He did it! Sunburned and with a bloodied elbow and a happy face. Home now. All is well.

The Expedition

Today, I drove Max way up north (further north than I've ever been in the state) and dropped him at this trailhead for a 3-day hike.  He planned it all himself.  He mapped it out.  He outfitted himself.  He joined the Appalachian Mountain Club and made his own reservations at their huts along the way (bed, bathroom facilities, and three meals a day provided). And off he went to hike eight peaks in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains. Me?...I'm trusting God to take good care of him. But that Wednesday pick-up time can't come soon enough for me! 

First Visit to Martha's Vineyard

Although our family has made several trips to Nantucket, and Technohubby and I spent a week there celebrating our 10th anniversary many years ago, we had never visited the other island off the Cape, Martha's Vineyard.  In doing some research for a friend, I was surprised to discover that Martha's Vineyard is so much closer to the mainland than Nantucket, more ferries run between it and the mainland, and the cost of a ferry ride is much cheaper. It seemed like a great day-trip for our guest! 

We arose very early one Saturday morning, drove down to the Woods Hole departure point, got pointed back the direction we came to the parking lot and its shuttle (10 miles back down the road!), caught the shuttle at the time we should've been catching the ferry, arrived back at Woods Hole in time to miss the next freight ship, and finally purchased our tickets on a ferry going to a different destination point than our intended one.  Not exactly a smooth start to the day, but we boarded the ferry and were off on our adventure!

Past weather-beaten, shingled homes, a lighthouse, and numerous other sailing vessels, we slipped out into the sea.

The 45-minute long ferry crossing took us to the island town of Vineyard Haven (where Susan Branch lives, if you're familiar with that charming cookbook author).  From there, we boarded a very crowded bus to our first point of exploration, the town of Edgartown. After a 20 minute bus ride, we had arrived, and I was quite ready to cease with cars, buses, and ferries and just take to my own two feet! So, off we went to eat a quieting lunch and discover why everyone loves Edgartown!

We popped into a few shops along the brick-lined streets, admired the flags and buntings everywhere, ooh-ed and ahh-ed at all the planters overflowing with red, white, and blue flowers and the breathtaking profusion of blooming hydrangeas everywhere, petted every Golden Retriever we encountered, and then walked the length of a quieter residential street to get to a lighthouse. It's the quiet streets of these islands that always capture my heart, for it's there that real living homes. I never tire of looking at homes. Do you? They are such fascinating clues to the people who live within, such statements of their character, life-style, and family life. So, come along, and I'll show you with pictures the sights we found most charming in Edgartown...

We found the small lighthouse and ascended the spiraling stairs and a steep ladder to enjoy the view from the top.

While I enjoyed sitting in the shade of the lighthouse and snapping photos, the girls went down to the shore and gathered seashells.

Then we walked back into town, indulged in some ice cream (really, it's your patriotic duty to eat ice cream when on the islands!), and then boarded the bus to take us to our next destination (and also where we'd catch the ferry back to the mainland), Oak Bluffs.

The first "must see" in Oak Bluffs are the "gingerbread cottages". These are a total of 300+ cottages built in the mid-1800's that grew out of the campmeeting religious movement of the time.  To read more about their history, click here. The buildings are remarkably well-preserved, privately owned, and rented out as vacation rentals now.

And on our way back to the ferry, we stopped in to see the nation's oldest carousel. It is also one of only 20 carousels remaining in the nation that has retained its brass ring feature.  From the sideline, an attendant drops rings down a little chute.  Riders, as they go whirling past, lean out and try to snag a ring.  Now many rings come down, but only one in the course of the ride will be a brass one.  As rings are collected, each rider deposits them on a spike affixed to the top of their horse's head.  And the fortunate person who grabs the one brass ring gets a free ride!

And here comes to ferry to take us back to the mainland. A very memorable day exploring Martha's Vineyard!  

The Grandeur of the Boston Public Library

Colette and I had long wanted to visit the Boston Public Library, as the Instagram photos we saw were always so amazing! And since our visiting friend loves both books and art, we decided she might like to see it too. So after spending most of the day at the Museum of Fine Arts, we headed over to the Public Library, arriving just one hour before it closed for the day. Note: this is not enough time to discover all of its wonders. But we were glad to at least see a bit of it.

After entering, we ascended the grand staircase, guarded by two proud lions and surrounded by beautiful murals.

Then we entered the adjacent room at the top of the stairs. Oooo...positively transported me back to old England! The wall paintings, "The Quest and Achievement of the Holy Grail" depict the Arthurian legend of Sir Galahad and were painted by Edwin Austin Abbey (1895). Just stunning!

This led us to the next room, the one we had seen so often in Instagram photos. Took our breath away!  The Boston Public Library is the second largest library in the United States, second only behind the Library of Congress.  Among its collections is the private library of John Adams.

All around the edge of this room, where the walls meet the domed ceiling, are the names of the world's most famous authors.

We briefly viewed the John Singer Sargent murals, "The Triumph of Religion", and then the library was closing and we had to leave.  Must return again to see more!

Back out onto the bustling streets of Boston we went. The farmers' market was set up in Copley Square, just across the street, and Colette bought some bread from their bread vendor.

Hot and thirsty, we stopped in at our favorite sweet stop in Boston, L.A. Burdick, for tall glasses of iced hot chocolate, before heading home.

Visit to the Museum of Fine Arts

We took our visitor to the Museum of Fine Arts, because it's a "must see" in New England.

Every time I go, I remind myself that I don't need to take so many photos.  But then everything's so beautiful and so amazing, that I can't help myself.

We started the day by marveling at the John Singer Sargent murals adorning the rotunda.

In sharp contrast, there was this giant glass sculpture.

Then it was on to explore the grand galleries of European art.

Two of my favorite European pieces of the day were these by Degas.

And this work by Leighton, "The Painter's Honeymoon", has always been a favorite of mine, so I love it that it's at the MFA and I can visit it each time I'm there. It reminds me of so many times that Technohubby has been drawing some plans for something he plans to construct, and I've been peering over his should in deep collaboration...building our life together really.

We briefly explored the contemporary art before stopping for lunch in the courtyard.

Then the afternoon was spent in the American favorite.  Love it all, but these two particularly caught my eye on this visit.

Next month, we plan to explore the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.  Can't wait!

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