Providence to Boston

Today was a rather crazy day. We woke up early to have breakfast with Julie. (Croissants and scrambled eggs) The weather was gorgeous today and so before we left we nipped down to the beach again to take some more pictures before leaving for Boston and saying goodbye to Julie.

 

 

 

With only one day in Boston we wanted to get there as soon as possible. It is only about two and half hours away, and so we stopped off in providence (capital of Rhode Island) for an iced tea and a wonder around to see the sights. We walked the streets around brown university, admired the views and overall mum and I decided we rather liked providence.

 

 

 

 

 

An hour or so later we arrived in Boston. Sort of accidentally booked probably the most expensive hotel you could stay in in Boston. It was the first one that came up… Boston harbour hotel. We chose a city view (The harbour view was about 100 dollars extra…) After dumping our bags in what can only be described as a small apartment; we then wandered down to the harbour to take a walk around boston. 

 

First stop was the Boston tea party museum and tour. 

I honestly didn’t have much of an idea of what on earth the Boston tea party was about. To hazard a guess… I thought it might have been a bunch of Bostonians having a tea party when some member of our royalty came to visit. Ha. How little do I know. But then every day is a school day eh! 

 

So for those of you who don’t know; the boston tea party was essentially the start of American independence. Back in the day, our good old king George the third had a bunch of tea from somewhere in the world that was shipped into Boston, I believe in route to Europe… Anyhow it had to be offloaded in Boston, and the Bostonians were to essentially be forced to pay tax on it. But the Bostonians were having none of this and basically conspired against the king and a large band of them formed an alliance, dressed up as Indians (to disguise themselves) went aboard the British vessels and lifted and threw all of the boxes of tea into the water. Obviously this day went down in history as clearly the Brits/red coats found out it was the Bostonians, to which point we then essentially went to war with the yanks. Ultimately they (the yanks) won and on July 4th 1776 America gained their independence. 

It was an interesting tour as obviously it was relatively anti the crown and the Brits. I suddenly felt rather foreign. Which of course I am 🙂

Anyhow after this we continued to wander around Boston in the blistering heat. Stopped off at the library for quite some time which I of course loved. Sat with an ice cream outside trinity church (which we also visited) in copley place, which is an older area of boston and walked through beautiful parks where there was so much activity, I would imagine because of the weather. Mum then decided she wanted to find the oldest house in Boston and to follow this trail marked on a map. 1 hour later, feet rather painful, and pretty tired we found the house. Very modestly sitting amongst some other buildings within an Italian style quarter if the city. Mum took a picture of said building, we looked at it for about half a minute and then we marched back to the hotel. By this point I was pretty tired but still, the views of the harbour, and walking the harbour walk back to the hotel were pretty beautiful, and we decided that we also had fallen in love with Boston too. 

 

Weekapaug & Taylor Swift

Monday 3rd June 2013

 

Waking up in weekapaug Rhode Island was ace. There was a huge sea mist encompassing the back garden and the view beyond down to the ocean. And even though the sun wasn’t particularly shining there was this eerie maritime type feeling lurking in the marshlands directly below the house and a smell of salty ocean air that made the place seem even more magical.

Julie had various options for breakfast, I went with croissants and jam, coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice. And we sat the three of us overlooking the unstoppable mist, eating breakfast and nattering away about family and friends and events past and events yet to come.

After this we jumped into Julie’s car -Not literally; that would be quite the achievement – and left her house ( which I forgot to mention Is called ‘twilight’ how cool is that!) to go on a ‘Julie tour’ of Weekapaug and surrounding towns, and just generally a tour of her life in Rhode Island. 

The first thing to note is that up until this point, I hadn’t really seen the effects of hurricane sandy. Actually when we arrived into New York at Brooklyn harbour there was a notice as we were going through customs saying to ‘excuse their appearance’ they were still recovering from Sandy. And you could sort of see the flooring had been stained somewhat by the salt watered sea. But since that literal first encounter we hadn’t seen anything. So as we rounded a corner in Julie’s town that joined onto the ocean road it was astonishing to see so much sand everywhere. The public beaches that are usually flat had mounds and mounds of sand, so much so that the sea had been obscured from view. A lot of the sand had been cleared up apparently, but you could see there was still an awful lot more to do, and a substantial amount of damage had been done to the surrounding buildings and streets. 

 

Last week saw the tornados sweeping through Oklahoma. And I remember me and mum chatting about why anyone would choose to live in places that were renowned to have seasons of destruction. We asked Julie about this and she just explained that its just part and parcel of life for people that live in high risk weather areas. Julie doesn’t get tornados in Rhode Island, but hurricanes can be very common in season. I guess we are just very fortunate in the UK not having to deal with these ridiculous weather paths. Admittedly flooding has been pretty serious when it has happened in the last decade or so, but otherwise; we don’t get massive earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados or hurricanes. So watching things unfold on television over here is pretty scary to be honest! 

Anyway. After driving out of weekapaug we drove into Watchill which is basically down the road. Here we had a grand tour of the beautiful and gigantic houses, including a huge house Taylor swift has just bought. Much to the annoyance of the locals apparently. Which of course was very exciting to drive up so close to. It was raining and there were security and paps around so we didn’t linger too long! 

We went through the town of westerly also, and learnt more about Julie’s history here and even bumped into one of her cousins. She seems to be somewhat of a celebrity in the area! Back at the house we had lunch of cheeses and biscuits and fruit and potato salad. It was very Mediterranean stylee. I then went down for a wonder to the beach and wrote some more of this book I’m writing. Even though it wasn’t sunny in the slightest it was still great to be on a beach. 

In the evening Julie had booked us into a recently re-opened restaurant called the sea goose. Here I sampled my first (I think) ever oysters, they were pretty epic. Julie also knew an awful lot of people in the restaurant too! Including more cousins! Was quite funny. After a wonderful dinner we then drive back home through the persistent mist and continued to help Julie with a puzzle she had started a few days ago.most likely the hardest puzzle I’ve ever seen. But strangely addictive.  

 

We will be sad to leave Julie’s tomorrow, but will most likely see her in Chicago next week as she is popping back to her apartment for the week. I think I forgot to mention that Julie lives in Chicago in the winter and Rhode Island in the summer. Sam has spent some time with her in Chicago and I think she has become a surrogate grandmother for him out there, and he a surrogate grandson, which is nice. So Julie had a few stories to tell of Sam. One sticks to mind about the astonishment she encountered when she first realised how big of an appetite (for food) Sam has….

 

Driving on the right side of the road

Sunday 2nd June 2013

 

We had a whole morning in New York City before having to head to get our hire car. So we decided to go up the Rockefeller building which neither of us had done before. So after our all American breakfast of fried potatoes, streaky bacon and eggs (sunny side up) we wondered down the road to the Rockefeller centre.

 

When me and mum were in Paris over Christmas we went up a building that wasn’t quite as high as the Eiffel Tower but was the highest building other than the Eiffel Tower. We soon discovered we had found a hidden gem of views across Paris that included the Eiffel Tower. I suppose you don’t really think when you are going up these high buildings that once you’re at the top you are effectively just looking at all the other buildings below and not the actual building you are in itself. What finding that other viewpoint did meant that we saw the whole of Paris skyline from a height and including the main feature of the Eiffel Tower itself. The same thing applied here. I have been up the Empire State Building twice now I think, and each time was really great, and the views are spectacular, but what was even better this time was that the Empire State Building was part of the view. I would recommend going up the Rockefeller building over going up the Empire State Building simply because of this fact. Its also probably cheaper.

 

Anyhow another beautiful morning meant a perfect day to take pictures of manhattan and beyond before finding our way down again and making our way to the place we were hiring our car for the next few weeks of road tripping!!

 

 

I think mum was particularly nervous about the initial drive out of New York City, and although I’m insured to drive the car too I was very happy to be navigator at this point 🙂

 

It wasn’t as bad as expected though. We were pretty close to 1st avenue that linked us right onto the main highway off manhattan and eventually out of the city. Our first stop off is in Rhode Island where we will be staying with a fantastic family friend (who we know through my lovely grandparents on my mums side) Julie bacon.

 

Once mum got the hang of the highways it was all pretty simple. We worked our way on the main highway through the Bronx and then out and over the state line into Connecticut. The roads are so huge and wide and considering the time of day they were pretty empty in most places.

 

We stopped off for water and food halfway, just off the highway. Literally EVERY services stop has a McDonald’s and that’s about it. Fortunately at this one there was also a subway. So we tucked into one of those whilst sat outside in the sunshine before continuing in our journey.

 

It’s not too far of a drive to Rhode Island. About 3 hours, and it seemed to fly by. There was plenty to look at out the window.

 

Rhode Island, and in particular where Julie lives in weekapaug is beautiful. Her beautiful house overlooks some lakes that lead out to the ocean which you can also see. It is so wonderful seeing Julie. We last saw her at Christmas in London, and visiting her house in Rhode Island is particularly special. We opened a bottle of rosé and had some cheese on arrival and then had a guided tour aided along also by Julie’s dog max who is a very cute dog and so well behaved!!

We had dinner reservations for 7pm at the inn overlooking the ocean that you can see from the house. So we sat on the veranda of the inn and ordered nibbles and bits and bobs and drank wine and chatted and caught up. I also had clam chowder. when fresh its literally my favourite! Its still nice enough to sit outside but a storm is heading our way now so we thought we out to make the most of the weather!