These past few days have been filled with all the worst things about moving — packing, picking up the u-haul, loading it a.k.a. playing tetris with all my belongings, driving 13 tortuous hours with two dogs and all my shit, unloading, and unpacking. I’m almost done with the unpacking part, and am feeling quite comfortable in my new place (aside from the fact that I completely just broke the blinds in my new apartment. Maintenance…please help?)
I’m happy to be back in the Midwest, where I feel most like myself, but leaving Boston was bittersweet. It was where my family became a family. Where we got our two dogs, where we got engaged, where we learned how to live together, and did what we do best together: eat good food, and try new things. Which leads me to the first thing that I’m going to miss the most…
Like any big city, there’s so much to try in Boston. Some of our favorites? The Druid and Olé in Inman Square. Revival Coffee near Alewife station. Gustazo Cuban Kitchen and Passage to India in Porter Square. The best pizza in town (sorry Regina’s)… Armando’s Pizza in Cambridge, a Sicilian half tray with half pepperoni and half sausage thank you very much. Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage near Harvard. Yankee Lobster in the Seaport District. B&G Oysters in the South End. And of course, Cheers. I’m leaving Beantown 15 pounds heavier, but 15 pounds happier. And also sad that I won’t be able to pick up some of my favorite beers on a whim (I’m talking about you Pulp Daddy and Cloud Candy). I also have a new appreciation for Harpoon and Sam Adam’s. What would I do without them?
Whenever I move to a new place, I nest. Part of that is learning the history about the place where I live. I want to know what buildings have survived the test of time, and what we’ve lost. There is so much that is preserved in Boston. All you have to do is take a walk on the Freedom Trail in order to see that, but there is so much more than that.
I drove by a yellow house weekly during my Saturday coffee trips in Cambridge, and only a year later did I realize that that big beautiful yellow house was known as The Longfellow House, where American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow lived for 50 years and which served as the headquarters for General George Washington. When we took a trip to Walden Pond, we saw where Thoreau lived in his cabin in the woods. Every day on my way to work, I drove by the town of Lexington, where Paul Revere took his infamous midnight ride to warn of the arrival of the Redcoats. I would also drive by a sign that directed me to Minute Man National Historic Park, the location of the battle that started the American Revolution, and where, I’ve heard, Louisa May Alcott grew up and where parts of Little Women were based off of real life.
It’s very surreal to realize that Elizabeth Warren’s house is on the way to your vet’s office, and to my delight learn that Julia Child’s old house was a stone’s throw away only after randomly reading about her life one night after I watched Julie & Julia. Oh, and that her butcher, Savenor’s Market, is down the street and still going strong. I’m sure that doesn’t even brush the top of it.
The natural beauty of New England is a sight to behold. There are so many landscapes across the United States, and just like I was struck when I landed in the desert of New Mexico, I was struck by the majestic and mountainous landscape of New England when we finally drove out of the city. We took a road trip up to Montreal, up through the Green Mountains of Vermont and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and I’m counting the days until I can get my Airstream back up there to explore.
Our good friend, Christian, gifted me a book called “Best Backpacking in New England,” which I sadly wasn’t able to put to good use because of my job, but I’m inspired by his sense of adventure. He hiked the entire Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia, and I want to see parts of it myself. Along the way, some must see locations will include the Berkshires in Massachusetts and Acadia National Park in Maine.
Oh, and what I won’t miss? The aggressive driving, the brazen exchanges among strangers, the lack of selection at the grocery stores, and the expense. Living in Boston is difficult. Things in the Midwest are simply easier. Little things that you don’t even realize, like going to the grocery store, can be such a task in Boston. It wasn’t so easy as driving to the market to grab whatever I needed, because even driving and parking is a chore, and our apartment was quite a distance from the T, and then when you get there sometimes you can’t find what you need. I can’t tell you how many stores I had to go to in Cambridge to find shortening for baking cookies. Things are also expensive, and I learned to survive off of whatever Trader Joes offered. People also looked at me like I had two heads when I held the door for them.
But, I won’t dwell on the negatives. Living in Boston was an experience I was grateful for and one that I won’t soon forget. So there you have it, my friends. Boston is cool. It’s one of my favorite cities, and I was sad to move away. If I could’ve lived there longer, I would’ve, but unfortunately my job made it difficult living there, and I needed to move on to new opportunities. But, if you have the means and opportunity to live there, then do it. There’s so much more that I wanted to see, but sadly we couldn’t say a proper goodbye because of the pandemic. I plan on going back to visit and be a tourist and frequent all my favorite places again someday soon.