We began our vacation on my husband’s birthday. He just so happens to be a HUGE baseball fan and his one wish for our first night in Boston was to head down to Fenway on the T (public transit) and look for tickets. We parked ourselves in Harvard Square for two nights at the Harvard Square Hotel. The hotel is newly renovated and with modern decor and was a perfect spot next to a T stop and convenient to restaurants and Harvard University. Fenway Park is classic and the energy there is like no other ballpark I’ve been. I could literally feel the history there gazing toward the Green Monster on a gorgeous night. My Dad loved the Red Sox and so does my brother so maybe there is some Red Sox in my blood. I gazed over at the center field bleachers imagining my Dad sitting there in the crowd of partying fans during the 1975 World Series. I can remember well when he took that trip to Boston to see the World Series. The Sox didn’t win the ’75 Series but my Dad’s being there to experience Carl Yastrzemski play with the Red Sox was irreplaceable in his life. I had been to Fenway myself a few times but this time as an adult I took in the whole experience.
The next day we anticipated the arrival of our friends from upstate New York. We ate breakfast at the Crema Cafe a super yummy destination for quiche, coffee or sandwiches. We visited the Harvard Coop for Harvard gear and took a quick tour of the campus a few blocks from our hotel. When our friends arrived we headed downtown on the T and without a transfer stepped out of the T to the Boston Common. Just beyond the Common we visited the Public Garden made famous by Robert McCloskey and his 1941 children’s book, Make Way for Ducklings. My mother, a native of Revere, Massachusetts read many
of McCloskey’s books to us as children (Blueberries for Sal, One Morning in Maine, Lentil) and all are fantastic. I wouldn’t visit Boston without going for a ride on the Swan Boats, highlighted in Make Way for Ducklings.
We moved on to the Freedom Trail – a trail I first explored in 1976 during our nations Bicentennial Celebration. That was a summer of Tall Ships, the 1976 iconic Olympics with Nadia Comaneci, the Brady Bunch, exploring the city and Cape Cod with family. We started the Freedom Trail at the Boston Common, passed the Massachusetts State House, the Park Street Church and toured Granary Burying Ground, where Paul Revere was buried. We ran into a tour at the Old State House and listened in to hear that the Declaration of Independence was shared from the balcony of the Old State House for the first time on July 18, 1776. Next up was Faneuil Hall right next to the buzzing Quincy Market. We marched on after a fruity refreshment from a farmers market into the Boston’s North End. We walked by Paul Revere’s home and on to the Old North Church. The North End was definitely Little Italy. Every restaurant, bakery and gelato stand was Italian and on a Saturday night the restaurants were packed. We shared gelato at a little shop across from the Old North Church and moved on quickly realizing the North End was a perfect spot to have dinner. We started looking for the perfect restaurant (or one that would seat 8) and low and behold a walking friend of mine from Portland and old neighbor of our New York friends said hello! She and my other walking friend were inside sharing dinner with their families before they headed out to Cape Cod and New Hampshire for vacations. It was one of those moments when the stars aligned and we couldn’t believe we’d run into each other.
We dined at one of the fine italian restaurants La Galleria 33. A hit with the kids was the tiramisu. We called it a day and headed back to our cozy beds in Harvard Square tired and well fed.
The next day after another breakfast at the Crema Cafe and a cruise through the Coop and Harvard University we had to say good bye to our friends. We checked out and headed north via the Charles River route and Massachusetts Route 1A north with a drive by Revere Beach and the home where my mother spent her first 10 years. We proceeded through Salem, Beverly, Gloucester and Rockport. The drive was beautiful especially when we could see the water. We stayed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire that night a the Sheraton Harborside in a Ports of Call Suite. It was a splurge on a two bedroom two level suite for a night. We got a AAA rate. Portsmouth was a darling town and we had breakfast at Popovers on the Square. True to their name the popovers were delicious.
We once again headed north to Bar Harbor. It was a rainy day so being in the car was just fine. Bar Harbor was cute and we sought out a dinner destination. My husband had the traditional lobster dinner at Stewmans. I had a lobster bisque and my daughter enjoyed a haddock fish and chips. After dinner we took a cruise through Acadia National Park which was beautiful but fogged in. We headed to Bar Harbor to see Acadia and I imagine on a clear day and especially in the fall it’s stunning.
The next day we took a driving tour of a bit of the Maine coast south of Bar Harbor and then east to Vermont. Our tour took us through New Hampshire on the north side of the White Mountains in New Hampshire and over to Vermont and Cape Cod was the destination on July 3. We took a side tour through Lake Winnepesaukee which would be a vacation on it’s own.
July 3rd we headed with the rest of the Boston area to Cape Cod. We got an early start so the traffic was backed up only at the Sagamore Bridge. We checked into the Chatham Tides and were very happy with our accommodations for 4 nights. We rented an ocean view efficiency room and it was very nice, clean and well cared for. The Tides have been around for years and I loved their location just north of Red River Beach on the waterfront. The Tides has their own private beach.
Chatham, Massachusetts is on the ‘elbow’ of the Cape. The beach water is warm, the air humid and Chatham Center is darling. Chatham is the quintessential Cape Cod town with neighborhoods full of houses in the style of where they reside. ‘Jackie’ houses I call them.
On the 4th of July we connected with my cousins, and aunt and uncle who have owned a home with a gorgeous view of the Red River flats and beach. We attended the Chatham parade and headed to the beach with the family for the afternoon. A few husbands of my cousins were missing in the beach crowd and we heard they were preparing the BBQ for the 4th of July dinner. We joined the extended family on the same patio the Mack family spent many a dinner in ’73 and ’76. One of the best memories is the throwing of the peas over the bushes and the giggles when we just couldn’t seem to fit anymore peas down the gullets of 9 children. On July 4th we enjoyed our most memorable dinner on the patio with platters and platters of ribs with a variety of sauces. The BBQ was a work of art and enjoyed by all. We’re still raving about the ribs a week later.
The next morning we headed out early to Hyannis to catch a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard for the day. Everything about the ferry ride worked out well except the parking was severely lacking. I would recommended doing your homework and calling the cruise line and asking for parking suggestions. Perhaps some ferries include parking – that would be best. We parked in a 6 hour spot knowing we’d likely get a $25 parking ticket and of course we did.
Our cruise dropped us at Oaks Bluff. I was not especially impressed with this side of the Vineyard seemingly due to high ferry traffic and not enough folks cleaning up the streets. We did find a nice casual lunch at Slice of Life and rented bicycles. That was the best decision as riding the bikes 6 miles each way along Beach Road between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown was gorgeous. We rode by Joseph Sylvia State Beach with Sengekontacket Pond on the other side of the bike path. A lovely ride with the wind in our hair and baskets on our bikes (even if they are wire not wicker). Edgartown was another quintessential Cape Cod town and we enjoyed homemade ice cream at Vineyard Scoops - the pistachio ice cream was amazing between bike rides.
We returned the bikes in Oak Bluffs and trekked a short distance to the beach for a much needed dip in the crystal clear Vineyard waters. I cannot tell you when a dip in the sea has been that refreshing. Was it the crystal water or the cool temps or the fact that we were quite warm after the 12 mile ride? I don’t know but that capped a day in the Vineyard like no other experience. We only wished we could have stayed in the water longer.
Back in Chatham we enjoyed another day at the Tides, the beach and shopping in Chatham Center. We enjoyed a last dinner with family at Pates Restaurant for seafood and steak and stories of times past and present. Before we headed out we picked up a peach pie at Marion’s Pie Shop (highly recommended) and a lovely gift for myself at Chatham Pottery.
I loved Cape Cod and I can’t wait to return again. Someday.