Holiday snaps, Boston

I usually put up one big post at the end of a trip, recounting my travels and showing the high spots, including noms.  But I often intend to add further posts, but never get around to it because of the press of time. (I still have yet to post my photos from Auschwitz, and that was last fall).  But here is the second—and penultimate—batch of pictures from my trip to Boston and Cambridge.

An afternoon’s trip to Concord and Lexington yielded a bunch of historical stuff. Here, for example, is Ralph Waldo Emerson’s home:

Emerson home

And the Alcott family home, which of course housed Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), author of Little Women. I never read the book, but it seems that every other American has. Several women have told me that the scene in which Beth dies always brings them to tears.

Alcott home

Below is the “Old Manse” in Concord.  It was built in 1770 by Reverend William Emerson, the father of author and Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson, and was later rented by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It’s only a few hundred yards from The Old North Bridge (see below), where the most important initial battle of the Revolutionary War took place in 1775—a battle witnessed by Rev. Emerson and his family.

Hawthorne and his wife lived there from 1840-1842, and Henry David Thoreau put in a vegetable garden for the couple. The house features in several of Hawthorne’s stories. 

Old Manse

The rude bridge that arched the flood”: the Old North Bridge in Concord, where the first important battle of the American Revolutionary War took place on April 19, 1775 (there was a skirmish earlier in the day in Lexington, but the bridge was where the first British troops were killed).  This is of course a reconstruction, but the appearance is accurate and it’s at the exact location:


A monument erected in 1836 at the site, commemorating our brave resistance to “British aggression”:

Condord plaque

The famous “Minuteman” statue, commemorating the American farmers who put aside their ploughs and took up their guns to repel the British:

Minuteman statue

An artsy shot of ice below the bridge:


Finally, a visit to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, where many of the authors I mentioned above are buried, with their graves close together on a hill called “Author’s Ridge”

Henry David Thoreau; the family plot and Henry’s small tombstone:



Ralph Waldo Emerson:


Emerson 2

Louisa May Alcott, also marked by a small stone in the Alcott family plot:


Nathaniel Hawthorne (left) and  his wife Sophia:


After a literary and historical visit in snowbound Lexington and Concord, what better treat than ice cream? (In Boston it’s consumed year round, regardless of weather.) And what better place to get ice cream than Christina’s Homemade Ice Cream in Inman Square, Cambridge? I will defend to the death my opinion that this shop has the best ice cream in the U.S., as well as the best flavor: burnt sugar, which tastes exactly like its name. It’s a revelation.

Below I am pointing to my favorite flavor, which I had in a cup alongside a scoop of ginger-molasses ice cream, a flavor that would be the best in any other shop but took a back seat to the transcendental burnt sugar.  For once I had a cup instead of a cone, for I heard the server tell someone else that you get more ice cream in a cup, and for the same price. I do love a good cake cone, but I love ice cream more.

Enlarge the photo see all the great flavors. I also love green tea, which you can get along with a scoop of azuki bean ice cream to make a Japanese melange:


Tomorrow: A visit to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.


  1. Eli Siegel
    Posted March 15, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    The bridge is in Concord, not Lexington. The skirmish earlier in the day was in Lexington.

  2. Grania Spingies
    Posted March 15, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Mmmmm. Burnt sugar, Mango & Coconut Almond chip is my choice.

  3. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 15, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Banana would be my flavour of choice. During much of highschool I worked in an ice cream place where they made their own ice cream. We noticed a trend where senior citizens tended to buy maple walnut or pralines & cream. I’m waiting to see if I start favouring those flavours. The great thing about working at that ice cream place was we could eat free ice cream. I used to come in early & make myself a hot fudge sundae with whipped cream and bananas. My choice in ice cream varied from day-to-day – cookies & cream, chocolate mint, mint chip, banana fudge but I didn’t mix the ice cream flavours.

    What sucked is it was gross cleaning up the ice cream & creepers hit on you so I’d often switch name tags with my friends.

    • Sastra
      Posted March 15, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      While I was at college I worked for a summer in a restaurant which featured iirc 28 flavors of ice cream (just under BaskinRobbins.) I never got tired of the place, though as new waitress I had to work the counter which was hard (lots of great big elaborate fountain concoctions but teeny tiny tips, usually a coin or two.) It felt like a childhood fantasy fulfilled.

      We waitresses paid half price for most of the food, but ice cream was free. For my breaks I would experiment with bizarre combinations to see if I could finally discover something either so delicious and so new it hadn’t been done before — or so horrible even I wouldn’t eat it. I think it was a wash.

      The Peacock Restaurant in downtown Evanston, Illinois, defunct for many years but once a landmark. It’s ice-cream specialty was a scoop put into a cup of coffee – which sounds gross but was surprisingly good. Peppermint, Coffee, French Vanilla were on the menu, but of course I experimented. I’ve never seen any other restaurant offer it.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 15, 2014 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        Mmmm ice cream in coffee is good!

        I think a gross combination I once discovered was bubble gum ice cream in anything. It had actual bubble gum in it & who wants to chew bubble gum AND eat ice cream. It takes away from both experiences instead of adding to it.

        • Sastra
          Posted March 15, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

          True, but I don’t think we had that one. Our usual strategy was to start with Creme de Menthe syrup and hope it clashed rudely enough with something to make it memorable.

          Peacock’s didn’t have it, but one of my favorite flavors of ice cream is licorice (which BR31 used to carry around Halloween, because it’s black.) I hate licorice, but the ice cream was surprisingly good. If you didn’t see the color and know in advance what it was, you probably wouldn’t be able to figure it out. Anise, maybe.

          My little brother was born in late October and one year my Mom bought black and orange ice cream for his costume birthday party: licorice and pumpkin. The little kids wouldn’t eat it — though I loved it. Still, it’s an odd combination.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted March 15, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

            I love liquorice! It’s in tiger stripe or tiger tail ice cream which is basically orange & liquorice.

  4. Lianne Byram
    Posted March 15, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Louisa May Alcott has been one of my favourite authors since I was a child. “Little Women” is very engaging as well as moving, but I think my favourite is “Rose In Bloom”. I find her stories very compelling even though they are highly moralistic.

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted March 16, 2014 at 6:07 am | Permalink

      But how many people who see her headstone must chortle a bit to read an incomplete ‘LMAO’ in such a context?

      Actually, I LOLed. I almost ROFLed.

      • Lianne Byram
        Posted March 16, 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        Never even crossed my mind – not sufficiently immersed in texting lingo I guess.

  5. Posted March 15, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Of simple pleasures, I’ll just have the plain … … icy COFFEE ! Paw – leeze !

    Uuuum: so not having the mighty fine fortune to be able to sample Mz Christina’s, we, instead, be headin’ off for the Häagen – Dazs in the side – by – side … … now !


  6. merilee
    Posted March 15, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Mmmmm…I’d be fighting ya for the burnt sugar or the ginger-molasses;-) They’d probably go well together. You who are off to get Haagen-Daaz, Caramel Cone Explosion ain’t too shabby. As I’ve “matured”(?) I find Baskin-Robbins and such way too sweet.

    BTW, love Boston and Cambridge and the Museum of Fine Arts. Great book stores, too, and restaurants. Is it Newton Street that has such great ones?

  7. Posted March 15, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I used to have a cup of Christina’s burnt sugar every Friday afternoon, walking my kids home from school. It was a tragedy when they got old enough not to want me along (and not because I missed the company).

  8. alexandra moffat
    Posted March 15, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    My father is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery-
    he was born in Concord Mass in 1892, graduated from MIT and was, barely, a Unitarian tilting atheist. Also my grandmother-in-law was married, after her first husband died, to William Emerson, some kind of cousin of RWE – they also are underground there. She called the dear departed “deaders” – plenty of irreverence there!

    Such fine photographs – thank you

    • gravityfly
      Posted March 15, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      For some reason, I find that fascinating.

      Yes, great photos Jerry!

  9. mordacious1
    Posted March 15, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I was stationed at Ft. Devens in 1980 and it’s one of my bucket list items to live in that area again before I die. I loved being surrounded by the history of the area. You can’t throw a rock without hitting something historic.

  10. W.Benson
    Posted March 15, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Although New Englanders began the Revolutionary war, the definitive American victory was delivered in Yorktown, Virginia. There was at least a 50% participation of the French. Yes, the French! My great great great great granddad Enoch of the Virginia Militia fought under the command of Continental Army Major General Lafayette. I like to imagine that Enoch was present on 19 Oct 1781 when the surrendering British played “The Day the World Turned Upside Down.” Nearly half of Washington’s troops were Frenchmen who marched down from Canada. The French Caribbean fleet disembarked marines and blocked British rescue by sea. Cornwallis didn´t have a chance. It is good to have friends. I eat French fries.

  11. kansaskitty
    Posted March 15, 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never had the pleasure of burnt sugar ice cream, but my mother-in-law made a delicious burnt sugar cake (from scratch). It was my all time favorite cake that she made. I’ve never tried to recreate it myself as I would eat the whole thing!

  12. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted March 15, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Ah, so that’s the significance of that bridge. I was taken there (on the way to go hill walking) by a friend I was visiting in Concord, but we must have been talking about something important – probably rocks (or sex, or beer, or mountains) – and we never got round to the significance of that site. Anorthosite formation in the palaearchean was more interesting ; that or the Mad Irishman’s latest collection of women and bar debts.

  13. Posted March 15, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I’ll take one scoop of sweet cream and one of adzuki bean.

    Years ago I worked at a small clothing store next to the wonderful Austin’s Ice Cream in Tucson, where I would take a mid-afternoon break for a malt. Unfortunately Austin’s (where you could get good old-time diner food as well as homemade ice cream) has long since gone out of business, leaving no potential replacement. Sigh.

  14. Posted March 15, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Pistachio… mmmmmm.

  15. ladyatheist
    Posted March 16, 2014 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    In the summer Louisa May Alcott’s grave has letters from little girls placed next to the marker. Very cute. The day after I saw that, I went to see Jack Kerouac’s grave – very different assortment of letters and objects left by fans

  16. Posted March 16, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the fab fotos and the historical walkabout.

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