Friday, August 10, 2012

Boston: Highlights

Lots of traffic, expensive parking and hard to get street parking were a bit frustrating...

We had a great time on our trip to Boston last week while Andrew was at a hockey camp for goalies at Fessenden School in nearby Newton, MA.  Here are some highlights from the trip (traffic wasn't one of them!):

Highlight #1: Goalie Academy Elite Goalie Camp at Fessenden School:  Of course getting to see some of the on-ice sessions, usually end of the day, were fun and the main reason we were there:
Fessenden School, Newton MA
I always love seeing a large group of goalies together -- reminds me of when we were in NYC once and saw a bunch of Santa Clauses get off a bus together like they were on a convention!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Boston Public Library -- Copley Square

Boston Public Library, founded in 1848, was the country's first public lending library.  It has been in its present Copley Square location since 1895. 

Photos below are from the Abbey Room of the McKim Building (original building).  We stopped at the library for an hour or so while waiting for the campers to get back from their prep school tour.  I thought this room was particularly beautiful and, having enjoyed reading "The Once and Future King" by T.H. White to both boys when they were younger, was especially delighted once I found out the paintings illustrated scenes from the legend of King Arthur.  It was lovely to sit there and read for awhile:

The Abbey Room, paintings by Edwin Austin Abbey

Descriptions from Boston Public Library's website:

The Abbey Room
"Murals titled the "Quest of the Holy Grail," by American artist, Edwin Austin Abbey, grace the walls of the Abbey Room on the second floor of the McKim building. The murals are composed of a series of 15 panels featuring 150 life-sized figures illustrating the Arthurian legend. The room also features a beautiful fireplace of French rouge antiq
ue marble, dark oak wainscoting, and a beamed ceiling modeled after one in the library of the Doge's Palace in Venice." 


The Abbey Room

"Of particular interest to many visitors is the sumptuous Abbey Room, which may be entered from the south end of the Chavannes Gallery. The room’s dominating feature is the series of splendid and richly colored mural paintings The Quest of the Holy Grail by the American artist, Edwin Austin Abbey. The room, 64 feet long by 33 feet wide, is of luxurious beauty. The ceiling is remarkable for its heavy ornamental rafters.
The heavy marble doorways leading into Bates Hall and from the Chavannes Gallery are of rouge antique and Levanto marble. The mantle of the great fireplace in the east wall - wholly of rouge antique - is exceedingly rich and elaborate. The walls are wainscoted in dark-colored oak to the level of the murals, and the floors are of Istrian and red Verona marble."


Paintings #1-3 -- details below

No 1. The child Galahad, the descendant, by his mother, of Joseph of Arimathea, is visited, among the nuns who bring him up, by a dove bearing a golden censer and an angel carrying the Grail, the presence of which operates as sustenance to the infant. From the hands of the holy women the predestined boy passes into those of the subtle Gurnemanz, who instructs him in the knowledge of the things of the world, and in the duties and functions of the ideal knight. But before leaving the nuns he has performed his nightly vigil has watched alone, till dawn, in the church.

No. 2. This ordeal of the vigil terminates in his departure. Clothed in red, he is girt for going forth, while the nuns bring to him Sir Lancelot, who fastens on one of his spurs, and Sir Bors, who attaches the other.

No. 3. The Arthurian Round Table and the curious fable of the Seat Perilous are here dealt with: the Seat Perilous − "Perilous for good and ill" − in which no man has yet sat with safety, not even the fashioner himself, but into which, standing vacant while it awaits only a blameless occupant, the young Sir Galahad, knighted by Arthur, has sworn a vow to be worthy to take his place. The Companions of the Order are seated in Arthur's hall, and every chair, save one, is filled. Suddenly the doors and windows close of themselves, the place becomes suffused with light, and Sir Galahad, robed in red (the color emblematic of purity), is led in by an old man clothed in white, Joseph of Arimathea, who, according to one of the most artless features of the romance, has subsisted for centuries by the possession of the supreme relic. The young knight is thus installed in safety in the Seat Perilous, above which becomes visible the legend, "This is the seat of Galahad."

No. 12. Sir Galahad, borne upon a white charger and followed by the blessings of the people, is seen passing from the land, where peace and plenty once more reign.

No. 13. Carry him across the seas to Sarras. The Grail, borne by an angel, guides the ship. Sir Bors and Sir Percival follow him. Having sinned once, they can never see the Grail themselves, yet, having persevered faithfully in the Quest, they have acquired the right to accompany Sir Galahad and witness his achievement. Resting upon a cushion in the stern of the ship are three Spindles made from the "Tree of Life" − one snow-white, one green, one blood-red. When Eve was driven from the Garden of Eden, she carried with her the branch which she had plucked from the "Tree of Life." The branch, when planted, grew to be a tree, with branches and leaves white, in token that Eve was a virgin when she planted it. When Cain was begotten, the tree turned green; and afterward, when Cain slew Abel, the tree turned red.

Sir Lancelot

 p.s. Note:  If you plan to visit Boston Public Library and rely on your GPS to help you with directions, you should indicate the Copley Square location or better yet the specific address at 700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA, otherwise you might end up at a public library in Boston somewhere else -- we did! The GPS was not always very good in Boston -- consider the old GIGO adage!

Boston Day Trip: World's End

Sitting at Starbucks planning our day -- ferry to one of the Harbor Islands or drive to one of the islands accessible by car?  Since it was our last day in Boston, and we had to be back early, we decided to forgo the schedule of the ferries and decided instead to drive to World's End, which is south of Boston in Hingham, MA.  I'm so glad we did, especially since we didn't have a chance to go to Walden Pond this trip; it was nice to visit some place with so much natural and peaceful beauty, not to mention awesome views of Boston.  Perfect for a long morning walk on four miles of original carriage roads through hills, wooded and open areas of  park overlooking Boston Harbor before getting back in the car for a nine hour trip home.

Designed by  Frederick Law Olmsted, landscape architect for New York City's Central Park, Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, as well as numerous other US Parks and college campuses,  he was also responsible for preserving Yosemite Valley in California.   More information on World's End can be found on The Trustees of Reservations: World's End, Hingham MA, where you can also read about how the Trustees have protected the property since 1891.

Before we left Hingham and Boston, one last lobster roll at Hingham Lobster Pound -- so good!

p.s. Note:  If you plan to visit World's End in Hingham, MA and you rely on a GPS to help with directions, it is best to enter the specific address -- 250 Martin's Lane, Hingham, MA -- that will work.  Entering just  "World's End" will put you in the next town over, Hull, and driving in circles around a neighborhood!  I know... but we tend to get driving off and I have to set the destination fast!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Boston Day Trip: Wingaersheek Beach

Wingaersheek Beach is a perfect New England beach -- small, sandy and picturesque, about an hour north of Boston, in Gloucester, MA-- I loved this beach. Here's a ticker-tape of pictures showing the pretty scenery there:


Wingaersheek Beach is situated on Annisquam River on the mouth of Ipswich Bay
Sand is very sparkly here

towards the end of the beach closer to the harbor

 a beach rose
a floating house
end of the line

 Thought about trying the cold gazpacho soup for $3.50 a bowl at the snack shack
After leaving Wingaersheek Beach, we drove to Cape Ann's Marina to have lunch:
Bloody Marys, lobster rolls and clam chowder at Mile Marker 1 Restaurant

Then drove further up the coast and stopped in quaint Rockport before turning around and heading back back to Boston.  Of course I stopped to pick up a couple of boxes of salt water taffy while there!

 We had to stop and take a picture of this house --13 Pleasant Street, Rockport, MA -- built in 1810, the house is narrow in the front, but goes waaayy back... think it may have been turned into condominiums... pretty, but reminded me a little of 1313 Mockingbird Lane...

Liberty State Park

On a cloudy day at Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ:

While driving on our way to Boston last week, we decided to stop at Liberty State Park to show Andrew the Statue of Liberty.  It was the first time we had been here in ten years since moving from Northern NJ to Northern VA, and were surprised not only to see that  a 9/11 Memorial had been built, but also that so much construction had gone on in rebuilding the new towers across the river in Manhattan.  I do not know that I like the towers being rebuilt, although there is something in their new twisted form that is a reminder of the disaster and wreckage of the original, a piece of which has been laid to rest on the shores of Jersey City at Liberty State Park.  I think the lights shining up from the ground may have been a more peaceful remembrance.

I will never forget 9/11, watching PBS with Andrew that morning... and then not, as PBS had been broadcast from on top one of the towers... Then Brian, working from home that day, calling out to say that a plane had struck one of the towers... me thinking it was probably just a small commuter plane and minimal damage, only to see the effects of the horrific truth  unfold on television with the rest of the world... Then later how we could always see the twin towers from the highway on Route 24, and then one day not... This Empty Sky Memorial reminds me of that ...

From the NJ 9/11 Memorial Foundation website about Empty Sky, which was dedicated September 10, 2011:

"Twin walls transect a gently sloped mound anchored by a granite path that is directed toward Ground Zero. The length of each wall is exactly equal to one side of the former World Trade Center Towers as the height of the wall reflects proportion of the former buildings if they were lying on their side. The seven hundred and forty seven (747) victims’ names from the State of New Jersey face one another on the interior elevations of the twin brushed stainless steel walls within easy reach. The walls channel visitors to the location in the Manhattan skyline where the former World Trade Center towers once stood."

You can read more about the Empty sky Memorial on that website hereDespite the dark and cloudy day, I think the pictures give a good feel for what it was like looking and walking through the memorial ... beautiful, yet an eerie feeling for me, and I can't believe how they thought to capture it:

Empty Sky Memorial at Liberty State Park
Manhattan skyline including Empire State building

New twin towers being constructed
 Finally close enough to see the Statue of Liberty (in the background below).  Time enough to take a picture (not easy as it was so dark), and then get back on the road to Boston:
Andrew with the Statue of Liberty in background