elaby: (Vocaloid - Miku Luka kiss)
[personal profile] elaby
Rachel and my seventh wedding anniversary was October 6, and this past weekend, we took a little vacation to Boston to celebrate <3 Most years, we go to Rhinebeck to the sheep and wool festival on this weekend in October, but this year we didn't manage to plan early enough and when we tried to book a hotel room, they were ALL sold out T_T It all turned out for the best, though, because we had the most wonderful weekend in Boston.

It didn't start out all that smooth XD Our plan had been to park our car at the train station in Dover on Friday, have my parents drive us to an end of the T line, and take the subway in to our hotel. We'd then take the train home on Sunday and our car would be at the station. However, when my parents were waiting to pick us up at the station lot, we discovered that we would have to pay $0.25 per hour all weekend to park there. It's never cost to park there before. I had forgotten my camera, so we had our parents meet us at our house to drive us down. My mother graciously agreed to pick us up from the train on Sunday <3

We arrived in Boston around 11:30. Even though we couldn't check into our hotel until 3:00, they had a luggage storage service, so we went there to drop off our suitcase - and they let us check in early! It was wonderful to be able to settle into the room before going off our adventure. The hotel was a "boutique hotel" (I'm still not sure what that means) and it was very beautiful and fancy. Everything was nautically themed because it was right near the harbor (very close to the New England Aquarium).



Our room looked into the atrium of the hotel, which was surrounded on three sides by other rooms and by the open hallway on the fourth.
Weekend in Boston

There was a HUGE mirror across from the bathroom door:
Weekend in Boston

After unpacking (not a huge task with only two days of clothes), we ventured out into the city! Our plan for the day was to wander the North End, looking for pastries. The first thing we saw as we headed in that direction was an incredible carousel with all sorts of native animals. I've never seen a carousel this beautiful.

The pictures I got of it weren't great because it was moving, but the carousel figures were absolutely stunning.
Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

(Only in New England…)
Weekend in Boston

It was only $3 to ride :3
Weekend in Boston

Good squirrel!
Weekend in Boston

The next place we found was a fountain with a labyrinth beside it. There were adorable sparrows bathing in the fountain.
Weekend in Boston

Of course we had to walk the Pattern labyrinth, because once we got to the middle we would be able to shift Shadow and therefore create our own pocket universe have the satisfaction of victory. We made sure not to step off at any point (to avoid instant death) and I made silly jokes about blue sparks around my feet and the scent of magnolia blossoms. Rachel said she'd be Corwin and drive the car if I'd be Random and shift Shadow for her.
Weekend in Boston

We walked all over the North End in the sunshine and falling yellow leaves. Our stops included a 18th-century chocolate shop and a printing company that printed copies of the Declaration of Independence using the same paper from the same company as the original, the same kind of printing press, and the exact same size type (each letter measured and set in the press by hand). We came across this statue of St. Francis in a courtyard near a war memorial:
Weekend in Boston

We stopped for a late lunch at Cafe Rustico, a tiny family-owned restaurant with a few tables and a take-out counter. The food was absolutely scrumptous. We shared a Caprese salad, mozzarella sticks, and gnocchi. After following the red brick line of the Freedom Trail for a while, we decided to head to one of our planned stops: an art store!

We went to the Blick art supply store right near the Symphony T stop. It was a paradise! There aren't any serious art stores around where we live (only hobby stores like Michaels, which have a very limited selection) so I picked up some oil brushes I'd been missing, and I really lucked out - not only did Rachel sign me up for a free frequent buyer card that gave me 20% off this weekend, but there were a selection of brushes for 70% off! Brushes can be pretty expensive, so I was really grateful to be there at the right time. I also bought two new tubes of paint in colors I didn't have - a turquoise and a purple.

After that, we went to Rachel's crafty stop: Gather Here, a yarn and fabric store :3

Rachel always asks me first if she can spend our money when it's not her own allotment of fun money (and she had spent that already this month). It gives me so much joy to be able to say yes once in a while.
Weekend in Boston

We were near Mass Ave after visiting Gather Here, so we stopped at Life Alive for dinner. I adore Life Alive - it's all vegetarian/vegan and organic, and eating there is a health-affirming, joyful experience. However, every time we'd been before, I'd ordered something different, and I never really really loved it. This time, though, I ordered an udon dish with tofu, vegetables, and sesame ginger sauce, and it was so delicious.

Back near our hotel, I tried for about ten minutes to get a good picture of the lit clock tower that rose over the buildings. Finally I got one, with the help of a recycling bin to rest my camera on and Rachel's hand to help steady it as I tilted it at the right angle XD
Weekend in Boston

There was a light display near our hotel that kept changing color. I got a shot of it when it was purple. You can also see the top of the recycling bin where I had my camera propped, haha.
Weekend in Boston

Back at the hotel, we lounged about and watched television until we fell asleep :)

On Saturday, our big plan was to visit Mount Auburn Cemetery, a very large cemetery and arboretum that was founded in 1831. It's the resting place of some very famous figures and the landscape and statuary is said to be incredible. It's also a birdwatching hotspot :D We grabbed breakfast at the Starbucks in the hotel and hopped on the T and then the bus to the cemetery.

The place was breathtaking. It was so peaceful and respectful - a garden, park, memorial, and historical site all in one. It reminded me very much of a cemetery that [livejournal.com profile] mermaiden and [livejournal.com profile] willow_cabin took us to in New York a few falls ago <3 Mount Auburn is incredibly vast - we made it around about a third of it in four or five hours. I'll let my photographs do most of the talking.

Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

This sphinx is a Civil War memorial.
Weekend in Boston

We gasped in awe when we saw the chapel through the trees. Sadly, it wasn't open.
Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

Most older graves usually assume the dominance of the man in a relationship ("wife of", etc.) so whenever we find graves that don't, I like to photograph them.
Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

All the paths were named after things in nature: flowers, trees, birds.
PA180114Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

v

I didn't get close enough to examine it, but it looks like this person's grave marker was a giant hunk of rose quartz!
Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

This one had discolorations that were sort of creepy…
Weekend in Boston

I was fascinated by this three-dimensional sheaf of wheat.
Weekend in Boston

We thought this was interesting for two reasons: It's a grave with the names of two women, apparently unrelated by blood, and also my grandmother's maiden name was Mary Cook :3
Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

Sheep and lambs on monuments have a tendency to get really creepy-looking when they're weathered, but this one was still in pretty good condition.
Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

This reminded me of the Tree of Gondor.
Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

The one grave I wanted very much to find when we visited Mount Auburn Cemetery was Amy Lowell's. Amy Lowell was a poet in the early 1900's, and she wrote beautifully of her adoration of nature and her romantic love for a woman, actress Ada Dwyer Russell. My friend Kate, who was visiting a few weekends ago, told me about a new biography of Amy Lowell by Carl Rollyson, who Kate had interviewed for her magazine. I plan to get it from the library so I can learn more about her away from the ridicule she received during her own time. It sounds very promising, since one editorial reviewer says "Treated as the butt of jokes by her male modernist contemporaries and by hostile biographers, Amy Lowell has been rescued from decades of homophobia, sexism, and anti-fat prejudice by this brilliant new study."

We searched quite a while to find her grave, which was helpfully marked on the map we got from the cemetery's visitors center. It was in a family plot surrounded by a fence, so I despaired of getting close enough to place the acorns I'd brought as an offering until Rachel found an open gate.

Weekend in Boston

Immediately after we left her grave, we were blessed with this incredible sighting:

Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

This Red-tailed Hawk let us get SO CLOSE. It didn't pay us the slightest attention. In fact, as we took about a million pictures and cooed and squealed very quietly about it, Rachel asked me what kind it was, and I said "It might be a Red-tailed Hawk, but I won't be able to tell for sure unless I see its tail-feathers…"

And then it did this.
Weekend in Boston

We were like O.O "Thank you!!" I'm sure that we wouldn't have seen it if we hadn't spent so much time searching around that area looking for Amy Lowell's grave. It was like a gift from her.

Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

One of the main attractions of the cemetery is this huge tower.
Weekend in Boston

It was VERY high, but the stairs were wide and safe and there were sturdy railings all the way up. The view from the top was stunning.
Weekend in Boston

I love being at the height of the treetops <3
Weekend in Boston

There's the chapel near where we came in!
Weekend in Boston

When we came back down, we decided to head off to one of the cemetery's ponds. We saw a lot of amazing statuary on the way.

Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

Rachel took this picture of me watching the tadpoles :)
Weekend in Boston

In LotRO, as you move to higher-level areas, you need more advanced wood for woodworking. One of the higher-level kinds is ilex branches, and I never knew they were real - I always thought they were a Tolkien thing. Imagine our surprise! (Of COURSE the wood you start finding closer to elf-lands is "Sparkleberry").
Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

This grave had a lot of interesting imagery.
Weekend in Boston

The Scots' Charitable Society is the oldest still-active charity in the western hemisphere. The elaborate fence serves as a monument to the hundreds of remains buried inside.
Weekend in Boston

Weekend in Boston

These gorgeous plants, turning yellow in the October weather and spilling across the barrow over this tomb, were lit up by the sunlight and were a perfect last sight for us as we left the cemetery.
Weekend in Boston

At that point, it was around 3:00 and lunch needed to happen. We made our way to Harvard Square where we visited a little three-story mall where there used to be an anime store (the main stop on my high-school trips to Boston). We got lunch at the food court: Rachel had incredibly good fried avocado tacos and I had a delicious chana masala bowl with naan and a samosa. We went to check out the store that replaced the anime store (much to my sorrow), a Japanese-themed home goods store that has, happily, acquired a lot more anime merchandise over the last year or two. I got a couple of very reasonably priced Sailor Moon pendants (one of her Moon Stick and one of Sailor Uranus's Space Sword) and some posters of Miku for our TV room. I also found a Moomintroll cup! I was so happy. After that, we went back to the hotel and tried to find a ghost tour to go on that evening, but they were all sold out. Instead, we walked around Faneuil Hall and looked in the stores until we decided to have dinner at Wagamama, our favorite restaurant in Boston. We stayed up all night watching Ghost Adventures at the hotel, which made up for not getting to go on a ghost tour :3

On Sunday, we spent the morning at the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum. I couldn't take any pictures anywhere they were displaying artwork, though. The museum was really beautiful and very unique: Isabella Stuart Gardner collected the art with her husband, who died before the museum was built. She built it and lived above it for the rest of her life, and everything in the museum is arranged exactly as she organized it herself. It's full to the brim with gorgeous old furniture, tapestries, religious paintings and sculptures, and works of art by some very famous artists. The courtyard in the middle is particularly breathtaking: it's four stories high with an arching glass ceiling that lets in the sunlight, and the mosaic in the middle is surrounded by paths and plants and marble statues of goddesses. I think the website has some pictures of it. The only unfortunate thing was that since Isabella Stuart Gardner's will stipulated that no one could re-arrange anything, there was very little interpretation of the artwork. There were cards in each room that identified the pieces, but it only gave their names and artists, and it was kind of hard to orient yourself using them. There were a couple of interpreters floating around, but they were mostly silent room guards - except one, who told us enthusiastically about everything in the room, and who let me in on the fact that John Singer Sargent, whose art I admire very much, was gay - and I never knew that. I was so delighted and grateful that at least one of the people working there wanted to talk about the artwork.

After we left the museum, Rachel led me to the weekend's mystery stop. It was so exciting to follow her from place to place, not knowing where we were going! Much to our sadness, the event she was taking me to - a four-course desert tasting! - didn't start until 5:00, when our train was leaving. It hadn't said so on the coupon she had, and she was very disappointed. We went to P.F. Chang's for lunch instead and had some of the most delicious vegetarian fried rice we'd ever had.

On the way back from the restaurant, we came upon this incredible sculpture:
Weekend in Boston

Poe! Dramatic in the wind! Look at that sad face.
Weekend in Boston

You can see the tell-tale heart falling out of his briefcase in the back.
Weekend in Boston

Our train ride home was very nice, although quite hot in spite of the chilly weather. We really had such a delightful, relaxing, soul-filling time, and I thank my lucky stars every day that I'm married to the most beautiful, brilliant, loving, perfect woman in the universe <3

Date: 2014-10-20 11:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tripleransom.livejournal.com
Happy anniversary!
Sounds as if you had the most wonderful weekend. The cemetery was amazing, the food was obviously fabulous - fried avocado tacos, be still my beating heart! - but I think the carousel tops the list.
I envy you the yarn store, too. What did Rachael get? I love the blue she's holding in the pic.
You were lucky to have such beautiful weather for your trip. I've been to Boston - once - but since it was in January, I didn't spend much time enjoying the outdoors!
Interesting about the statue of Poe. He's so firmly associated with Richmond and Baltimore in my mind, I had to look him up to see that he was born in Boston. The things you learn.
Thank you so much for sharing and for your incredible photographs.

Date: 2014-10-21 01:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elaby.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed my post! The two blue skeins Rachel is holding are Madeline Tosh in "Baltic" and the rainbowy one is Manos Del Uruguay in "Locura Fluor".

We were really lucky to have such nice weather :) Boston is FREEZING in the winter - I don't doubt you didn't get to spend much time outside!

Date: 2014-10-21 12:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tripleransom.livejournal.com
Ah, MadTosh and Manos. Rachael, you have good taste! No wonder I liked. I don't think I've seen that color in Manos before. I'll have to be on the lookout.

Date: 2014-10-21 01:53 am (UTC)
fastfeetnella: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fastfeetnella
Happy anniversary! It sounds like the two of you had a lovely trip. Wonderful photos!

It's so interesting when you find graves and tombstones that are a bit out of the ordinary.

Date: 2014-10-28 10:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elaby.livejournal.com
Thank you! :)

Date: 2014-10-21 12:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] willow-cabin.livejournal.com
Such beautiful photos! That carousel looks incredible, and your story about the hawk at Amy Lowell's grave gave me goosebumps; I think it was her, too. :) I'm so glad you had such a fun and relaxing trip! So much love to you both. <3333

Date: 2014-10-28 10:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elaby.livejournal.com
<3 <3 <3 Thank you! It makes me happy that you think it was Amy leading us to the hawk too :) I think you would have loved the carousel!

Date: 2014-10-21 12:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caitirin.livejournal.com
<3 I love your post! It was a perfect weekend :}

Date: 2014-10-28 10:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elaby.livejournal.com
YOU'RE perfect <3333

Date: 2014-10-21 12:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caitirin.livejournal.com
Also those hawk pictures turned out AWESOME!!! And the fountain birds!!

Date: 2014-10-28 10:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elaby.livejournal.com
:D Thank you for helping me take them!

Date: 2014-10-24 09:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] coastal-spirit.livejournal.com
As I said when I talked to you, these pictures are fabulous! I love your hotel, and the carousel (omgomgomg!), and the labyrinth, and the cemetery, and the hawk, and omg Poe! (what movement!)

I always love reading your accounts of your adventures and your accompanying pictures because it makes me feel like I was there. ♥

Date: 2014-10-28 10:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elaby.livejournal.com
n____n I'm so glad you like reading them! The Poe statue is amazing, isn't it?

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