April 05, 2018

Family Vacation Photos, Part 2: Boston (continued)

(continued from Part 1)

To recap: We had quite a whirlwind trip! I have a trillion pictures, so rather than bombard you all with them in one post, I'll just post over the next few days with them. Since I haven't felt like writing much lately anyways, this will be a good way to ease back into (trying to) write regularly.

In a nutshell: Jerry, the kids, and I flew into Boston on Wednesday, and spent three nights there; we drove to Salem and spent one night there; then made a road trip south and back north and then south again, winding up in Portland, Maine. We flew out of Boston yesterday and are home now.

I have a ton of pictures from the trip, so I'll try to narrow it down to my favorites. I have to say, I'm very self-conscious about posting these pictures. It could be the depression making me feel bad about myself, but I feel fat and "exposed" in them, if that makes sense. I almost didn't post most of these for that reason, but one thing that I regret about being 250+ pounds was that I avoided pictures like the plague.

So, even though I'm not thrilled with how my body looks right now (I was up to 143--10 pounds over my goal weight--when we left for the trip. Today, I was up another 5 pounds from vacation weight. I'm hoping to take that off over the next week, since vacation weight is usually temporary water fluctuations, but it still makes me feel bad.)

Here goes Part 2...

After the failed whale watching, we went to the aquarium, which was right next door. I was super impressed with the aquarium! It was one of the best I've seen. We started with a "hands-on" sting ray exhibit. The sting rays were so cute--they kept coming right up to us and bumping their heads against us. I had expected them to shy away, annoyed that we were even there, haha.

I didn't take many pictures in the aquarium. One thing I learned over the last several years (especially while going through photos on my computer and organizing them) is that I only really want the photos with people in them. Looking through photos of my trips, the pictures of scenery doesn't really interest me unless there are people in them. So, I stopped taking pictures of "things", unless I have a reason to, and I try to include people in all my pics.

After the aquarium, we went to the original Cheers bar for dinner. Again, this was another touristy thing that Jerry wanted to do, and the kids were all for it. For being a tourist attraction, I was very impressed with their food! I was expecting subpar bar food, but it definitely exceeded my expectations. The atmosphere was fun, and Jerry was able to get a souvenir beer glass.

On the way back to the hotel, we walked through Boston Common (the large park in downtown Boston).

As we stopped to take a couple of photos, we ended up chatting for a long time with a man we saw nearby.

His name is David Pogue, and he "takes care of" the squirrels in the park every day. He's a local college professor with a love of squirrels, and I was amazed at how the squirrels were like magnets to him. He set down his bags on the ground to talk to us, and instantly, there were a couple of squirrels digging around in his bag.

As he was talking to us, squirrels were coming up to him and literally climbing up his leg and arms to see if he was holding nuts in his hands (he brings almonds and walnuts for them). He even taught the squirrels to sit on his head for a walnut (a special treat)!

(I've already heard from several readers how horrible it is to feed squirrels, so I don't need to hear it again; but that isn't what this is about--we simply met an interesting man in the park who happens to love squirrels, and we enjoyed watching him interact with them.)

He told us that someone had made a very short film of him last year, which we could find on YouTube. I looked it up later, and here it is:

We were sitting on a bench, and we didn't know it, but David told us that it was the bench that was in a famous scene in Good Will Hunting. I'd seen the movie, but didn't know the scene he was referring to; regardless, he offered to take some photos of us on the bench, which was nice of him.

(Eli bought the shark hat at the aquarium. Clearly, it made for good family photos.)

As David was taking this photo (similar to the one in the movie), one of his squirrels literally climbed up my leg and started digging through my purse! Hahaha, unlucky for him, I didn't have any treats in there.

 The buildings are my favorite part of downtown Boston. I love how unique they look!

We went back to the hotel to prepare for Day 3.

On Friday, we got breakfast and headed to Fenway Park for a stadium tour. (Again, something I've done before, but I knew the boys would all like it). Since we didn't have a car, I was excited to show the kids how to use a subway. Boston's system is SUPER easy compared to NYC, but since I didn't learn (or even go on) a subway until I was in my early 30's, I loved that I was able to show them how to get around.

As you can see from the photo, they were clearly very interested in learning, hahaha.

Family photo op at Fenway...

Noah took this picture, and I love it!

Jerry was having the time of his life, of course.

The tour was SO much warmer than it was last year when I went with Caitlin and John. It wasn't sunny, but it was nearly 60 degrees outside, so I was happy.

It started sprinkling on the way back into downtown Boston. We stopped at Faneuil Hall, because I knew the kids would love shopping for souvenirs there, but it was closed for renovation! Such a bummer. We grabbed a quick lunch in Quincy Market, and then walked back to the hotel in the rain (luckily, we had umbrellas).

It was rainy, everyone was tired, and we just weren't in the mood to go explore--we had planned on going to the Science Museum, but we just weren't up for it at that point. At dinnertime, we walked a block or two to a place called Intermission Tavern. It wasn't on our radar, but that was probably our favorite meal on the trip! Jerry and I shared a barbecue burger which was delicious, and Eli had the best nachos I've ever tried. (Noah got a burger, too)

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at 7-11 to get a snack for later, and ended up meeting the most amazing man. He was homeless, and holding the door open for people who were entering and exiting 7-11. When Eli was paying for his snack, with his own allowance, he said he wanted to give the man his change on the way out. 

Well, the man thanked us profusely, and while it was difficult to understand him, I could tell he was telling Eli to be good and listen to his mom. It was then that I realized he was deaf, which was why it was hard to understand him.

Side note: I have always been fascinated with the deaf community, and started trying to teach myself American Sign Language when I was just eight years old. (On a school trip to Washington D.C. in high school, we had a free day to roam the city. While everyone else explored the typical teen attractions, I spent my day at Gallaudet University, an exclusively deaf college.)  I've taken several classes through the years, but never enough to really learn the language.

Anyway, I started signing a little with him, and he was so nice! His name is Daryl, and we learned that he was born deaf. He was one of seven siblings, and was raised by his dad until his dad died when he was very young. He wasn't able to get a good deaf education or opportunities, which led to his homelessness. He kept telling Eli to make sure that he learns and listens to his mom who loves him so that he doesn't end up homeless like him. 

Interacting with Daryl was probably the highlight of the entire trip for me. And the kids loved it, too. They wanted to learn how to sign their names, so I taught them that at the hotel later. They also said they wanted to learn ASL, so I think I'm going to look into a way for us to learn it as a family. They even talked about Daryl a few more times during the rest of the trip, so he certainly made an impact on them. 

Being in a city is great--I love that I have met some of the coolest people simply by chance!

To be continued... next up is Salem!


  1. I have also always wanted to learn ASL. My mom was a waitress when I was a kid and there was a deaf man who always came into the restaurant where she worked. My mom knew the basics and could talk to him, but I became fascinated with him at a young age. I love watching the show Switched at Birth due to the fact that about half the cast is deaf and their interactions intrigue me. I've looked into ASL classes near me, but haven't yet been able to take one.

  2. Loving your trip reports! I've never been to Boston and have only been out East once (for a horse show while in high school), so I LOVE to see all the pictures and hear the stories. Noah's pictures are fantastic! He definitely has a great eye and I hope he continues to hone his skills now that he's back home.

    The story about Daryl is truly amazing...what a great experience for your boys to help broaden their horizons.

    Looking forward to the next installment!

  3. This trip just sounds like so much fun! I've also had a large interest in learning ASL. I tried to teach myself but I never got the hang of it. I would probably need a teacher. I used to work at the Target photo lab when I was 18 and this nicest lady would come in all the time who happened to be deaf. We would write things back and forth to each other if she had questions but I always thought how cool it would be to be able to sign to her. I'm sad I never learned to have that opportunity!

  4. I love that you were able to show the boys some local culture while in Boston! Good for you!

  5. I love sign language! I just enrolled my one year old up for a sign and sing class and I hope he loves it too. :) Great pictures!

  6. For the record, when you speak about the Deaf community you should use a capital D. "Deaf: Deaf (with a capital "D") refers to embracing the cultural norms, beliefs, and values of the Deaf Community. The term "Deaf" should be capitalized when it is used as a shortened reference to being a member of the Deaf Community. Example: He is Deaf."


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