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A day & a half in Boston

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Spending any time in Boston was not part of our original Cape Cod vacation plan, but neither were Lucia and Felicia.  Life and travel share many of the same principles, two being the ability to be flexible and the ability to adapt.  So when Felicia and Mom expressed how badly they wanted to spend some time in Boston, I had to fight my initial reaction of “no”, and listen to their proposal.  And it’s not that I don’t or didn’t want to see Boston; I figured since there is so much to see and do in that city, it warrants a trip of its own.  I didn’t want to be rushed and forced to hit all the highlights in a short period of time.  Furthermore, I had a hard time justifying any one of us paying for a hotel room on top of what I’d already paid for the condo in Provincetown.  Alas, I’ll do anything for my family, so they were able to talk me into leaving Provincetown a day early and spending our last day and a half  in Boston.

Felicia offered to pay for a hotel room for the night and found an affordable rate at a Comfort Inn in Woburn, just minutes outside Boston.  The woman working the reception desk at the hotel was extremely friendly and helpful, and was able to direct us to inexpensive parking in Boston (we still had the rental car and public parking can be expensive in Boston, just as in Chicago).  We parked in a public lot off Seaport Boulevard, near the World Trade Center, for $12.  Yes, $12 for the entire day.  That’s a steal.  Once we parked, though, we honestly had no idea where we were going, so we just started walking.  And we walked.

At the top of our “must see” list was Boston’s North End, that city’s own Little Italy neighborhood.  All we had was the tourist map given to us by the hotel employee in Woburn.  We were able to plot our route but the scale of the map was distorted so we weren’t sure of the distance.  Turns out, it’s about two miles from where we started to the North End, but it was an enjoyable walk and didn’t seem to be that far.  The route took us through what seemed to be Boston’s financial district, which is dotted with historical markers, so we stopped a few times for pictures and history lessons.  When we finally did make it to Hanover Street, the North End’s main drag, I felt as though I were taken back in time.  It looked and felt a lot like my neighborhood in Chicago’s Little Italy when I was growing up.  The first person we encountered on Hanover Street – this cute, little Italian man – greeted us with a “buon giorno”.  I was so happy that I almost cried.

Our first stop was Modern Pastry for some sfogliatelle – yum!  Afterward, we weaved our way up and down Hanover Street, stopping in the various shops, talking to some of the locals.  The North End also is home to some historical markers, stops on Boston’s Freedom Trail, so we had to take those in.  Another highlight was St. Leonard Roman Catholic Church.  It looks a lot like my parish church, The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii; it really took me back.  We lit some candles and “talked” a bit to Santa Lucia (after whom my daughter is named), and made our way down to Caffe dello Sport for an Aperol spritz.

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On the road again

Monday, February 18th, 2008

You know me – I always need to be planning something. So even though Summer is still a long way off, I am already beginning to plan our next adventure. This July we will embark on a good, old fashioned American road trip! The idea was hatched a few months ago as Mom and I were discussing the fact that neither of us has been to Washington, DC. ‘Tis a shame, yes? I’ve traveled to five of the world’s seven continents and I haven’t even visited my own country’s capital! So, DC is on the itinerary, as is Boston and Atlantic City. We’re budgeting ten days total. Nothing has been confirmed yet other than our route. We will go Chicago->Boston->Atlantic City->Washington, DC->Chicago. I love trip planning!!

Posted by Francesca