Monday, May 12, 2014

A week without knitting: Boston edition

There are almost enough cool things in Boston to make you forget you didn't bring any knitting with you, especially if you go directly from the airport to your hotel to Fenway Park and arrive early enough to eat something before the ball game starts.  Priority:

ice cream.  I had half chocolate, half vanilla, and when I was done I had to put on my sweater because I was instantly freezing.  Some people brought blankets to the game, and I envied them.

Fenway was where I got the strongest sense of being in the U.S.A.  You know, Canada and the U.S. are different - even in subtle ways - and this sign for Coca Cola really encapsulated the subtle part for me, even though obviously we have Coca Cola in Canada too.  What we don't have is really compelling vintage-look signage for it.

How compelling?  Well, maybe it was just that the sign was directly opposite my seat, but I did spend most of the game craving a bottle even though any soda pop gives me an instant sugar headache these days.

Another thing I did not consume in Boston, in spite of huge temptation:

anything from the Bacon Truck, here seen parked near my hotel.  I'm not exactly sure how I managed to resist all those cute cartoons of bacon on the side, though I did take this picture to keep with me forever, so there you go.

This probably says lame things about me but a big highlight of the trip was how much farther along the spring blossoms are in Boston than in Toronto. 

Yum-o-rama.  This picture is of a churchyard on Hanover Street in the North End.

I loved how these blossoming trees just popped out from the sides of buildings, especially after the winter we all had.  This shot is from the south side of Boston Common, immediately following the mandatory ride in a Swan Boat.  Go Swans!

(On another day I was back at the Common and counted I think five different wedding parties in there having pictures taken.  Not one of them was in a Swan Boat.  Opportunity: missed.)

The trees pictured below were stunning from across the street...

... but once I was actually under their canopy I realized they were what I fondly refer to as Stink Blossom Trees.  I have no idea of their real name.  They just have seriously stinky blossoms.  They grow in Toronto, too.

Another thing we also have in Toronto is  old houses, but none of them have these rounded-out columns of window in front, and I think that is unfortunate because when you put together a whole block of them it's just - wow.

Striking.  These particular ones were up the street from Paul Revere's old house in the North End.

These beauties, on the other hand, were in the South End.  The rounds were more subtle but I loved them anyway.

I know it's healthiest, breathing-wise if nothing else, to be in natural settings as opposed to cities but I so much prefer nature when it's surrounded by buildings.  There is something comforting and secure about a solid and attractive building, and not just because there is probably plumbing inside it.

Speaking of attractive buildings, I'm always happy to look at an ornate church because it takes so much experience and skill to do stonework and I can picture people actually carving out those details.  We have a few churches in Toronto with lovely stonework, but none of them remind me of Italy like St. Paul's in Cambridge did:

And then of course the cathedral, in the South End, is pretty amazing.

I couldn't take my eyes off those blue stained glass windows - blue and red, really, if only my camera had been able to capture their magnificence.  Another highly specialized art form.

Graveyards are a great source of interesting stonework too, and Boston has many burying grounds in central locations.  When I saw this one in the North End I kind of wanted to go on a nighttime ghost tour, even as I was moved to think of the bodies of those much-mourned early settlers still resting there.

What particularly interested me though was the headstone engravings.  I took these pictures in the burying ground where Paul Revere's body lies.


and Flesh.

It seemed to be one or the other or nothing at all.  How would you choose?

Okay, here's a story for you.  My friend Angela turned out to be staying quite nearby during part of my trip, in the Charter House.  Come have breakfast, she suggested.  I offered to bring breakfast, and she said Great! We can eat on the balcony.  I thought she meant the balcony for her hotel room but No.

Here is the balcony to which she referred:

Sorry I didn't get closer to the view - not!  You know, I'm sure, that I'm pretty much a panic stricken crybaby when it comes to heights.  Fortunately the realization of where I was trickled down very slowly.

It started with the crazy view, and continued when she took me down a few flights to a room with pool tables.  I asked what this contraption was overlooking them, and she told me it was the clockwork.

Look, she added.  Here's the 6.

Shortly afterward (ahem) we went down a few more floors and then finally back to the lobby.  We each headed off to our day's itinerary and on my way back I took this picture of her hotel.  I have marked the balcony, the clock more or less speaking for itself.


Here's the view from another angle.

Double Gah.

Of course it's silly to be nervous about being up in a caged-in observation deck the day before you get into a very narrow prop plane to fly into headwinds, but I reserve the right to freak out even this many days after the fact.  After all, it's not like I had any knitting with me, right?

Okay: enough with the sightseeing.  I'll be a good girl and tweet tomorrow, and then Wednesday I will be back to the crafty.  Have a great day and I'll see you later!


Marianne said...

The "Stinky" trees are Bradford Pears, they are beautiful in the spring and do look elegant in the landscape, but in all fairness they do "stink"! My son's college has a corridor of them just outside their Cafeteria and Student Building. Also in front of their Gymnasium and if you had to wait long to go into the gym it was nauseating!!
Glad you survived the balcony and the small plane ride!! I'd love to see Boston in the Spring!!

Mary Keenan said...

Aha! Bradford Pears - thanks Marianne :^) I agree: they are gorgeous. There's another shrub we often see used in hedges that has the same beautiful white blossom but WHEW. That smell must serve a purpose for the plant - I'll have to go look it up!

Mary Keenan said...

Well what do you know - they're pollinated by flies as well as bees, and I guess the flies are attracted by that rotting fish smell. Go stinky blossoms!