August 17, 2011

P O R T L A N D & B O S T O N

Well folks, the AT is OVER (: After our lovely time at Brock's cousin's lake house, we parted ways. Mike & I headed to Boston while Brock hung back with his family so he could catch a flight home for a wedding. Mike literally woke up in a state of panic our first morning in Boston, thinkin' we'd lost Brock. I can already tell this "recovery process" is going to be a long one. I wouldn't be one bit surprised if I wake up one morning in the near future to find Upstate & Loop in their tents in the back yard. Seriously.

Before we headed to Boston we took a few hours to explore Portland! Mike had never been & it's been such a long time since I have - we decided "why not?!". We loved it. [But then again, there are very few places that I've been and not loved...] It reminded us of an Eastern Seattle. The streets were lined with little shops, flavorful restaurants, fresh lobsters, gelato, and so much more. We'd slept late & eaten a late breakfast in hopes of catching up with some friends from SC who actually live in Portland for lunch. However, there was a slight miscommunication, so we ate lunch in town and caught a quick visit with them on our way out. Out of all of the delicious places to choose from to eat - can you guess where Mike chose to eat lunch?! Five Guys! Can't beat a Five Guys burger. [Oh, my little creature of habit (: ] We fairly scarfed down these burgers and headed to a park to catch JD on his way into work. After a few minutes of chatting we let him run in so he wouldn't be late & headed over to see his wife, Nicole & baby boy, Caleb. They were so sweet to take us to the coast to see a real live light house before we had to go! What a treat! We decided we'd take the "back way" from Portland to Boston - so we could avoid the tolls [don't get me started] and enjoy the scenery. We made it to Concord around 9 PM and quickly got settled into our cozy, comfy room at the Colonial Inn. We got a great deal & it was only a short drive to catch the T into Boston so we could avoid the traffic mess. After we threw our stuff down we lazed around watching movies 'til the wee hours of the morning.

We'd have loved to sleep in, but Boston was calling. We breakfasted at the Inn - yummy goodness in our bellies before heading out to catch the T. If you understand my love of travel and the fact that we don't have anything like the T where I live - you know I was pretty excited about it. Even if we had to pay $7 [which I know is cheap considering] for parking. I loved sitting on the T watching people who live there and others like ourselves hop on and off at the different stops while we waited not so patiently for the "Downtown Crossing" stop. Once off the T, we strolled around for a bit, soaking it all in. We knew we wanted to walk the Freedom Trail, visit the Union Oyster House - America's Oldest Restaurant [est. 1826] & the Green Dragon Tavern [est. 1654], but since the Red Sox [YUCK!] were out of town & we couldn't catch a game, that was about it. After wandering throughout the city for a while, we headed over to Union Oyster House, but kept on walkin' because it was a little expensive for lunch ... and very crowded. We quickly found the Green Dragon and decided it was perfect. Mike ordered a whopping platter of fish & chips while I had the Benjamin Franklin, "a  no nonsense burger served plain & simple." Delish. (: Since we'd probably consumed 1000+ calories in this one sitting, which is NOT okay since we aren't hikers any more, we decided we'd better start the Freedom Trail. Don't judge...we only did about half of it, because you had to cross a bridge to get to the other half & you know, after walking 1000+ miles, it just wasn't worth it. We have been told we picked the wrong half to skip. Oh well, we'll just have to go back! (: We did see Paul Revere's house, Copp's Hill burying ground, and the Old North Church. Other parts we saw from afar as we were busy shopping. We thoroughly enjoyed Boston. Mike & I agreed we both liked it better than NYC - it had more of a cozy feel [if you can say that of a big city]. There were several streets that cars didn't drive down, so I could stand in the middle of the street and take pictures (: and I LOVED Little Italy. It really, really reminded me of Italy. [go figure] I could've stayed there for days. We skipped out on dinner in the city mainly because we weren't sure of the T times and we were pretty exhausted. Plus, we were staying in historic Concord so we thought we'd better take advantage of that. We hit a local pizza joint...ehhh, the pizza was okay and the tiramisu was lack-luster. Oh well, live and learn. When you have legit Italian, don't leave it if you want legit pizza & tiramisu. By the time dinner was over, it'd started raining so we had to walk back to the Inn in the rain. At least we weren't walking to a shelter with our packs on (: Again, we watched movies galore - a simple pleasure - before finally going to sleep.

Our next stop was Betsy's house, in PearisburgMmmmmmmm I think I'm going to enroll in Betsy's School of Southern Cooking! [I wish] After dinner we got to hang out with Besty & Larry and entertain them with stories from the trail for a little while before zonking out. I almost had to carry Mike from the couch to the bed he was so tired! We slept and we slept and we slept [for about 12 hours]. When we finally drug ourselves out of bed Betsy had run to the store to pick up all the fixin's for breakfast. Scrambled eggs, bacon & some homemade sourdough bread with homemade peach preserves Yummm!! Betsy runs a hundred miles an hour, so while Mike & I sat at her bar, she was busy makin' pickles. She explained the process to us & got me really interested in canning - that'll be an adventure to take on this fall. We loved our time with Besty & told her to hold off on missing us because we'd be back in just a few short weeks for the family reunion. As it goes when you're traveling, you never know what other crazies on the road will be doing, so we ended up having a 2+ hour detour - making our 4 hour ride home about 7 hours. Blah -- but, it is good to be home! We're still enjoying our "early retirement" (: with a week at the beach and some good time at the lake with friends on the agenda. We'll be working our way out of this early retirement soon - but more on that later!

P O R T L A N D 

Portland, ME

Gelato in Portland!

Sweet little Caleb riding in the back seat with me!

a light house


The Union Oyster House


enjoyin' lunch at the Green Dragon Tavern

the sign on the Old North Church

Paul Revere & his horse

The Freedom Trail .. the last trail I'll be doing for a while (:




Mike enjoyin' Betsy's homemade Southern cookin'

pettin' the horses at Betsy's

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