Saturday, August 10, 2013

Day 2 - Culture, Cabernets and Cannolis

It was one of those amazing days you’d like to go on forever.  It wasn’t a milestone or a celebration. It was simply. Saturday. But we were with our kids, the sun was shining, and we were going to be tourists in an amazing city.

Half of the family was going to the Museum of Fine Arts, and the other half was going to the beach…because they lived in Denver. Because there is no ocean near Denver! We live in California. Enough said. We’d all meet up that evening for a cozy dinner for 15 in the North End. But more about that later.

The museum was huge, and wonderful! Adam has an incredible new interest and appreciation in art.  Some of the works we saw took your breath away. Others, like a yellow line on a white canvas, confounded us. Of course we took the requisite Ferris Buhler pictures. Of course we posed for silly pictures with Ninjas and dogs. We went with Mariel, Josh and the new baby, and Jon’s brother Mark. Going to a museum with Mark is a fascinating experience.  Let’s face it. After an hour and a half, even magnificent paintings of random English rulers begin to blend together. One can look at only so many naked cherubs and heathens.  When we turned around to look for Mark, he was nowhere to be found. We’d be at the end of a room or exhibit, and there we’d find Mark, at the beginning, reading the history of the period…reading every plaque next to every picture. Mark is always on a quest for knowledge. It’s actually admirable. He doesn’t only want to know about the painting. He wants to actually feel what the artist felt. His wonderment is awesome.

Adam wanted to eat in the fancy café in the lobby, which was way out of our price range. What did he care? He wasn’t paying. Jon and I ushered everyone to the cafeteria in the basement. We were paying. 

From the museum, we went to Faneuil Hall.  Jess had never experienced Faneuil Hall so I wanted her to get the full effect! It can be very overwhelming, especially on a beautiful summer Saturday, with tourists everywhere.  Damn tourists. Oh. Wait. We were tourists too, I guess.  We shopped, we snacked, we drank and Jessie bought sausage socks (don’t ask).

Then onto the North End where we met up with the entire family for dinner. The North End is the Italian section of Boston.  Italian restaurants everywhere. Summer festivals on street corners. You can totally imagine Anthony being called for Prince spaghetti dinner. The restaurants are tiny. Or so we thought. We were ushered in and kept going…into a back room with a long table set for 15. And oh my, did we eat and drink and drink! Bottles of wine, incredible food, great conversation…kids down at one end, parents at the other, just enjoying the atmosphere and each other.  When we were finished, we rolled out into the street and passed through the street fair, where Jon and Adam simply had to play the “shoot the water into the target and be the first to make the man climb the pole and ring the bell.” They always play this. One of them always wins. And Jessie always gets the big stuffed animal. He was a lion. We named him Mufasa. He would provide a wonderful pillow for me on our drive down to Jersey.
Of course no trip to the North End is complete without a visit to Mike’s pastry shop. We got on the long line, which actually moved pretty fast, until you got into the place. That was where all manner of civility stopped. People elbowing and shouldering to get their white boxes of cannolis. Those of us who suffer from claustrophobia, real or imagined, had to leave. So I waited in the street. Where everyone came out and proceeded to eat said cannolis right in the street, because there was nowhere to sit in the restaurant, and cannolis will wait for no one. It was awesome. We all left with smiles on our faces, powdered sugar on our mouths, and memories of an amazing day that will last a lifetime.

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