Pumpkin Patch Time

Monday night was pumpkin patch time with my little punkins...all four of the world's cutest grandkids!





It's this little one's first autumn, and he's looking mighty cute!


A Chill Autumn Day in Boston

On the last day that our friend from The Merry Hearth was with us, we drove into Boston to do a whirlwind tour of some of our favorite sites. After parking beneath Boston Common (did you know there's a parking lot under all that grass?), we caught the subway to the North End. 

We didn't want to walk all of the Freedom Trail, Boston's famous trail that winds through the city's most historic places, but just hit a few of the highlights. Walking shoes on. Ready to go!



There we visited the Old North Church, from whose belfry the lanterns hung the night of Paul Revere's famous ride.


Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."


The North End of Boston is where the Irish settled during their great wave of immigration to the United States. And eventually, they were displaced there by the Italians, who still occupy it in a most delicious way...the aroma of garlic, Italian restaurants and grocers, gelato places, and a bustling conviviality pervades all. Mike's Pastry is one of those delicious places, where, I must confess, we had desert before lunch...Mike's famous cannolis.


Then we continued following the Freedom Trail (in reverse) through many streets, crowds of Saturday visitors, and traffic back to our starting place and beyond to the quiet, quaint streets of Beacon Hill. We took our time admiring the classic architecture of this sanctuary in the bustling city.





We had a late lunch at Figs in Beacon Hill. Then, with the sunshine slanting low across the city, we strolled through the Public Garden, saying "hi" to the Make Way for Ducklings statues.



We popped in a coffeehouse on Newbury Street and a couple of shops, including the Ralph Lauren store.


The girls paused for a picture at Trinity Church in Copley Square.


This is my favorite picture of the day. There's something really charming about a queue for chocolate...especially when it's out the door!


We had such a wonderful time with our friend, and hope she comes back soon! Be sure to check out the blog she keeps with her sister by clicking here!

A Tour of Concord, Massachusetts

Last week, we took our guest to tour Concord, Massachusetts, which is renowned for it's historical and literary heritage. It was a cool, crisp autumn day and just perfect for sightseeing.

On the drive into Concord, I spied a farmstand and just had to turn in for an impromptu visit. Autumn farmstands are THE best! We admired the squashes, bought some freshly-baked bread, and continued on our way.





Our first stop for touring was Louisa May Alcott's Home, Orchard House. We took the short, guided tour and saw the tiny desk where she penned "Little Women" and the rooms and places that served as her literary inspiration. (No photography allowed inside.)


Then we went down the street to tour Ralph Waldo Emerson's large home.  It had been built by a previous owner as a summer home. Emerson purchased the home in the summer, only to discover that it was nearly impossible to keep warm in the cold, New England winters. The home is beautifully furnished with the family's original belongings.


Then we drove through town and beyond to the Old North Bridge, where the "shot heard round the world" was fired at the start of the American Revolution.





The property next to the Old North Bridge is Old Manse, Nathaniel Hawthorne's home. It always looks so beautiful in the fall.


Just as Hawthorne kept a large garden, so one is planted each year at Old Manse. It's in the foreground in this photo, in its dying, autumn state.


Then it was on to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to see the final resting place of Concord's famous authors.


We did a bit of shopping in the town...coffee and hot chocolate, a visit to the cheese shop and bookstore, and a leisurely browse through my favorite boutique, Nesting.



Last stop in the waning autumn sunshine was Walden Pond.


Apple Picking Day

Our friend, at The Merry Hearth, and her sister love supporting local businesses and good home cooking. So, yesterday, we began our day apple picking and ended it baking an apple pie.

Our first stop was this orchard, which drew us in with its claim of 70 heirloom variety apples and a 147-year old working cider press.





Each tree was neatly labeled with its variety name. Stayman Winesaps are my favorite, so I was thrilled that they had them. Stayman Winesaps are great for pie, applesauce, and cider.


Isn't this a great name for an apple?





Then we moved on to another orchard with commanding views of the rolling hills of Vermont in the distance.



This orchard also boasted a fabulous farmstand with: pumpkins, squash, Indian corn, gourds, and more.




We had a delicious lunch at L.A. Burdick, a french-style bistro and one of my favorite restaurants.



A stop at an antique store on the way home, and the day was complete!  Well...that and the pie!


Simple Delights...and a Library

Yesterday was a day of simple delights. We started out, with our guest from The Merry Hearth, meandering over the backroads of New Hampshire through peak fall foliage areas, with the goal of acquiring some fresh-pressed cider.

I had heard that the cider at Poverty Lane Orchards was fabulous, so we stopped to buy some...and a pumpkin too! This stop turned out to be my favorite stop of the day...so picturesque!





Then we moved on to King Arthur Flour to pick up a loaf of Rustique Olive Bread for dinner.


We'd eaten a packed lunch in the car on the drive, but now it was time for dessert. We stopped at our favorite gelato place, where the girls got dark chocolate (one with hazelnut and one with coffee).




And my choice was apple cider sorbetto mixed with chai caramel gelato. Yum!


We then had a leisurely stroll around the campus of Dartmouth College, admiring the historic architecture, the piles of leaves, and the scattered acorns on the ground.





The girls deposited a very content me(!) in the English literature library. Drop dead gorgeous room, old books, comfortable and cozy seating, and soooo quiet. They explored more of the campus, and I happily sat with this very view and wrote a letter to a dear friend.


And one glimpse from our ride homeward.


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