Boston Vacation

To top off summer, Bob and I left the humid, blistering heat of Texas for a week trip in Boston. I had just completed an engaging semester of maternity and newborn nursing, which I absolutely loved, but I was ready for a vacation!  Thanks to Patty and Dave, Bob’s parents, we were able to spend time with family and tour an awesome city! Before leaving the Houston airport, I made sure to drink some Dunkin’ donuts coffee in preparation for our voyage East.
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Flying into Logan international airport, we soared across Boston harbor. The window view was spectacular. Bob’s parents had told us their experience with planes landing above their sailboats… almost as if they were about to touch the sailboat’s mast. What a cool location for an airport!

When we arrived, we drove to Charlestown first. Here, we saw the Bunker Hill Memorial. Then, we went to dinner at Warren Tavern, which was built in 1730 and visited by both George Washington and Paul Revere. Dr. Warren was the man who sent Paul Revere and William Dawes to alert the Colonials about the British soldiers. It was the Minute Men National Park that sparked my memory about all the history in Boston because they had a detailed visitors’ center with a multimedia presentation. Each year, Boston schools’ spring break falls on the week of April 19, in honor of the battles of Lexington and Concord.

On our first full day in Boston, we had to go for a sail. We headed into Boston from the apartment, and first, we toured the USS Constitution. I was the only one who had not seen “Old Ironsides”. At the USS Constitution museum, I learned the history of this honored Naval ship.

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Next, we were off to sail! Bob’s parents are members at Courageous Sailing Center off the Boston inner harbor. We took out a J22, and enjoyed a windy afternoon on the water. Sadly, the wind was coming from the wrong direction for us to have planes landing over our heads, but we had several planes take off above us!

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After sailing, we headed to Fenway Park for a Red Sox vs. Astros game! We had standing room tickets on the Green Monster, but we found four open seats and no one ever came and claimed them. This location had a great view of the field, and the pictures don’t do it justice.

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The following day, we went to Minute Men National Park, followed by kayaking from the south bridge to the north bridge on the Concord river. We rented the kayaks from Southbridge Boat House. It was so much fun to see the North bridge from the water and to spend some time rowing with Bob!

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Kayak selfie! Thank goodness for Lifeproof cases, as long as you don’t drop the phone and lose in the water!

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 Patty and Dave on their kayak!

After kayaking, we went to New Hampshire for some outlet mall shopping! NH does not have sales tax, so that was an added bonus. Bob and I got great deals on new Sperry’s. You gotta love it when the receipt says you saved $140. We also got Bob some new wayfarer RayBans…this Lenscrafters did 30% off with AAA membership! Whoop!

The following day, it was back into Boston for a duck tour and an Italian dinner in the North End. The duck tour was so much fun! Our ConDucktor was Professor Quackenstein and we rode in Back Bay Bertha.

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Back Bay Bertha was parked in front of the loading zone at the end of the night, so we were able to take a photo with her. Photobombed by another ConDucktor!

614The Boston Duck Tour was an entertaining way to see the city. This was the second tour for Patty and Dave, and each trip, they learned something new and saw different sites. I learned that within a 50 mile radius there is more than 1,000 Dunkin’ Donuts…then, I saw about five in the next five minutes. We saw the grave yard where Sam Adams is buried. Pointing to a bar across the street, he said, “This the only place you can drink a cold Sam Adams while staring at a cold Sam Adams!” It was really cool that the duck could be driven directly into the water! We went into the Charles river for the water portion of the tour!

Before dinner, we went to the Old North Church, which played its part in history on the night of April 18th, 1775 by raising lanterns to inform the Charlestown patriots of the British troops planned route to Lexington,  “one if by land, and two if by sea!”

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We had dinner at Panza Ristorante. The most memorable dish was the bruschetta appetizer… it was the best I have ever had: Crunchy warm bread with fresh tomatoes, red onion, balsamic drizzle, and small pieces of creamy goat cheese tied the whole dish together. Bob ordered the Chicken Panza, which was also a table favorite.

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Since we were right around the corner from Mike’s Pastry, we had to stop in to get some famous cannolis. I did not think I really like cannolis, so I had Bob order me two giant chocolate chip cookies. The cookies were so delicious… I would go back just for that! Then, I tried an espresso cannoli, and I liked it, too!

Our final day on the East coast, we drove to Gloucester, MA part of Cape Ann. This area was founded in 1623 by men from Dorchester, and it became one of the earliest English settlements, predating Salem (1626) and Boston (1630). We went to the park, and we walked the shoreline, visiting the Fisherman’s memorial. It was surprising to see the number of Fishermen deaths at sea, which are caused by a number of things such as large storms, sinking, small dorys gone astray, and being run down by steamers.

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Bob and I had such an amazing time on the East Coast. It was fun to visit our family in a new area before they move back to Texas sometime in the future. Thank you so much Patty and Dave for this fun adventure! We learned a lot about Boston history, baseball, and East Coast living.

Fredericksburg: A Texas Hill Country Vacation

Bob and I just returned from a mini vacation to Fredericksburg, TX. This was the first time we traveled to Fredericksburg together. I had been to the area as a child to camp with my family at the surrounding state parks, Perdenales and Enchanted Rock. This area of the hill country is so beautiful. I did not mind the driving one bit. With three days of rain at the beginning of the week, we were blessed with perfect sunny weather that wasn’t unbearably hot.

Our first stop was Hondo’s on Main. This restaurant is known for its burgers, beer, and live music. The portions were large and the atmosphere was very Texan. It was a delicious way to start our vacation. I ordered the BBQ bacon burger. I thought it was good, but Bob did not like their BBQ sauce. I guess it depends on your BBQ preference! The side order of homemade chips was tasty, but heavy on Parmesan topping, so make sure that’s your thing before ordering.

 

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After Hondo’s, we headed to the ranch. My grandmother, we call her Nanni, is an interior designer. Our family friends, also her clients, own a beautiful ranch at the top of a mountain. Their property overlooks other farmland…windmills, livestock, and green grass. I’m always amazed by Nanni’s sense of design and passion for her work. While she and her crew worked on the houses, Bob and I had a great time driving around on the “mule” and trying to disturb the longhorn without being attacked.

 

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We wanted to saw its horns off…

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The next morning, we slept in and headed to Perdenales Cellars to experience a 290 winery. This is one of Andrea’s (my aunt/friend) favorites. Bob and I felt a little out of place because they ramble on about the wine and wait for you to finish one glass to give you the next taste. We like drinking wine, but we’re not wine snobs yet. Fortunately, we were able to head outside to enjoy a glass of our favorite wine from the tasting. We sat on a rocking swing and enjoyed the day.

 

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After the winery, we headed back to town to run an errand for Nanni. We decided to grab a bite to eat. We discovered the most delicious deli! It is called Woerner Warehouse- Country Market and Cafe. This unique find had one of the best ratings in the city. The cafe is located right next door to the Woerner Feed and Garden Supply, so don’t think you are in the wrong place. We parked behind the cafe and found a chicken coop with chicks and two baby ducks. Bob’s sandwich was so amazing, named the Don Juan. It was a ham sandwich with havarti, bacon, dijon mayo, and texas slaw warmed on a panini press. Bob says it was the BEST sandwich he has had to date. I wish I had ordered it too! I ordered a standard turkey club, which was also top notch. (My phone was dead, so you’ll have to trust my word that it is worth the visit!) http://woernerwarehouse.com

For dinner, we ate at the Auslander restaurant and biergarten to have some necessary German fixings while in town. The spatzle was one of their most noteworthy dishes. Also, the spicy bratwurst was delicious. We enjoyed some quality time in the biergarten with Nanni.

After dinner, we returned to the ranch, which is so serene at night. Christmas lights are hung to light up the pathways and outline the houses, and the stars shine so bright. Our final day was spent removing old lights from the windmill and putting up new Christmas lights to make it even more appealing to the night eye. Bob volunteered to climb the windmill and do the manly work! He had a lot of fun. I wished he had a harness, but he was very cautious… (except for when he drank a beer while on the ladder!) I was his grounded helper.

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Here he is after a long day of work!

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And here’s a peek at the interior design! I love doors on tracks. Nanni always finds the best decor.

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I enjoyed the chance to get away with Bob for a short vacation before summer school and work begin again. We had a blast exploring a new area. I loved waking up to the ranch scenery. I was even able to lounge around in the carriage house bed while drinking coffee and watching Food Network, so it doesn’t get much better than that.

I look forward to blogging about more trips in the future!

-Kerry

San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO

The Texas A&M Sailing team headed to San Francisco last weekend to BTHO San Francisco Bay and ICSA Match Race Nationals…

Chelsea, Conner, and Colin were the sailors, while I was the alternate and Bob tagged along for some captaining. Dressed up in our cowboy attire, we brought Texas to California, and especially represented Texas when enterprise gave us a free upgrade to a suburban….Let me tell you, that car did not fit well in the city scene or in a 6’4” clearance parking garage.

In order to sail in this national regatta, there was a 513 lb weight limit for the J22 sailboats. The conference championship weight limit was 600 lbs. When our team found out about this weight limit, they had 6 weeks to lose a combined 50 lbs. After intense working out, dieting, and a final day of diuretics and fasting, the three of them weighed in at 504 lbs. I was relieved that they made it and so proud of all the work they had done to be able to sail in San Francisco Bay. The hardest thing for me was feeling as if I couldn’t eat on Thursday evening as they all fasted! Bob and I snuck away at the airport to satisfy our rumbling tummies, while they suffered in anxious anticipation of weighing in and eating breakfast ASAP. I’ve never seen someone consume two foot long meatball marinara subs from Subway faster than Colin did that morning.

St. Francis Yacht Club was a great venue.  Fancy yacht clubs are not the place for your average college sailor. Walking around in our jeans and sweaters, definitely draws attention from members wearing their blazers and formal attire. During a postponement Saturday morning, the team invaded the Domino room to play some 42. You have to love the idea of a domino room, equipped with doorbell buttons at each table that summon the bartender.

It rained all day Friday and Sunday. And Saturday, races were postponed until 2 pm because the lack of wind and strong current made racing impossible. Bob and I decided we should tour this incredible city rather than hanging around the yacht club hoping the wind fills in…plus we wanted to make the plane ticket investment worthwhile and actually do some tourism! We walked at least 5 miles that afternoon. As sailors, San Francisco felt like heaven! We walked through the Maritime museum and toured the Balclutha, a steel-hulled full rigged ship built in 1886. The boardwalk had knot tying stations to teach people the tricks of our trade. They even explained the use of each knot of both sailors and landlubbers.The rest of the touring included Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, Boudin Bakery, and Chinatown. There’s nothing like a bowl of Clam Chowder with a fresh loaf of Sourdough bread on a cold, fall evening. With my sweet tooth, I will admit the hot fudge brownie sundae from Ghirardelli cafe really warmed my heart. My brother, Matt, who recently moved to San Francisco for an accounting position at KPMG, toured the city with Bob and I. Someone called him out on the street Saturday morning and said, “you’re one of those occupiers, aren’t you?” This made me laugh pretty hard because he had just finished taking his final CPA exam and is definitely on the other end of that spectrum.

Some people say we look kind of alike…

It was a great trip. Bob and I were able to watch some good match racing, enjoy the sights of this incredible city, and hang out with my brother.  Let’s just say, we didn’t exactly BTHO the bay or Match Race Nationals, but the team:

Sailed with the golden gate bridge in the background

Learned a little bit about current

And looked dang good after their diets and exercising!

Dealing with boat speed: Chelsea says, “Sails are just bigger in Texas.” Conner says, “Ain’t got no current in Texas. State law.

And we saw a 1976 America’s Cup boat!