February 28, 2010

Saturday Adventures

A few weeks ago, Saturday evening rolled around. Bart and I were both glued to various computers and we'd spent most of the day inside. I had ventured out to the grocery store and the gym, but other than that, our entire day had been spent inside, in our tiny living room. 

"This is just sad," Bart said. "We live in Boston - people pay tons of money to come here on vacation, and we're sitting here piddling our weekends away." 

And so, we've decided we're going to be more proactive about making Saturdays fun, a time to get out and see our city and the surrounding areas. Of course, the very next Saturday, I was in Las Vegas and then on an airplane for hours and hours, not arriving home until late in the evening, so that weekend was kind of shot.

But yesterday! We would not be stopped. Not by the snow or the rain (in fact, even though it was 31 degrees and there were little snow flurries, Bart and I went for a nearly five mile walk through our neighborhood in the morning. It was delightful). 

We picked up our museum passes from the public library (this is one of the things I love about Boston - you can check out free or discounted museum/zoo/historical site tickets at most of the libraries in the area) and headed up to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. 


People, you know you have lived in Boston for a while when you are unreasonably thrilled by free, open, abundant parking. It was perhaps the highlight of my day. Perhaps my life is sad.

I loved going to the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin (I think I went at least four times while we lived there) and it was really fun to see how different the JFK one was. 

While the LBJ library focused a primarily on the events going on in the US and the world during LBJ's presidency, the JKF library started with a film about JKF's life (narrated mostly by him, which was awesome) and ended with his acceptance of the Democratic Party's nomination. 

Then, you went straight into the exhibit hall where you walked through a replica of a little downtown, with storefronts showing the kinds of appliances and other things that were popular during that time period, a campaign headquarters building, a studio where you could watch the Nixon/Kennedy debates (I have heard of these my whole life, but I don't think I've ever actually seen any footage of them), and then Walter Cronkite's desk with the state by state results of the election. It was beautifully done.

Then you went into a big open area where you could watch his inaugural address, before you were ushered into what looked like the White House. There was a long hallway with various rooms off it (one to watch press conferences in, another with gifts from different countries, one about the space program, one about the effort involved in writing his inaugural address, another one about his brother's role as attorney general, etc). 

The part that surprised me the most was that when you left the White House section, there was a long hallway painted dark blue with the date of his assassination on the wall. That was it. No other information whatsoever about his death. Frankly, if you didn't know JFK had been killed, you probably wouldn't have had any idea why the exhibit came to such a brief stop. I assume the idea was that they wanted the museum and library to focus on his life and his accomplishments, rather than his death. 

Bart and I both commented how well designed the exhibits were - not too much information overload, but enough that you could really learn a lot. At the end of the exhibits, there is a big atrium that looks over the harbor and the Boston skyline with a giant American flag hanging over the top. 



And then, we went to lunch at Five Guys. The night before, we'd been with some friends and they'd mentioned how much they liked it. I'd heard about it through the blogosphere, so I was instantly on board when Bart said, on our way home, "We should go to 'Five Guys Named Mo' tomorrow for lunch." After I stopped laughing myself sick over the fact that he truly thought the name was "Five Guys Named Mo," I agreed. 


It was not a mistake. This picture is making me hungry. 


Anyway, despite the surprising amount of effort it took to just force ourselves to get out the door, it was a delightful afternoon together and fun to see new things in the area. Now to decide what to do next Saturday. . .

16 comments:

  1. How fun! Tom and I tried "Five Guys" for the first time when we were in SLC over New Years. It was really good! That is so cool that you can check out tickets at the library!

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  2. That's awesome that you can get discounted tickets through the library. I'm assuming that's only for residents though.

    Where in the world did Bart get the "Mo" from?

    Have you guys tried Sound Bites (breakfast place near Tufts) yet?

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  3. I'd love to see that library/museum. Thanks for taking us there. And 5 Guys? Yum.

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  4. I love that museum! Not just for the free parking. I'm looking forward to seeing what other adventures you have in my adopted home city. (Too bad I only lived there two years five years ago.)

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  5. I'm glad that you are a fan of Five Guys. We went to one in D.C., and we really liked it. There is one in Provo, but for some reason I haven't bothered going to it yet.

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  6. Have you been to Bunker Hill?
    Minute Man National Park?
    Walden Pond?
    DeCordova Sculpture park?
    Mystic Seaport?
    National Plumbing and Sanitation Museum?
    SO MUCH goodness in this area...

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  7. Save some (free) sightseeing for MEEEE!

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  8. Isn't it great to take the time to explore your own community!? :) It's amazing how much we take for granted. It's good to think like a tourist sometimes and see your own town in a new light. :)

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  9. That IS a great museum. Get thee out to Concord! Five Guys Named Mo is worth seeing--I'm betting it's not in the current circuit as it was popular about 15 years ago.

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  10. aw that's fun. i used to do that in san antonio, mainly to take pictures... but i did it by myself, which was slightly less fun.

    can't wait to see where you go next! boston is totally on my "to visit" list!

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  11. This is such a great idea. Torsten and I have been pretty good at getting out and exploring Denver, though we've started settling into a few favorite spots. Once spring hits, I think we're going to head out for a few new hikes. I'm excited!

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  12. I LOVE 5 Guys and now I think I'm drooling...

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  13. We have a 5 Guys here and I've not tried it yet. But, one friend (who actually is from Vegas!) told me that it's better than In-and-Out. Not sure if that's true or not, but I'd like to try it.

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  14. This is one of my Family's favorite things to visit--in part because it is always changing giving new perspectives of JFK and his family--I saw a film on RFK there that was so inspiring. They used to focus more on the death and had film footage of the press coverage, national reaction, and funeral.

    I'm curious about Jenny's suggestion of the National Plumbing and Sanitation Museum.

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  15. A great day, but am I missing something, aren't you supposed to be like 21 weeks pregnant?? Where is the belly?? Between you and Merrick, I am NEVER posting a picture of me when I'm pregnant. You can't even tell!!

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  16. This is awesome - I have the exact same pictures of the flag hanging from the ceiling and the text on the wall. The JFK library was the highlight of my Boston trip two summers ago and I'm planning to visit all the other presidential libraries before I die.

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