Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘wandering’

sevilla buildings yellow

When people ask us what we did in Sevilla this summer, I usually arrive at some version of: we walked. And walked. And walked.

bougainvillea flowers sevilla

Walking is my favorite way to explore a city – whether treading familiar paths in Boston or Oxford or NYC, or discovering entirely new settings in cities I’m visiting for the first time.

sevilla street tower buildings spain

Fortunately, Sevilla is highly walkable, with rambling cobblestoned streets lined with beautiful, brightly painted buildings, and dozens of plazas that appear around unexpected corners.

metropol sevilla blue sky

We walked several miles a day while we were there – through narrow twisting neighborhoods, along broad avenidas, down to the river and back again.

sevilla river bridge spain

My feet were plenty sore by the time we left, but I enjoyed every ramble. Andiamos, indeed.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

devereux beach marblehead

On Fridays in the summer, we like to take day trips.

Since my husband is usually done early on Fridays (he’s a therapist and his schedule ebbs and flows with the school year and vacations), and I’m freelancing/job hunting, we are continuing our summer tradition of exploring the Boston area. A few weeks ago, we decided to revisit Marblehead, a little town on the North Shore that we’d visited a long while back.

It was a hot, humid afternoon, but it was – in a word – glorious.

striped petunias window box flowers

We drove up after a busy morning: sessions for him, yoga and errands and some writing work at the library for me. After a freak thunderstorm, the skies had (mostly) cleared, and we nosed our way into the pretty downtown area, and spent a couple of hours wandering.

I found a sweet blue dress at a boutique called She, and we poked in and out of several other shops. I was disappointed to find that Authors and Artists, a great old used bookstore, had closed (or at least moved?). But the Spirit of ’76 Bookstore, several streets over, is thriving. Of course we had to go for a browse.

spirit of 76 bookstore interior

We also found a garden shop overflowing with flowers, and Bella, one of the resident spaniels, sprawled out in the doorway.

garden shop flowers dog spaniel bella

We headed, with our books, over to Devereux Beach, where J settled down on my yoga mat (necessity being the mother of invention) and I waded into the waves, then walked up and down the beach for a while. I love the feel of sand under my feet, of wind and waves and sky. Eventually I stretched out next to J and read a bit of Robert Macfarlane’s The Wild Places, which felt fitting even though we were only a mile from town.

katie devereux beach selfie marblehead

When we got hungry, we headed back in and decided to try the local taqueria, Howling Wolf, which – glory be – was delicious. We took the leftover salsa home and snacked on it for days.

All in all, a delightful return to Marblehead. I’m sure we’ll be back (again).

Read Full Post »

halifax harbour j k

After our glorious five nights/four days in PEI, the hubs and I headed to Halifax for the weekend. We’d never been there, and we thoroughly enjoyed checking out this smallish, vibrant city on the water.

halifax harbour dusk

I’ve said it before: on vacation, we like to wander and we like to eat. That is exactly what we did in Halifax, for two days.

We arrived on a Friday afternoon, checked into our Airbnb apartment, and immediately went a-wandering. We found the Halifax Common, and a few streets away, DeeDee’s ice cream.

jer-deedees-ice-cream

(J’s berry-swirl ice cream happened to match his polo.)

katie-deedees-ice-cream

I had raspberry passionfruit sorbet, which is as tart and delicious as it sounds.

We strolled the neighborhood a while longer, then drove down to the waterfront that evening for dinner at the Bicycle Thief.

bicycle thief sculpture halifax

While we were waiting for our reservation (it was crowded), we walked along the harbourfront. Live musicians, food trucks, cool old ships, and lots of families out enjoying the lovely evening.

ships halifax harbour

When we did have dinner, it was delicious. I had a truly amazing lobster-corn chowder with new potatoes and bacon. (Also: their bread is focaccia and it’s homemade. Yum.)

bicycle-thief-chowder

We sat outside, and the view was as fantastic as the food.

bicycle thief restaurant halifax

We wandered around town in the long dusk, and split a decadent chocolate torte with raspberry sauce at the Middle Spoon. I could not get a good picture, but it was scrumptious.

The next morning, we headed to Annie’s Place for breakfast.

annies halifax

Annie herself welcomed us, and we had huge chai lattes (not that either of us were complaining) and excellent eggs, bacon and toast.

We spent most of the day exploring after that. First up was Woozles, an utterly charming children’s bookstore down the street from Annie’s.

woozles bookstore halifax

We didn’t spot any Heffalumps (or Woozles), but there were plenty of gorgeous books.

woozles interior

We also stopped by Bookmark – I’d been to their Charlottetown store, but enjoyed exploring this location.

bookmark halifax

The Halifax Public Gardens are close by, and they are gorgeous.

halifax public gardens

We’d heard the Halifax Central Library was worth seeing – though, to me, a library is always worth seeing. This one did not disappoint.

halifax central library

We ate lunch at the Seaport Farmers’ Market, then wandered back downtown, popping into more fun shops, including The Loop, a sweet little yarn shop.

loop yarn store halifax

For dinner that night, we ate at 2 Doors Down – really good pub food and local Nova Scotia wines.

two doors down halifax wine list

We weren’t quite ready for dessert, so we spent a while playing board games and eating popcorn at the Board Room Game Cafe. A Canadian friend had told us about this trend – it was so fun.

jer board room game cafe halifax

We capped off the night by splitting a slice of cheesecake at Sweet Hereafter. (It’s J’s favorite dessert.)

jer cheesecake sweet hereafter

We had to hit the road on Sunday, but stopped at Coastal Cafe for brunch first. J’s face says it all. (The huevos were amazing – some of the best Mexican food we’ve had outside of Texas.)

jer brunch halifax

Halifax, you are charming. Cheers!

halifax mural

Read Full Post »

tulips swan boats public garden

This used to be my neighborhood, this tangle of crowded, car-filled streets packed with tourists and commuters and buildings belonging to several colleges. I used to work at one of them, in a second-floor office that opened off a squarish conference room, the view from its plate-glass window offering a tiny, narrow sliver of the Common.

Every morning, I got off the subway at Park Street, hurrying across the Common through biting winter winds and walking more slowly in spring and fall, when the trees bloomed white and pink or put on their lipstick shades of crimson and orange. If I timed it just right, the bells of the Park Street Church followed me down the sidewalk, ringing out familiar hymns, a benediction floating on the air.

After heating up leftovers in the office microwave or grabbing a quick bite someplace nearby, I spent my lunch breaks walking: browsing the outdoor lot (the sale carts) or the first floor (fiction and mysteries) at Brattle Book Shop, riffling through racks of clothes at Second Time Around, following the winding paths of the Public Garden. If it was cold or I needed a treat, I’d pop into Thinking Cup or sometimes Starbucks for a cup of hot chocolate or chai.

I ride the subway a bit farther now, four more stops across the river into the heart of Harvard Square, where I work amid another tangle of streets, in another building belonging to a different university. I don’t get to Beacon Hill or Downtown Crossing much any more; I either have to exit the subway early on my way home from work or make a dedicated journey on the weekend.

When I walk through my old neighborhood, I automatically notice what has changed. The cupcake shop on Charles St. and L’Aroma Cafe down on Newbury have both closed; the little Italian market, shuttered for two years by a fire, is finally open again. The 7-Eleven with its whimsical gold sign is gutted, empty, slated to become a Peet’s Coffee before long. My former office has moved to a different building, farther from the Common and closer to Chinatown. The storefronts change regularly, the scaffolding rises and collapses, in this city where history builds and shifts, layer on layer.

Some things, though, remain the same, appearing reliably as the seasons turn or remaining steady through all of them. The tulips bloom in the Public Garden in May, right as the Swan Boats (and the two live swans) return from their winter hibernation. The rare print shop on Charles St. fills its window with vintage maps and watercolors. The duckling statues still follow their mother dutifully, as dozens of children perch on them and parents snap photos. And the book carts at the Brattle, as always, bulge with discarded books and hidden treasures.

This isn’t quite my neighborhood any more. I am surprised by changes after they happen, rather than taking them as they come. I snatch an occasional hour here, rather than living among these streets day after day. I am a visitor, a former resident, albeit one who still carries the map of these streets in her head, the knowledge of them in her feet.

I don’t miss it as much as I thought I might. Harvard Square, too, offers endless diversion and delight, and I’ve loved tracing out the perimeter of a new area, finding my regular haunts and occasionally making new discoveries. But every once in a while, I get a hankering for a stroll through my old neighborhood. And, to quote the bar that sits just off the north edge of the Public Garden, I’m always glad I came.

Read Full Post »

tulips harvard square

My husband is a focused, determined shopper. Like many men I know, he is generally not interested in browsing. I have finally managed to convince him that bookstores were meant to be browsed, though he usually picks out one book and starts reading it while I wander the aisles. But if we’re at the mall, Target, or the grocery store, he’s usually on a mission: how quickly can he get in, find what he needs, and get out?

While I enjoy browsing the racks at my favorite stores, I’m finding my husband’s mindset helpful for my lunch breaks on these frigid winter days. When I don’t want to get up from my desk, I tell myself I have to – because I have a mission.

Sometimes it’s the post office, the bank or the pharmacy. Sometimes I’m on the hunt for a particular book, or a birthday card for a friend. Sometimes I’m in need of a certain item, as I was last week when my sunglasses broke. And occasionally, the mission is simply to go to the Gap or Ann Taylor or Anthropologie, and see what’s new on the sale rack.

In any case, on these days when it’s too cold to wander and tempting to stay inside, it helps to have a goal in mind, an impetus to propel me outside for a bit of exercise and a break from the computer screen. I always feel energized after I get out and about, and I love walking the tangle of streets in Harvard Square. And sometimes – if it’s just too bitter out or I have no particular errand that day – I head to one of my favorite cafes for a cuppa and a little writing time.

tealuxe interior cambridge ma

How do you give yourself a boost on these cold days? Do you find it helps to go on a mission?

Read Full Post »