Category Archives: Pictures and photo galleries

picture-posts, photo-dumps, and other galleries of images that I figure people will enjoy

Visiting Massachusetts – Hiking the Blue Hills, followed by a North End dinner


Saturday, 16-Nov-2019


As I mentioned, the main goal of this trip was to visit family and spend time together.  But that doesn’t mean we had to stay in one place now, did it?  And I’m pretty confident that if I was able to carve out some time to visit with everyone when we were back for Daniel and Erin’s wedding, we should also be able to visit with friends for a bit this time, right?


Steve unfortunately had to work on Saturday, but never the less Sarah, my Mom, and I all piled into the car on Saturday morning, and headed into Boston to meet up with Daniel and Erin (and their dog Biscuit too!) for a short hike in the Blue Hills.  We weren’t really planning on any specific hiking… just a chance to visit and walk around, you know?  Get out of the suburbs and into some woods while the weather was nice.

And let me tell you – the weather was NICE that day.  Perfectly blue skies, crisp air, and just a tiny bit of frost on the ground… the ideal New England Autumn day, in other words.  Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely cold.  But we’d planned for that, and had some nice warm clothes packed with us that we pulled out.  But there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, so everything seemed just that much warmed and brighter, thanks to the shining sun and bright skies.

I honestly couldn’t tell you what trail we walked on… Daniel probably knows thanks to his fancy new tracking GPS watch, or maybe some sort of implanted auto-download data feeds, but the short version was that we did a lovely short walk around the hills, passing a neat little cabin and a beautiful bridge.  A bridge which, obviously, Daniel and I climbed the side of while playing fetch with Biscuit.



After the hike, my Mom had to head out to a “friendsgiving” dinner with some of their friends in Medway – we were welcome to join, of course, but instead Sarah and I took the chance to catch up with some of our own friends in the city!  Daniel graciously offered to not only drive us into town, but also to give us a ride back to Medway afterward!

With those logistics dealt with, we messaged Dillon and Liz and headed into town to rest before dinner – nothing huge, just hanging out at Daniel and Erin’s place for a bit to drop Biscuit off and see some of the new condo accessories before driving to the North End for Italian.

See, I’m sure that Portland has a good Italian restaurant somewhere.  But truth be told, I haven’t been able to find it.  I haven’t really spent that much time looking though… since we can always just go to the North End when we’re back in Boston visiting everyone!

We hadn’t been to this restaurant before, but it absolutely lived up to our expectations of perfect Chicken Parm and a good atmosphere to catch up with everyone.  Really, that’s all I need in an Italian place – a good simple dish, and a good environment to talk in.  The massive boat of oysters (literally, check out the below photos) was just a bonus on top.

Not much else to say, honestly.  The conversation was fun, and catching up with very appreciated.  It was an amazing chance to fully unwind and relax, spending time with good friends in a comfortable place.  Huge thank-yous to everyone!

Visiting Massachusetts – The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University


Friday, 15-Nov-2019


I had been way too long since we’d visited Massachusetts to see family.

I mean, yes, we’d been there for Daniel and Erin’s wedding back in May, but that doesn’t quite count… we did see people, but it was a side-effect from the wedding, and not that actual goal.  We didn’t get to really visit with my Grandma, or hang out in Medway, or any of that.  We still owed everyone a good visit, and I very much intended to deliver on that promise.

We flew out, and visited!


Unfortunately, Sarah was a little bit under the weather after the flights and all the snacks we had after landing, and so she wasn’t able to make it – It was just a “Mom, Grandma, and Ben” adventure this time.

We’d come up with a few different places that we could go visit – various museums and parks around Mass – but ended up choosing the Rose Art Museum on Brandeis University’s campus… it’s a much smaller museum, but that was kind of perfect for what we were looking for, honestly.  It was close in to Lexington, didn’t have a ton of walking, and had a good parking lot right near the entrance… in short, ideal for bringing Grandma to!

Everything went well, so no real excitement to report there…. but the museum itself is absolutely worth mentioning.  It’s a really interesting space; quite small, and not over-filled with exhibits, I think there were four or five unique exhibits total, at most.  Of those, though, were some really good gems that I’d absolutely recommend seeing – especially the smallest of them all, a little replica of a livingroom from the 50s or 60s.

The living room was honestly my favorite because of how simple, yet thorough it was.  There was a docent nearby who helped us make ourselves at home by putting on a record, and giving us a quick tour of the various items on the shelves… exactly like any host would when you first walked into their home.  My Grandma and Mom both commented on how everything just made sense, and that even the smell was right for what they remembered.  It was my favorite type of thing; something clean, simple, and yet surprisingly detailed.

Anyways, the museum aside, the rest of the visit was lovely.  My Aunt Irene and Uncle Bill were able to come and join us for dinner, which was lovely.  Then we all looked through a few various photo albums that my Grandma has, one of which was an album my Aunt had made for her 16th birthday – it was really neat to step back in time twice in the same day, to roughly the same time period, and be able to hear such detailed accounts of life.  I loved it.

Bill and Greta visiting – Kelly Point, Mazamas, and Portland’s Rhododendron garden!


Friday, 18-October-2019


Sarah’s Mom and Dad came to visit!  If you think Sarah and I have been having a busy year… well, you’d be right.  But Her Mom and Dad haven’t had a boring year either, so when they had a chance to escape up to Portland after a business trip, all of us were really excited to get to visit, catch up, and have a nice weekend of downtime and relaxing.

We had a few adventures scheduled up, but we mostly left room for us to explore and spent time together – Video calls are great, and I am extremely thankful to be living in the future where we can video call literally anywhere in the world without even noticing a delay, but in-person visits are still the ideal.


So we walked, explored, took them to some of our favorite restaurants, and explored somewhere we’d never been before – The Rhododendron garden!

First up was Kelly Point park – it’s a lovely walk, and a great way to tire Ollie out a bit to keep the crazy down to almost-sane levels.  It was excellent as always, and we even got to see some cool mushrooms!  Not otters or eagles this time, but it was still fun scanning the surf for them.

Then, we stopped by Sarah’s old workspace at the Mazamas – The Mazamas Mountaineering Center is where she’d been teaching kids to climb this summer, and so she got a chance to show off the walls and the Mazamas library.  I… may have… possibly… gotten a little distracted exploring the library.  I admit to everything, and it was awesome.

After the MMC, we headed to the Rhododendron garden.  We hadn’t been there before, but Sarah had heard amazing things about it, and it sounded like an excellent place to explore.  It was raining, as it so often does in Portland, but honestly I think that made the garden even more beautiful.  The rain on the leaves, and the petals on the flowers… it was lovely.