I awakened early this morning with every intention of going to the gym. Instead, I’m still in my pajamas. I wasn’t defeated by a lack of motivation to exercise, it was the idea of causing my back to flare that did me in. I realize it’s inevitable, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Unfortunately, it’s going to take a day or two of fortifying myself mentally. I’ve had a lot of nerve activity in my left leg for the past few weeks–something that’s not all that unusual–and once I hit the gym, it’ll compound and multiply. Ick. But instead of rolling over and going back to sleep, I decided to stay awake in an effort to shift my body back to a sleep pattern that’s conducive to going to the gym early in the morning. It’ll make for a slightly longer day today, but that’s fine.
I’m also back to careful food choices today. Yesterday’s calories weren’t too bad, actually. Saturday was the only day that was high because of the dinner I prepared for my mama (and the rest of the fam). Since Mother’s Day is only once a year, I don’t mind the splurge.
Speaking of early mornings, Mark, Saundra, the kids, and I had one on April 16. If you don’t know, the third Monday in April is Patriots Day in the state of Massachusetts. That’s right, it’s a holiday. Why? It denotes the Battles of Lexington and Concord, or the start of the Revolutionary War. Personally, I think the entire country should get that holiday.
We rolled out of bed at 4:30 a.m., made ourselves somewhat presentable, and set out for the reenactment in Lexington. Who knew this was such a popular activity? There were way too many people up at that time of the morning (you can see the crowds on the other side of the battlefield). It was pretty cool, though. I’m from California and live in Colorado, it’s not like either of these places is a hotbed for Revolutionary or Civil War reenactments. After all, while there were a couple of ridiculous skirmishes here and there in the name of either war, the real fighting took place on the east coast–primarily in New England for the Revolutionary War and in the south for the Civil War, at that.
Once the initial volley of shots was over, the regulars (a.k.a. British or Redcoats), marched off toward the Old North Bridge in Concord where the second battle occurred. We didn’t follow them to that reenactment. We went back to our car and the house with dreams of catching a few more winks before embarking on the rest of our day.
As I said yesterday, Eric’s birthday was the sixteenth. As such, after breakfast, the family took off for his birthday party and I set out to explore a bit on my own. Although, the first place I hit was a post office. I packaged up my loot and shipped it home so I wouldn’t have to lug it onto the plane when I flew home. I honestly didn’t come home with a ridiculous amount of stuff, it wasn’t like my trip to Europe in that way. I still had some stuff, though… plates from Williamsburg, Monticello, and Washington, D.C.; a t-shirt from the Cheers pub in Boston; magnets from all over (that’s the big offender); fudge from Gettysburg (oh my!); and pilsners from Cheers and Hard Rock Cafe in Boston.
I drove around enjoying quite a bit of the countryside as well. I drove by Walden Pond, where I didn’t stop to take photos because the line of cars extended outside and onto the main street. I stopped by Sleepy Hollow Cemetery again to get photographs of the front gate and signage (important detail). I wandered to and fro, getting a feel for the place. And I toured Orchard House.
Orchard House is where Louisa May Alcott’s family lived. Unfortunately, photographs of the interior are prohibited because many of the items are on loan from private owners. The foundation that oversees the home is in the process of painstakingly renovating it. To date, they appear to be doing a remarkable job.
It was interesting to see May’s paintings scattered throughout the house, her drawings on the walls of her bedroom and art study. She literally sketched on the walls. She painted on the walls of Louisa’s room to provide her sister with brightly colored art. May is the person on whom the character of Amy in Little Women is based. If you’re not aware, elements of this book are autobiographical. However, it’s not an exact representation of their lives. Beth is based on their sister, Lizzie, who did die in her youth and was highly musical. However, Louisa remained single for the duration of her life. She did raise May’s daughter, Louisa, upon her death.
The most interesting item in the Alcott home was a bust of Bronson Alcott, Louisa’s father. Located in the study, it’s situated in a small wall alcove. While going through the house on the tour, our guide told a story surrounding the bust. After spending a year at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (a.k.a. MIT), a young gentleman left his studies and returned home. Shortly thereafter, his father was riding on a train and struck up a conversation with May Alcott. Learning she was an artist, the father asked if she would allow his son to study with her and relay to him whether or not his son had talent. She consented and worked with his son. Daniel Chester French went on to not only sculpt the bust of Bronson Alcott, but sculpted the Minute Man statue in Minute Man Historical National Park (I told you to remember his name!), and later he sculpted a slightly more well known item… Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial. It would appear he possessed some talent.
I also drove myself back to the southern edge of Boston to visit the Salem Maritime National Historic Site. While I got a stamp in my passport, it wasn’t anything major, photographically speaking. I would like to tour this area in greater depth next time I visit. Discovering it so late in the day, I wasn’t able to visit all of the stops associated with it.
After looking my fill, I headed back to Mark and Saundra’s house. We regrouped and headed to dinner. For lobster.
Woodman’s is in Essex, Massachusetts. Forbes magazine claimed it has the best seafood in America. Pretty darn cool, if you ask me. We all ordered different things, but Eric (the birthday boy) and I had lobster. Mark treated me to dinner, something I hadn’t expected but certainly appreciated.
The restaurant itself isn’t anything fancy. It kind of reminded me of Harbor House Cafe in Sunset Beach, California–without the movie posters on every wall and with a wait staff that isn’t pierced and tattooed to within an inch of its life.
So prior to this dinner, I’d eaten lobster exactly one time in my life. And that was a lobster tail that really didn’t require much effort to consume. (And no, I didn’t dress to “match” my food. It just worked out that way. I also don’t know what Trey was reacting to, other than to point out his brothers were sitting across the table from us.) So as a complete and total novice in the deconstruction of a lobster, Saundra (who was seated to my right) and Eric had to explain and show how to rip apart a lobster and get the meat out of his (I don’t really know if he was a he) legs, claws, and torso. I’m thinking New Englanders eat lobster after a stressful day just because they get to rip ’em apart. It’s a very messy thing, but worth it! And yes, there’s clarified butter hiding in there, too. After much ripping, pushing, pulling, and then dunking in butter, I consumed New England lobster for the first time in my life. It was quite good! And that’s not beer in front of me. I topped off the lobster with apple juice. Oh yes, I did.
Eric was far more proficient than me when it came to tearing apart the lobster. I was schooled by a nine-year-old. What can I say? He’s lived in New England for a few years now and this was not his first rodeo. Me, on the other hand? Like I said, I grew up in SoCal and currently live in Colorado. Neither location is known for its lobster.
It was a long day thanks to the early wake-up call to see the Regulars storm Lexington. By the way, apparently I was taught wrongly by my schoolteachers… the cry wasn’t, “The British are coming! The British are coming!” It was, “The Regulars are coming! The Regulars are coming!” Who knew? Apparently, the locals in Lexington and Concord did. Anyway, thanks to the early morning, we all crashed pretty quickly. While I was with Mark and Saundra, the boys graciously bunked together and let me use Todd’s room.
It was a blast getting to know their boys and visiting with the family as a whole. I’ve literally known Mark all of my life, and met Saundra on one of my family’s many trips to Colorado for Thanksgiving week. I didn’t get to know her until they were stationed in SoCal back in the mid 90s. It was so fun to catch up and visit.