’21 Boston and Cape Cod

Taking the Train to Boston

I rode the Amtrak luxury train Acela from New York to Boston. Les picked me up at the station and then we had a Thai feast with Elizabeth and their neighbor friend Jim.

I had a whole double row in the Business Class Quiet Car all to myself. It was a dream ride.
The scenery was so splendid and I didn’t take a single picture. It was gorgeous with mostly handsome forests and boat filled harbors. This is just leaving New York.

Look Who Came to Boston Too

It’s Victoria, one of my zoom call Persian Poetry Pals! Victoria lives in Vermont but comes to Boston often and was able to work it out so we could have lunch together. WOW!

We met at Harvard Square and took a very short stroll through her alma mater, below, and then ate at a white tablecloth Italian place where the waiter took the picture, above.

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What’s coming next is back in Lexington, Elizabeth and some pictures of her garden (as per Les, “her pride and joy”) and their house in the near dark.

Then we continued on for a fairly long walk through a most beautiful part of Lexington. The below is the only picture I took because I spent the rest of our delightful walk in the muggy dusk swatting at mosquitos.

Then Les, who is making daily accommodations to his advancing Parkinson’s, fixed us a feast, as usual!

You Can Look

You can look but you’d better not touch!

Poor Elizabeth has been in considerable discomfort for the last week having, before I got here, worked in her garden and not noticed all the poison ivy. Her forearms from wrist to elbow, covered. Her torso and toes have got it too. Hourly moans emanate from her sad weary soul.

And with all the walks we’ve been doing lately I see that stuff everywhere.

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Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

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The picture below is from Elizabeth’s garden. Flowers planted this year, perennials, and volunteers, her garden is a coat of many colors. There are at least six different plants just in this little patch.

After our walk at Great Meadows we went for a tour of the Louisa May Alcott Orchard House where she wrote “Little Women”. They had made some interesting covid accommodations and it was very fun, very original house and furnishings without refurbishments, but no pictures allowed. So after dinner we watched the latest of oh so many versions of “Little Women” on tv.

A Cape Cod Welcome

Too bad I didn’t get any of the lightening flashing across the sky and I didn’t get any pictures of the dumping rainstorm that followed. We did get a nice drive and walk-about in before the big dump.

But first, here we are, good morning! John, Cinthia, Les, and Elizabeth, arms out covered in baking soda hoping for some poison ivy relief.

Four university academics enjoying a coffee and some pastry.
Les and John

Maybe cormorants and an egret.

Cinthia and John. “Yes” says Cinthia, “my dear mother spelled my name with an ‘i’ bless her heart.”
Another inlet with more boats in the distance.
Elizabeth and Cinthia and me and Elizabeth (thanks Cinthia for the picture), and wind in our hair.

A Cape Cod Farewell

Thanks Les! Let’s talk about the food since shopping, cooking, eating, cleaning up was 80% of our days.

And it was GOOD.

Les and Cinthia did all the cooking. Dinner Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner Breakfast-Lunch. The dinners were especially splendid fresh fish Feasts! And all the FABulous side dishes. Oh my!

We went out for the last dinner, pictures below, and then out for breakfast on our last morning.

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Bleu, the most delicious restaurant dinners on Cape Cod. Although dinners back at our place were a competition I’d say.

That’s our table there at the far right.
Here’s our place above the garages, and the views left and right below.

So long lovely Cape Cod, catch ya next time!

More Museums YAY

First stop, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston. There was a big show “Monet and Boston: Legacy Illuminated”. I think Monet’s pictures are easy to like and mostly I just want to be where he is, to see this sight for myself.

What was different and fun was how they often told the story of a picture’s connection to Boston, and hanging side by side would be an artist’s work that influenced the featured Monet. Also there were several pictures where they had available the same scene in different light. Here are examples.

This, for some reason, caught me by surprise and I liked it especially.

What’s more exciting than to find an artist you’ve never heard of whose work calls your name? (She does make pictures for children’s books so what does that says about me..Oh well.) This is how I felt about “Paper Stories, Layered Dreams: The Art of Ekua Holmes”​.

How charming is the top photo of a major piece used for the entrance to the exhibition and below are a few cropped versions of her portraits. These are made from paper, paint, and objects.

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Next stop, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

I feel lucky to get to catch this show of six Titian paintings gathered from five museums and being shown at the Gardner in Boston. Titian made the paintings as a set commissioned by King Phillip II of Spain based on a poem, “The Metamorphoses”, by Ovid.

The show is called “Titian: Women, Myth & Power” and subtitled by the NY Times “Can We Ever Look At Titian’s Paintings the Same Way Again?”.

This is the first and last of the six paintings. The first ““Danae,” 1551–1553, in which the god Jupiter, a serial abuser, finds his way into a young woman’s locked room, transforming himself into gold dust.”
And this is the last, “The Rape of Europa,” 1559-62.

And here are a few more as they are mounted for the exhibition.

I’m including a lot here because this is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, to see all these Titians in one place. This NY Times article about the show (and where I got these pictures) helped me understand my feelings.

The Titian exhibit is in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the original mansion created and built by Isabella in 1898-1901 to house her growing collection of world class art and plenty of other less respected works since she bought what she wanted. From wikipedia: “Well-known artworks in the museum’s collection include Titian’s The Rape of Europa, John Singer Sargent’s El Jaleo and Portrait of Isabella Stewart Gardner, Fra Angelico’s Death and Assumption of the Virgin, Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait, Aged 23, Cellini’s Bindo Altoviti, Piero della Francesca’s Hercules, and Botticelli’s The Story of Lucretia.”

Here’s where Titian’s “The Rape of Europa” hung before the big exhibit, the only Titian belonging to the Gardner, and where, I assume, it will return.
There were three very large floors of rooms looking in some respect like this one.
Inside the courtyard of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

JFK Presidential Library and Museum

JFK Presidential Library and Museum, designed by I.M. Pei and dedicated in 1979.

The Kennedy-Nixon debates and the election returns, television featuring prominently in the displays. All the TVs were playing footage of the events and a few chairs were available in all the rooms to settle down and watch.

I was particularly taken with the live press conferences and sat through a few. Newsfolk asked questions on the topics of the day. Kennedy answered in complete thoughts, each thought making grammatical sense. Imagine that, if you still can.

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There were a few displays of era specific objects.

Also there were alcoves dedicated to then current events: Bay of Pigs/Cuban missile crisis, NASA, Vietnam, Peace Corp, Freedom Riders, etc each with artifacts and TV stories you could watch.

Some Oval Office furniture. The RFK alcove was particularly interesting but no picture.
In the back, this aviary (not an aviary but what would you call it?).
The view from the back through the aviary, looking out over a small part of Boston Harbor.

A Last Day in New England

I tried to get some feeling for Les and Elizabeth’s neighborhood but half a block in it started pouring. Here are a couple houses, next door and across the street.

Another walk in the woods in yet another wonderful park of Massachusetts Conservation Land.
Last Meal = Lobster Roll!
Then L&E took me to the Alewife station where I took a train to a bus to the airport. It was so civilized.
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