies of speeches, signed documents and recordings. You'll also find some exhibits that recreate a room or television studio the way it would have looked all those years ago.  And for all you Jackie O style fans, you'll also find some of her jewels, clothes and handbags. 

The museum will also show you the influence Kennedy had on events that
occurred outside his borders and even after his time.  My favourite of these artifacts is a slab of the Berlin Wall.  For me this was important, not only because it signaled  the end of an oppression, but it's one of the first news stories I can vividly remember watching on television as a child.  To then be standing in front of it seemed surreal.  I was a little disappointed however with the lack of information on more taboo subjects like his relationship with Marilyn or his involvement in the civil rights movement.  All I'm saying is a picture without shadows, is just a white haze. Ya feel me? 

During our visit we also took a walk on the freedom trail: a 2.5 mile long walk with stops at many historic sites.  The most notable for me were the cemetery (why am I always so fascinated by cemeteries? They could and often do eat up hours of my site seeing day) and the USS Constitution.  Where I secretly wanted to reenact Cher's "If I could turn back time" video. I mean, the boat and the sailors were already there...

The most memorable part of our weekend getaway was the Aretha Franklin concert we attended at the Wang Theater.  The theater is gorgeous and Aretha, in case you didn't already know, can SING! And she's so fabulous she has a man wearing white gloves carry her purse and shoes onto the stage for her. DIVA. But Aretha honey, spaghetti straps aren't for everyone and if you want some R-E-S-P-E-C-T, you've got to sing it.  The concert ended and we were shocked that an epic song like that did not make it to the set list. We tried to sit in protest, but the ushers weren't having any of that.

On our last day we decided to head on out to see Harvard and not to just to "F- up some smart kids" (Good Will Hunting), but to see what all the fuss was about.  Taking the train is pretty easy, but it is a ways away and there isn't too much to do there, especially in the rain and on a Sunday when the burger joint you wanted to eat at is closed.  But it is really beautiful and the rain does make the grass look greener, so it wasn't all for nothing. And just as the rain subsided and the sun started to peek through the clouds the weekend was coming to a close and it was time to head on home.