My family and I just returned from a weekend in Boston.
Being from Philly, you’d think I’d like Boston. I mean, they’re both big cities, home to prestigious universities, world-class museums, fabulous food, historical events, interesting architecture, sports fanaticism, et cetera, et cetera..
September 27, 1999. While on our honeymoon, my husband and I visited Cambridge. And while backing into a parking spot, in hopes of visiting Harvard’s famous yard (and bookstore), a random masshole pulled a quick U-bee to cut us off and STEAL OUR SPOT. When we expressed our disdain at such ungentlemanly behavior towards newlyweds, he simply ignored us and ran off. At that moment, Boston went on the shit list. Especially its drivers.
But now that we live in Portland, a mere hour and 40 minutes north, it’s hard to escape the lure of the big city. Especially with the constant conditioning. I can’t leave the house without encountering at least one RDSXFAN, PATS4EVH, or BRU1NS vanity plate. At least a dozen Boston-themed t-shirts. Two or three BOSTON STRONG bumper stickers. After 5 years of this bombardment, I have accepted the fact that Boston is here to stay. And as a transplant, I’m gonna have to brush that bad taste out of my mouth and get along.
This weekend trip was to be a renewal of vows, so to speak. The first time I slept with the city since my honeymoon. I packed my comfy striped PJ pants in case it didn’t work out, but I did come with an open mind. Was Boston up to the job? WE WOULD SEE.
Part of the fun of any trip, for me at least, is the planning. So last week I spent a bit of time researching hotels, perusing Airbnb, getting the lay of the land, and ultimately deciding on the Copley House. My husband and I prefer hotels that offer at least a mini-fridge, but each room in Copley House has an actual mini kitchen. Umm.. YES. As restricted eaters (low sodium + vegan), travel can be a pain. So we always take a stash of food with us. Like fruit, bagels, tofutti cream cheese, tomatoes, a case of seltzer, wine, carrots, cukes, you catch my drift. We come prepared.
Unfortunately, we weren’t prepared for other aspects of the accommodation. Such as, this.
I am accustomed to beds being side by side, but head to foot was new to me. The pocket doors to our “separate” bedroom could indeed be shut, but then we would be trapped. Because the bed was the room.
Our daughters were met with a pull-out sofa so fatigued we nicknamed it Lil’ Saggy. I came out the first morning to find my youngest being sucked into the center, sort of like quicksand, but with sheets. Our bed, however, was wonderfully comfortable. We also enjoyed comfy pillows (1 per person, don’t get greedy) and a warm, crisp duvet. My poor daughters, by comparison, were allotted 1 thin blanket. Good thing the AC was in our (oh-so distant) bedroom. And no, I didn’t offer to trade. I am a mother, not a martyr. PS: they were already hitching on my honeymoon.
As you can see from the photos above, Saturday was a beautifully sunny day. As you can see from the photos above, there are no light blocking curtains at Copley House. Just some standard, dusty, window blinds. So, prepare to rise at dawn. Because if the light doesn’t wake you, the neighbors will. The party above us rose each morning at 7 am. The noise of them breakfasting sounded like sumo wrestlers rearranging the furniture to maximize feng shui.
I write this not to be critical, but rather to inform. Copley House is not a chain hotel experience. You will not be treated to sound-blocked, cave-like solitude. You may, or may not, have a comfortable bed. You will not enter your room to pleasantly forgettable standardization. Instead you will be treated to a stay not unlike visiting the home of a relative or friend, as long as they are nice and live in a really great part of town. I would return to the Copley House, bearing earplugs and an eye mask. And I would do so happily, as long as the kids get Lil’ Saggy.
Much like the hotel, Boston both surprised and amused me. It was novel, seeing the city in a new way, and enjoying it. The preening and peacockery we encountered on Newbury Street was much the same as that in Philly, though my tolerance for pretension has waned significantly. People watching, walking the streets, taking in the seductive electricity, especially at night, that was the best part of Boston for me. That, and being with the people I love best.
Other highlights of the trip included: Revisiting the Museum of Fine Art. Seeing the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Taking in Boston Common. The frenetic craziness that is Quincy Market. Visiting the John Adams homestead and IKEA! on the way home! The worst part? Witnessing an elderly woman run over by a car in a crosswalk. A stark reminder that accidents happen everywhere, and life can change in an instant.
When we got back to Portland, the first thing I noticed wasn’t the building and cars, but the people. Their friendly, smiling faces. The funky individualism. Not that Boston doesn’t have its charm. I now acknowledge, it does. But I love living in a place where everybody really does know my name. And on that note.. Cheers!