Thursday, July 15, 2010

Is it farther to Boston or by bus?

It was good to not be in Manchester last night. Live American Idol tour concert 1 block from the hotel AND the Step Up 2 Dance Tour finals (Olympic Miss Dance finals) began today at the same hotel/conference center we were at. Abandon ship!

There are some trips that I am happy to not be anywhere near the driver or navi-guesser's seat. Yesterday's trip to Boston was one of those.

Traffic. Fog. Rain. Lots of course corrections. No thanks, I'm happy to let the driver drive.

In Boston we went to Fablevision studios. Fablevision is an animation software company founded by the children's book author and illustrator Peter Reynolds. We enjoyed their hospitality and I was intrigued by the layout of the room. Desks around the periphery, facing out, with an oval table in the middle of the space. I can see how this would allow for fluid collaboration but also the ability to work by oneself if that was what was needed. The room was full of toys, and it had lots of elements of theater (a curtain), stories and storytelling, and play. They had a fabulous pink sparkly beauty-parlor hood dryer that was just - did I mention - FABULOUS. Must get one for the room.

After Fablevision, four of us walked along the wharf to the North End. There was a powerboat there that was huge but the most impressive vessel in the channel was a schooner, tons of varnished teak, roller furlings, HUGE - my heart got all weirdly fluttery. We couldn't see her name, and she had a party on board that night, but my oh my, some serious boat there.

We had dinner a Piccola Venezia in the North End (I could finish about half of the portion they served) and had enough time before 11:00 to walk through Haymarket, show Stephanie the Union Oyster House and the Bell in Hand and take our time through the Boston Holocast Memorial - one of the most effective and affecting pieces of public art and memorial I have every seen. Grand but intimate, personal without ignoring the enormity of the loss of life, it honored each camp separately but also was a cohesive whole. Moving. Timeless. Horrifying. Perfect.

We wandered past Kings Chapel and Burying Ground, Park Street Church and the Old Granary Burial Ground, and the Old State House. I am always reminded of The Scarlet Letter when I am in Boston - contrary to the misdirection of attention of the opening "Custom House" chapter, TSL is set in Boston. I can imagine the scaffold on the corner of Tremont and Park and unctuous Dimmesdale standing on that little iron balcony over the heads of the people.

The bus arrived just as we did, so there was no awkward hanging out at the T station, and the drive home commenced. Traffic was dreadful and we didn't get out of the city for 30 minutes. Some members of the group still managed to talk all the way back to Manchester, even given the advanced hour (11:30 pm). Fog to drive through. Glad it wasn't me. Tired and happy, we crawled into our beds.

Boston Riverscape by jmcclurken (thanks!!)

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