Boston Highs and Lows

I’ve been in Boston nearly three weeks now, and – my – what a whirlwind it’s been. Here are some of the highs and lows…

High – finding an apartment!

After a relatively painless few days of apartment searching, Noah and I have our own place! We’re moving September 1. Yay!!! (side note: photo below is to trick you and is actually not of the apartment we’re moving to…)

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Low – stolen bike ūüė¶

My beloved bicycle was stolen while it was locked to a bike rack and I was at dinner. Major bummer…but in optimistic spirits, this can become a high…

High – a new bike!

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I got a new, beautiful, Trek FX Disc 7.2. I love it. ūüôā

High – exploring the city with Noah!

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One of the highlights of our explorations so far has been an architecture cruise on the Charles River with the Charles Riverboat Company. The cruise lasted about 90 minutes, and we got a Groupon deal for it so it was pretty cheap! We went up and down the Charles, getting some great views of the city skyline, learning about the prominent buildings and history of the city.

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High – a visit to Martha’s Vineyard¬†

We spent a lovely 5 days on Martha’s Vineyard with Noah’s family, and it was the perfect relaxing vacation – lots of reading, game playing, bike riding, and delicious fresh fish!

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Low – sleeping in too late!

I’ve been enjoying my lazy schedule a¬†little too much and have been sleeping in! This has, unfortunately, meant that I haven’t been getting up in time to go to the November Project with the full group. I have, however, still been going to the Harvard Stadium once a week to run the steps on my own – my time has gradually been improving!

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High – learning the little things

One of the most fun things about moving to a new city is learning the little personality traits of the place. I’ve really enjoyed learning little things about Boston and its eccentricities. For example, we’ve seen some of these solar-powered Soofa benches that have been installed throughout Cambridge recently. The benches have hook-ups¬†for you to charge your phone¬†while you’re out around town!

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Here’s to many more “highs” during¬†my Boston years. ūüôā

Vacation Weekend

After the long bike trip on Friday, we were overdue for some serious relaxation. On Saturday, we  woke up and prepped a breakfast of oatmeal, fruit, and coffee:

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I sported my new gear from Menemsha Blues:

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After breakfast, we plotted out our day:

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The plan was to relax at the house, visit the towns of Chilmark and Menemsha, and make dinner at home. The house had three beautiful porches:

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and we enjoyed taking in the incredible views and looking at boats through the binoculars:

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After enough time at home, we headed into the nearby town of Chilmark. We grabbed a quick lunch at the Chilmark General Store (they had pizza, sandwiches, salads, prepared foods, and a small grocery and convenient store):

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After lunch, it was time to head to the towns main attraction: Chilmark Chocolates. Chilmark Chocolates is – you guessed it – a chocolate shop selling homemade chocolates, truffles, toffee, caramel, and general forms of decadence. Not only is their chocolate universally praised, but they are also a socially-conscious organization, employing many people with special needs and partnering with the local community to give back.¬†The only downside is that their hours are limited, so¬†when they are open there’s a long line!

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The line moved quickly though, and before long we were in and out the door with this beautiful box:

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After safely tucking the chocolates into our bike bag, we were off for a second visit to Menemsha. We were exhausted and it was dark during our first visit¬†to Menemsha, so we were excited to go back and get a better look at the town. Menemsha is a fishing village, and there was a lot to look at between the personal and commercial boats, gorgeous water views, and fishermen going through their day’s work:

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We even saw a special bike ferry to carry bikes between Menemsha and the nearby Aquinnah.

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Also, ice cream. Obviously.

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The last stop before leaving Menemsha was at Larsen’s Fish Market.

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Larsen’s sells fresh fish and seafood (all caught that day) and also serves up¬†lobster sandwiches that appeared to be quite popular (judging from the length of the line!). We bought some halibut which we had with summer squash and potatoes that night:

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After a glorious day of relaxation, it was time to hit the road again on Sunday. Rather than reversing the trip from Friday, we took an alternate route that included two buses to get to Vineyard Haven, a ferry to Woods Hole, biking 20 miles to Bourne, and a 45-minute trip on the Cape Flyer back to South Station.

The CapeFlyer is a special train that runs only on the weekends and brings passengers between the city and Cape Cod. The train is very bike friendly; check out this special bike storage room onboard!

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When we finally arrived to South Station it was late, dark, and we were exhausted, so we took the T home. I’m already missing my vacation weekend. ūüôā

Biking to the Vineyard (a 6-step program)

Remember all the biking Noah and I liked to do in Minnesota?

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A top priority in exploring our new state is to¬†test out the biking scene. Despite our total lack of training or experience with bike touring, we decided to bike to Martha’s Vineyard this past weekend. Previously, the longest ride we had done was 40 miles on the Minneapolis Grand Rounds. Martha’s Vineyard is about 90 miles from Boston, and we’re not¬†totally crazy, so we decided on a route that included one train, one ferry, and about 60 miles of biking.

Step 1: Prepping the bikes

Since we would be taking everything for the weekend with us on the bikes, we needed to do some prep work. Noah cleaned and oiled the chains,got new tires for his bike, we filled the tires to capacity, and we borrowed some sweet saddlebags from Noah’s parents.

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Step 2: Train

To begin the trip, we took the train from South Station in downtown Boston to Plymouth. Maybe you’ve heard of it….there’s a rock there. ūüėČ

Biking to South Station was a bit of a harrowing experience on the crowded Boston Streets…

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…but we made it to the train and to Plymouth in one piece:

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Step 3: Bikes

After Plymouth, we biked along the Claire Saltonstall Bikeway to Sagamore and then biked along the Cape Cod Canal to Bourne. After crossing the Bourne Bridge we made our way to the Shining Sea Bikeway that took us from North Falmouth all the way to the ferry terminal in Woods Hole (thanks, Noah, for planning an awesome route!!)

In all, this leg of the journey was about 40 miles. The biking itself was fun: we set a good pace, saw some great views of the ocean, and enjoyed the adventure of it all. Although overall enjoyable, there was definitely a significant portion of the ride that took place on roads with little to no shoulder. Some cars were good about slowing down and scooting into the other lane when traffic was clear to give us room but others were not, and there was more than one occasion that I felt pretty nervous about the proximity of our bikes to cars zipping by.

I had one ill-fated fall, but luckily there were no cars racing by at that moment, and I made it out with nothing more serious than a few scrapes and bruises.

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Nothing that an iced coffee can’t fix!

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Step 4: Ferry

Woods Hole is on the far southwest corner of Cape Cod, and it’s the departure point for ferries heading to Martha’s Vineyard. Noah and I were planning to take a ferry to Oak Bluffs on the Vineyard, and we had about an hour to kill between our arrival in Woods Hole and the ferry’s departure. We took the opportunity to get some food (a burrito bowl at Quicks Hole¬†Taqueria) and the aforementioned iced coffee.

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The ferry sure was HUGE!

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Not only does the ferry hold hundreds of passengers, but there’s also space for cars aboard! As bikers, we waited for all the cars to file in and then we were able to park our bikes along the side:

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Step 5: Bike Again

The ferry trip took about 45 minutes, and we still had a solid 15 miles of biking left to do from Oak Bluffs, so we were ready to get going!

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The house we were heading to was on the¬†western side of the island near Menemsha, and when we finally arrived we were exhausted – but pretty darn proud of the day’s work!

Step 6: EAT!!!

After a long and draining day on the road, we were ready for some serious eats. We headed into the nearby town of Menemsha (yes, more biking, but it was a short ride!) for some food¬†at The Home Port. We went to The Home Port’s ‘back door’ – a walk-up order counter.

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The day’s events put us in the mood for some greasy goodness:

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We agreed this was just about the best meal we’d ever had…although we did wonder if it would have tasted so amazing had we not just biked 60 miles.

Before heading home to crash hard go to sleep, there was one more stop to make.

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We went to Menemsha Blues, an apparel shop whose shirts I have long admired. The visit officially commemorated my first visit to the Vineyard.

Check back soon for more pictures and recaps from the weekend!