Boston Bound

As much as I have been using this blog to creatively to vent and hash out ideas and thoughts; I also want to write about my adventures. After all, it is called Ari’s Adventures In The Big Apple. So I finally had one! Now every day can be an adventure in New York but for once, I actually left the city for the weekend and it was so refreshing. Taking time out of your daily routine and environment are vital for relaxation and your spirits. New York is a tough city, it can weigh you down sometimes so this break was well needed.

Boston is perfect for a weekend away. It’s a cleaner, friendlier and smaller version than New York so I felt right at home and of course there’s the Irish connection. Boston is full of Irish expats and Irish Americans and there’s never a shortage of good pubs to drink in. Unfortunately the trip to Boston was extremely unpleasant…cue the Megabus. Now, the Megabus is (as Conor would say) ‘the Ryanair of buses’ and that’s a pretty accurate description. It’s cheap, gets you from A to B in one piece and has just enough leg room/ personal space to recline back in peace and sleep for the 5 hour journey however we were caught in extremely bad traffic and arrived in Boston at 3:30pm on Friday. We were meant to be there at 2pm. We also did not have time to grab any breakfast or snacks for the long journey so that made it even worse. Imagine being on a bus, no water, no snacks, the wi-fi is not working, there’s a child kicking your seat and you’re stuck in traffic. Worse bus ride ever but at least it was cheap.

Things looked up when we finally arrived in Boston and the sun was shining and the day was still young. First thing first was to get food so we scoffed our faces with sandwiches in South Station and then headed to our Airbnb in Medford. Thankfully Boston is a bit cheaper than New York so we decided to treat ourselves and get an Uber. Our Airbnb host was unfortunately out but thankfully she gave me the door code to get in and it was like entering a home away from home. There were selves lined with books, DVDs and board games. 100 board games to be precise. We were also treated to a breakfast and coffee bar; she even had her own bar in the living room. We were being spoiled in this very cute B&B style apartment. There was even a tray or mints and chocolates beside an information and tourist folder but the best part of the Airbnb was Snuggles the cat who greeted us with welcoming meows and belly rubs. 20424547_10155058599671919_1826285037_o

Just look at that cute little face! Snuggles showed us around and helped us get comfortable in our room by showing us how to knead the pillow to get extra comfy and rolled around on the bed. After freshening up, we were ready to hit the town and one short Uber ride later, we were enjoying a drink overlooking Faneuil Hall Marketplace at Anthem Kitchen and Bar. I had a ‘Far from the tree nova hopped cider’ and at 8% a bottle, I was getting in the holiday mood and buzzed. We thankfully had a lovely waitress who accepted my Irish drivers licence and 2 other forms of I.D because apparently under Massachusetts law, they don’t accept foreign drivers licences as official I.D, only passports. I was lucky because I had left my passport back in New York.

After we had our drinks, we wandered around the marketplace taking in the sights and people watching before heading to North 26 Restaurant & Bar for dinner and if you’re ever in Boston, I highly recommended going there and getting the Lobster deal for $20 because it was so much food and it was SOOOO good. 1 1/4 lobster, clam chowder, corn on the cob, potatoes and dinner rolls. It was a feast and the server there, Cathy, was enough to show me how to properly open the shell.

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I struggled to finish it and could barely move after dinner but it was worth it. We then took a stroll down to the waterfront. It was beautifully lit with fairy lights wrapped around the archway through Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park. We watched the boats in the dock area bob in the water and people walking around the area. It was so peaceful compared to the hustle and bustle of New York. We then continued onto The Tap Trailhouse for one final drink before heading back to the Airbnb and getting some much-needed sleep. Although the trip started out rough, I was highly impressed by my first night in Boston.

We woke up early on saturday morning, had breakfast and filled our bags with water and snacks (Shout out to Shalene, our lovely Airbnb host) and headed out to see Harvard University. As soon as we pulled up outside the red bricked walls and black ironed gates, I could feel my brain turning to mush. I will never be as smart as the students at Harvard and that’s a fact. Our first stop was the Harvard Book Store and it is a book worm’s paradise, I enjoyed exploring all the aisles however they had nothing on my reading list in stock so I left emptied handed but still impressed. We crossed into the campus, through the iron gates and wandered into Harvard Yard. The green trees and plush square surrounded by red brick buildings is a sight to see, regardless of swarms of tourists around. Nevertheless, we admired the buildings and snuck onto the tail end of a tour group to get some background and historical facts.

Our tired but happy faces outside the Widener Library.

I don’t think the tour leader even noticed we tagged on but we did and followed her around the yard for nearly 30 minutes until we jumped ship and entered the Harvard Art Museum. By cheekily using our expired student I.D’s, we got student admission for only $10! A Bargain and what I miss most about being a student- the discounts that come with a student card.

The museum had a wonderful mix of Contemporary art, Asian art, pottery, sculpture and Renaissance art so I happily wandered around the rooms for ages, getting lost in the different rooms and exhibitions. My stomach growling was the only thing to bring me back to reality and with that we said goodbye to Harvard and hello to lunch. We hopped on the shuttle headed for Boston Common and grabbed some lunch in Silverstone Bar and Grill. The next thing on our list was a shopping trip to Primark because I have been deprived of  cheap but reliable clothing and located downtown is a huge 5 story Primark, so that already beats the 2 hour trek to get to the Primark on Staten Island. After spending 2 hours wandering around and hitting the changing rooms; I left the shop with a big bag and a big smile on my face (I was smiling to hide the pain of the pending transaction that was coming.)  I was parched and by parched I mean I was dying for a drink as I was on holidays so it was wine time. We wandered through downtown until we dropped into Scholars American Bistro and Cocktail Lounge and I indulged in a glass of prosecco because that’s what I do on holidays. I soaked up the atmosphere while enjoying my glass and guessing which bartender/waitress was on the J1 summer visa. The answer was at least one as I heard a Wexford accent behind the bar.  We downed our glasses and headed onto our next location as the night was young yet. We got the shuttle to Assembly Square and as soon as we passed Mike’s Pastry, my mouth watered and I had to get a treat. I couldn’t decide over all the cakes, pastries and cannolis so I finally ended up getting a Boston cream pie and it was delicious and so filling.

We headed down the sunlight path through Assembly Row to get to Muse Paintbar for an evening of sip and painting. The deal is $30 for a an hour painting class and they have all the materials provided so you follow the instructor on stage step by step. There is a fully stocked bar as well but thankfully they had to close the kitchen so to compensate; they gave everyone a free drink! My favourite surprise. I settled into my work station, mixing my paints and sipping my wine while the instructor began the class. It was a lovely way to get back into art without having to rearrange my whole bedroom to do it. They also had a party playlist going on in the background which was just the best addition to the activity as I jammed to classic Spice Girls and Britney Spears while painting. Another lovely surprise was that they ordered pizza for us as a second apology for the lack of Kitchen. I already loved the free drink but of course I was taking free pizza. I was in heaven; painting, prosecco and pizza, what more could a girl ask for! When we  had finished our paintings, we cleaned our brushes and everyone rushed to pose with their canvases on the stage and naturally so did we.

(We’re like two natural Bob Ross style painters).

Unfortunately we could not bring our paintings with us as we were going back into the city and then eventually back to New York so we parted ways but at least we’ll always have the memories. We left feeling tipsy and on a high note so we went back to the North end for dinner and drinks. I had fallen in love with the food scene in Boston and was hungry for more seafood so I ordered a hot lobster roll at the Bostonia Public House. It was perfection- the roll was soft and warm and the lobster was dripping in butter and the prosecco was cold and crisp. I nearly entered a second food coma. We sat there finishing our wine and people watching as it was a saturday night and the bar was packed with characters. It was entertaining to watch them all mingling until a crowd of loud and drunken Bros crashed upon our table and we knew it was time to leave and that the was a cute cat and a private bar waiting for us back in Medford.

Waking up on Sunday was bitter-sweet because I did not want to leave the comfort of our nice, comfy and clean Airbnb. I want to call work and tell them that I was never coming back; I live in Boston now but alas, reality beckoned and we had tickets for the Megabus that evening. We got dressed and packed, said goodbye to Snuggles with tears in our eyes and headed out for our final day in Boston.

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A holiday away for me wouldn’t be complete without Sunday Brunch. I used to brunch a lot but unfortunately because I work most weekends I never have time for Brunch or I’m too broke for brunch in New York.  We headed to The Beehive for a farewell brunch and it was just delicious. The best waffles I’ve had in ages;  I had to ask especially as they had taken them off the menu but the waitress nicely put in the order. We enjoyed our brunch outside in the sun while lots of dogs strolled past us. Boston is also a great dog city.

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(The picture doesn’t do it justice.)

After brunch, we strolled to the Boston Public Gardens and soaked up the sun as we watched the row boats and swans paddling in the water. It was a hot summer day and the gardens were full of people enjoying a lazy sunday out. We stop to take some pictures on the lake but unfortunately they’re Polaroid so excuse them for not being in the blog post. We lazily strolled through into Boston Common and walked all the way down common wealth avenue to get books in Barnes and Noble and snacks in Trader Joes for the journey back to New York because I want to be prepared this time for the Megabus.

We dragged ourselves to South Train Station and grabbed bottled water and a sandwich for the bus. It felt strange that only 48 hours previously we were in the same station and now we were about to leave again. As we boarded the bus back and settled in for the long journey ahead, I was sad to say goodbye to such a great city and grateful for a much-needed break away.

If you’re ever in Boston, you should seriously check out these attractions.

Much Love,

Ari

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