Sail Boston Grand Parade of Sail 2017

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We woke up to a misty and foggy Boston the morning of the Grand Parade of Sail. For a while it didn’t seem like a sighting of even the tallest of tall ships could be possible. But after a one-hour delay to 10:00 am to commence the ceremony, we made our way to Lo Presti Park for arguably the best seats and views for Sail Boston 2017. What made it extra fun was that we were able to watch the Opening Ceremony and the first tall ships on TV with commentary from WCVB (highlights here), and STILL make it in time to see the ships cruise along the Boston Harbor and put on a show for the Eastie waterfront spectators.IMG_0297

Seeing “America’s Tall Ship,” the Eagle, leading vessels from all over the world was a sight to behold for children of all ages. The little nerd in me was awestruck at the history and legacy of the ship, and the cadets that make this kind of journey possible. What a time to be alive! To see remnants of history in real time, in a surreal mix of the old and the new.IMG_0326IMG_0312

Side note: anyone else ever feel slightly unsettled seeing checkpoints in your neighborhood for large-scale events or at major tourist sights? It definitely made me feel safer for sure, and fortunately the uneasiness didn’t last very long. I quickly grew fascinated by the people that flocked the park for Sail Boston, as well as the panoramic views of Eastie and the rest of Boston from where I stood – a quick snapshot of a neighborhood in transition. IMG_0318IMG_0298IMG_0354

Sail Boston from the peripheries was an experience in and of itself. Boston showed its finest to over a million visitors in the seaport and harbor areas, while Eastie also got treated to unbeatable views, food trucks, and some welcome foot-traffic. The Ecuaduran tall ship, Guayas, was a clear favorite and party-starter. I loved seeing the neighborhood come alive, cheering and dancing to the lively Latin music playing from the ship.  IMG_0392IMG_0380IMG_0372

As the weather continued to clear and become more pleasant, Alex and I decided to take advantage of the other perks to a weekend of festivities in the city: quiet pockets of Boston to enjoy all to ourselves. We briefly checked out all the buzz on the other side of the water, and then ventured over to Back Bay and the South End. At that point, we thought, the possibilities were endless.IMG_0386

What events/trips are you looking forward to this summer? I’d love to hear your ideas below! For questions or more information on Sail Boston 2017, check the Sail Boston official websiteBoston.com’s feature video, Boston Globe’s photos, or comment below. Feel free to link up with your post or favorite related links in the comments as well!

Thanks for reading!

 x,

Valerie

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Golden Hour Thaw

There’s a whole other side of Boston beyond the quintessential brown stone buildings and cobbled streets. Down the blue line, getting lost to the airport, or through bridges and tunnels from downtown, you might get a sense of the grit and the richness, the up and coming, and the growing pains that the city is experiencing today. IMG_3919I’ve called Eastie home for the past almost two years. Most surprising to me, I’ve discovered more to appreciate about this life since the first moment I stepped out into Maverick Square. IMG_3920This journey has been unlike any other moves I’ve embarked before. This time around, Alex and I were to overcome it on our own. That fact has been the most rewarding part, though we ache to be closer to family and friends in Virginia or even farther away. But now we have Eastie, and it will forever hold a place in our story too.IMG_3921Alex and I saw Boston on a visit only once before calling ourselves residents a year later. Not knowing much about the city and keeping a hard budget in mind, we pretty much dropped a pin on a map, found our home, and made our big move. Little did we know how much we would come to enjoy this side of Boston that not many people get to see.IMG_3923IMG_3924It’s colorful and rough around the edges. Boston.gov‘s website provides a quick overview into the neighborhood and the Eastie wiki page is actually quite extensive. The internet gave me my only frame of reference before seeing Eastie for myself a couple of months before our move. I give all the credit to Alex, of course, for finding our diamond (apartment) in the rough. We’ve learned a lot about what we can live with and live without in order to enjoy our life here together and really define our priorities and our dreams.IMG_3925Would I pick a view of the cape over a view of road salt? Probably. But now I look at this and am in awe at how close I can be yet so far enough removed downtown that this can be kept so secret from many other Boston residents. I look at this and see the physical toils of hard work, the once cast off neighborhood that housed waves of immigrants over the years, and the beauty through the resilience within this diverse community that is now being challenged. Challenged perhaps by a wave of “new immigrants” like myself, even if I do care much about this neighborhood. IMG_3926IMG_3927There’s no question that Eastie is facing a lot of changes in a short period of time. Within the time we’ve lived here, we’ve seen new buildings, business changes, and cranes on a steady rotation. Universities offer eating and sightseeing guides of Eastie to students, like this BU Eastie feature, that anybody would be enticed by. The community, as a result, is going through a lot. We’re seeing the effects of those events directly impact our life too.IMG_3928IMG_3929IMG_3930I feel that those experiences tug at the heartstrings the most and pull people to care more and to do something. For right now, I’m at least wanting to pay closer attention to what is at Eastie’s core and truly imbibe in it. What comes next, I have yet to see.IMG_3931IMG_3932As the sun melts the last few drops of snow away on this last day of winter, the promise that comes with a new season gives this little neighborhood a new light.

It is golden.

IMG_3934(There’s me taking a break from behind the camera to sip on my Dunkies bottled iced coffee, no less.)

Please feel free to share your thoughts on the snaps and my stroll around East Boston below! Thanks for reading and following along 🙂

 

Valerie

 


These pictures were taken at American Legion Park in East Boston, MA.

For more information, check the Boston city website, find other parks in the city or learn more about East Boston directly. You may also want to check out www.eastietimes.com

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Living like Mrs. Jack for a day: the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Boston

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What if you could pretend to travel back in time, discover a historic woman’s personal, larger than life art collection, and walk through her home for a day?

There is one place in Boston that can offer you that in a captivating, engaging, and realistic way. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a must-see for tourists and locals in Boston alike, and has been at the top of my Boston bucket list. I’d recommend this destination for a classy girls day out, a cool date idea, or a beautiful escape from the elements through the worst winter cold snaps.

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I got a hot tip from my boss about the Bank of America Museums on Us program on every first full weekend of the month. Lucky me, the Gardner museum is one of the handful of participants, so we made it in FOR FREE! However, the $15 admission for non-member adults seems very reasonable and a small price to pay for such an enchanting location.

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It was just as I had imagined and more. I’ve come across several breathtaking photos of the courtyard in my research, but seeing it in person would explain just why it’s an irresistible subject. It conveys a different feel at every angle, and as I circled through the galleries and the sun slowly set, the light danced and played around the garden in a magnificent way.

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Around the courtyard, on the ground level, were the small collections. Alex, being the big planner that he is, read ahead about the robbery mystery at the museum almost 27 years ago, giving our tour a fun little scavenger-hunt like twist. Without his looking eye, I would have missed all the clues to the stolen pieces that comprise the biggest art heist in history.

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A few moments into the trip and we found ourselves looking for something else, too. There are no tags or descriptors on most of the artifacts, which I liked for the more intimate and personal feel it gave this special place. The room guides were easy to find, however, and were highly informative as Alex and I paced ourselves through the collections and exhibits.

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I was pleasantly surprised to find a chapel there with this beautiful stained glass (below). It added a solemn tone to our tour as we were wrapping up from the top level of the museum.

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That day, since it was free for BoA cardholders, it was bustling with activity. By the time we left, there was a line out the door and around the corner! We made a mental note to get there earlier next time so we can find some quiet moments in the courtyard.

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I also found myself getting drawn to all the interesting features and contrasts within the museum’s architecture. SO many details worth sharing, even down to the quote tiles in the bathroom.

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Before we ended our trip, we made sure to go into the greenhouse and get some extra fresh air to carry us through the rest of the winter. At that point in time, it was a GORGEOUS day and we were far from the bitter and harsh early weeks of March.

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We have yet to check out the gardens, so we’ll be back for those and everything else! I feel so fortunate to have such a rich venue like this be so accessible within the city. I can hardly wait for the warmth, color, and scents of the new season and to see this lovely place come alive in a new way then. This trip was just what I needed to remember to hang tight – the cold doesn’t last forever – and spring is right around the corner.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on the snaps and my Gardner experience below! Thanks for reading and following along 🙂

Valerie


For more information on the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, go to www.gardnermuseum.org

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