Out and About in Boston: Things that made me angry, caught my eye and made me smile

The rooftop deck of the rental apartment where we're hosting a bbq for our children and their friends this evening.

Candles, empty wine and liqueur bottles, dirty dishes covered with crusty food and soiled blankets (and by soiled, I mean soiled!) greeted us when we keyed in the code and walked through the door of our rental apartment in Boston yesterday. Wondering if we had stumbled upon the aftermath of a ceremonial sacrifice, Stephane and I reeled at the sight. After all, we had just spent the last week preparing our house in Annapolis for guests and seeing the condition of the apartment in Beacon Hill was a sobering reminder that not everyone follows my mother's dictum to leave a place in better shape than you found it. After an irate call to the agency, it took the cleaning crew three and a half hours to clear away the debris from our raucous predecessors so that we could finally start our vacation.

The good news is that the apartment is in a prime location right in Beacon Hill. Here's what caught my eye during a morning stroll around the neighborhood.


A clever sign for an antique store. "A Room with a Vieux" (pronounced "view", which means "old" in French").

An artist hard at work on the corner of Beacon and Charles. She made a lot of progress in between the time that I took the first photo at 10:04 am and the second at 12:15 pm.


Wouldn't it be great to work in the Boston Commons on a "barefoot in the grass" kind of day? For some reason, I find it rather difficult to imagine Parisian street musicians taking off their shoes!


If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you'll see a mallard racing against one of the man-powered Swan Boats. It reminded me of the children's story, Make Way for Ducklings, that is set in the park.


Talented musicians with a sense of humor. Their box reads, "To help pay for: student loans, rent, Mac and Cheese, DATES (girls and fruit!), strings, new pets, toilet paper, friends". When I deposited some money in their box and told them that it was the part about the toilet paper that really spoke to my heart, they laughed and said that they had been making good use of the leaves in the park.

Flowers. I don't know what kind.


French fries. I do know what kind - handcut truffle fries with rosemary from Roxie's Gourmet Grilled Cheese legendary foodtruck. Yum!

Lunchtime crowd at one of the many restaurants along Newbury Street.

I LOVE Boston. It's my kind of city!

Comments

  1. Finding your apartment in that sort of condition, that's terrible! But I'm glad it hasn't completely turned you off to Boston! :)

    Also, I've seen those flowers before, but I can't remember for the life of me what their name is...

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    1. There's no way that a dirty apartment could turn me off Boston! :)

      Thanks to Nancy (see below), I know the name of the flower. It's allium. There's an entire bed of purple and white ones in front of George Washington's statue in the Boston Common.

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  2. I love your American posts - despite having picked up lots of Yankee Doodle ;) friends on this side of the world, I've never been particularly drawn to visiting the US, but as with Paris, you make me see a different side of things. I don't have any friends who live in Boston though, unfortunately!

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    1. Please let me know if you ever get to Boston, Gwan. I know a couple of people (aka my children) who would be happy to show you around. One of the things that I like best is how vibrant the city is. The 100 colleges/universities in the area means that there are lots of undergrad and graduate students, so the average age in Boston is fairly low - something that I notice whenever I'm in town because kind young men always offer me seats on the subway!

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  3. Mary Kay, Sunday is Fresh Paint, an event where artist set up all over the city and create a work that will be auctioned off this week to support the Copley Society. I'll bet your artist was getting ready for her final work on Sunday.

    Here's mor and you can download a map to see where the artist plan to be painting.
    http://www.copleysociety.org/

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    1. Thanks for the heads up about Fresh Paint, Penny! I'll take a look at the map and see if there are any artists painting near our apartment today.

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  4. I can imagine how horrified you will have been to discover the pig-sty apartment - especially when you had worked to make your 'painted lady' so beautiful for your tenants! Boston looks like a great place! Hope the bbq was a roaring success! GM x

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    1. Pleased to report that the bbq was a "roaring" success! A good thing because we were all huddled around the grill. It's still a bit chilly after the sun goes down in Boston! But best of all was spending time with our kids and the people who are important to them.

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  5. Seeing these pictures makes me completely homesick, I love Boston in all of its glory! If you have a chance, check out the Legal Test Kitchen, so yummy! http://www.legalseafoods.com/restaurants/boston-legal-test-kitchen-br-seaport

    Also, Durgin Park Restuarant at Faneuil Hall is quite good. http://www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com/restaurant/durgin-park-restaurant-oyster-bar-at-durgin-park/9864/36665

    The Top of the Hub is overrated food wise but the view is beautiful! And if you feel like getting out of the city, there are so really great restaurants west of the city, The Longfellow Wayside Inn Restaurant is good and in a pretty location! http://www.wayside.org/lodging

    Sorry to overwhelm this comment with recs but I am always so happy when people are in Boston! If you stand in front of Park Street stop on the red line and look up at the top of the Bank of America ATM bulding, that was my apartment in college! Love Bean Town.

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    1. Many thanks for all of the recs! I've been to a couple of different Legal Seafoods but didn't know about LTC. It looks great!

      I still haven't been to the Top of the Hub but our children rave about the view. We gave our son a gift voucher for Christmas so that he could take his girlfriend there. I'll have to see if we can go for drinks.

      We're on the red line and I'm frequently at Park St. so I hope that I'll be able to pay a visit to your old apartment. If I do, I'll be sure to take a photo!

      Thanks again for all of the suggestions!

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  6. Oh, sigh...sorry about the disappointment upon your arrival, but at least it looks like you're having lovely weather. (Lucky you!) Boston comes alive in Spring and you have managed to make me completely homesick.

    The flower, I believe is Allium. I had many in my backyard when living in/near Boston.

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    1. Thanks for identifying the unknown flower. After seeing all of your gorgeous photos of tulips, I should have known that you're a flower person!

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  7. Yes, allium, member of the onion family.

    Well, I'm glad you called the agency and had a crew to come clean the place--and they should give you a partial refund as well. Where is their due diligence?

    I love Beacon Hill. I forget where we stayed when we were there many years ago but everything was within walking distance, well, most was. I love the architecture of the area. And what a great time to be there.

    I wish I could be at your bbq. We'd have a blast.

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    1. I wish that you could have been at the bbq, too! We had plenty of steak, grilled tuna, roasted veggies, a delicious rucola, apple and parmesan salad that my daughter made, and vanilla ice cream with strawberries and blueberries. No champagne (that's for tonight after the graduation) but some really good Medoc compliments of our daughter's friend and some Belgian beer (Delirium tremens) that our son brought.

      As for the mess in the apartment, the agency said that they would find a way to make it up to us. We're still waiting to hear something more from them.

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  8. I will be visiting Boston September 30th -October 8th so these pictures just add to my excitement.

    Yes the flowers are alyssium but what on earth are "handcut truffle fries with rosemary?"

    Love , Denise from Tallinn.

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    1. HI Denise...I may very well be in Boston at the same time as you! keep me posted. You can reach me thru TA.

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    2. @Denise, The short answer to your question is that handcut truffle fries with rosemary are delicious! The long answer is that they're made from fresh potatoes that have been handcut, fried and then lightly drizzled with truffle oil. It gives them a heavenly flavor (if you like truffles). The combination of salt and fresh rosemary on top add another dimension of flavor.

      I don't know if you saw Penny's response to you on another post, but she offered to answer any questions that you may have about Boston. She's a wonderful resource and I highly recommend looking at her website, Boston Zest in preparation for your trip.

      @Nancy, If Denise and you are both going to be here in Sept/Oct, I may have to plan another trip to Boston!

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  9. It must have been such a nightmare arriving at a trashed apartment. I hope those previous renters were penalized with losing their deposit or something. Anyway, it looks nice now. That rooftop is perfect for a bbq party.

    It turns out I'm going to be in Boston for Memorial Day weekend, so these photos are really geting me in the mood. I'm bringing along my mom and it will be her first trip. I'm going to take her to the Boston Commons, the USS Constitution, and the Freedom Trail. Looking forward to it!

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    1. You're going to be in Boston next weekend?! Perhaps I'll bump into you and your mom in the Boston Common because we'll still be here! Our return flight to Paris is late Saturday night. If Stephane and I would have been thinking when we booked our tickets, we would have stayed through Sunday because Monday is a holiday in France. I would suggest that we try to meet for a quick coffee but I don't want to infringe on your time with your mom. I'm sure that you'll have a fantastic time - it's a fun city for a mother/daughter trip!

      What's bizarre about the apartment rental is that I don't think that we paid a deposit so I'm fairly sure that the previous renters didn't either.

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  10. We always make sure our gite is sparkling clean and tidy for each set of guests that arrive. You might miss the odd thumbprint on the window or cobweb occasionally, but there's no excuse for big things like leaving dirty washing up and grubby blankets laying around.
    My allium didn't grow at all this year, first year it hasn't. I have some down by the fishing cabin. Rors chose the plants our first year here as they're so bright and cheeful looking.

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    1. Rors made an excellent choice - I really liked seeing the allium in the park!

      I wish that the apartment agency In Boston had taken the same course on cleanliness that you took in France for your gite (B&B). I remember being impressed by the new information that I learned about cleaning from you!

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  11. If they are current photos, you'll have a hard time coming back to cold, miserable, rainy Paris! Boston looks delightful. I'm not surprised you love it. In the US, the only cities I've been to are New York, San Francisco and New Orleans (before the cyclone - I really loved the two weeks I was there).

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    1. Glad to hear that you visited some of our best cities! I love New Orleans and San Francisco is another favorite. Unfortunately, I haven't spent that much time in NYC.

      Sorry to hear that the weather still hasn't improved in Paris! Hopefully the sun will be shining when we return at the end of the month because we're getting used to going outside without jackets and umbrellas!

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  12. I'm so sorry that after your long week of preparing your home in Annapolis, your apartment rental in Boston was Katie Milleisen'd. Nothing is worse than dealing with someone else's mess after traveling. It amazes me how inconsiderate people can be, but it sounds like you got it sorted out. I would not want to be on the other end of that phone call! Le wrath de MK!

    You took some great photos!! My favoes: Dates: Girls and Fruit and Room with a Vieux. Too good. There are some clever folk up in Beantown (Don't let New York know I said that) !

    Have fun MK!!

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    1. Thanks! We're having a wonderful time en famille!

      Judging by the state of the apartment, I think that there's an excellent chance that Katie Milleisen was in Boston last week. I just hope that I never see a freaky video of her while she was here!

      Le wrath de MK was in full force when I called the agency - Stephane watched in amazement because I don't get angry very often but this is a special occasion and the situation merited it.

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  13. Welcome back to Boston, Mary Kay! I'm sorry things got off to a rocky start but let's hope it's smooth sailing from here! Your house in Annapolis looks wonderful! Have fun this week.

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