Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Day #1 in Boston, Massachusetts

After a brief break while preparing for two speaking engagements, as well as trying to figure out Windows 10, I'm back to share highlights from my recent trip to Boston and New York City. Microsoft switched my computer from Windows 7 to Windows 10 [without my knowledge or consent...grrr!] and it's been a challenge to figure out. 

This was my first visit Boston, and there were so many great, historic places to see.  We arrived on Monday afternoon, May 9th, but didn't begin sightseeing until the next day. Several weeks before our trip my hubby ordered two-day passes for each of us from Old Town Trolley Tours with 16 hop on hop off stops - the only way to see the best sites when unfamiliar with the city.  

After a great hotel breakfast, the trolley picked us up in front of our hotel at 7:15 a.m. to begin a fun day.  Embassy Suites [our home away from home for four days] is located in Boston's east end, near Logan airport. 

Trolley Driver performing for the camera while I watched from inside the trolley.   Trolley tours from stop #1 to stop #16 takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

We rode through the Ted Williams tunnel, named for famed Boston Red Sox baseball player. The trolley driver told us Ted Williams was the first one to drive through the tunnel on a golf cart when it opened.  A bronze plaque of Williams is affixed to the entrance of the tunnel, but I wasn't quick enough to get a photo.

The tunnel is part of a much larger project referred to as the "Big Dig" that rerouted Interstate 93 which previously ran above ground through the heart of downtown Boston, to the bottom of the harbor floor.   It is 9 miles long, took 17 years to build, and went way over budget.

A 45-minute sightseeing cruise of Boston Harbor was included in our Trolley package, and since the boat departed from Long Wharf at stop #1, we decided to go on the cruise first.

Below is the cruise boat docked at Long Wharf. Built in 1710 it's the oldest, continuing wharf in the United States.  In its heyday, Boston was the leading colonial port and Long Wharf was the nucleus of Boston's maritime trade. 50 vessels could dock there handling both costal and international trade.

Jerry giving our tickets to the gate employee before we boarded the boat.

Two historic buildings seen from the top deck of the cruise boat are [1] the Gardiner Building constructed in 1763 - smaller red brick building at left. It was once John Hancock's counting house, and serviced sailing ships. It is now a restaurant called Chart House, and is the wharf's oldest surviving structure. [2] The Custom House Block built in 1848 - large granite warehouse in the middle of photo.

Long Wharf and Custom House are National Historic Landmarks.  Custom House was once leased to the federal government for customs work, but the building has been converted to residential, commercial, and office space today.

Photo below taken while pulling out of the dock.  As you can see it was a picture perfect day. We were told the week before was rainy and cold, but the temperatures were great while we were there - not real hot, and warm enough to shed a lightweight jacket by mid-day. The imposing red brick building overlooking the dock is the Marriott Hotel.

The guide told us 75% of Boston sits on man-made land supported by rock retaining walls, as you can see in the photos above and below.

~ Boston as seen from the harbor ~

The Nantucket [below] is a floating lighthouse commissioned in 1952.  It's the youngest lightship to be built in the U.S. as well as the last one in service. It was decommissioned in 1984 for use as a floating museum in Boston Harbor, and has a National Treasure status.

Below is Charlestown Navy Yard and USS Constitution ["Old Ironsides"].  Charlestown Navy Yard was one of the first shipbuilding and repair facilities organized by the U.S. government. The USS Constitution [built in 1797] is its centerpiece.  It is currently being repaired so wasn't available for touring.  Also in Charlestown is the Bunker Hill Monument, which we hope to see up close on our next visit. 

~ Harbor condominiums ~

When our cruise was over we got back on the trolley and stayed on through all the stops until we reached #16 - which was the last stop at Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. Along the route, we learned Boston has 34 harbor islands, the largest Chinatown in America, the oldest Botanical Gardens begun in 1859, over 100 colleges and universities with 300,000 students, the oldest YMCA, and the largest collection of Brownstone [sandstone] Townhouses.

It also has the oldest baseball park in America - Fenway Park, which hosted its first major league baseball game in April of 1912.  

The bronze statues are Red Sox players Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr and Johnny Pesky.  Dom DiMaggio got squeezed out in the photo below.

Boston also boasts the oldest free-lending library in America.  Boston Public Library was established in 1852.  Among its seven million books is the presidential library of John Adams, second President of the United States.

Stop #16 - The red wood building on Congress Street Bridge - Griffin's Wharf - is where the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum is located.  It opened in June 2012.  

The "Beaver" [pictured below] sits on one side of the museum, and the "Eleanor" on the other side. 

Jerry hanging with Samuel Adams in front of the museum.

Abigail's Tea Room is a part of the museum and the employees [mostly college/university students] are dressed in period costume.  See tomorrow's post.

Jerry and me on board the Beaver [part of the museum tour].  We were taken below deck to see the Captain's Quarter's and where the crew slept.  We also had an opportunity to throw a chest of tea into the Harbor - not real tea - I would never waste real tea! 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day


In December 2000 Congress passed, and President Bill Clinton signed into law the National Moment of Remembrance Act, asking Americans to stop and remember those who died while serving in the military at 3:00 p.m.  The idea for the "Moment" was born when children touring the Nation's Capital were asked by the Commission's Director what Memorial Day meant.  They responded, "That's the day the pool opens."  A Gallup Poll revealed that only 28% of Americans knew the true meaning of Memorial Day.   

Don't forget to pause today from your holiday activities to thank God for our military, especially those up gave up their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today, and to ask for His guidance and protection on those who serve today.  

My son posted the picture below on his Facebook page today.  Thankfully, my dad returned from WWII alive, or I wouldn't be here today.  These are my two grandchildren, Isabella and Landon, at his grave site, the first Memorial Day after he passed. 

It's a comfort to know our parting is only temporary, and we'll be reunited again in Heaven someday, where there'll be no more wars and peace will be eternal.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A 50th Wedding Anniversary Trip

The last time I blogged was May 5th, so you might have thought I fell off the face of the earth after such a lengthy lapse of time.  Never fear... I'm alive and well, just enjoying some travel time. My hubby and I left on May 9th for four days in Boston, Massachusetts, followed by four days in New York City.  We returned home yesterday.  The trip was to commemorate our upcoming 50th Wedding Anniversary on June 11th.  It doesn't seem possible 50 years have passed so quickly. I'm very grateful God has granted us the blessing of reaching this milestone.

We had a fabulous time, which I'll blog about in detail after I complete two upcoming speaking engagements still requiring preparation, and making favors for 62 ladies for one of the events.

My hubby took the photo below just after we arrived at Boston's Logan Airport, while we were waiting for the shuttle to pick us up to take us to our room at Embassy Suites.

There were lots of tea experiences - more in N.Y.C. than Boston - and I'm looking forward to sharing them all with you.  For now, I'll just share one picture taken of Jerry and me enjoying Afternoon Tea at the Plaza Hotel in N.Y.C.  The plate I'm holding was complimentary in honor of our anniversary.  It held French macarons and chocolate dipped strawberries.  Yum!  I haven't had the courage to step on the scale since I got home.  It took me several weeks to lose 10 pounds, and I hope I didn't gain them all back in nine days!

More later...

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Vintage Jewelry Tea

I'm not a big jewelry person, but I always enjoy the teas put on by the Northville Historical Society at Mill Race, so I purchased a ticket.  Vicky O'Neil, owner of Victoria's Tea Salon, caters the meal, which is always very good.  The event was held last Sunday afternoon.

The tables in Cady Inn were decorated in blue which was an immediate hit with me.  The jewelry theme was carried out in all the decorations.

Below was my place setting.  Our favor [inside the burgundy box] was a porcelain jewelry box from Victorian Trading. 

The windows were decorated with navy blue bows with brooches in the center.

Above the mantel was a jewel studded mirror, and the mantel displayed jewelry.

More jewelry was displayed on a vintage hutch.

The prize table had jewelry vignettes too.

A beautiful jewelry box was the raffle prize.

It was a well attended event.  The photo below was taken when the ladies first began to arrive.

~ Menu ~

Top and middle tier of the server - desserts and scones.

~ Savory/Sandwich Tier ~

The four savories top-clockwise were:  Cucumber with Dilly Cream Cheese on Italian Bread; Ham Salad on Light Rye [in the shape of a teacup]; Chicken Salad with Apples on Cinnamon Raisin Bread; and Egg Salad with Gherkins on Wheat Bread.

Scones were Lemon Blueberry served with Lemon Curd and Clotted Cream.  Desserts were Raspberry Victorian Sponge Cake; French Chocolate Pecan Truffles; and Oatmeal Cookie with White Chocolate and Craisins.   The tea served throughout the meal was a raspberry black tea. Everything was delicious.

At 2:30 p.m. we walked over to the nearby church for the program.  Unfortunately, I can't provide the name of the speaker, because I misplaced the flier with her name.  Her display was very nice, and her jewelry was for sale.  She sells online through Ruby Lane.

She told us she began her journey of collecting vintage jewelry when her mother passed away and she inherited all her jewelry.

It was a lovely afternoon.  Thank you Northville Historical Society!