I had a trip planned to Boston's North End with some friends, but things kind of fell through and I refused to let the opportunity pass, since I had already had plans to go. So Dave offered for him and the kids to come with me and make it a family trip, which I thought was great because it's generally more fun to have company, and I always love any chance for Parker and Drew to travel and experience new places.
So we headed out, and drove 1 hour down to Wellington Station so that we could catch the T into the city. On the drive down I made 12:00 reservations for The Union Oyster House for lunch, via Open Table, in case there was a line. I knew Dave would have an aneurysm if he had to wait for any length of time, so I thought a reservation would keep the peace. The kids were very excited about the train! It took us a few minutes to figure out the machines that sold the tickets, the "Charlie Tickets." We must have looked like country come to town, the way we could not figure out what we were supposed to do, or even how to stick the ticket into the turnstile and pass through. Hilarious.
It was only a few stops down the Orange Line before we arrived at Haymarket station. As soon as we emerged, we ran smack into the Faneuil Farmer's Market which was huge and took up the whole block. We found our way over to Faneuil Hall and had a look around since we had an hour to kill before our lunch reservation. I loved the old building, so full of history. The upstairs was open so we we went up to the Great Hall which had a grand feeling of historic significance.
Then we watched a street performer for a while and then headed over to our lunch reservation at the Union Oyster House, which is known for being the oldest restaurant in America, functioning continuously as a restaurant since 1826 (but built well before that). We were seated on the 2nd floor, and it was very dark and small inside, with high-backed dark wooden booths, very tight seating as you would imagine people were smaller 200 years ago. They gave the kids these wonderful coloring books which I would have loved to take with us but we didn't have any way of carrying anything.
The food was good, starting out with a slice of cornbread for everyone. Parker was half dead with hunger, so it was a good pick-me-up. Dave and I had the fish & chips which we liked (very poor lighting for photos!), and the kids had chicken fingers and a hot dog. I loved the ambiance of the restaurant and I would have liked to look around more. Perhaps I will go back some day!
After our lunch, we headed down the street further into the North End which is what I really wanted to explore. It's actually such a small area that is easily covered on foot, winding through old cobblestone streets with pretty much wall to wall Italian restaurants. Pizza, pasta, bread, and bakeries beyond your wildest dreams. Although Mike's Pastry is the overwhelming winner of the fame & popularity contest, I had read great things about Modern Pastry (just a few doors down on the other side of the street) so that's where I went. I still waited in line about 20 minutes but it wasn't bad at all, and in fact I needed that much time to decide what I wanted to get! I ended up with a Lobster Tail, which was SO HUGE and only $5.00. Also I got a cannoli which has never been my favorite but I thought maybe I just had never had a good one, and this would convert me. I'm not a big fan of crunchy pastries, so I think it's a texture thing that gets me. I love soft cake and icing, etc. :) I got it filled with vanilla custard, but I'm thinking I should have gotten the traditional ricotta filling (since they fill each one upon order, you get to choose what kind of filling you want). Additionally I got a slice of carrot cake and a Boston Cream Pie cupcake for Dave and the kids who were busting to leave by this time. They were tired of walking around....... I knew my time in Boston would be limited by these chuckleheads, so I'm glad I got as much time out of them as I did. I know it's a lot of walking for little legs, and probably (to them) nothing at all interesting to do or see.
One way the kids kept themselves entertained was by taking pictures..... we had given them our very old little Canon point & shoot camera to play with, and they took turns documenting everything as they saw it. It was pretty cool to download the card and see what they had been looking at and thinking about. For Parker, it was pretty much motorcycles! Lots of silly faces, and blurry shots made up their day's work. We tried to explain to them that you can't take a picture while you're walking, or by shooting your arms forward as you press the shutter, but it never sank in. I think with practice they'll learn to appreciate an in-focus photo. :) Like their momma, I had to repeatedly remind them to
1. look up while you're walking and not run into people
2. don't take photos while you're walking down stairs.