And off we are again, headed North to Boston, where New England fall awaits us in all its changing splendor. Boston is home to a few more of our dearest friends, my college roommate Kseniya and Nigel, Ed’s old college roommate. Boston was a bit nippier than New York, but we still lucked out with the weather overall, considering how fickle fall can be in late October.
In Boston, all sorts of deep-seated needs were satisfied: the need for hearty pot roast with potatoes, cream of squash soup and even rillettes Bulgarian-style (who knew we were craving that!), thanks Ksew and Jay for your multinational delicacies. Also satisfied: my long-harbored need for a lobster roll, a remnant of my Cape Cod days, but most importantly – and before you start taking me for a total food hedonist – the need to catch up on all things near and far, to vent, to discuss, to over-analyze, to poke fun at each other and to re-hash old memories.
In between food and talk, we did a few other fun things. Since Ed and I separated to hang out with our ‘besties’, Ksew and Jay took me out to Plum Island beach, just North of Cape Ann, a remote part of Massachusetts I hadn’t explored before, with a few stops in between, including a scenic cemetery covered in golden foliage, and lunch at a local seafood joint (I really do love steamed clams dripping with hot butter).
The beach itself was beautiful, almost entirely desolate on a late Sunday afternoon, with a very small peak that, in its larger incarnations, is home to PIST (Plum Island Surf Team), which sounds funnier when you say it than when you write it.
On the way back we stopped at the most incredible farm, Tendercrop Farm near Newbury, where an entire second floor was covered in bunches of dried herbs and flowers, neatly tied and hung from a ceiling, like something you might see in professor Pomona Sprout’s greenhouse over at Hogwarts’.
(This is when you turn to your non-Harry Potter-head friends and shake your head in disappointment at their not getting it).
Reunited with Ed, we spent some time exploring Boston by bike thanks to their awesome Bike Hub system, which gave me a run for my money – literally – as we raced from one hub to another trying to stick to the 30 minute time limit before incurring extra charges. Eventually, all roads lead to the Boston Commons, and so did we, and afterwards we checked out the Public Library, the first large free municipal library in the United States.
After the requisite evening bowl of clam chowder in an Irish pub off of Newbury street, we headed to another friend’s home – Daniel Schultz, another one of Ed’s UCSD friends, and from there we ended the night eating oysters near Fenway stadium while the Red Sox were kicking someone’s behinds in an away-from-home game in the World Series final. Overall, very much a Bostonite evening, including the chill that suddenly set in, reminding us that New England’s not for sissies…
The next day: Ksew had an awesome hike in store for us in the nearby hills, followed by a Boston friends reunion over at Nigels’, where his amazing girlfriend Emily made us the most scrumptious homemade pizzas, Vermont-style.
Time flew by and, before we knew it, we were again on the bus, this time headed south, for the first time since our trip started: Connecticut beckoned us through the voices of Josh and Erika, two friends who are now officially adults, with a beautiful house in a picturesque area of the state.
We spent about a day with them, recovering from travels, and afterwards hitched a ride to New York, where we boarded a plane towards Budapest, the first stop on the European leg of our trip.