A long awaited return to visit Boston, Massachusetts

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We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there. ~ Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon

It hasn’t been that long since Boston, Massachusetts was home to both me and Mr. B.  It is the city where we met and it holds many special memories for both of us on many levels.  We had great careers there, made lifelong friends, and enjoyed plenty of good times while living in what some call “The Athens of America.” Boston is certainly home to many notable and famous colleges and universities and has a very diverse population due to the influx of international students who attend these schools.  However, for many people, the city may be best known for its sports teams including the Red Sox, the Bruins, the Celtics, and the Patriots. :-)

The Back Bay

The Back Bay

This restaurant used to be on the waterfront and was where we had our first date

Formerly on the waterfront, this is where Mr. B and I had our first date

While we don’t return to Boston often, this past week we spent six days in our former hometown and one of our favorite cities.  Mr. B had a business meeting and reunion and we took the opportunity to connect with both old and new friends and to do a bit of dining and sightseeing.  The weather could not have been more perfect with gorgeous blue skies and warm temperatures as we took in all that we could of what this gorgeous city has to offer.

Old South Church

Old South Church

The Swan Boats at the Public Garden

The Swan Boats at the Public Garden

Even George had the Bruins spirit at the Public Garden

Even George was a Bruins fan at the Public Garden

Boston has undergone something of a transformation over the past ten years with the completion of the Central Artery Project (better known as the Big Dig) and the development of the Seaport area in East Boston.  Despite so much new development, the Back Bay, the Financial District, Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, the North End, Charlestown, and other downtown areas hold on to the beauty of the past while a new development boom is underway.  The are some stark contrasts in Boston; the new and the old as seen here with Trinity Church reflecting in a modern skyscraper, Hancock Place.

The old and the new blend together in the city

The old and the new blend together in the city

Our first two evenings were spent at the Lenox Hotel on Boylston Street in the Back Bay.  This lovely small hotel, known as “the original boutique hotel” is located in the perfect place to dine and shop as it sits between Copley Plaza (the indoor upscale mall) and fashionable Newbury Street with numerous boutiques and cafés.  A sobering reminder of the Boston Marathon Bombings was not far away at nearby Copley Square.  (The memorial was removed on June 24th as the city tries to move on from this tragedy.)

The Lenox Hotel

The Lenox Hotel

The Lenox Hotel

Inside the Lenox Hotel (Photos courtesy of the internet)

The bellman also had Bruins fever

Peter, the bellman, also had Bruins fever during the Stanley Cup finals

The Boston Marathon Bombing Memorial in Copley Square

The Boston Marathon Bombing Memorial in Copley Square

A sobering tribute to that day

A sobering tribute to that day

The first lunch in town had to include Clam Chowder, so a quick trip to Legal Sea Foods was in order.

Clam Chowda

Clam Chowdah

Our first evening’s dinner was with good friends and former colleagues in Cambridge where we dined at Catalyst Restaurant.  The former executive chef of the now closed Aujourd’hui at the Four Seasons Hotel is the chef/owner of this seasonal, sustainable, and local farm inspired restaurant.  WIlliam Kovel’s menu was creative and featured dishes representative of springtime in New England, such as the English Pea Ravioli, Lobster, Cippolini Onions, Lemon, and Mint dish that I ordered.  We had an excellent meal and enjoyed visiting with friends we haven’t seen in years.

Catalyst Restaurant (photo other than pasta dish courtesy of the internet)

Catalyst Restaurant (Photos other than the pasta dish is courtesy of the internet)

After a full day exploring town, the second evening was a very happy reunion with my best friend, Eileen.  As she said, when we get together, the years seem to melt away and it’s just like we had never been apart.  Not having been in Boston for about five years, we had a wonderful time catching up over drinks at the newly remodeled Oak Room at The Fairmont Copley Plaza.  The OAK Long Bar & Kitchen is very different from the old space; open and bright with the large bar as the focus of the room. While I missed the old Oak Bar, it was a refreshing change from the former dark and clubby piano bar that I remembered.  We followed drinks with dinner at Sorellina, a delightfully elegant Italian restaurant in the Back Bay.

With my BFF Eileen

With my BFF Eileen

The new Oak Bar & Kitchen at the Fairmont Copley Plaza

The new OAK Long Bar & Kitchen at the Fairmont Copley Plaza

The space now features a large bar and open kitchen

The new space features a large bar and beautiful open kitchen

The next day involved a move to change hotels and a shift to waterfront scenery at the Intercontinental Boston for our last three evenings and Mr. B’s former company’s event.  This part of town is really spectacular since the Central Artery Project was completed in December 2007.  Putting I-93 underground completely changed the whole appearance of the city.  What was once a mess of elevated highways through the downtown corridor of the city, is now home to green space, parks, hotels, and bustling restaurants.  There are also 47 miles of uninterrupted walkways along the waterfront of the city.

We need manage to find time to eat while we were in Boston

We did manage to find time to eat and drink while we were in Boston between all the events and meetings

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen some of the photos I posted from the two evening events we attended in Boston.  To say they were spectacular is an understatement.  A 50th year company anniversary and worldwide Partner’s meeting was the reason for the celebration and celebrate we did.  I can’t remember the last time we had this much fun and danced into the wee hours of the morning.

Window shopping on Newbury Street

Window shopping on Newbury Street

Sheets, anyone?

Sheets anyone?

The venue for the first evening’s event was the historic Wang Theatre.  Beautifully decorated and costumed for the event, The Wang came alive with the sounds of live music from the Earth Harp played by William Close (America’s Got Talent finalist – video of his performance below) and a private concert from actor and singer Hugh Jackman.  #swoon #sexy #gottalovethataccent  We were asked not to take photos of Jackman’s performance, so I complied. #shouldhavedoneitanyway #nophotosofhughjackman #bummer  :-( Following the concert we were invited on stage to dance the night away.

Party time at the Wang Theatre

Party time at the Wang Theatre

The second evening’s event was held at the stunning Boston Public Library.  Yes, I did say stunning.  This was America’s first public library and the building rivals European grandeur in its beauty.  Entertaining approximately 2,000 guests at one time is a challenging feat, so the library’s reading room was converted to a dining room and the exhibit and meeting rooms provided quiet space to catch up with colleagues and friends.  The central courtyard provided a wonderful gathering place to begin the evening’s activities.

Arriving at the Boston Public Library

Arriving at the Boston Public Library for our event

The courtyard at the library reminds me of the architecture in Europe

The courtyard at the library resembles some of the architecture in Europe

Dinner at the Boston Public Library

Dinner at the Boston Public Library

A stunning venue and gorgeous food to match

A stunning venue and gorgeous food to match

The last day was spent visiting my former residence, Charlestown.  A schooner ride from Charlestown Navy Yard afforded perfect views of the city looking back from the Boston Harbor to Rowes Wharf.  Lunch of steamed New England lobsters (oh, yes!), clams and oysters, and traditional trimmings with clam and corn chowder served on the docks in Charlestown seemed to epitomize the New England experience.

Charlestown bound

Charlestown bound

A schooner ride with beautiful views of the city from Boston Harbor

A schooner ride with beautiful views of the city from Boston Harbor

A little swarthy music serenade

A little swarthy music to serenade us

My old stomping grounds in Charlestown

My old stomping grounds in Charlestown

An invitation to dine at Asana Restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental Boston was the perfect way to end this trip to Boston.  Happy to have dinner again with Eileen before leaving town, we enjoyed a superb meal with lovely wine pairings.  Our table by the window looking out on Boylston Street  provided a wonderful view as the sun set during our memorable evening.

Mandarin Oriental Boston

Mandarin Oriental Boston

One of my favorite courses was a Hand Cut Cavatelli with Braised Lamb, Olives, Muscat Grapes and Parmesan.  The unique and piquant flavors of this dish were perfectly accompanied by a Grenache from the Rhône Valley in France.  I also really enjoyed the main course of Black Cod with Shiitake & Bacon Dashi, Vegetables, Green Onion, and Sesame-Chili Kale Crisps paired with a delicious Chassagne-Montrachet, Bruno Colin, 1er Cru.

Dinner at Asana

Dinner at Asana

With three dessert selections and every one delightful, it would be hard to choose a favorite, but we all enjoyed a glass of Moscato, La Spinetta, Moscato d’asti to end our meal.  We were also privy to try a new dessert (not yet on the menu) that was spectacular: Exotic Fruit Soup with Mai Tai Sorbet combined a compote of tropical fruits including mango, papaya, kiwi, and dragonfruit with the refreshing flavors of lemongrass, ginger, and lime leaves.

Dragon fruit

Exotic Fruit Soup with Mai Tai Sorbet

It was hard to leave Boston early Sunday morning as we headed to the airport, not knowing when we might return.  It is a fabulous city with lots of spirit and a real soul; there’s a unique vibe to this city that that I have not found anywhere else.  It’s the people, the scenery, the history, the food, the sports teams, the ethnicity and the culture of the city.  It’s something as simple as a walk to the North End to buy a cannoli.  There is a part of me that I left behind when I moved to Atlanta, but I always find it when I return.

I finally got my cannoli at Modern Pastry

I finally got my cannoli at Modern Pastry

Summer and fall are the perfect seasons to visit Boston.  Make plans to visit soon.  You will be glad you did.

Would you care to join me for tea? ;-)

Would you care to join me for tea? ;-)

The next post will also be about our trip to Boston and a few other friends that we met while in town.

* BTW, if you use Google Reader to receive new posts and updates from Bunkycooks, you might want to know that Google Reader will no longer be available after July 1, 2013.  Feedly is a good option to consider.

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3 Responses to “A long awaited return to visit Boston, Massachusetts”

  1. 1

    Susan Williams — June 26, 2013 @ 10:06 pm

    Spectacular pictures, from what sounds to have been a spectacular trip.
    Fantastic!
    And so glad you were reunited with your BFF, Eileen!

  2. 2

    Jamie — June 27, 2013 @ 3:03 am

    Wonderful and what stunning beautiful weather you had! Lucky! The photos are gorgeous and the food all looks amazing…. mmmm seafood and chowder! What a great time you guys had! Boston is a gorgeous city and I do want to get back (I never lived there, only visited) and your post makes me yearn even more. And it actually makes me want to get back to visit Philly where I lived and went to school!

  3. 3

    Lisa — July 4, 2013 @ 3:34 pm

    What a great post! It really makes me miss Boston…especially the photo of the BPL where I studied AND then cavorted around Boylston and Newbury for food and material goodies :) Beautiful photos..you truly captured the essence of the city!

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