Thursday, August 15, 2013

Boston

The week of August 11th is our summer vacation week this year. Because Seth and I had put in new windows and the new slider this year, we decided to hold off on a vacation. That being said, we wanted to do something special for our week off and chose to make a trip to Boston for the day. 

We left around 8:00 a.m. and drove the hour and forty minute drive to the Alewife T station where we took the T into Boston.


 Seth loves taking the T, so this was a big part of the adventure for him.


We got to Copley at around 11:00 a.m. and decided to have a quick snack. One of the things we were planning to do in Boston was have afternoon tea, but this wasn't until 2:00 p.m. Seth was pretty hungry and wanted to eat quickly, so we stopped at the first place we saw Finagle a Bagel. I had a bagel with eggs and vegetables, and the bagel was truly excellent! Finagle a Bagel has around a half dozen locations in Boston and Cambridge and was definitely worth the stop for a quick bite to eat.


After our bagels, we decided to walk along nearby Newbury Street for a little shopping. 


We made a stop into one of my favorite stores, Lush, which fresh handmade bath and body products.


Seth and I picked up some soap, bubble bath, a face mask, and body lotion. We also got this amazing thing called Fun, a 4-in-1 soap, shampoo, bubble bath, and Play-Doh. I'm kind of excited to start playing around with it and molding different shaped soaps for the shower. Bonus: It smells like candy.


Seth and I also made a stop at Niketown, where I picked up a new pair of socks and a sports bra for high impact exercise. I had been really needing a new sports bra -- the ones I had are getting very old and not offering much support. The best one I have for running is getting old and starting to chafe.


After our explorations of Newbury Street, we decided to head over to the Boston Public Gardens. We headed down the Commonwealth Avenue Mall enjoying some quiet nature in the city. We got a nice view of historic Back Bay and all the amazing brownstones that line Commonwealth Avenue along this stretch.


Wednesday's weather was absolutely perfect -- sunny with a high in the low seventies. It was a great time to walk around the Public Gardens.



We headed over to the pond where we could see people taking rides on the swan boats. 


We briefly sat under a weeping willow and listened to a trombone trio play. 



After our jaunt around the gardens, we decided to walk back towards Copley along the Charles River Esplanade. The runners were out in force, and, to be honest, I was jealous -- it was a perfect day and a great location for a run.


Along the Esplanade, we found a pier with Adirondack chairs.


There was an amazing view of Cambridge and MIT from the pier.


Seth loves the water. He claims that he doesn't, but he totally does. In his enthusiasm, he decided to put his hand in the Charles. Don't worry he washed it later. He was very excited about the whole thing.


Finally, the time had come to head over to the Boston Public Library for afternoon tea. We wound our way back through Back Bay to Copley and the Boston Public Library, a place that had taken on almost mythical significance to me based on their awesome digital library that I frequent. The building was gorgeous. 


The entryway had the most magnificent mosaic ceiling with the names of famous author integrated into the tile work. 


Our tea was to take place at the Courtyard Restaurant at the library. We found the restaurant and were taken to our seats. Appropriate to the restaurant's name, from our seats we had a wonderful view of the library's courtyard.


The restaurant itself was very lovely. We had the most comfortable chairs. 


The waitress took our tea order (the food items on the tea menu were all included for a fixed price; no choosing required). Seth had the raspberry herbal tea and I had the Sencha green.

As a big lover of tea, I should point out that all the tea on the menu was all Harney & Sons. I like Harney's tea, but it's not super special if you're really into tea. So, if you're looking for a really excellent tea with knowledgeable tea enthusiasts serving it that's not what you'll get at the Courtyard Restaurant. The focus here is on the overall afternoon tea experience, nice ambiance, and a fun selection of food.


Our food soon arrived on a three-tiered plate. 


The bottom section was for savory tea sandwiches.


-Cucumber with Herb Cream Cheese
-Smoked Salmon Butter Canap├ęs
-Apricot Chicken Salad
-Turkey & Cheese on Marble Rye
-Crab with Chive Cream Cheese on Mini Lemon Butter Crust Buns
-Tomato with Crumbled Bacon
-Egg Salad on White

The middle plate was for sweets.


-Fresh Fruit Tartlet with Blueberries & Mango Ribbon
-French Macarons
-Mini poppy seed bunt cakes
-Raspberry Thumbprints
-Chocolate Sinclaires

The top layer was for scones!


-Currant & Plain Scones
-Apricot jam
-Devonshire Clotted Cream

Everything was quite tasty though it was a ton of food and took us ages to eat. We were at afternoon tea for well over an hour, and had a delightful time relaxing and snacking. My favorite items were the scones (of course), the chocolate sinclaires, the cucumber tea sandwiches, and the salmon tea sandwiches.

After our tea we needed to move around a bit and digest. We decided to explore the historic Boston Public Library.




There were three floors worth of rooms in the older section of the library. (Note: The Boston Public Library is two connected buildings. The older, historic building, is mostly used for study space only. The newer building hosts most of the library's collection.) The architecture has intricate sculptures and murals.

After leaving the library, we hoped on the T and headed back into Cambridge. We briefly explored a few comic book stores in Harvard Square. We were planning to have dinner at a ramen noodle shop at Porter Square, one T stop away from Harvard. Since we weren't hungry yet, and Porter was only a mile walk from Harvard, we decided to head over on foot.

We were very glad we did. The walk took us along the outskirts of Harvard and through some really nice neighborhoods along Massachusetts Avenue. Midway towards Porter we came upon a running store, Marathon Sports. I can't resist sporting goods stores of any type, especially not running stores, so we headed in. Also, I was looking for a new pair of running shorts, Nike Pacer shorts, and didn't see what I wanted at Niketown.

Marathon Sports was one of the best running stores I've ever been in. They had a wonderful selection and fantastic prices. Seth found me a lovely pair of Pacer shorts on sale for $19.99, an amazing deal! Here they are with my new sports bra and socks.


After our stop at Marathon Sports (which I totally wish had a store in Western Mass), we continued our walk to Porter.

The ramen shop we were to eat at was located in a mall that featured many Japanese restaurants and stores. We visited a shop called,Tokai, which carried a variety of Japanese wares from Domo plushies to lovely tea wares.



They had a couple of matcha bowls that were so lovely I had to take pictures.



By this point, it was after 6:00 p.m., so we headed over to Sapporo Ramen for supper. This was what Seth was looking forward to most on our Boston trip. He had eaten ramen here in the winter and loved it. (And he had to wait in line for over twenty minutes to eat because the place is so popular.)


We both ended up getting the Yasai Ramen which had pork chunks and mixed vegetables. The bowl was giant!


Here I am enjoying my first bowl of real ramen. It was very tasty, but I wasn't able to finish -- it was to enormous!


Our trip to Boston concluded, we headed back out to Alewife on our final T trip of the day and then drove home.


What a fantastic day! Boston was loads of fun. Hopefully we'll be able to make it back to the city soon.

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