Thursday, September 29, 2011

Boston- Day #4 Boots, the Northend, and a Long Awaited Italian Meal!

   By now Diana and I have steeped ourselves in American history for three days straight! As much as we love history, our minds are beginning to boggle with facts and dates, until they are turning to mush!! So, for today and tomorrow, we'll be living a bit more "in the moment"!
    Let's talk "boots"! It rained last night. This morning the weather was misty. There was no downpour, no waves crashing up the streets. But we were amazed at the knee high rubber boots so many people were wearing! Did they know something we did not? And the colors were amazing! From bright yellow, orange, purple, and even pink, rubber boots seemed to be everywhere. One woman had snow boots on! In the lobby, a tiny little boy, about two years of age, got off the elevator wearing yellow knee high boots. He looked so proud. Di said that was understandable, for what two year old boy won't splash every puddle he sees!
   We headed to the Northend. Our first stop was an Italian bakery called "Modern Bakery". Located on Hanover street, the selection is so tempting, it was hard to decide what to eat! I chose a cranberry muffin. Diana had something that looked like a huge croissant, stuffed with some sort of cream. It was all delicious, as well as their coffee!
Next stop was the Old North Church!
   The interior of the church had box style pews, brass chandeliers, a bust of George Washington, and art work on the alter. Designed to keep the parishioners warm, each pew area was a box style seating area, complete with foot warmers. The pastor's wineglass pulpit and sounding board sits high on the stage so the people in the box pews could see and hear him.
   The balcony area has the 1759 pipe organ, which is still played at the 11 a.m. service! There are four wooden angels around the organ. These angels were seized by a pirate from a French ship in 1746, and in turn donated to the Old North Church. (Think the pirate was trying to win some favors with the All Mighty?

   Made a quick stop at the North Church gift shop, where I found three stones, with one word on each. The three words? Laugh, Hope, and the last is Dream. Yep! That just about says it all!

   Our next stop was Paul Revere's house. Set off the street, this wooden New England style home was quite spacious for it's time. Paul Revere was married twice. His first wife died after giving birth to their 8th child. His second wife also gave birth to 8 children. Of the total 16, 5 children died in infancy, which left 11 to be raised. According to the guide there, probably only 5-7 children lived there at any one time. The main level consisted of a kitchen that was added many years after the Revere's moved in. (Originally, the kitchen with it's huge hearth was located in the basement.) It also has a dinning and sitting area. Upstairs are two bedrooms and several closets. Paul Revere lived there for 30 years.

    We got a cab and headed back toward our hotel. Our driver was Victor Thomas. Victor is Boston born and knows the city well. We asked him to stop while we took a picture of the "Fire Station Museum", which he graciously did. He also gave us directions to the oldest fire station in Boston, one that still has stables in the back from the horse drawn fire engine days. We're planning on visiting that tomorrow. Thank you, Victor, for a very pleasant ride!

   The only other thing on our "to do" list was dinner at my favorite Boston Italian restaurant, "Villa Francesca's"! Our Concierge for this afternoon was Connor Morey-Barrett. He made our reservations for the restaurant. We headed by cab to the northend. The long awaited dinner at Villa Francesca's was finally here!! Walking into the place  was quite a shock! Gone were the waiters in serving coats.   All the wait staff were girls in blouses and slacks. The elegant ambiance was gone, replaced by a very casual atmosphere. Our waitress was Kristina, who was very friendly, very nice. We ordered an appetizer and our meal. The appetizer came fairly quickly. Then we waited, waited, and waited. They had very few people in the restaurant. Most of the wait staff were standing around, talking to each other. I finally flagged Kristina down and asked for a basket of bread, which she brought. Then we waited, and waited. Our meal came about one hour after we walked in the restaurant. The food was good, but not the "fantastic" that I remember. Gone too was the kitchen staff breaking into song, with the wait staff singing in response. I miss that too. With all the changes and new owner, the ambiance was gone. Even with the more casual atmosphere and long wait for the food, the prices were still as high as when things were elegant. MY long awaited belated birthday dinner was a disappointment. Ah, well. So there will be a new "favorite" Italian restaurant in my future, perhaps one a lot closer to home.
    Concierge David Sheehan has helped us plan for our last evening meal in Boston. We want a good Irish Pub, and he recommended one! With a name like Sheehan, we knew he'd come up with a good one. So, tomorrow's a laid back day, with just a few things on our agenda, and an Irish pub to visit!

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