East Coast Post - Walden Pond, Concord, and Lexington

Guys.  Graduating law school is great and all {I've posted about it enough, haven't I?} but it's also a bit scary.  Just a little, tiny bit nerve-wracking.  Because graduating means it's time to be really real adults with full-time careers and responsible long-term plans and wise financial goals.

This underlying anxiety over Roy's career has been fueled by stories of other attorneys {you know, friends of friends who know someone who's great-aunt has a stepson who's a lawyer, etc.} who spin tales of criminally long hours at a desk for the first 8-10 years at a firm, with very little time to spend with family.

Whether or not these horror stories will be true in our case, they inspired us in the best way.

It went like this: Let's be stupid.  Let's blow some money.  Let's spend every waking moment of a week together, and not worry about the pending job interviews and and postings back home.  One last hurrah before we're tied.

So we packed our bags for Boston.  A perfect getaway for us since we love American history, classic lit, and architecture.  Go America!
Our amazing friend hooked us up with standby tickets, and at 2am Roy and I woke up and drove to the Phoenix airport.  Two.  In the morning.

It was painful getting up that early, and painful leaving Camden blissfully asleep at Grammy and Papa's house.  But we also felt lucky to have grandparents nearby and willing to watch him for us.

We arrived at the airport at 4, ready to hop on the first flight outa there.  It was busy.  We expected that, since it was Memorial Day weekend, but we had high hopes that a couple of people would sleep through their alarm that morning, leaving seats for us.

Perched like vultures by the check-in desk to Chicago, we watched people with tickets board the plane.  We stared at the gate attendants tapping things into the computer, trying Jedi-mind tricks to get them to call our names to board.  We held our breath as they let pilots and other employees go down the jetway at the last minute… just when I thought I'd pass out from the suspense, they closed the door and essentially told us, "better luck next time."  That was our standby experience THREE times.  Talk about heart palpitations.

Eight hours later, I was ready to fall asleep standing up.  Roy accidentally sent this goofy pic to our friend who was hooking us up with the flights, which would have been really embarrassing if she wasn't so awesome.


Between flights we ate at a nice sit-down breakfast place, we hung around the bookstores and read, we took naps not standing up, and we had lunch.  We went up and down the moving walkways {stand on the right, walk on the left, people} and explored every wing of the airport.  The Phoenix airport really isn't all that adventuresome, but we never have days to just the two of us, so it still felt like a treat.


BUT THEN!
The very last flight of the day that could get us on a connection to Boston… we made it!  They called our name!  They pronounced it wrong {and really, how hard do you have to try to screw up Buckmaster?} but we didn't care at all!  We were off to Boston!!!

It was night when we landed at our final destination, and I immediately needed my jacket.  {Yay!}  This whole night is really quite hazy to me, since I was going 24 hours without sleep.  For all I know, Roy propped my unconscious body up on the rolling suitcase and dragged me out of the airport and into a rental car.  I have no idea.

In the morning I felt like myself again.  We were in a beautiful Residence Inn room in Framingham that another friend hooked us up with.  {Our friends rock!}  The only downer of the morning was realizing I hadn't packed any pants.  Or shorts.  Or anything to go on my legs.  Who does that?

Talking to my dad on the phone I said, "I think it's just so funny."  He replied, "Yeah.  In a sad way."
Oh well - I was happy to take a trip to Target.

After the pants crisis had been remedied, we hit up Walden Pond.


If you don't recognize the name of the pond, you may recognize the names of the people associated with the pond: Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Ringing bells?  Thoreau lived as a hermit on the north shore {on Emerson's property} for two years as a personal experiment and thus was born his most famous work, Walden.


Now it's a reservation, and tons of people visit.  I thought it was chilly out, so I was surprised to see so many people in the water.  But there were tons of hardcore swimmers.  At least, I assume anyone wearing a swim cap and drysuit is hardcore.

Creeper shots  ^ v

We hiked around the pond, which was beautiful.  Immediately we talked about moving out of the desert.  This conversation resurfaces annually, once Tucson hits the triple digit temps, but you can imagine it was intensified by the green beauty of this place.



I wanted to paddle board out there so bad!



The trail meandered around the perimeter of the lake and soon we found the little offshoot to the site of Thoreau's house.  



This is what remains of his tiny one-room hermit cottage.  I walked through the rubble and found that people from around the world had left messages on the rocks, written in black marker and faded blue pen.  Some messages even painstakingly carved.  Many hailed Thoreau like he was some kind of literature demigod.  Others left their own original words, obviously trying to contribute some of their own beauty.

I didn't have a pen.



These tracks were here when Thoreau was here.  Roy and I know exactly what it's like to live by the railroad tracks, so I can't imagine the dude really felt like he was in the middle of nowhere when those things went blaring by.


There was also a little bookstore on sight which we had to check out.  And then it was on the road again in this zippy little beauty.


And by the way, the freeways over there are crazy.  Every time you wanted to exit or enter a freeway you had to go on a mini roller coaster, looping in circles and zig zagging around.



But I have to say, it was kind of fun.

Next was Author's Ridge in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery!


As Roy and I parked our car next to a cluster of nuns at the base of the ridge, I wondered aloud why I/we have such a fascination with graveyards.  I mean, it's kind of weird.  But I decided to categorize it along with my love for all things old.  This cemetery is definitely old by American standards, having been dedicated in 1855.  The craftsmanship that went into these headstones during the 19th century just blows my mind.  I told Roy I want something as elaborate as this:


And family plots are pretty cool.  Like what we saw at the top of the ridge; the Thoreau plot.  A big piece of rock with the family name, and then the family members just dotted around it, with simple first name headstones.  Cozy, right?



As you can see, those who come to pay homage to the great American writers of the past leave nice little tokens of respect.  Like chewed up pencils, pennies, and stray pinecones.


I was stoked to see Nathaniel Hawthorne's gravesite.  The Scarlett Letter is his most famous, but I especially love his short stories.  A favorite American author for sure.


And Louisa May Alcott!  One of the very first "chapter books" I ever read was Little Women, so this writer will always have a special place in my heart.




Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Nature's craftsmanship for this headstone.  Quite appropriate for Ralph.


Being there so close to memorial day was interesting, because we got to see the flags displayed at the headstones of war veterans.


Each flag also had a medal of a different shape, symbolizing the different wars.  Many were from the Civil War.


Toward the end of our romp around Sleepy Hollow, Roy found a large headstone marked with the words "Publisher" and "The children's friend."  I was wrapped up in something else, not paying attention while he got out his phone and google searched the name Daniel Lothrop.

Roy found out Mr. Lothrop was one of America's first huge publishers, publishing more American authors than any other company by his death.  And his company, under much discouragement, was one of the world's first to make children's literature into a legitimate genre, hence his title "the children's friend."  I'm still amazed that this guy gets so little recognition - I'd never heard of him before, and he isn't easy to find information on online.  Harriet Lothrop, his wife, was buried beside him.  She was a children's author who went by the pen name Margaret Sidney.

Later that day in town of Concord, we were in an quaint little shop called Thoreaully Antiques when we found an old book from a series called Five Little Peppers, by Margaret Sidney and published by the D. Lothrop Company!

WhAt?!  We snatched that baby right off the shelf like we'd found gold sitting right out in the open, without anyone else realizing it's value.  Such a cool find.

We loved Concord so much.  If all of you family and friends would kindly relocate, we would live there in a heartbeat.





This old inn has some cool history.  In 1775 one of the inn's original buildings was used as a storehouse for arms and provisions.  When the British came to seize and destroy the supplies, the Minutemen met them at the North Bridge on April 19th.  Boom - American Revolution.


We didn't stay here, but I thought I better snap a pic, since it was just so freakin' American.


The Alcott's orchard house!  This is where Louisa wrote and set her novel Little Women.  There was a tour, but we reluctantly declined.  Instead I just peeked through the windows like a psycho.



This is the "Hillside Chapel," which is just to the side of the orchard house.  For a number of years it was known as "The Concord School of Philosophy," a successful adult education center.  Go Alcotts!


The homes of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Ralph Waldo Emerson were right down the street, but we didn't stop.  Hawthorne's was under construction.  Isn't it cool that they all hung out, though?

Okay, last nerdy literary thing.  For now.
Walking around Concord we saw this tiny plaque, hardly noticeable, back by a parking lot.



Go Thoreau!

From Concord we drove to Lexington, while thinking about the Minutemen who kicked butt on this stretch at the start of the American Revolution.  We stopped at the beginning of the Minuteman Trail to learn that it is a common misconception that the American militia hid in the forest to shoot at the redcoats.  As a matter of fact, almost all of the land on the trail was cleared for farming, and there were very few trees.

Now trees have been allowed to grow.  But wherever there are low walls of stone, that signifies an area that was cleared for farming.  The stones are stacked that way from farmers moving them from their land so they could plow fields.  We saw a lot of stone walls.


Who is that handsome man chilling on a bench in Lexington?


Lexington was bigger, and didn't hold the same historical charm as Concord.  But we enjoyed watching some live entertainment on a big lawn with kids throwing beach balls around.  After a quick peruse around their main street, we headed back to Framingham.

 {We had the best time coming up with different possible ways to pronounce Framingham.}


And that was only day one...



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