Sunday, September 13, 2009

Summer Recap, Part 1

Well since I was such a bad blogger I am giving you, my readers (wait do I even HAVE readers??) a recap of the LaDore Summer of Fun. I will say right now that Francesca and Gavin had a way-funner summer than did Scott and I, mostly because we still had to go to work...boooo work. We started our Summer of Fun at 11:31AM, Friday June 26th, 2009 - one minute after school let out. Scott and I both took the day off of work and we picked the kids up at Park Ave., bid adieu to friends and headed for Boston. Yippeee!! My home-away-from-home from September 1991-June 1996. The home of Northeastern University, my alma mater. I was soooo excited and so were the kids. Scott was too, I guess. Scott is way low-key compared to me and the kids. Anyway, after 3 hours, several bathroom breaks (Gavin has a bladder the size of a flea) and many many many "Are we there yet's???" we were there!!!! We were able to check into our hotel, the Colonnade on Huntington Avenue. A BOUTIQUE hotel. A BIG RISK with the LaDore children. They were a bit miffed that this hotel did not offer continental breakfast, as they are used to when they go away with my parents and stay at a Hampton Inn or a Holiday Inn Express. For Francesca and Gavin a good hotel is not measured in AAA stars but whether or not they get cinnamon rolls, unlimited juice and all-you-can-eat cereal in the lobby in the morning. We assured them that they would not starve and once they saw how cool our room was they lightened up. They also saw the rooftop pool, which was way cool in their estimation.

We headed first for the Boston Childrens' Museum, which on Friday nights from 5-9PM is only $1 admission. Such a deal! They had a great time at the Childrens' Museum, exploring all 3 floors, climbing, jumping, playing and just having fun. We followed and occasionally got to help. After leaving we headed back to our hotel and had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory across the street at the Prudential Center. Of course the whole weekend was overshadowed by Michael Jackson's death and the ever-present litany of questions from the kids about him. Such as "Why does he look THAT WAY and his brothers look so different?" Oh boy I did not even want to delve into that one...not then, not ever. I don't remember what answer I gave them, but I guess it shut them up for the moment.

Saturday morning we were up bright and early - because even on vacation F and G don't sleep late - and hopped on the "T" (the Boston subway for those of you not in the know) and took it to Government Center, where we could walk to Quincy Market. We bought tickets for the Red Trolley and waited....and waited...and waited. For God's sake, where is this trolley? Every other trolley went by except the Red Trolley! Finally we were picked up and were happy to discover that we were just about the only people on the trolley. There were 2 other couples but we picked up a few more people at the next stop. As is the case with the kids, they will talk to anyone. Anyone. Not always a great thing, but anyway. The trolley driver was very animated - an ex-New Yorker I believe. Gavin kept answering his questions and the next thing you know, Gav and Checka were being invited to sit at the front of the trolley across from the driver. Oh boy they were so excited. For me and Scott it was almost an hour of sightseeing uninterrupted. We were sitting halfway back, enjoying the sights and the kids were up front, helping give the tour. Within 10 minutes the tour driver knew their names, what grades they were in and what we planned on seeing that day. The funniest moment had to be when we crossed into Cambridge and drove past MIT. The driver started talking about MIT and Gavin says "Oh my mommy went there!" and the driver said "Really??" like he was all impressed. I had to correct Gav and say nooooo I am a Northeastern alumni. He was still impressed, just not so much.

We got off the trolley at the Constitution and waited for about 30 minutes in the hot sun to board. You actually have to go through National Security to get on line. Kind of sad that it has all come to that. But we all loved the tour and had fun exploring the ship. After we re-boarded the trolley and headed back to Quincy Market we had decided that we needed to take a boat cruise. So we did. We took a tour of the Boston Harbor. The kids loved that and we loved sitting down for 45 minutes. After that we were suckered in to taking the kids to Build-A-Bear.

Back at the hotel we were very disappointed that it started to rain and we could not swim in the rooftop pool. The hotel manager gave the kids water pistols instead and suddenly their impression of the hotel improved. "No cinnamon rolls Mommy but I did get a water pistol". We couldn't leave as quickly as we wanted to because there was a wedding going on and every freaking wedding guest had valet parked and our car was blocked in. What a nightmare! It took us, the manager and 4 valets to get the van out. 30 minutes later we were on our way to the "No Name Restaurant" on the water for seafood. Yum-O to quote Rachel Ray! We waited for about 20 minutes and then were amazingly sat at a table overlooking the water. Granted our immediate view was the docks where fish is unloaded but hey it was still the water. The waitress gave us a big plate of garlic bread, which the kids eagerly ate. They didn't realize it was garlic bread and we didn't tell them. Not until the plate was clean did we tell them what they ate. If looks could kill...Scott and I would be dead. It was too funny. We all enjoyed our dinner - deep fried seafood for me and Scott, chicken fingers for them. Followed by gooey chocolate and carrot cake for dessert. One cannot come to Boston and not have fried seafood. The kids just about collapsed into bed and we started packing the suitcase to leave the next day.

Sunday June 28th - a national holiday in my book. Actually it was my birthday. The trip was my present. We ate breakfast and then headed out. We drove past Northeastern and I was shocked how much it had changed! Buildings went up where parking lots previously stood. Wow. A former dive bar was now the faculty club! The kids were not impressed. I was. It made me remember how much fun I had going to college there. Francesca said she thought she might want to go to school there. At almost $40K a year I hope she gets some sort of scholarship. I did read that they give athletic scholarships for every sport offered - over 40. Guess we will be finding an obscure one for her to pursue. On the way home we stopped at the "Travelers Rest" restaurant in Vernon, CT. I think it was Vernon - it was exit 74 off of I84. It's a restaurant that is also filled with used books. In fact, everyone gets a free book when they leave. The kids agonized over what book to choose - I think that took longer than eating lunch! After that we drove the 2 hours home and were happy to be back.

We saw so much in Boston but there is so much more to see. The kids definitely want to go back. So do we!

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