From Cincy to Beantown to Rhode Island

My board meeting in Manhattan was changed to September due to two years of board meetings occurring during blizzards. That makes the meeting and the visiting of the charities challenging and downright bitter cold. I asked if they were going to change the meeting to change it to be around the time of the US Open so I could go visit my tennis buddies. Well, this year that happened and next year it will not. It is being changed yet again!

My cousin called me and asked me to come to Rhode Island before the meeting and we could drive up there together. The foundation pays for the plane ticket and it was really pricey to go to Rhode Island so I flew to Boston and took the train out to Providence.

I loved the excuse to go visit my Boston friends. Love my Boston friends and my last two times in Boston; I have really loved the city and all the wonderful changes. It makes me think should I go back to Boston. I love my friends, sailing in the summers, and then I remember the long, bitter cold winters and standing on the “T” platform waiting for the subway as the wind whirled around me and the sun that sets at 3:30 pm and I thought…maybe not! But I love to visit.

My flight there via Philly where the airport had a food court under construction last year with big banners saying coming soon…and a year later the sucker was complete. Amazing. I flew with a woman that had come from Qatar and she had 4 kids and the baby in her arms…a boy was smacking her in the head and his sister and she did nothing. I remembered being in Morocco and Turkey and being told boys are raised differently. They can get away with anything and are taught they are better than women. I wanted to go to that child and say, “Stop hitting your mother and sister!” But you can’t…

I felt very hip when I arrived in Boston. I took the Logan Express bus for $5 to the Copley Plaza in town where I went to pick up a subway to Harvard Square. Of course, I could not find the downtown subway they are divided by one direction one side of the street and the other the other way…I forgot and had to have someone turn me around and point. Oh so hip!

I went to Harvard Square and went to Mr. Bartley’s for a Tom Brady burger, the best ever sweet potato French fries and a coffee milkshake.

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Not sure if you can see this menu or not, but the burgers are usually named after Presidents with some exceptions. Brady being one for obvious reasons!

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I sat outside and watched the people pass including my favorite homeless guy. I remember him because everyday on my way to wherever in Harvard Square he would say, “Hi Beautiful!” (Here is the view not my favorite homeless guy.)

Mass Ave in front of Mr. Bartley's

Then I walked the Harvard Yard and back to the train station to the bus depot and I took the #74 bus to Heather and Noel’s. I went from the airport to their home ALL public transportation. I was happy and proud of myself.

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As I walked up their street a neighbor passed me rolling my suitcase up the road and said, “Running away from home?”

I laughed and replied, “Kinda!”

I arrived at the house to see Heather, Hazel and Anna and Calvin. I got to play with Hazel and her box of beans. I love her box of beans.

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Heather, Noel and I sat on their screened in porch and Heather made what she called “Fake” Chicken Piccata. It was delicious!

screened in porch @ Heather & Noel's

Here is Heather and Noel!

Noel & Heather

The next day I curled up on the couch with Anna (8) and Hazel (2) on each side of me. We watched a Winnie the Pooh video on my laptop. Then we sat at the dining room table and strung beads to make pretty necklaces and bracelets.

Then I went to meet my old and favorite boss Steve and the gal who replaced me Susan and we went to lunch at a new joint in Kendall Square, which is the hub for MIT! When I worked there there were only a handful of ordinary restaurants. The neighborhood has exploded! There were lots of restaurants, lots of new buildings and condos. It is amazing what they have accomplished. Here is a little tidbit interesting info. If Kennedy had not been shot, they were going to build the space station in that neighborhood near all those MIT techie, engineer, brainy, wonderful and amazing nerds, but Kennedy was killed and Johnson, a strong Texan took over and hence the space station went to Houston. Pretty interesting! I learned that writing an article for a local Cambridge paper years ago.

 

Well, Steve, Susan and I went to this restaurant called Fuji and they had this AMAZING Jasmine tea that I loved! I ordered a bento box the gourmet lunch, which consisted of lots of sushi. Happiness!

Fuji

I left them and went to meet my friend Jim, the crusty old sailor, who taught me to sail. And my friend Kristen from New York, who is a Bostonian and she was in Boston so we got to hangout there. VERY FUN!

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She went sailing with Jim, Tom and I. I even sailed a bit! Good wind!!! We sailed a Sonar, which is roughly 21ft. sail boat on the Charles River.

Then I took Kristen past my old street and apartment. We walked down Cedar Street, which you have most likely seen photographed with its beautiful brick sidewalks, gaslights and gorgeous brownstones and then we walked down Charles Street, which was never EVER as hip and cool when I lived there as it is now! Adorable.

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I dragged Kristen through The Public Garden, my favorite park there.

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Can you tell why that is one of my favorite parks!!!

 

And then I walked up Comm Ave. I did this walk a lot…..

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I passed this stone.

 

Down Newbury Street…

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We took the “T” (aka subway) back to Harvard Square and I dragged her to Pinocchio’s Pizza, a Harvard institution. It looks…RAW, but the pizza is so dang gone tooting good!!! You should have seen her face…she was impressed!

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Then she took the T one direction and I got on a bus and went to Heather and Noel’s. I just love being able to rely on public transportation to get around. It is so nice and I get so much exercise walking all over the place!

On the bus I passed a place called Laundro-mutt…you take your dog there to give it a bath…

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Back at Heather’s we sat on the couch eating her homemade sugar cookies and drinking milk. Such a nice evening and my first time EVER watching Project Runway!

Next morning, we took her daughter Anna to FLOUR.

Here is the link for FLOUR….

http://www.flourbakery.com/

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Chef Bobby Flay did a throwdown competition with Joanne Chang the founder and owner of FLOUR and a Harvard graduate!!! And FLAY LOST to her!!! I had to try her sticky, sticky bun. I am not even a sticky bun person. Oh it was so good….Look at it…

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Then I tasted Heather’s Cheddar & Scallion scone…sounded ordinary, looked ordinary but tasted EXTRAordinary!!!

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I was not about to wrestle Anna for a bite of her sugar brioche, but look at this thing she was eating!!!

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After we ate, we went and parked at Harvard Square and we walked down a lot of streets that I walked on for years, and things remained the same and things were very different. And a gazillion memories flooded my brain.

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We took Anna to Burdick’s because I could not go to Boston in good conscious and not get one of their hot chocolates!

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And Anna had to see the place and case of chocolates.

She looked in the window of the candies all lined up and I said, “Anna, this is MECCA!!!”

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We walked the streets and she sang, “Can you feel the love tonight!” I think she made many people smile and think… “Well, I don’t know? Maybe? Should I?”

Then they dropped me off at my friend Jenny’s house to see her and her two kids. Max was asleep so it was just Jenny & Emelia.

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We sat on her back porch and talked and caught up and said we wished we lived closer to one another.

Then she drove me to Heather’s!

I decided to give Heather a break to take a nap, veg out and I took Anna to the oldest pool in the United States of America! It was HUGE! It was freezing! I had a lot of kids that gathered around us and played together. I got a game going!

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NO OTHER mother was in the FREEZING cold pool!!! Heather later said the mom’s don’t get in and they all thanked you because they probably thought you were a Nanny because none of the mom’s gets in!!!

Then Anna and I took a walk in town and came home and watched TANGLED! I had never seen it! Heather got to relax, which was good and needed. What are good friends for!!!

Anna was lovely. We had a nice time!

Then we ordered Chinese food and pork and cabbage dumplings with our entrees, a glass of red wine and Kristen came over and we ate, talked and had a nice time!

And at the end of the night I got a Scooby Doo Band-Aid for my boo boo. All in all a great day!

It was already Saturday morning and it was time to head out. I hated leaving Heather. I wanted to spend more time with Steve and visit with Kristen, but I had to get to Rhode Island and truth be told. I love the state of Rhode Island. It is picturesque and beautiful. If it wasn’t so flipping cold and if their sun didn’t set even earlier than Boston’s, it would be such a viable place to live.

But here are some pics of Rhode Island that explain my love…

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I asked Heather which train station was easier for her. Back Bay or South Station and she said Back Bay because there is another FLOUR across the street. LOVE the way she thinks!

We went to FLOUR and this time, I had to try her chocolate brioche, because it is my favorite at LeVain’s in NY! I thought it was good and tasty but quite a different texture from LeVain’s and I like their texture better! But truthfully, they were so different. Here is FLOUR’s!

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Then Heather, Anna and I walked up and down a cobblestone street. We hugged goodbye at the car. It was sad and hard to go!

I walked down to the train platform and as always I was flooded with memories of Boston. Every place I go, I have a tale. I love the trains. I love the East. This is where I belong, but I am a Midwesterner!

I hopped on the train to Providence. My cousin greeted me and we went to get Chinese food for lunch in Cranston and when you pronounce Cranston shrivel up your nose and eyes and that is the proper way to pronounce it.

We went to a joint called 4 Seasons and started with these Vietnamese spring rolls that we dipped in a peanut sauce and it made the spring rolls. I am not a fan of spring rolls Chinese or Vietnamese but that peanut sauce was so good it could have been eaten straight off the spoon!

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Then I ordered my new favorite Chinese dish, which is Moo Shu Pork. I think I love it because it does what Peking Duck does, which is my all-time favorite. It combines, salty, savory and sweet flavors in one pancake and satisfies all my flavor sensations.

Moo shu pork -4 Seasons-Providence

After lunch, we dropped off my stuff and went to explore Rhode Island. The state that can roughly fit into Texas 179 times! We went to Narragansett and Jamestown, we started to head into parts of Newport but with it being Labor Day weekend it was a mad house there!

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We came home and I took a nap and then cuz Tony introduced me to FIVE GUYS burgers and it was yummy!

Then we went home and watched THE GRAND BUDHAPEST HOTEL. It was very fun and funky!!!

The next day after breakfast I went for a walk around Wickford. I decided I wanted to find my Sanibel friend Jean Robinson who I love!!!! I knew she lived around the corner from my cousin and I thought she said the 3rd or 4th house on the right, which meant John Updike’s house

–here is a pic of his house….

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but I was too scared to ring a bell or show up unannounced so I was looking for Florida plates or bumper stickers.

I finally found a man in the yard doing yard work and I stopped to ask him if he knew where the Robinsons lived and he said follow me. I thought that is so nice of him to walk me there. Instead, he went to the backyard and yelled up to Jean! Of all the people I asked for directions, I asked her husband. Is that a hoot or what?

So, Jean came down and showed me around the house and then walked me to the Yacht Club at the end of the street.

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I have always liked Jean and her hubby Paul was very nice.

 

I sadly was on a short time frame and had to go back to Cuz Tony’s and we went to this little breakfast joint called THE BREAKFAST NOOK. It was cute and very diner-like. The food was ordinary but the ambiance good. I ordered a spinach and cheese omelet that was big enough for 4! No joke! HUGE! I ate off it for 3 days!

Dinner was a combination of leftover Chinese food and other leftover meals. We settled in and watched a movie.

I run like crazy in Boston and NY, my cousin is a low key fella and so he moves at a much slower pace, which is hard for me, because I want to see and do everything and I want to walk ALL over the place. I lived in Providence many years ago and I loved walking everywhere. So, I want to walk, but this is good for me. It forces me to relax and I am sure I needed it. Hard to do, but good.

Cuz Tony has a WHOLE ritualistic routine. It starts with coffee, morning news shows and breakfast.

I walked for an hour and then joined the ritual!

Here is a view of his town called Wickford…at least from an architectural viewpoint.

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Other things I noticed from my walks.

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Then we went to explore! We went to Mystic CT, which I have always wanted to see and have always heard about it. And we drove by MYSTIC PIZZA, think Julia Roberts movie.

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Beautiful and quaint town. We drove through there and then we drove through Essex, CT, which I could have moved to yesterday! Beautiful, quaint, old and charming town with beautiful, old, elegant homes. Then we went to old Saybrook for lunch! We went to a Mexican joint called G Rod Café and I had the most scrumptious enchiladas. The shell was crunchy! I loved it. Cuz T. said he knew a better place, but I thought G Rod’s was better!

The waitress was so concerned that he was not treating me right and she was upset that he suggested I not take my leftovers because of the warm weather and the long distance in the car. She was so upset by this to the point of it being uncomfortable and very awkward. So, I solved the problem by eating more! Oh well. The sacrifices one makes!

That night we went to a Rhode Island institution down by the water called Champlains for lobster rolls.

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We sat outside overlooking the water at dusk. It was beautiful!!!

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Then we went to the INSIDE SCOOP, which is this awesome rock, your socks off good ice cream and you know I am loyal to Graeter’s but this stuff rocks. Funny thing, my friend Mindy (who also lives in Cincy) and I were talking last summer about this great ice cream joint in Wickford, RI and low and behold…same joint….and even SAME fav. Flavor. Birds of a feather! Coffee ice cream with Oreos. OH YES!!!!

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The line goes out the door in this cute, little joint!

Inside Scoop Store

Here are the flavors….

ice cream flavors

Then back to watch John Oliver. Hilarious Brit.

Last day in Rhode Island, we were going to go to RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) museum and where my Cuz went to art school, but instead we drove around Brown, where I lived one summer and he showed me where he lived, I showed him where I lived.

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He showed me the oldest example of Georgian architecture in this COUNTRY!!!!

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Then I had to come home and work on my book for my meeting in NY!

We went to SONIA’S NEAR EAST DELI & MARKET back in CRANSTON and it was a Mediterranean joint with yummy gyros. I know a new obsession for me. The best is still Areti’s down at Findlay Market. They had awesome hummus and amazing grape leaves (dolmades) and I just love that food!

How can rice wrapped in a grape leaf saturated in oil taste so bloody good?

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Really good hummus….

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I needed a walk. I got lost! I called my mom and talked business and then came home and worked some more! I rather work in Rhode Island than NY, the next stop!

After lunch, we came home and I looked at Cuz T.’s new artwork. He does photography and then plays with the color till he reaches a point he likes. He has great pics he took from a trip to Europe last summer.

Then we started to watch Kelsey Grammer’s BOSS. Strong, powerful, dark, a bit depressing, but very well done.

Cuz T. decides that he wants me to try his favorite Mexican restaurant. It was a place called Tio Mateos. We both order enchiladas.

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They are good but not as good as the ones from the day before that I ate at G Rod’s.

Then we went back to INSIDE SCOOP for more ice cream. I decided that I should try something else. You get two scoops and they said you could get something different so I tried mint chocolate chip, which was very good and cookie dough, which was equally as good!

We watched more episodes of BOSS, a Nathan Fillion (love him) movie. I couldn’t watch the whole thing because I can’t really stomach sci-fi. Then it was time to pack and get ready for the drive to NY in the morning.

The next morning we drove to Manhattan. It was a beautiful day for a four-hour drive. We hit traffic once till we arrived in the city and then it was HORRENDOUS! I got out at Cuz Tony’s hotel and walked to mine. And I was home. I was in New York and if you want to hear about NY. Turn in next week…

Until we meet again…

Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….

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