It started with eight people of various sizes, packed into a Brooklyn apartment, piles of bodies and blankets and pillows strewn about after late-night cheese boards and plenty of gin cocktails served in the perfect vintage glassware. It made way for bagels and lox in the morning, served with briny capers, slivers of red onion, and pots of French press coffee. Then off to wander the streets of Cobble Hill, poking in and out of bookstores and novelty shops, warming as the autumn air lost its crispness and left us feeling the last traces of the season past beneath hats and flannels not suited for the rising temperatures.
We loaded the van back up to head up the coast through terrible northeast corridor traffic, and we were reminded that the East Coast in a never-ending megalopolis. We vowed to avoid 95 in the future at nearly any cost. But when we arrived on Boston's South Shore to pizza, pulled pork, and IPL's, the harrowing journey was soon forgotten while kids clamored about the house with friends they hadn't seen in years. I sat on my friend's porch, enjoying the ocean's salty air and the clapboard sided houses I could make out through the darkness.
In the morning we ventured to two beaches, oceanside and then bayside, a mere handful of blocks apart. We found stone crab shells and spied Boston in the distance, walked along piers and foraged Concord grapes. I could have stayed for days, but was spurned on by the desire to see still more friends, to meet their newest child, to hear their stories and to drink their wine.
And so we spent the next two days adventuring with my friend Shannon and her family. The last leg of our trip began at Minute Man National Park, where we let kids climb trees and boulders as we crept along the trail at such a glacial pace that we had to abandon plans to explore the historic bits and pieces in an effort to avert exhaustion and hunger strikes from the under three crowd. Once back at their place, the kids played to their hearts content while I picked my friend's brain about the novel she is querying and the second one she has just begun. Her determination and discipline left Tom and I both a little jealous and completely inspired.
The next day they took us into the city, and we braved crowds at the New England Aquarium and Quincy Market, where we feasted on Ipswich clams, lobster macaroni, bacon wrapped scallops, and Boston cream pie. On our trek back to the cars, we stumbled upon a Columbus Day parade, complete with protesters, who I might secretly side with while also feeling that their efforts could be best spent elsewhere.
That evening, we headed back south, feeling excited about future trips and writing projects and life in general, but also sad to have rushed from place to place, not getting enough time with anyone anywhere. Missing friends who have scattered, wishing that I could spend more late nights playing Cards Against Humanity while our children sleep in cozy rooms above us.