Visiting New England in October!

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I guess I’ll just start off with the truth.

We almost moved to Boston this summer. Or I should say, we almost moved back to Boston this summer. There was a job opportunity that we were seriously considering, and during that time, I was chatting with Everett & Daxton all about New England. Well, we ended up staying put because another (better) job kept Stevie working right here in Georgia, which was a relief because we have so much family here, but after sharing with my boys so much about Boston, I thought we ought to take a trip. And what better time to visit than autumn in New England??

I’m going to break this post up into a few so that I can share about where we ate, what we did, and most importantly (to the boys!) - where we played. Because we played a LOT. I will do a separate follow-up post about traveling with our two boys this time around - please let me know in the comments section if you have specific questions!


Downtown Boston

This shot cracked me up because it was COMPLETELY candid and they all looked so pensive.

This shot cracked me up because it was COMPLETELY candid and they all looked so pensive.

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Color like POW.

Color like POW.

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I love this statue. She’s representing the angels who worship at God’s throne.


Beacon Hill, Massachusetts

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Are you seeing the streets lined with gold? Goshhhh.

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Just casually posing on the quaint cobblestoned alley. LIKE ALL BLOGGERS DO. Sometimes we’re a little bit ridiculous.

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Outfit Details


Loft Top (half off right now!), Madewell Jeans, Banana Republic Scarf (similar), Franco Sarto Flats, RAW Bronzing Studio Tan, (my leather jacket was purchased overseas, similar styles here and here)

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My little sweetheart.

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I never want to forget them like this. Everett is wearing this top and these pants, Dax is wearing this top and these pants.

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Leaf confetti.

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Not the tour we were on but I wanted to get a shot of how the truck goes into the water! So cool!

I think this is our only family photo of the trip but gosh, isn’t Daxton just the sweetest? That child is growing up.

I think this is our only family photo of the trip but gosh, isn’t Daxton just the sweetest? That child is growing up.

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What We Did.
We walked the historical Freedom Trail (if you go without kids, I HIGHLY encourage doing The Freedom Trail Run - it’s a 5k tour of the Freedom Trail and ends with a ferry ride back to where you started! SO efficient and helps you squeeze in a workout while you’re traveling!) We wandered the Boston Public Garden and the Boston Common, which are two of the most amazing public spaces you will find in Boston (I’ve previously overshared the Public Garden here and here).

We also found several amazing playgrounds, one in Beacon Hill called the Myrtle Street Playground, where we played with the kids for a few hours one perfect morning. The golden leaves kept falling around us like confetti and the air was cool and I just thought, “This is it. A perfect moment that I don’t want to forget.” Whatever those golden trees are, I need to plant one here in Georgia. We also played at the Esplanade, on the Charles Bank Playground along the river, and this was the perfect way for the boys to get out wiggles when they were sitting in the stroller for too long.

We also took a Duck Tour in the afternoon, which Everett was really excited about, because (all you boy mamas, listen in!), the tour truck transforms into a boat and goes into the Charles River. Yes. My boys were losing their minds a little, because at any mention of “transformer”, they are shook.

We took the boys to the Curious George toy store in Harvard Square and let them each pick out a toy. It’s kind of a fun thing we’ve started to do - minimizing the toys we buy at home but letting them choose something to play with when we travel. I think it helps them create a special memory reminder of our trip AND gives them a little something to play with on those long travel days where extra patience (and distraction!) is sometimes needed. Our one rule is that the toy must be small enough to be packable! And by the way, they picked out some of these Green Toys and we are loving them!

Where We Ate.
Call me boring, but we did a lot of Starbucks on this trip. My boys are carb monsters and tear through the muffins and bagels like its their job. I like having a few things I can count on them actually eating, so we did a lot of Starbucks in the AM. My order is a grande Americano and the Bacon, Egg & Gouda breakfast sandwich - it’s so good! We also packed the boys apple sauce pouches, snacks and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day, which really helped them feel comfortable (because they eat a lot of this at home!) However, Stevie and I didn’t hold back! We loved our juices and smoothies at The Juicery, dinner at our favorite restaurant in Harvard Square called Grafton Street, and a must-have yogurt at Berryline. Yum.

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This trip was such a blast and we did so much on each day! I’ll share in a separate post about hanging out in Charlestown, where we ate the BEST brunch and cannolis, and why we took an impromptu trip to Maine for the day ;)

A Morning Stroll in the Boston Public Garden.

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We spent the weekend in Boston two weeks ago for Stevie's 5-year class reunion at HBS, and man, was it wonderful being back in Beantown. Living in Cambridge was a really special session in our chapter book, with memories that we often re-visit when we are telling stories, and I honestly can't believe that it's been 5 years since we moved. Until I remember that there are two children in my life now that weren't around back in our cold-weather Boston days. #wakeupcall

It was a whirlwind weekend being back on that immaculate campus seeing friends, and we both kept remarking to each other how normal it felt to be back, and how it felt like absolutely no time had passed. We were back to our old stomping grounds, having dinner with classmates, attending lectures and talking about dreams for the future. Truthfully, it felt like NO TIME HAD PASSED. Isn't that so strange?! A few pics below of our weekend.

This view of the Charles River never gets old.

This view of the Charles River never gets old.

The dogwoods were in full bloom and were more perfect than I've ever seen before anywhere!

The dogwoods were in full bloom and were more perfect than I've ever seen before anywhere!

We were frolicking around without kids and it was WILD. Like, I wasn't holding 5 sippy cups and snacks in my bag. I was holding  lipstick.  What is this life.

We were frolicking around without kids and it was WILD. Like, I wasn't holding 5 sippy cups and snacks in my bag. I was holding lipstick. What is this life.

The rhododendrons were in full bloom, too! Mental note - I need to plant some of these in my yard.

The rhododendrons were in full bloom, too! Mental note - I need to plant some of these in my yard.

I used Rent the Runway for a few of the reunion events and was pleasantly surprised! Will definitely be using that service again soon!

I used Rent the Runway for a few of the reunion events and was pleasantly surprised! Will definitely be using that service again soon!

Our view from up high. It was 55 degrees one morning when we woke up! with it being 90+ back in Atlanta, I wasn't mad about wearing a few layers.

Our view from up high. It was 55 degrees one morning when we woke up! with it being 90+ back in Atlanta, I wasn't mad about wearing a few layers.

The block made me think for a mere moment that we were in London ;)

The block made me think for a mere moment that we were in London ;)

Had to.

Had to.

Some of our BFFs from our time in Boston! It was the best to catch up.

Some of our BFFs from our time in Boston! It was the best to catch up.

On the final morning, Stevie and I had a bit of time before our flight so we trekked from our Copley Square hotel to THE cutest little coffee shop Thinking Cup, where we grabbed some to-go breakfast sandwiches and coffee and headed to the loveliest of Boston's parks, The Boston Common.

America's oldest park featuring trees planted from all over the world (an homage to the immigrant nation that we are), this park is very dear to my heart and always the perfect place to stroll, especially in good weather. The manicuring, the flowers, and the swans - its truly the perfect romantic setting for a movie. Mental note - pitch this location for a movie.

Anyway, we strolled. Whilst chomping down some breakfast sandwiches and taking photos of ducks for the boys (because, Make Way for Ducklings). And we took way too much time doing all this slow wandering and ended up having to haul it to make our flight on time. Which we did! But it was a little close.

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Since we actually had time to talk without being interrupted on this particular morning, we spent our time in the Garden dreaming about the future. I don't know if anyone else does this, but when I travel I often find myself dreaming about what life would be like to live in that particular location. I wonder about where the good schools are, what people do with their kids for fun on the weekends, where the local cool places are to eat. In cities like this I wonder how people get around (train everywhere? Walk everywhere? Or still need a car?), how they function with 8 months of winter (yikes, bowl a lot??), and how different the life must be from my Atlanta suburb. Since we actually lived here years ago, the dreaming this time around got really specific, and Stevie and I couldn't help but talk about what it would be like to move back to Boston for a few years. There is just something so characteristic about New England, it will always take up some special space in our hearts.

But before we knew it, we were buckling our seat belts while we listened to the Delta safety information, and we were SO glad to be reunited with our boys just a few short hours after this morning in the Garden.

p.s. - that time I was gigantically pregnant in the Boston Public Garden.

TBT to That Time We Got Fancy in Newport, Rhode Island.

TBT to That Time We Got Fancy in Newport, Rhode Island.

I say it all sort of in jest, because we actually just took a school trip here a few years ago. Stevie was in business school and his class had an end-of-the-year formal in Newport. I didn't really know what to expect, being from the South and all, but oh. Newport. Oh.

It's a New England treasure, that's for sure.

It's not indicative of real life, that's for sure.

It's pretty ridiculous actually. And lovely. That's definitely for sure.

Go ahead and imagine a town full of Downton Abbey-esque things. Now go ahead and imagine something fancier. That's Newport.

We spent a day exploring Newport's old estates that used to house American tycoon families during their gilded-age summer holidays. The Vanderbilts, the Astors, the Wideners -  you know, they were palin' around, sharing gimlets in their bejeweled gowns and and probably throwing dollar bills into the oceans for fun and whatnot. Because you know, they were fancy like that.

The two most famous mansions in Newport are The Breakers and The Elms, so obviously we had to tour those. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to photograph inside the mansions, so I will forever have to just remember the ballroom after ballroom after sitting room after marble staircase after THOSE OCEAN VIEWS. It's almost unreal how these people lived. If you ever get the chance to boogie on up to Newport, DO IT. It's so worth the spectacular experience. And the gawking. You will probably walk around those estates with your mouth wide open, dumbfounded, like I did.

Good foliage was only the beginning.

 I mean. What are we, Europe or something?? THIS IS AMERICA. MERRRRIIICCAAA.

Imagine if that were your backyard. Just imagine.

Hmm which window shall I toss a pebble at? I think the 43rd shall do.

This photo reminds me that I need to Amazon Prime some baby gates STAT.

We lounged in the sunshine. We actually hadn't seen the light of day in a loooooong time before that trip. #bostonwinterssuck

Waaaaaaahhhhhh I miss my friends. Aren't they pretty.

Epic tree right there.

Dude huddle. They were probably discussing how to get out of touring some boring old houses.

Rich people lawn gnomes.

Oh the Memories.

We had a blast with our friends, most of whom used live a 5-minute walk from our little Cambridge apartment. These days, we are all spread across the country and the world. Now it's Facetime calls and email chains and planning trips just to have the pleasure of hanging out again. Life has changed in just a few short years.

But... (insert sweeping dramatic pause), we'll always have Newport. (<-- imagine that sentence spoken in a drawn-out accent. Something like when Phoebe met the in-laws for the first time.)

Oh wait, just a few more photos. Because this was the one time during the trip when we actually were fancy. Going to a ball and all. And I loved that dress and I'll never get to wear it again. So let me indulge. CUE GIRL MOMENT.

Stevie. Will forever remain an over-zealous youth grouper.

You can tell our camera was a bit older because of the fuzzy effect of the photos, but still. Ah the fancifulness. 

Did I make you want to go on some fancy mansion tours? Yeah me too. Now let's talk about the fact that I still live at my parents' house.

A Lazy Hour in the Boston Public Garden.

Baaaaahstan.

The past few weeks have been a blur. I've been coupling moving prep and baby prep with an attempt to experience each moment fully engaged. These last experiences of living in New York, these last weeks as a non-mother, these last moments of selfish quiet. It's been sweet. But also a bit alarming. I've felt calm, but there is an undercurrent of expectation about the upcoming transitions.

As a wonderful break from all of these internal musings and introspective processing about LIFE, Stevie & I took a quick road trip up to Boston. It was his birthday weekend (yeeeeee!!) and also his 1-year class reunion, and we hate to miss a good party. Although I stood far too long chit-chatting (my feet/legs/back yelled at me for days after), it was SO GOOD to connect with our dear-hearted Boston buddies. We capped off the weekend with a stroll through one of my favorite Boston landmarks, the Public Garden.

As we wandered through the truly mesmerizing array of tulips, weeping willows and the lazy waters, I was immediately struck with a moment of memory. I remember walking through this exact part of the garden, this exact bend in the path, 3 years earlier. We had just moved to Boston, didn't know a SOUL in this town, and sauntered through the garden in dumbfounded wonder. It was just such a beautiful, new place. I remember saying to Stevie, "Let's really enjoy this day. Because next week, you're going to start classes, and we will meet people, and start to have things to do and life will be different forever. But here and now, we don't know anyone and we don't have any responsibility. Let's enjoy it!" And we did.

Ah, youth. I hadn't even graduated college at that point. My oh my.

And here I am, only 3 years later, walking through the same garden, the fresh aromatic flowers bursting with bloom, and I am pregnant with our first child. Um, whoa. So much has changed in just 3 years. SO MUCH. And now, instead of Boston being a sort of scary, unknown place of potential dreams, it is in our rear view mirror as a marvelous hub of memories. It is safe. I can't believe how quickly this life has happened.

// The originals from

Make Way for Ducklings.

(Trish, should I cry now or later??) //

// ACTUAL ducklings. //

// Isn't it just so loungy and lovely? //

// We found swans. //

// They were pregnant too! //

// Growing growing growing. //

// This is Stevie's fave: If you look closely, you will see a tiny little bird drinking right next to the squirrel. Priceless shot, Mister Hale. //

One Hour.

I am incredibly grateful for the small moment I got to spend in this sanctuary of bliss. We don't know when we will be back in Boston again, but I have a feeling that the next time, I will be wrestling my son to not jump into the swan water :) And I will probably have another one of those "We've been here before..."-moments. My, oh my.

Happy day to you, friends.

Boston in 48 Hours

This weekend was a joyful whirlwind.

Our dear friends Elliot and Lena came in town to visit and we had a grand time showing off our favorite parts of Beantown. It was 48 hours of serious touring, and it was bittersweet to realize that this would be the last time that we show any of our friends around Boston while we still live here. With our move coming up at the end of the month, we will be bouncing around a few cities (and countries!) this summer and then finally landing in NYC in August. That realization made this weekend all the sweeter.

Spending this weekend with our friends made me realize that many people are weekend travelers. They want to see the best of a city in about 2 days. Since I've lived in Boston for about 2 years now, I thought I would share my favorite itinerary for Boston's sights. If you have an inkling to visit Boston for a weekend but aren't sure quite what to do or where to go, look no further. I've got your back. Here's a doable (haha, sort of) itinerary to give you the highest points of Boston:

Friday Eve.

8:00pm

// Arrive Boston. It's dinnertime. Best spots in Harvard Square are Russell House (American-style pub), Park (delicious Northeastern vibe), Bertucci's (slammin' Italian pizza, I don't care that it's a chain), Wagamama (Japanese fusion with delicious fresh juices). Any of these will do. Note: If you're rolling in the benjamins, stay at the Charles Hotel. If you're not quite rollin', stay at The Inn at Harvard, or if you're lucky enough, crash on your friends' couch.

9:30pm

// Whoopie Pies at Clover Food Lab. These are made fresh, only on Fridays, and GOOOOD. Don't miss this simple and satisfying dessert. 

10pm

// Drinks at John Harvards. Order the sampler, it's always changing and always good. Look around the bar tables and get a feel for the college students in this joint. Pretend you're in a finals club (Harvard's version of a frat) and attempt to sneak into one of their parties. Obviously.

Midnight

// Drinks and Live Music at the Plough and Stars, conveniently located within a super short walking distance to our apartment. Order the Dark and Stormy. You won't be disappointed.

Saturday.

8am

// Coffee, my Mango Coconut Baked Oatmeal and H20. You will need it for the following:

8:30am

// Freedom Trail Run. This 5k-length running tour of the 17 most historical spots in Boston gives you all the history you want, at a quickened pace (it would take hours to walk all the noteworthy touring spots) and this all happens before lunch. It might be hard to pull yourself out of bed after staying out until 2am the night before but it is totally worth it. You will feel so efficient, fit and like you learned a ton. But not too much.

Note: I've done this run about 7-8 times by now and it is the best tour by far. Tell Eddie-O that the Hales sent you, he is such a doll.

11am

// Harpoon Brewery Tour. After running for 2 hours straight, give yourself a bit of a break and cab it over to this brewery on the Harbor. We waited in line for a few minutes, devoured some of Harpoon's famous German-style hot pretzels and seasonal watermelon ale, and took a delightful tour of the brewery. So. Worth it.

1pm

// Wipe the pretzel crumbs off your face. You will need a shower by now. So head back to your hotel/crash pad and take one. Bring a lightweight coat for the second half of your day.

2:30pm

// Tour Harvard Business School. You don't have to do this, but since it's my husband's new Alma Mater, our friends wanted to see what it was all about. You could sub in this time and take a tour of Fenway Park or walk Newbury Street. But I'm not gonna lie, the school is impressively pretty. And if you're there in the spring time, you will probably get to see the hundreds of bunny rabbits frolicking all over the campus. I have a strong theory that the school places them there purposefully, because they really add to the precious vibe of the campus. Of course Harvard would have quaint bunny rabbits blanketing their green grasses.

5:30pm

// Early dinner at Giacamo's in the South End. Delicious authentic Italian for affordable prices. Get the calamari. And the house pasta sauce is the best. You can make a reservation here (unlike a lot of spots in Boston), so DO IT.

7:30pm

// Post dinner walk in the South End towards Back Bay. We walked towards Copley Plaza and saw the Boston Marathon Bombing Memorial. Couldn't stay too long because it was still really intense and a bit too fresh on all our minds.

8pm

// Subway to the North End. This is the legit Italian district in Boston, and it is a thriving mini-metropolis of bakeries, restaurants, bars and street musicians. It's a must-see, especially since Paul Revere's House and the Old North Church are located here.

9pm

// Cannolis at Mike's Pastry. You will be ridiculed if you come to Boston and don't eat here. Bring cash. And bring your brute face; you've got to find a table in this cramped place and you won't get one by being syrupy sweet.

10pm

// Stanza dei Sigari is a cigar parlor next to Mike's. Only if you're into that kind of thing.

Midnight

// Sleeeeeeeeep.

Sunday.

10am // Brunch at Grafton Street. So delicious. Order the seasonal cocktail, it's out of this world. You could also try out Cafe Luna or Henrietta's Table, but make sure to make a reservation a few days in advanced.

11:30am

// May Day Street Fair in Harvard Square completely distracted us, but it was a lot of fun. Vendors galore.

Noon

// Subway to Park Street. Walk around the Boston Common (America's oldest established park) and the Boston Public Gardens (my personal favorite outdoor spot in Boston) because it's totally gorgeous. Feel free to stop by the Cheers bar along the side of the Garden.

2pm

// Walk down Charles Street in Beacon Hill. This is the ritzier area of the city, lots of lovely brownstones and boutiques. Imagine that you're one of the fancy people who live here with a little dog. Walk towards the water and find your way on to the Esplanade, a peninsula that juts out into the Charles River.

3pm

// Enjoy your last sweet treat in Boston at Berryline in Harvard Square. This is a local frozen yogurt place that has new flavors every week, like fruity pebbles and basil-blueberry. Out of this world. I probably live a bit too close to this place, in all honesty.

Wrap it Up.

I imagine you will be jumping on a flight back to your hometown on Sunday evening. Hopefully this weekend is chock-full of all the good stuff you would want to see in Boston. I think it's a comprehensive, but doable, itinerary. Boston is a resilient, proud and classy town and there is obviously so much more to do than can be accomplished in 48 hours. A few items that would be worthwhile add-ons (in my entirely biased opinion) are Berklee College of Music, the Boston Public Library, the Minuteman Biking Trail and the Haymarket. Anything historical that I haven't specifically mentioned is most likely covered in the Freedom Trail Running Tour.

Have you ever been to Boston? Anything you would add to this list?