Boston & Salem, Autumn 2017

Day One: October 12th, Cleveland to Washington Dullas to Boston

From previous experience, I’ve accepted that the itinerary never goes to plan. Especially when jumping on not one plane but two.

However, on the bright side, Emylee and I were right on schedule for the tedious yet minor parts of travel. I’ll let you mosey on over to Emylee’s view to get the full expansion of the details with checking in our luggage online. Anyway, once we received our confirmation and $50 out of pocket, we were locked, loaded and off to Cleveland Hopkins at just around one in the morning.

Two hours later, I parked us in the Brown lot for the somewhat-decent price of nine bucks per day and we trotted along to one of many airport shuttle stops.  Ten more minutes later, we were in the airport and our bags dropped off. I thought airport security would be the only bitch we had to deal with today but no.

Just as we sat down at our gate, Emylee and I immediately started to drag. Naturally, you should always be early when flying. And we were; it was almost 5:30 a.m. less than an hour before our scheduled flight to Washington Dullas. Well, an announcement was made that technical difficulties were afoot and the flight was delayed. Suddenly alert, it registered to me that our secondary flight was supposed to leave Washington fifty-five minutes after we land there.

A twenty-five minute delay can make all the difference. And it almost did for us. At 7:51 a.m. we hauled ass from Gate D26 to C23, maneuvering around–and almost shoving–people (on my part). God, people can be so slow and oblivious.

We just made it to boarding our 8:30 departure. Group three was already being called and we were in group five, the last one. Emylee and I at least got a chance to catch our breath, even if for a short moment. Just as I got comfortable, thinking I had the extra space to myself, I had the privilege of sitting next to a bony Chinese man who not only had a pungent smell attached to him but didn’t grasp the concept of headphones in a public barrier. Just to be clear, I’ve nothing against anyone in particular; the man just happened to be all those things.

In spite of his elbow almost poking my side and taking up whatever remaining space I had, I managed to nod off for the hour-and-a-half flight. Not without jerking myself awake since my head kept leaning sideways towards Emylee. She had the window seat, so she finally nudged me to rest on her shoulder as she drifted against the closed screen.

Keep in mind that I got off work only several hours before driving to CLE and neither one of us could sleep the entire time we drove there in addition to flying to Washington. So I was definitely a bit irked during those ten hours of travel.

When landing into Boston Logan, as the last group to be seated, we were the last to leave the tight-spaced aircraft.

All our frustration, exhaustion, and strain melted away. Boston was familiar ground for me. Half of my life, I’ve visited, explored, and even lived here. Like in Dublin and Edinburgh, everything in Boston made sense to me. The buildings, the people, the subway system, the air. This city is just one of those places that I feel an immediate attachment to and a sense of belonging. Once I’m no longer under struggling writer status, I hope to have the option of Boston being one of many places of refuge.

Again, everything became easy after landing. From grabbing our luggage to hopping onto the T after over three years.

I’ve had the privilege of interning under DigBoston Publishing during the summer of 2014 in Boston’s theatre district. In those three months, I’ve used my T pass incessantly for everything but heading to work. I loved that feeling of freedom in just one swipe of that card.

Back then, I’ve looked at that train schedule more than I can count. However, my memory was a bit hazy on the stops and lines so it amazed me that I recalled routes and pit stops to get into and outside Boston. On top of that, compared to the subway system of New York, the T was stupid easy. After a few glances, you get the gist of which way was inbound and outbound. Emylee did right off the bat.

So took about forty-five minutes for us to get the closest stop near the city of Randolph.  From the blue line to switching onto the orange to finally the second last stop on the red line, we made it to Quincy Center and waiting for an Uber to our AirBnB.

A Honda CR-V pulled up at about 11:53 a.m. The driver’s name was Slavianka and she was incredibly friendly and cute as a button. She’s Bulgarian and moved to the U.S. about three years ago. She was so engaging and welcoming, and her English was better than mine. This is coming from an English major. Emylee did most of the talking as I was getting lethargic again yet the drive went by fast.

We were dropped off in front of what appeared as a Colonial style home. It was country blue, almost cornflower, with white accents and window trim. It had the picturesque setting of the white picket fence cascading a little flower garden and a pergola arching over a little concrete path to the stairs of the doorstep.

For about $366 and some change, we got the opportunity to stay here for the next four days and nights. This was the home of couple, Dale and Joseph, our AirBnB hosts.

We were given notice to let ourselves in. Inside the multi-story house, everything was even better. The entire interior was a combination of art deco, Mediterranean and contemporary styles with warm undertones in the color scheme and versatile decor. And they had a solid book collection to compliment.

Right on the kitchen counter, we saw the instructions of where our rooms would be. We had the options of two people staying in the guestroom provided or the little loft above a home office. Emylee and I knew Moriah would like her own space because she often goes to bed earlier than all of us. Plus we also figured she’d go crazy for the spiral staircase that goes up to the loft.

A short time later we met Joseph. He was a tall man with a genial and warm disposition. He had the kind of face that you just can’t say no to. A short tid bit of conversation and some questions answered later, I moved my stuff into the closet for the time being, took my pants off and hopped into bed for a much needed nap. Sometime after, Emylee showed a picture of me sleeping where one palm was under my cheek (as I sleep on my side usually) and the other arm crossed. I looked like I was sleeping sideways in a coffin. Haha.

Moriah arrived around 3-4 p.m. in her little but long Honda. Some hugs and puns came and went before she schelped her stuff up the stairs.

First thing we thought that can be done was to get to the nearest Starbucks for some fuel and a Boston destination mugs from their collection. Emylee and I wanted two mugs: one for ourselves and one as a souvenir for someone else. We scored at a two-story Target with an inside Starbucks, taking the whole display of mugs.

Then we decided to make a mini-trip for some (relatively healthy) snacks and miscellaneous things for our stay and for when (especially) perusing Salem.

We came back to our AirBnB to drop off our goodies and then headed over to Atlantic Kitchen for dinner. Because when in New England, what do you get? Seafood.

Just a heads up: Never underestimate prices in New England area. If you think you have an idea of how expensive eating there is, think bigger. Trust me. This is an area where the minimum wage is $11 an hour. That being said, I decided on lobster bisque in spite of price ($8 for a bowl), a two-dollar Bud Light special and we all split the Fish of the Day, haddock.

We ended up each spending about twenty bucks including tip.  Again, just letting you guys know what you’re in for when visiting. It’s vacation but make sure to think bigger. One more thing on their food: you will never be disappointed with New England lobster bisque. You will be when you go to the nearest Red Lobster in the Midwest and it tastes like s#%t because you just can’t match it.

With a food baby in each of us, we were ready to hit the pillow. We came back to the house just in time to meet the other half of our awesome host house: Dale. Basically, he was Joseph but slightly shorter and more exuberant. He was definitely the gabby one of the two. It’s fun to meet someone who gabs away as much as yourself.

Each of us said our goodnights and we headed upstairs to get comfy. Moriah came right back from your tower to do some homework in our room. Emylee called her hubby, Ben, and the TV was on TLC. I set my alarm for tomorrow and had everything ready for tomorrow morning. That’s all I remembered before passing out.

Day Two: October 13th, Boston to Salem & Back

Ten hours later I wake up to Emylee nudging me about my alarm.

Hour ride to Salem with a pit-stop to Starbucks (2nd bonus find of different Starbucks mug)

Tedious search for a parking spot without chance of getting towed (succession at the end of the night)

Some shopping at various stores: Emporium 32, Hex Old World Witchery, The Coven’s Cottage

Lunch @ Red Line Cafe = disappointed

Salem Witch Museum  admission @ 5 p.m. & intermission for our group (lilac color sticker/ticket) meaning checking out gift shop (Salem tea cup & saucer fortune reading/divination as well as salem pullover sweater), continuation with same presentation but brief overview of the “witch hunt” through the centuries and Wiccas

Jolie Tea Company & hightailing to The House of Seven Gables, last admission time for 7 p.m.

After grabbing the car, we headed for dinner @ O’Neill’s (Irish pub a little overrated and overpriced)

Day Three: October 14th, Boston

Taking an Uber to Quincy Center station and being on the T for the red, orange, and blue lines & Whale Watching @ 10 a.m.–took an hour to get to whale feeding territory/conservation, got rained on for about twenty minutes during the fast ride (Emylee filming me embracing and dancing a little), the amazing distances far and close up, the whale & fishing boat interaction I managed to record on my phone, etc.

Clam Chowder & tea @ Scholar’s  (close to David’s Tea)

Cheers on 84 Beacon Street–to sit we had to order food, three bars (one the actual set of Cheers) but none with room so we sat and Emylee & I had a Sam Adams Brick Red (equivalent of a Killian’s Irish Red), and Moriah had a pumpkin beer, and split the combo platter, Norm’s Best.

Some walking and browsing around Newbury & Boylston Streets, then Quincy Market

The T back and Uber home, Burger King for dinner

Day Four: October 15th, Boston

Starbucks pit stop as we drive to Boston

Freedom Trail~~Granary Burial Ground, Old South Meeting House, Paul Revere’s House, Old North Church, Sam Adams Square quick Cosplay, Holocaust Memorial

Rabia’s Ristorante for lunch—all I can say is that the lobster bisque was perfect

Starbucks again

Final round of shopping–exploring a chocolate shop and old time print shop (NAMES)

Drive back home (later than Moriah hoped), saying goodbyes, getting Domino’s and then watching The First Wives Club while packing

Day Five: October 16th, Boston to Newark to Cleveland

Flight, 7:40 a.m.-8:58 a.m. then three-hour wait till the second flight, 12:35 a.m.-2:09 p.m. (slight delay)

Shuttle to Brown lot where car’s been parked and paid $9 a day ($45 total)

Drive back to Columbus