Hello, Boston!

Boston was a part of our 2 week road trip of New England and Canada.

We flew to Boston direct on Southwest. Unfortunately, our flight was quite delayed so we didn’t arrive until very late. We were staying with some family friends in Belmont who were very generous to wait up for us.

Napping in the airport during our looong delay. Reclining stroller again to the rescue!

The title of this blog post hearkens to a children’s board book written by Martha Day Zschock. We had purchased this book for Kiddo a couple weeks before our trip and read it often to get him excited. Strangely, it was a great way to plan for the trip. We tried hard to hit all of the sites that were mentioned in the cute rhyming story!

Things We Did

Quincy Market and Fanuiel Hall

We were able to get a ride from our hosts to Alewife Station and then took the T into downtown Boston. We started by grabbing lunch at the iconic Quincy Market. There were an amazing amount of choices for food and it was quite crowded. After a short wait, we were able to grab a seat while Eric enjoyed a clam chowder and Della went for pizza. Kiddo had some munchies and a large glass of milk! We then went across the street to check out Fanuiel Hall. It was under construction from the the outside, so not too interesting to look at. But the inside was beautiful. We enjoyed checking out the hall itself which has held meetings, protests, and debate for 275 years!

 

Freedom Trail

We walked north from Fanueil Hall on the Freedom Trail through the North End. The Freedom Trail is a fun red brick path that you follow through the heart of Boston that takes you to several interesting, historic sites.

The next stop would have been Paul Revere’s house. We were interested to go in, but the line was awfully long and it didn’t look like it would easily accommodate our stroller so we continued on.

Then we were on to the Old North Church of Paul Revere “One if by land, two if by sea” fame. It is also the oldest church building in Boston, built in 1723. There is a lovely shaded park in front of the church that we hung out in for awhile, letting Kiddo run around. He enjoyed splashing in the fountain and then staring in wonder at the statue of Paul Revere.

We decided at this point to turn around and head back south on the Freedom Trail, but first we needed to refresh ourselves with a cannoli from Mike’s Pastry. Delicious!

Next we headed to the Old State House. The Declaration of Independence was read from the balcony in 1776. We enjoyed looking at the lion and unicorn statues on top. These two animals appear on the British Royal Arms. The lion represents England and the unicorn Scotland. We also looked at the monument on the pavement in front of the Old State House to the 5 people who were killed during the Boston Massacre.

We checked out the Old Corner Bookstore which is one of the oldest brick structures in Boston (1712). It is now a Chipotle!

Up next was the Old South Meeting House which is a church where those who planned the Boston Tea Party departed from.

We saw a monument to the Boston Latin school which was the oldest still operating school in America! It was started in 1635! It was no longer at this location, but we enjoyed the monument.

Next, we took a minute to get out of the hot Boston sun by stepping into King’s Church. We enjoyed looking at the enormous pews and reading about various people who had purchased each one.

We walked into the Granary Burial Ground in which many famous people are buried including 3 signers if the Declaration of Independence, Paul Revere, and relatives of Benjamin Franklin.

Finally we were to the Boston Common and the State House. Boston Common is the oldest public park in the US! It was created as a common space for grazing cattle and for people to meet. We mostly just took a little time to rest and do a failed jelfie.

At this point we had completed the majority of the Freedom Trail! Kiddo slept in our new reclining stroller from after we ate cannollis until we arrived at the Boston Common.

Boston Public Garden

Our next stop included a statue of the the ducks from the children’s book Make Way for Ducklings. Kiddo was awake now and ready to enjoy the time in the park. He is a big fan of ducks, though he was a tad scared of the statues. He liked watching the real ducks and seeing the big swan boats go by.

Commonwealth Mall to Copley Square

We next wanted to head to Copley Square where we knew there was a statue of the Turtle and Hare (thanks Hello, Boston book!) We walked through the beautiful Commonwealth Avenue Mall. It is 32 acres designed in the French Boulevard style and it is lovely, shaded, and has many statues lining it. We spent a little time in the sunny, crowded Copley Square checking out the statues before deciding to head back toward our lodging.

Harvard

We stopped at Harvard on our way back out to Belmont. We were a little tired at this point, so we just walked around Harvard Yard and read about some of the buildings. We laughed quite a bit when Kiddo said a huge “Wow!” right as we entered the quad. He doesn’t talk a lot yet, but something about Harvard clearly impressed him!

Boston College

On our second day in Boston, the weather was a tad dreary. We also had a few social activities planned – meeting up with the family of our hosts, and enjoying a lovely lunch with college friends! Our friends work at Boston College and Della’s father attended there, so we decided to do a walkabout on campus. We enjoyed the tour by our college friend and trying to take pictures of things that Della’s dad might remember from his days there. Kiddo napped in our reclining stroller while we enjoyed chatting with our friends!

JFK Library

We had a busy final day in Boston. We met up with different college friends for brunch and then rushed through the JFK Presidential Library before heading back to the airport. We started getting into Presidential Libraries in the last year and were excited to add another one to our growing list. We really wish we had more time as the library was well laid out in a creative way. Unfortunately, kiddo wasn’t really into being in his stroller at the time. We had hoped he would nap, but he never really was able to relax. Therefore, we missed out on most of the videos which would have really enhanced the experience.

Traveling with Kiddo (Lessons Learned)

As mentioned above, using children’s books (even board books) can be a good way to get kiddos excited about travel destinations. They can also be useful in helping you plan out good kid-friendly activities and sights for when you get there!

We’ve mentioned above and in other posts how the reclining stroller is a game changer.

We struggled with which car to rent when traveling with Kiddo. We ultimately booked a compact car which we may have been able to fit in. However, we got upgraded when we picked up to a full-size we think and it was probably much more comfortable. Also- driving in Boston is insane!! Not even just in downtown, but everywhere! The streets make NO sense and have no discernible pattern. We realized quickly that you need a full time navigator AND google maps step-by-step driving instructions to get anywhere.

There is a ton to do in Boston and, like many places we’ve visited, we wish we had more time to explore. We look forward to visiting again when Kiddo is older.

 

2 Week Itinerary: New England and Canada

This was our first international trip with Kiddo! It was also the first trip we were to embark upon with him where we were not completely visiting friends/family or taking family with us. We were a bit nervous, but ultimately, it worked out really well!

At this point in time, Kiddo was still taking two naps per day – though to be fair, he mostly didn’t need them both. We were holding on to the 2nd nap because we liked it for ourselves! However, it did give us an outline for how we would plan this trip. Initially, we decided to fly to Boston because there was a direct flight on Southwest. (We currently hold a companion pass!) We knew we had a few friends scattered throughout New England that it would be fun to see. We also each had a few states up there that we had not been to. In addition, we saw that you could easily drive up to Canada, and in particular, to Prince Edward Island (PEI). We were excited that Kiddo could cross an international border and Della has been a fan of Anne of Green Gables so has always wanted to get to PEI. We decided to plan around those locations. We knew that Kiddo would nap in the car in the morning but then need something to interest and excite him in the afternoon before he would sleep in the car again in the afternoon. So, our goal was to never drive more than about 3 hours at a time and to always pick somewhere interesting to be in the middle of the day.

The 2 week itinerary was as follows:

Day 1: Arrive Boston
Day 2-3: Explore Boston
Day 4: Boston to Portland, Maine. We spent the middle of the day visiting a friend who we had experienced the Nepal Earthquake with us in Kennebunk, ME.
Day 5: Portland to St. Andrews, New Brunswick (Canada). We spent the middle of the day in Bangor, ME.
Day 6: St. Andrews to Summerside, PEI. We spent the middle of the day exploring Fundy National Park.
Day 7-8: PEI: one day exploring Charlottetown and one day exploring Cavendish
Day 9: PEI to Halifax, Nova Scotia. This was only a 3 hour drive.
Day 10: Halifax to Saint John, NB. We spent the middle of the day exploring Hopewell Rocks along the Bay of Fundy.
Day 11: Saint John to Northport, ME where we met a good friend of Della’s. We stopped for lunch in Machias, ME and then we explored Wild Blueberry Land near Columbia Falls, ME.
Day 12: Northport, ME
Day 13: Explored Acadia National Park
Day 14: Northport, ME to North Conway, New Hampshire. We stopped for lunch and a playground in Bridgeport.
Day 15: North Conway back to Boston via the scenic Kancamagus Highway.
Day 16: Boston with an evening flight home!

We really enjoyed the trip and our strategy of having Kiddo nap twice a day in the car worked almost flawlessly!

Spring Break Trip to Tennessee: Nashville

As we mentioned in prior posts, we’ve had a recent addition to the family and we’ve learned a lot about how to travel with a baby! We are attempting to visit US states that we haven’t yet been to. So, for spring break we decided to do a bit of a Tennessee/Kentucky road trip. We were joined on this trip by Della’s parents Peggy and Wayne. We started out in Memphis and then drove to Mammoth Cave in KY and then headed back into Tennessee to check out Nashville!

While in Nashville, we stayed in an AirBnB in the West End. It was a private suite in someone’s home. We got their entire second floor and it was lovely to have three bedrooms, a sitting room, and a bathroom all to ourselves. They even had some toddler friendly toys!

What We Did

Bicentennial Park – It was a little cold, so we didn’t spend too long here though we thought it was quite lovely. We checked out some views of the capital and read some of the information spread throughout the park.

Country Music Hall of Fame – This was very crowded! We ended up standing in line for a little while. At the time we visited, there was a special exhibit about Emmylou Harris. We then spent quite awhile exploring the main exhibit which follows country music from its roots to the present day. We enjoyed another special exhibit on the outlaw country scene from Austin in the 70s. We thought the museum was fairly well organized but a little hard to follow. Audio guides might have helped but they were out, unfortunately. We had to take turns keeping Kiddo entertained as he wasn’t content to sit in his stroller. None of us are huge country music fans, but we found it interesting all the same. 

Downtown Highlights – We spent the evening wandering the streets of downtown. We walked Broadway, Second Ave, and the riverfront. There were so many different bars that had live music going and we enjoyed walking by and listening in. Many had open windows to the street. This is another time where we might have enjoyed our time a little bit differently if we hadn’t been traveling with Kiddo. 

The Hermitage – Last year, we visited the Bill Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, AK. We hadn’t ever been to a presidential library and we thought it was really interesting. We decided we wanted to visit more throughout our travels! We have since visited LBJ in Austin and Bush in Dallas. So, we decided to stop by The Hermitage on our way to the airport.

The Hermitage is Andrew Jackson’s residence and functions as a museum and historic site. It has a lot of information about the life of Andrew Jackson and you can walk through the historic farm and home. There was an audio guide to bring you through the site which was quite good. In addition to the self-guided audio tour, they also do an in-person tour of the mansion. Unfortunately, there was a long line of people waiting for this part. We did want to see it though, so we waited in line.

Unfortunately, this is where the day got a little bit messy. Kiddo had not napped on the drive to the Hermitage as we had hoped so he was a little antsy and grumpy. Della was a little frustrated that she missed out on a pretty good introductory film and most of the museum area. Kiddo did enjoy trying to walk through the grounds, but wasn’t too interested in stopping to listen to the audio guide! It was also a chilly day, so the long wait outside the mansion was a little trying on all of us.  The worst part was when it was our turn, he melted down once he put in the carrier so Della stayed outside while the rest toured inside. Eric took over and got him to sleep with a lot of help from Peggy so that Della could still rush through the mansion. Due to our time constraint of getting to the airport on time for our flight, we only had time to go quickly through the gardens -and unfortunately missed most of the rest of the fields. We enjoyed the visit and would recommend it – though doing it with a baby who has missed nap time is not ideal. 

Where We Ate

Farmers Market House – this was an extensive food hall with all kinds of food! We each got something from a different stall: Eric got fried catfish, Della a burrito, Wayne Jamaican, and Peggy gyros. We all enjoyed our food. Kiddo enjoyed eating off all of our plates.

Edley’s – We had intended to go to the classic Hattie B’s Hot Chicken for dinner but it turned out it was closed on Sunday night – which is the night we were there of course. We still wanted to try hot chicken, so after a little research we ended up at Edley’s. The line was a bit long to order and several of the sides we wanted were already gone, but we did enjoy the food we did get. Della got Hot Chicken and while it was probably not the classic experience, it was still a good one. 

Vegetarian Indian Restaurant at the Woodlands – One evening, we met an old friend of Wayne and Peggy and he took us here. We were a little tired of BBQ at that point so this was a welcome change. We shared some appetizers, dosas, and curries. All of us enjoyed the meal, even Kiddo who was mostly content to hang out and chow down!

Traveling with Kiddo (lessons learned)

Kiddo was about 13 months old and about a week away from walking! It was hard to schedule days around appropriate nap times and we had only brought a small cheap umbrella stroller with us. He did not nap easily in it. We learned we had to buy a bulkier but reclining stroller which would have made things easier!

Bringing our hook-on high chair was great for several meals, both out at restaurants and in the Airbnb!

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Break Trip to Tennessee: Jaunt to Kentucky via Nashville

As we mentioned in prior posts, we’ve had a recent addition to the family and we’ve learned a lot about how to travel with a baby! We are attempting to visit US states that we haven’t yet been to. So, for spring break we decided to do a bit of a Tennessee/Kentucky road trip. We were joined on this trip by Della’s parents Peggy and Wayne. We started out in Memphis and then drove to Mammoth Cave in KY with a short stop in Nashville on the way!

We drove 3 hours from Memphis to Nashville in the morning. Luckily, Kiddo napped most of the way. We had planned to stop at Belle Meade for a break, but unfortunately all the tickets were sold out when we got there. We went with our backup plan of visiting the Parthenon. It was really fun to see this full scale replica of the one in Athens. The replica was built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition. It also includes a re-creation of the 42-foot Athena statue inside. Peggy took Kiddo to a playground across the way while the rest of us went inside. We really enjoyed the information about the Centennial Exposition, a special exhibit of interesting modern mosaics, the Athena statue, and Elgin marbles inside.

We continued on through bad traffic to our hotel in Cave City, KY stopping to eat at the White Squirrel Brewery in Bowling Green. Everything was decent, but not fantastic.

The following day we awoke early and headed to the main event: Mammoth Cave National Park! We had signed up in advance to participate in the Historic Tour. The tour group was quite large (over 100 people!) The historic tour goes through the areas of the cave that were first discovered and explored. There were not too many spectacular formations on this part of the tour because it is not actively exposed to water. We ultimately wished for more historic content by the guide on our tour so were slightly disappointed. Kiddo rode with Eric in the carrier. He ultimately seemed less than impressed! The most fun aspect was that there were a few parts where you really had to squeeze through narrow areas! Eric made it even with Kiddo on his front!

Following the tour, we rushed through some exhibits in the visitor center. We wished we could have spent more time because there was a lot of good content. However, you’re probably noticing a pattern, Kiddo was not really feeling it.

We ate a quick lunch in the parking lot before getting back on the road to head back toward Nashville.

We were in Kentucky though – so we really thought we needed to try some bourbon! We stopped in Franklin to visit the Dueling Grounds distillery. It was a pleasant place with both inside and outside seating areas. We were able to request a tasting and tour when we got there and a very nice and knowledgeable worker took us through a tasting of their offerings: “the clear” which is not aged virtually at all, a 2 year bourbon, the Apple Pie which is clear mixed with spices, and then three fruit liqueurs.  We liked the all but particularly enjoyed the bourbon and the Apple Pie. The worker also gave us a tour of the distilling process in back which was very educational. Kiddo was being pretty antsy and fussy again so we had to take turns holding him and missing parts of the tour. 

We finally got back on the road to Nashville.

Traveling with Kiddo (Lessons Learned)

Kiddo was 13 months and about a week away from walking when we visited Mammoth Cave. We are big fans of baby carriers and they allow you to do a lot of things that a stroller wouldn’t including visiting Mammoth Cave.

Kiddos at this age are pretty squirmy… Thank goodness we had some extra adults to help out when we had to step out of touring situations.

Kiddo’s favorite activity at this age is almost always playgrounds!