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.
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.
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.
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 first lunch in town had to include Clam Chowder, so a quick trip to Legal Sea Foods was in order.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Summer and fall are the perfect seasons to visit Boston. Make plans to visit soon. You will be glad you did.
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.
This content is protected under International Copyright Laws. Bunkycooks provides this content to its readers for their personal use. No part (text or images) may be copied or reproduced, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of bunkycooks.com. All rights reserved.