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Like a Rock

August 2, 2013

Thursday was much better than Wednesday. The Hamster and I made up late Wednesday night and resolved to have a fun and relaxing day Thursday. It got a little rocky at times, but our resolution held.

It all started with a late wakeup, which was necessary after such a late night. And when I opened the curtains, I noticed for the first time that outside the back of our room was a beautiful pond populated by several ducks and a swan. It’s not a bad way to wake up.

View from the Howard Johnson's

The original plan for the morning was to try yet another beach in Cape Cod but after the first two I was wary. Instead I decided to hedge my bets: We would go to beach #3, but first I requested a late checkout from our HoJo and we hit the outdoor pool for about half an hour. The weather was great, the water felt good, and we were the only ones there. Once we left the motel we headed to Sandy Neck Beach, which is one of the most highly rated beaches in Cape Cod. Then again, so is the painfully rocky one we went to the day before. This time the beach was on the cape side so the water was clear and calm and breathtaking. But the beach was extremely rocky to the point of being painful just to walk on. On the plus side, the rocks that covered it were prettier than the rocks that covered the other one.

I really don’t get it. Cape Cod is cozy and beautiful and charming and all, but it’s known for its beaches and they’re just not nice, and they’re expensive to boot. There are many Cape Cod beaches we didn’t see, but if the ones we went to are supposed to be the nicest ones, I’d hate to see the rest. The most exciting part of our trip to Sandy Neck Beach was finding a car with Alaska plates in the beach parking lot. Though, in fairness, that’s pretty freakin’ exciting.

Anyway, our next real stop was Plymouth Rock, but first we needed lunch, and we figured there was no better place for it than a town on the way out of Cape Cod called Sandwich. You’ll never guess what we ate.

Entering Sandwich

If I worked at it for an hour or two, I might be able to fully convey the excitement that Sam had over eating a sandwich in Sandwich. It’s kind of sad that that’s most fun we had in Cape Cod, but adding to our good fortune was that our sandwiches were legal, so we didn’t run into trouble with you-know-who:

Sandwich Police

Anyway, that was it for Cape Cod. The drive to Plymouth was short, and we managed to find a decent parking spot right away, so we were in pretty good moods considering we were there just to look at a rock.

Plymouth Rock itself is extremely underwhelming. It’s not nearly as big as you’d expect, because it’s only a small hunk of the original rock, which was both accidentally broken and intentionally cut down decades ago when it was moved from its original spot, and then moved again. It also has the year 1620 engraved in it, which was almost certainly not done by the pilgrims. I’d show you pictures of the rock but the position of the sun when we got there cast really strange shadows on the rock, so just about any photo you find online will be better than the ones I took. Plus we learned when we got there that the pilgrims may or may not have even stepped on it in the first place. But even if the rock is more symbolic than truly historic, it still signifies the birth of our country, a country the Hamster and I have experienced pretty thoroughly and eagerly continue to explore and enjoy. The rock, in many ways, is a perfect metaphor for America: we like to believe its story is simple and pure and completely positive but in reality its history is complicated and rife with controversy, occasional incompetence, and the willful mistreatment of different peoples. It’s been stepped on, it’s been broken, chunks of it have been bought and sold, and it’s moved a lot, but still, all these years later, here it is for the world to see, welcoming all visitors and proudly boasting of its accomplishments.

Next up was Boston, where we’ll be through the weekend. Boston was tough to plan for because I’ve taken Sam there before so the major sights and activities (Boston Common, the Public Garden, the swan boats, the Freedom Trail) have already been seen and done. So we’re doing a few quirkier things this time, and tonight’s activity was an IMAX movie on a giant dome-shaped screen at the Museum of Science. It took us forever to get there, and Sam spent the drive watching Hoosiers on the portable DVD player. I will admit that when he got up to the famous locker room pep talk scene I took my hands off the steering wheel to join in the slow clap. Anyway, we eventually made it to the museum in time for a 6pm showing of a pretty good movie about the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railroad through the “Rockies,” which we assumed meant the beaches in Cape Cod. It seemed like an odd subject matter for a Boston museum but the Hamster and I both hold the position that trains are awesome, so we loved it. And in the few minutes we spent waiting around for the movie to start, Sam got to explore an exhibit about planets and have a telephone conversation with planet Earth (you know, the third rock from the sun).

"Earth to Sam! Earth to Sam!"

“Earth to Sam! Earth to Sam!”

On the way out of the museum we were approached by an Orthodox Jewish couple who asked if we were locals and if we knew where they could get kosher food. We gave them the names and addresses of a few places in the suburb Brookline and then headed out there ourselves for the same purpose.

We first picked up food for Shabbat from a dumpy little place called The Butcherie that had an array of takeout foods that was impressive both in variety and creativity. I let Sam pick where we’d get dinner; he picked Chinese. The meal was fine, and of course we bumped into that couple from the museum at the Chinese restaurant. And they were parked right behind us, so we saw them again as they were getting into their car; I noticed their New York plates, and Sam noticed that they’re traveling with the same portable grill that we are, too. They’re headed back to New York already but as we drove to our hotel outside of town I was thinking about that couple and whether they’ll pack up that grill and drive it to faraway places when they have kids, like I’m doing with the Hamster.

I love a lot of things about Boston. I love its layout and its architecture and its parks and its harbor and its downtown. I love its history. I love its famous ducklings. But most of all I love its attitude. Often brutal winters, invasions by the British, and decades of losing to New York sports teams might’ve broken a less hearty city, but Boston doesn’t flinch. Although the people individually are generally very friendly and kind, the drivers are aggressive (and often mean), and the whole city seemed to be giving the Hamster and I the middle finger when we entered the city and were welcomed by the sight of a tower that looked identical to the one in Provincetown that we weren’t allowed to climb yesterday. As a New Yorker, I have great respect for that particular brand of obnoxiousness.

And yet what I love most about Boston right now is that we’re staying here through Sunday, which means I don’t have to unpack or repack the car again for three whole days!

So to sum up, Thursday rocked!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2013 8:34 am

    Another reason why you like Boston, you love when they chant Yankees Suck!!! at every event.

  2. Amy permalink
    August 2, 2013 10:57 am

    So glad you got to an Omni show! Did they show the “Scenes of New England” short movie before the Rockies?

    Also, that tower is the Bunker Hill monument and they totally let you climb it — great views from up there!

    Hope my fellow massholes are nice (enough) to you!

    • ABH permalink*
      August 2, 2013 11:48 am

      No Scenes of New England, just a sound check with Leonard Nimoy. And it’s not the Bunker Hill monument, it’s just some church I think.

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