Monday, June 07, 2010

Yard Sale and Boston

I had a really great weekend, I hope everyone else did as well.

On Saturday my condo building had our FOURTH annual spring yard sale. We have the same few people participate every year, but it's usually a good time and we get the neighbors out to enjoy the sunshine. We didn't make as much money this year as we have in the past, but we also had less to sell this year. (This is a good thing...)

The day started out a little wet, we had severe thunderstorms throughout the night. But by the time we needed to set up at 7:30 in the morning the weather had cleared and by 9am the sunshine was out in full force! (Sunscreen for everyone!) We had one brief rain shower at about 1:30 in the afternoon. It rained heavily for about two minutes. My husband was smart enough to put some tarps in our windows (we have the condo closest to the yard sale site) and we were able to grab the tarps and cover our belongings. After the rain was over we packed up some items to go to goodwill and ended the yard sale. After cleaning up and putting away the really really heavy tables we rewarded ourselves with some ice cream!
I found a really great place here in Worcester and their ice cream (homemade!) is really good. It's a dairy farm of sorts called "Gibby's" and they have milk in glass bottles and other local dairy products for sale. You haven't lived until you have had some fresh local milk out of a glass bottle. (Or ice cream from Gibbys. No website yet. :( I already talked to them about it.)

After the ice cream, it was time to head home and get into the shower. Anthony and I were hosting my friend Joe (from Chicago) and his girlfriend, Erin, for the weekend. Erin had never been to Boston before and we were looking forward to showing her around. Joe and Erin did the Freedom Trail on Saturday morning and took in some of the sights Friday night. Saturday afternoon they took the commuter rail out to Worcester and we picked them up at Union Station. We headed across the rotary to a great Liquor store, KJ Baarons. KJ Baarons has an amazing selection of craft beers and wines. They do wine and cheese tastings all the time and the staff at this store are very friendly and they know their products very well. Joe and Anthony are very into craft beers so we went to the store so that Joe could try some local brews.
We picked up way more beer than 4 people could consume (especially since I rarely drink) and we headed back to the condo.
We hung out at the condo for a few hours just chatting and relaxing and we decided to go out for some dinner. We had many options because Worcester has some great restaurants but we ultimately decided on Ziti's because they had a "byob" policy.
We decided this because Joe had purchased all of this beer to consume and it seemed a waste to go out to eat and purchase more drinks when we had plenty in our fridge. We freshened up, grabbed the beers and gave Joe and Erin a mini-tour of Worcester. When we arrived at Ziti's...bad news. Sort of. They had a sign posted: "We finally go out liquor license!" Which meant we couldn't bring in our own beer anymore. Needless to say, we were really bummed out. This is an italian restaurant that has large portions and the food is really good, but the bonus for us was always that we could bring our own drinks.
We decided to eat there anyway, but we booked it back home to finish Joe's beers before they got warm. We stayed up for a few more hours and Anthony and I (mostly me) showed off pictures from the wedding and we discussed what we would do the next day in Boston.
We went to bed and we all got to sleep in until 9am. I haven't done that in a really long time...and it felt so good to just sleep. After we were all awake and showered we went to my favorite diner for breakfast and we planned our day in Boston.
The forecast was calling for rain and possible thunderstorms, but we didn't let that stop us. Erin was interested in seeing the Harvard campus since she had heard so much about that school. So we took the Mass Pike into Cambridge and we drove around the Harvard campus and Harvard Square area. After that we took some back roads over to Fenway and along the way Erin got to see a bunch of other campuses including Boston University and Northeastern. We parked on Landsdowne Street and peeked in the Bleacher Bar at Fenway so that Erin and Joe could peek in at Fenway park. I love Fenway. I don't get to too many games there, but I always enjoy going.
After leaving Fenway we headed into Boston to the Boston Common. Our plan was to park in the parking garage under the Boston Common (best deal in Boston, park all day on the weekends for $11) and then travel on foot around that area. We strolled through the Boston Common and public gardens and then we headed down Newbury Street.
On Newbury Street we visited some of our favorite stores and some new ones. We went to Kate Spade, Olive Oil & Company, Hotel Chocolat, and a bunch of others. I'll post more links to more stores later when I find them.
We stopped at Joe's American Bar & Grille for some drinks and we snacked on sweet potato fries and bbq sauce. After the bar, we went into a store called The Hempest and then the clouds opened up. All of a sudden there was a downpour and hurricane or tornado like winds outside. This isn't an exaggeration! When we finally made it back through the Boston Common there were downed limbs and uprooted trees all over the place. I can't believe that we were outside in that storm!
We waited out the storm in the doorway of the store while Erin and I tried on dresses. I ended up find a really cute and really comfortable Navy Blue jersey style dress. This dress is so comfortable, I almost wish it was pajamas.
Eventually the rain died down a bit and we made our way back to the Boston Common Parking Garage.
(first we had a stop at my "secret bathroom" at the Taj hotel. Erin had to go and we needed a break, so I showed everyone where to find the bathroom in the lower level of the hotel lobby at the Taj Boston hotel. This is a really nice fancy hotel, hopefully I will never get kicked out for using their bathroom. :))
We had a few hours left before we needed to bring Joe and Erin to the airport to go home, so we decided to get some dinner first. Erin really wanted to try some east coast seafood and Anthony was more than happy to help her find some. Neither Joe or I eat seafood so we needed to find something that we could all enjoy. Anthony looked up a top seafood place on his cell phone, they mapped it on Joe's phone and we were off 1.5 miles to a restaurant called The Daily Catch.
After walking just over a mile, I started recognizing things...and I noticed a LOT of italian places...we were in the North End! This was a really great coincidence because during Joe and Erin's Freedom Trail tour on Saturday morning, they had passed through the North End area and Erin had really wanted to return. Anthony started to recognize restaurants at that point and we ended up find Mike's Pastry directly across the street from the restaurant we were looking for. Both Joe and Erin really wanted canoli's from Mike's so this was really the icing on the cake for their Boston trip. We got canoli's for everyone except me (I got a peanut butter big, couldn't eat it! It's in the fridge, maybe Colleen will eat it.) And then we headed over to the Daily Catch. Where we discovered it was about the size of two office cubes put together. And they only took cash as payment. And there was ONE item on the menu that was not fish. That was pasta with alfredo sauce. I might have felt daring enough to get fish if I hadn't already had a Caribean Rum Punch from the bar earlier in the day, but I played it safe and got the pasta. Joe went to a deli and got a sandwich and brought it back. Both Erin and Anthony had rave reviews for their food and it was really the perfect ending to the day.
While we were in the restaurant the skies had opened up again but by the time we needed to walk the 1.5 miles back to the car, the rain was mostly clear. At this point we and our belongings were slightly damp anyway. :)
We got Erin and Joe back to the airport, they got to their flight on time and Anthony and I headed home on the Pike. And at this point the sun was out and shining and the weather had cooled off. The entire weekend had been very muggy and hot, so the cool air was a relief.
We did some laundry, watched some Animation Domination and went to bed.
A GREAT weekend!
I hope everyone else had a good weekend as well!

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