Archive for July, 2010

Boston, MA

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

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It is difficult to relate to a place until you’ve seen it.  Boston, Massachusetts is just such a place.  The Boston history predates our Texas history by more than two centuries.  We’re not going to bore you with overwhelming historical data.  For more information, CLICK HERE.

When we returned from our morning tours of Lexington and Concord, we hopped on a tour boat for a cruise around Boston Harbor. (Just a hint about this cruise, if you ever do it, sit on the starboard (right) side of the boat.  The guide only refers to stuff “off to the right” both coming and going.) [Click on Photo to Enlarge]


When we boarded the cruise, we noticed that the harbor water near the dock had a high population of jelly fish.


The highlight of the harbor cruise was a view of the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel,  the USS Constitution, also known as “Old Ironsides”, launched in 1797.


In order to remain a commissioned vessel,  the ship must make at least one voyage per year.  On July 4th of each year, the Constitution sets sail into the harbor and returns to port.  The frigate ties up to the dock in the opposite direction so that the sun hits the other side for a year, thus evening out the weathering for the vessel.

Our earlier morning tour had taken us past many Boston landmarks.   The Boston area has one of the densest populations of colleges and universities anywhere.  We went through the campuses of Boston College, MIT, and Harvard University.  Below is the Harvard Philosophy Dept.


Following the harbor cruise, we jumped on a trolley that wandered the entire city with stops throughout.  You can hop on and off the trolley at any of the stops.

Along the route, stops included areas such as Paul Revere’s home, Beacon Hill, King’s Chapel, China Town, Boston’s waterfront (Boston Tea Party site is being refurbished), and Fenway Park.


Other less noble spots included the Cheers bar.


Below is the famous park, Boston Common.  Not only is it a nice park, but below the surface is a giant parking garage.   An elevator in the center of the park takes you to the garage.  Our parking for the day was about $24.00.


We finished our marathon day with dinner at the famous Chart House Restaurant.  This building was used by John Hancock for many of his businesses.


Many people were enjoying the outdoor tables.


After a long hot day, we opted for the comfort of the indoor air conditioning.  Tinka is still looking refreshed after the long day.


The wood and iron work inside was impressing.  The staircase, next to our table, has seen a lot of traffic over the years.


We made our way, by taxi, back to Boston Common to retrieve our car.  All in all, we had a great day.  Neither of us had been to the Boston area before and found the history fascinating.

Lexington and Concord

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

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We started out on our marathon 14 hour tour of the Boston area with a ride through the historical towns of Lexington and Concord.  These towns were instrumental in our nation’s history.  The battle of Lexington and Concord initiated the Revolutionary War.

Some stories indicate that one of the first shots of the war were fired by Elisha Jones from his home that is know known as the “Bullet Hole House“.


A shot returned by one of the British Regulars (soldiers) struck the house and the resulting bullet hole has been preserved.


The main battle took place at the Old North Bridge, only a few hundred yards away.


The British were soundly defeated and retreated.  The remaining dead British Regulars were buried here, only about 100 feet from the bridge.  (Click Photo to enlarge and read message.)


A statue in Lexington  honors the Minutemen, teams of colonial militia that met the British Regulars initial advances.


The meeting place for the Minutemen, Wright’s Tavern, still stands.  It is also the meeting place of the Provincial Congress.


The Revolutionary War, notwithstanding, the town of Concord has many other bragging rights.  Along the same street (Lexington Road) where you find the Bullet House, the homes of many notables can be found.

Ephraim Bull, who developed the Concord Grape had a nice little place, built in the 1600’s.


On down the street you find Ralph Waldo Emerson.


Then there’s Orchid house, home of Louisa May Alcott, author of “Little Women”.


Other neighbors included Nathanial Hawthorn and Henry David Thoreau.  These neighbors lived so closed together, except perhaps separated by decades or centuries.

New Hampshire

Monday, July 12th, 2010

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We’ve been without internet, so please excuse the update delays.

Immediately after crossing into New Hampshire from Massachusetts, you’ll find the state run liquor store taking advantage of their lower prices.  There was a liquor plaza on the southbound side of I95.  We stopped to check it out.  The parking lot was full and even tour buses made the stop.


As we worked our way toward Maine, we enjoyed the sights of New Hampshire.

The day was cool and rain threatened.  It was Thursday morning and we came across something that we have never seen, a club dedicated to the sport of croquet.  We couldn’t resist swinging back to snap some pictures. (click on photo to enlarge.)


All of the members were dressed in white.  They had a club house and a nice playing field with gazebo.

We opted to follow New Hampshire’s relatively short coastline on our route north.  The route was dotted with picturesque towns.


Coming from Texas, we  were fascinated by the beach dress.  Literally, we saw beach loads of fully clad people. Not very many sun worshipers here.


Small harbors moored a variety of fishing and pleasure boats.


We spotted a house that was decorated with a wide assortment of buoys.


And nearby, we found what might be our kind of place.  A row of chairs set up perfectly for happy hour.


We’ll be sure to spend more time in New Hampshire on future visits.

A quick view of Maine

Monday, July 5th, 2010

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We’ve been moving at a blistering pace and are currently in Ruidoso, NM.  Sorry for the two week lapse.  We’ll try to catch up.

On our way to visit Rick’s mother to celebrate her 90th birthday, we spent a day exploring the Maine coast.  We were curious to find out what brought President George H. Bush and his family to this area for their summer  getaways.


We pulled in to Kennebunkport and decided that one of the best ways to get the “flavor” of a community is to seek out a local restaurant to sample.  We picked Mabel’s Lobster Claw Restaurant.


The reviews are a bit mixed, but on our visit, both the food and service was outstanding.  We both chose a stuffed lobster.


Here’s a top view after eating began.  It is stuffed with delicious cheeses and other goodies.


The place mat gave instruction on how to eat the delicacy  (Click on Photo to enlarge)


Small shops dotted the entire area.




The area was also spotted with beautiful homes.


After lunch we headed out to see if we could find the Bush compound.  We were told that it we couldn’t miss it if we headed north on Ocean Ave.

We spotted the old St Ann’s Church which was built in the 1890’s and still graces the shoreline just north of the town.


Just a mile or so north of town we came across the Bush compound.  It was easily recognizable from Bush Sr’s press conference days. (Click on Photo to Enlarge)


The family was not in residence at the time of our visit but were expected within the next week.

The guard gate and secret service buildings can be seen from the driveway entrance.


The shoreline is quite rocky and the seas remain calm, despite not seeing any barrier islands.  Not sure why there isn’t any surf.


The day of our visit was quite overcast and in the low 60’s.  We can certainly see why the Bush’s might choose this location for a summer retreat.  It is beautiful, quaint, and a good escape from the Texas heat.

The Old Monk

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

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We highly recommend a visit to The Old Monk, an Irish pub located at 2847 North Henderson Avenue, Dallas, TX. (Don’t try to get there in a large rig.  The streets are a little tight.)


Located just north of downtown Dallas, this pub is one of our favorite places to go for lunch.  They have outside dining and inside bar and tables.  The indoor area is fairly loud.  I’m not sure how the small crowd generates the noise, maybe they run a crowd noise tape through their speakers.



They are known for their Mulligan Stew.  Apparently they have a sponsor for it because it is now called Guinness Beef Stew.  Whatever it is called, it is great.

They also have some great sandwiches.  We normally order a few beers, two cups of the stew, a Reuben sandwich and a Turkey Club.    We split the sandwiches.  It is really more food than you need.  But, we only get here once every year of two.