Okay to begin my post I am going to talk about the family adventure to Beantown. Get ready- it's a lengthy read...
This trip was initially planned several months ago as a getaway for Danny and myself to go to Boston. The plan for this trip had many revisions- first starting off as a cruise then changing to just land- and finally in the late hours before we departed turned into our first family vacation. Everybody else does it- can't we make it too?
Since I had not anticipated Carsyn going with us I had to get up at 5 to get her packed as well as the rest of our belongings. Once again the realization that my life has drastically changed since College travel days hit me. I once was an avid traveler jumping at the chance for a road trip or to visit a new destination. New York, Orlando, London, Amsterdam, Paris, etc all within 12 months. Life is no longer the same and I am no longer the same...I now find that when I leave "home" it makes me appreciate it more. So back to the trip. We departed at 8:30 to head to the airport just as we pulled into the airport Carsyn threw up for the first time ever. The traffic on that long bridge was just too "stop and go" for her to handle. To be honest it took everything I had to keep my breakfast down as well. So not to be discouraged or late- she was stripped and changed all while unloading bags. I will give kudos now to US Airways for an incredibly friendly and helpful staff. Both on the departing and return flight they were great.
On the first flight to Charlotte Carsyn just took it all in. My little girl is quite the observer and we figured she would be entranced by it all. Luckily we had a window seat so she enjoyed it immensely. After a quick lunch on route in the airport it was off to our final plane. This time she was asleep within 5 minutes and slept almost the entire plane ride. We had a tiny fear that she was about to cry the last 30 minutes but she stopped and all in all did great. Did I mention she used the potty on the plane and never once wet her diaper all day?!
Now arriving at the hotel was a little nerve wracking as when we got to Boston I had no idea it was such a metropolis- it felt like a mini-London to me. I guess they haven't strayed far from their origin. Our hotel was mostly for the business class so toting a little toddler in did feel a tad strange. While the hotel and their staff were great and the amenities were good it was definitely not a family oriented hotel and was not close to any tourists attractions. I had an idea of this but since I wanted to save some money I booked it on Priceline at half of the cost.
We walked down to the water and found a little seafood joint the bellhop recommended. Ummm when you are used to Cajun Southern Seafood- sorry yankees your food tasted like rubbish. It was the WORST $70 I have ever spent and I felt robbed when the bill arrived. That is my one and biggest complaint about Boston is the cost of food is UNFREAKING BELIEVABLE! I laughed when I saw a picture of the owner and some employees with Emeril hanging on the wall. I can only IMAGINE what he thought!
Oh and lest I forget the weather. While I was looking forward to the 60 degree day temps- Boston 60 degrees with wind from river and Miss 60 degrees totally NOT THE SAME! It was soo cold! Luckily I had enough warm clothes for Carsyn. So back to the hotel to get ready for bed.
After a not great night of sleep (of course you knew C wasn't going to sleep) I got her up and she and I headed downstairs for breakfast. I knew the hotel did not have breakfast included but I was not expecting to receive a bill for $25 for ONE breakfast buffet!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I literally almost had a heart attack at the table. Seriously this trip probably took out a huge chunk of C's college fund- ha not really but man the food prices were KILLING Me and it wasn't even good!
So once dressed we ventured out into the city. At first it was VERY intimidating but I was VERY pleased to see how friendly everyone was. Kudos to the Yankees for their hospitality- you aren't as bad as they say ; ) After finding our "duck tour" we walked around taking it all in. Within 5 minutes we had stumbled onto the set of a new Ben Affleck movie being filmed- no sight of the celebrity but cool nonetheless. Carsyn enjoyed chasing the pigeons in one of the squares we were in. Also I was surprised to see so many toddlers/babies being strolled around on vacation. I don't know how people do it with more than one. Maybe me and Danny aren't cut out for it! So off to eat lunch at The Cheesecake Factory which was finally a meal I didn't mind paying $50 for. Then to the duck tour. I had scheduled it hoping C would fall asleep on the tour vehicle but wishful thinking -too much was going on. So after the tour we were left not knowing what to do next. In hindsight (don't you love how it is always 20/20) we now know what we should have done but in a new city we didn't. So we decided to go back up to Beacon Hill which is a beautiful and prestigious neighborhood (John Kerry's home- yuck, but he does have taste when it comes to homesteads). This walk turned into about 30 minutes which with a tired toddler was not the most pleasant. We did stumble upon the Cheers bar and the Boston Garden(the oldest Botanical Gardens in the US). Carsyn got to chase the ducks and swans and the grounds were breathtaking. Really this trip reminded me so much of my summer in Europe- I almost did not feel like we were in America. Next we stumbled upon a protest at the state building which was history in the making- apparently something to do with jobs- I think they are having a governor election soon.
At this point we were lost as to where to go or what to do. And then Carsyn Belle crashed just like that in my arms. So what did we do? We sat down on someones steps to their condo right in Beacon Hill to let her get a cat nap. HA. I stopped a man to ask for his recommendation of where to eat in the area and I could see the look of bewilderment in his eye as he tried to avoid eye contact thinking I was hitting him up for money. Ha HA I probably should have considering the price of everything in that town! So we wandered down to a little Italian cafe for dinner. I thought it was so funny not even 10 seconds after we walked in the waitress asked Danny what he wanted to drink and when he said "tea" she said "You know its not sweet- right?" I laughed and said what gave it away? She never did say...
We headed back to the hotel after dinner.
Our transportation on the trip was initially supposed to be the T-stop (subway) and the silver line bus but neither were close to our hotel so we just paid for cabs(also money out of the college fund!)
That night was also not another good night of sleep for me or Carsyn who was in the bed with me. She seemed to wake up all night choking on the drainage in her throat and with a stuffy nose. I guess the wind had gotten to her because she woke up with a cold. The next morning I bypassed the breakfast buffet and headed to Starbucks (yeah cause that was cheap- NOT). We decided to go to the Aquarium and the Boston Ha-baaa (Harbor- you know Bostonians don't pronounce the letter "r'). It was neat and Carsyn enjoyed it. Next we got onto another Sightseeing Tour bus but this one went around the Freedom trail. In hindsight (I know I know) this would have been the first and best way to get around which we now know. While you can get on and off this bus- we stayed on to hear the commentary for the entire trip. This time C did fall asleep but only for a little cat nap.
So after our whirlwind trip of Boston it was time to head home. We moved our flight up early since we had C with us and to be honest I think we saved money not having to buy anymore food in this town! Of course after 2 1/2 days we now were familiar with the city and would have been comfortable finding our way around. So while in the beginning Boston wasn't my cup of tea (ha ha pun intended) I changed my mind and decided it was enjoyable. Maybe we will make a return trip sometime in our lifetime. Also while at first appearance the city seems large after learning the areas you really could walk the main parts within an hour or so. Little did we know!
Now the return story- not much to tell except we had to sit on the runway for an hour (with a 22 month old!)and then had a 2 1/2 hour flight. The return was not as smooth as the departure but still I think she did great.
Was this the trip I had planned and dreamed for several months? Heck no, but definitely an addition to the family memory book. I am also proud of me and Danny for surviving with out causing a divorce or loosing our tempers(well not really bad) with Carsyn. And definitely for me for rolling with the flow!
Next - my top dos and don't of travel in Boston.
Enjoy the snapshots I was able to get.
In Boston Public Garden
Touching a crab at Aquarium