Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Boston: Week 3

Visited my son on set... very exciting!
Another week in Boston, and I'm still loving this city.

I've decided traveling for a solid month is a great way to see the world. One month allows plenty of time to see the sights without running myself ragged.

I maintain my regular morning routine and typically leave the apartment by 10:00am (after commuter traffic). I focus on one event per day so as not to overload my senses. And I usually return home mid-afternoon to relax while uploading and editing the daily photos. Evenings are up for grabs: either a nice dinner out, or a low-key evening on the couch.

If the weather doesn't cooperate, I don't have to brave the elements. I use those days to stay inside, catch up on laundry, and do a bit of writing. It's nice to have an occasional everyday in the midst of a travel adventure - and not worry about wasting valuable time.

This week's travels took me to two museums, a library, and a return to campus.

Museum of Fine Art (MFA)

I originally planned to take the one-hour tour of the highlights of the Museum of Fine Art, but changed my mind and instead visited my two favorite galleries: the European and American Impressionists.

I spent about two hours at the museum, often times having an entire room to myself. So if you want a nearly private experience, I suggest going mid-week before noon.

While I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the French classics - Degas' Little Dancer, Monet's Haystacks, and Sisley's landscapes... I was completely entranced by Childe Hassam's Boston Common at Twilight. In fact, I think this will be the focus of my next writing project, and I even purchased two books to help me with research.

I look forward to revisiting "old" Boston next week when I hope to recreate some of these vintage postcards in today's setting. Comparing the past with the present is becoming a real passion for me.

Isabella Stewart-Gardner Museum

I fell in love with the Isabella Stewart-Gardner Museum: the garden, the artwork, and the woman herself. Of course, what's not to love: a reproduction of a 15th century Venetian Palace in the heart of the city.  If I lived in Boston, you would find me here at least once-a-month, journaling in the garden.

The second floor of the museum was closed for renovation - which included the Dutch room, the scene of the greatest art heist in history. While I would like to return to see that exhibit, I did not feel my visit was lacking in the least.

The small museum takes only about ninety minutes to preview, but such an inspiring time. I left with a desire to know more about this amazing woman, to read about the mysterious art theft, and to study John Sargent's Venice paintings as a possible third book in my middle grade series.

Boston Public Library (BPL)

I did take part in the one hour Art and Architecture tour of the Boston Public Library, something I would highly recommend to anyone wanting to visit this historical landmark. It is free and surprisingly popular: there were at least fifty people the Friday morning I visited.

The McKim Building, named after its architect, is the main branch and as much a museum as it is a library. The original budget for the project was slightly over one million dollars, but several years later, when the cost reached over $2.5 million, the city put a stop to the spending. To this day there are some unfinished details.

I may return to the library before I leave town just so I can sit in the reading room and drink in the literary silence and beauty.

This visit, however, I treated myself to High Tea, served every day (except Sunday) from 11:30-3:30 in the Courtyard Restaurant. It is a bit pricey ($35.00), but an excellent opportunity to channel your inner Jane Austen or pretend to be a part of Downton Abbey.

Harvard University

Yes, this is repeat visit to Harvard. I wanted to wander the campus again, imagining what it must be like to actually study at this bastion of education, and of course, I wanted to take a few pictures.

From the Hahvahd Tour I took last week, I knew I wanted a photo of Johnston Gate. Superstition states that students should only pass through the center gate twice: once when they arrive on campus for the first time as a freshman, and once when they graduate. Doing so any other time will result in bad luck.

I also took pictures of the famous (and expansive) Harvard Yard, freshmen dorms, Widener library, and Memorial Church.

I probably spent about an hour on campus and then visited the Harvard Bookstore and the Bob Slate Stationery shop. I could spend a fortune in this place, as I never seem to have enough journals or pens.

The first two weeks in Boston I focused on getting the lay of the land. I wanted to visit the highlights and experience the history without worrying about getting the picture.

The last two weeks I will make return visits with camera in hand. I have a better idea what I want to photograph, and how I want to remember this amazing city.

That is another advantage of traveling for an entire month. I have time to visit, reflect, and compose.


  1. I love your approach of a long-term visit to one place. You really get a chance to absorb everything, but at a more reasonable pace.

    1. EXACTLY.... and yet I'm still leaving with a desire to stay a bit longer. That's the best time to go :)

  2. What a super way to get to know an area. Love it.

  3. It seems you are having a blast exploring Boston! I love Monet's Haystacks. Nice you got to the MFA. Have fun


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