Tag Archives: Boston

A flight of New England Fancy – An evening in Boston

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It’s been a while since I’ve been back to Massachusetts… I think it was for Dillon and Liz’s wedding, wasn’t it? That’s sounding right… though I frankly can’t believe that was only six months ago. These last few months have felt like forever, and it was high time that I got back East. The rock was calling, family and friends beckoned, and I hadn’t seen my Grandma in far, far too long…

Sunday, 24-Apr-2022


Ohh man… Okay so bear with me for a moment or two, because I’m gonna tell you a story.

Years ago, I started college in Boston.

Yup. We’re throwing ALLLLLL the way back to 2005, baby!


Anyways, when I started and moved in, I was fortunate enough to find a pretty solid friend group who I began exploring the city with. One of those evenings we decided to go into the North End, and find ourselves an excellent Italian dinner.

As we were wandering around, we came to a small hole in the wall with an older gentleman sitting out front. We’re talking your perfect stereotype of an older Italian grandpa… small, with a cigar, lounging around with a cigar tray and a glass of some kind of bourbon or wine or I don’t know what. We didn’t know yet that hole-in-the-wall places are almost always the best, so we proceeded to walk right on past… until the gentleman called out.

“There’s no room inside. Sorry, all booked”

We looked in… there were one or two patrons, but it was still early in the evening, and the restaurant was far from full.

“I wish we could seat you, but we can’t. Sorry.”

He looked us over… we were stopped, but half-starting to move on past.

“You know what? I like the look of you all. Give me a minute, I’ll talk to the host and see if we can get you a table.”

We looked at each other. We had no idea what to do… We were all fresh-faced Freshmen, and were barely out of our high school cocoons. He came back out.

“I talked to the host, and convinced him to give you a table. Come in! Come in!

That evening, I found the best Chicken Parmesan in the city of Boston. Some people say that, somewhere in the universe, is an ideal version of every object. A perfect chair, the optimal hair tie, and the perfect climbing shoes. I may not have found that single ideal Chicken Parmesan that night, but I haven’t found one better since.

I’ve been back to that restaurant, Cafe Lucia (or Lucia Risorante, I can never quite remember) quite a few times. Work dinner, friend dinners, dates, all of it. It’s never failed to astound, and I’m terrified of the day that something causes them to close their doors.

Thankfully, this visit to Boston saw them still open, and still just as inviting as that evening so many years ago. Dillon and Liz, Daniel and Erin, Clara and Brian, we all met up and enjoyed their amazing fare. We ate, we drank, and we caught up… for which I’m endlessly thankful.

Any time I get sad or lonely out in Oregon, my mind wanders back to that street in the North End… or more accurately, to the smiling faces of friends that I know are always there for me. Even if it’s something as simple as an evening out in the North End to celebrate the end of an amazing week back on the East Coast, visiting friends and family.

A flight of New England Fancy – Visiting Massachusetts in the Spring

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It’s been a while since I’ve been back to Massachusetts… I think it was for Dillon and Liz’s wedding, wasn’t it? That’s sounding right… though I frankly can’t believe that was only six months ago. These last few months have felt like forever, and it was high time that I got back East. The rock was calling, family and friends beckoned, and I hadn’t seen my Grandma in far, far too long…


This… uhh… this post was supposed to go first. So… pretend that it was first?



Friday, 15-May-2022 through Monday, 25-May-2022

It’s been a while since I’ve been back to New England… and now thanks to COVID I have full capability to work remotely… So off I flew to Boston!

The plan was pretty simple:
– Spend Passover with the family in Amherst
– Spend Easter with the family in New York
– Work remotely for the middle of the week
– Go climbing with friends on Friday
– Spend Saturday at a convention that my Mom and Stepdad were running
– Spend Sunday catching up with friends
– Work remotely on Monday, then fly home in the evening


And, if I may say so, it went off without a hitch!

I’ve been working at being slower, this year… not trying to pack in as many little things, and focusing in a bit more on what I’m actively doing at the time. It’s been challenging, especially with constant injuries needing more and more of my time to deal with, but… this week was a chance to really focus in on that plan.

Not being home meant that I didn’t have access to the infinite distractions of my apartment, which definitely aided in zeroing my mind in on a single activity. I wasn’t perfect, of course, but… you know what? I had an amazing time, and felt quite happy by the time the flight home rolled around.

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

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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?

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!