Alive to see another week of New England


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North America » United States » Massachusetts » Boston
April 16th 2013
Published: May 12th 2013EDIT THIS ENTRY

Tue: Need to decompress out of Boston
Physically and emotionally tired but it cannot stop here. Hopefully this mini getaway will help level out the rollercoaster ride. Enterprise was just about 1+ mile. After a quick stop at Panera for breakfast, we drove off at ~9am. The first stop came after 2 hrs at Portland head lighthouse. Somehow, I got derailed to Two Lights lighthouse…I wasn’t thinking much. Location looked legit on Google map, that’s all… We got there after some miles of narrow slow road, we couldn't even get past the fence to the lighthouse. The only thing there was a lobster shack. Quickly scrolling through Mingji’s notes, I realized of the real destination, sigh. Portland Head lighthouse was worth visiting. There is a nice path along the coast. Wind-chill was brisk but enjoyed it . Backtracked a bit to downtown Portland for late lunch at Becky’s Diner at 1:40p. Quality and quantity local fare – solid! Popcorn shrimp and Vinh's crab sandwich was fresh!!

We had to keep going to make another stop before Acadia NP – Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. Timely made shortly before 4p. Once the sun goes low, temperature nose dives. This lighthouse was pretty and secluded. Not much place to explore here but this worked in our favor. Just as we got in a car, it started sprinkling. And there was not turning back. It was a down pour all night from then on...phew

It was a looong drive from there…~2.5hrs. Finally arrived at the hotel in Bar Harbor at 7pm. Phone was just about dying. Acadia hotel looks no more than a cute house and is right in the heart of Bar Harbor. Staff is super friendly . We were just dead tired from all day road trip. We didn’t look much further than front desk recommendation of dinner at Side Street Café. Good choice. Cozy but refined . Rare but I really felt like beer. Although some of what-seemed critical ones were out, they had good IPA selections. I quenched my thirst with IPA flight and salad .

It was nice to be away from Boston and into the remoteness of Bar Harbor and Acadia NP area. But it was hard to leave the news .

Wed: Running Acadia NP like we own their trail!
7am woke up s-t-a-r-v-i-n-g!! I made a quick solo run to Morning Glory Bakery down the street and went all out with ginormous scone . That was like the only bakery open in Bar Harbor off season but they were nothing short of a quality bakery! Goods were soft, slightly warm and emitting amazing scent! A nearby supermarket opened at 8am. We stopped by pronto to pick up water and food for today's excursion – 27mile park loop road run!

We drove to the First park entrance...gate closed. Sources said that the park is free during off season but didn’t say closed. Was it because it wasn’t the main entrance or something? How about the one by the nature center and museum...? Again, closed! Luckily, there were few ladies who seemed local. They told us that the gates are closed for vehicles due to lack of staff but we are free to go about running…phew!

Revised plan; parked at Schooner overlook on south east end of Mount Desert Island and pick up Park Loop Road on foot from there. the overlook with gorgeous view of the east coast line was a bonus! My quads and hams were still pretty sore but slow jog shouldn’t hurt . …not! I was soooo sluggish. We made a lot of stops the first 6 miles or so along the rugged coast. The dirt path went right against the coastline. We could even go out on the boulders to get even better views. Foot travel rocks! Once we bottomed out on the south end, the road cut through in-land. Consequently, there was not much breather opportunity. Also, all park amenities including bathroom were closed for the season. But it didn’t bother us at all. It was a gorgeous run through nature without any car. Besides a few bicycling people, the entire park was ours!

By the time we made the loop back to Schoodic Overlook, it was ~2:20pm. Not quite 27 miles as advertised but still 20miles+! Sooo wiped and borderline hallucinating sports drink @_@. We went straight to the store and grabbed liquid and food. Chugged 16oz in a record time! We found remaining energy in the evening and went for a 1.5-mile stroll through town of Bar Harbor. It’s a tiny town in its sleepy off season. In a few weeks, masses are expected. I can’t even imagine this tiny place swamped with people @_@. It was a pleasant stroll on the Shore Path nonetheless .

Thu: Running tour of Acadia NP Day2!
Slept well after 20+mile run yesterday . Up by 6a and made another solo run to Morning Glory bakery at 7a opening for the muffin repeat. We checked out Acadia Hotel at 7:40a. Destination; Bass Harbor lighthouse. 30min drive to the west side of Acadia NP took us to a tucked-away humble lighthouse. We were the only ones besides the light keeper who was emitting breakfast scent . A little hike down toward the coast opened up a narrow glimpse of the lighthouse and the coastline cliff.

Another 1+hr drive to the east end took us to Schooner Island. The road on Schooner Island was drivable but one-way loop. Once you enter, you have to commit to the 7-mile drive. We stopped at the southern tip and ran 8 miles. Camera and yesterday's 20 miler was weighing heavy @_@. The view of Park Loop Drive on a sunny day yesterday topped this view on somewhat chilly day. For running, though, temperature was perfect!

We finished running ~noon and lunch time was upon us but we were determined for lobster today! Ain’t no visiting Maine without lobster! We know we were going to Linh's recom in NH but our accidental encounter at Two Lights Lighthouse in Portland had high rating on yelp. So surprised as it looked like a real shack in the middle of nowhere. We were early for dinner time at ~4p but the place was decently full of people – good sign! An order of Lobster place came with biscuit, cole slaw, fries and, last but not least, fat lobster ~. Yummm! But steady steady, we have another lobster shack to hit in hour or so, hehe. Brown’s lobster pound in Seabrook, NH was easy to find, not too far from I-95. Entrance was already emitting an intimidating atmosphere for us newbies. Menu was hard to decode if you don’t know the drill. We were to get a lobster quoted from a grumpy-looking elderly man. 1.25lb, too small, toss back in the pool, 1.5lb, ok, here’s your number. Pay and wait to be called. A large seating area opens up from there. It also includes clam steamer section, sold only by half pounder. With Vinh, this was a possible proposition . Brown’s was a clear winner of today’s lobster challenge! Two Lights was meaty and yummy but Brown’s sweetness made it taste blah. Totally spoiled!!

Another 40min drive should have put us in Boston…except! My bad navigation missed the exit, grrr. Next exit was to Copley Square and was closed for the obvious reason. We got dumped on the other side of town, oh no. Already tired, making our way back on a low tank of gas avoiding the easiest path was frustrating. We finally made it back to Enterprise at 9:30p, sigh.

Later that day, during the drive, a press conference was held to reveal the suspects. We had two more days in Boston. Maybe visit Cambridge tomorrow. At home, we closed the night with CNN coverage as has been for the past few days. The last news of the day – shooting at MIT. Cambridge may have to wait. What’s going on with this world?! Disgusted.

Fri: Forget Cambridge, forget sightseeing, period
Turned into CNN coverage first thing in the morning was also becoming a routine this week. Perhaps an update on Cambridge? Wait, what? Suspect in custody? Excuse me? One suspect in custody, deceased, another one on the loose. Whaaat?!?! Lockdown was in order while 9000 law enforcement staff gathered in town. Seeing tankers going through the streets on TV was surreal. Forget Cambridge, forget going anywhere! It was 7am. We hung tight until things were becoming more clear. Maybe for another few hours? 10am rolled around. Nada. No change. Street was empty and eerie. By this time on a weekday, we'd see people walking and cars going by. There was essentially none. Out the window, we could see all businesses closed or closing. But our tummies weren’t ready for this. It was so creepy to be outside. Panera across the street, closed. Starbucks downstairs, closed. Finally Dunkin Donuts next block was open. I later found out that they were ordered to stay open for cops throughout the city. Coffee and muffin will tie us over for now… We rushed back, hoping for good breaking news. Nada...sigh. 12 o'clock rolled around. Lunch time. Streets were still empty. Vinh called around a few places. Nobody answered. Finally, neighborhood supermarket was open. Despite being one of the few places staying open, customers were pretty sparse.

Like that, the day went by. Literally 12hrs of watching news! At 5:30p, lockdown was lifted. Apparently, it
Acadia NPAcadia NPAcadia NP

Sand Beach
costs $300+ million to close the city. We went out in search of dinner. Many places decided to stay closed for the night. We parked ourselves at a bar operating with skeleton crew and limited menu. Lost crowd from canceled Red Sox game was making up for it. All of their TVs were showing the coverage of the manhunt. I'm sure there were games in the other parts of the world but I admit I didn't wanna miss the breaking news either. We left the bar with the news of possible gunshot sound in Watertown. More TV time at home! Finally, at ~8:45p, Anderson Cooper announced that manhunt came to an end. Later in the night, kids marched and gathered waving the US flag...no need for that either. Oof, what an intense day.

Sat:Taking it all in
I woke up to rain. How about a brewery tour before it gets nice in the afternoon? Sam Adams Brewery would be just over 2miles. We’ll make a stroll with a coffee break . Nearby Beth Israel hospital was raided by the news trucks and crews. The suspect must be here. Cops in neon yellow were parked all around the building.

We got to the brewery at 10:20am and got onto 10:40 tour, perfect. Since it's a one-room pilot plant, the "tour" meant tasting. Not complaining . It was even entertaining! They already had printed posters out about 26.6 brew profit going to One Boston Fund. Hats off to that.

How about clam chowder for lunch. We headed back north to Prudential Building. Boylston St access was closed as it was smack in the middle of closed-off section, the crime scene. Barricade at both ends had become memorials with flowers. Moving sights. The finish line was still intact in a distance. It looked very different from what I saw on Monday. I was so longing for that arch, crossed it with exhaustion and feeling of accomplishment. Now it was screaming emptiness and destruction.

Inside the mall, Legal was closed until dinner time . That’s ok, I had a bad experience last time anyway. Boston Chowder in the food court didn’t disappoint . This would be the last chance to get a Boston cream pie from its birthplace, Omni Parker House. I liked it! The key is to have moist fluffy sponge .
Next destination was Bunker Hill to complete the Freedom Trail we cut short last week. 1.5-mile walk from Beacon Hill to Charleston. Hay Market area was loaded with Bruins fans. Looks like they just got out of a game vs the Penguins. On the way back to Fenway, we passed by more news crew around Copley Square, including ABC & CNN! Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper right in front of me!! To be honest, I didn’t even know these people until this week. I haven't watched that many hours of CNN in my life.

The last supper had to be Neptune Oyster. We held out so many times! We knew we were pushing it at 7p on Saturday. North End looked very very busy with post-game crowd from basketball AND baseball. Doesn’t look promising…denied! Our name didn’t even make it to the waitlist, nooo!! Back-up plan. Il Panino few blocks away. 45 min wait. We can split and go to Modern in a mean time. Forget Mikes. Crowd looked impossible. When we were just about to make it into the door, our table was ready. 10min! Awesome.

To top the night off, Thao took us to Christina's ice cream in Cambridge. Omg, I made eye-contact with Norfolk St... Christina’s was on my list since I read the best ice cream place in the US. Looks like they own a spice shop next door too. I got sucked into burnt sugar again, although milder and creamier than burnt caramel from Toscanini. Yum.


Additional photos below
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Steamed lobster & clam!Steamed lobster & clam!
Steamed lobster & clam!

Brown's lobster pound!!
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Fenway

Lockdown day
FenwayFenway
Fenway

Lockdown day
Panera BreadPanera Bread
Panera Bread

10am on lockdown day :(
Beth Israel HospitalBeth Israel Hospital
Beth Israel Hospital

Front yard - day after the manhunt
Cute truckCute truck
Cute truck

Boston Commons


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