Where I Have Been, Revealed

I was in Boston. So if you were one of the ones who guessed Boston in the previous entry, pat yourselves on the back. Those of you who guessed Washington DC, well, I did have connecting flights through Dulles. So don’t feel too bad about that. And for those who were guessing what the pictures were of in the last entry, they were indeed of the USS Constitution, the Bunker Hill Memorial, and one of the stained glass windows at Harvard University’s Memorial Hall.

As to why I was there: My wife and I recently had our fifteenth wedding anniversary, and this was our slightly delayed anniversary trip. It was slightly delayed because this last week was also the week our daughter was away at camp, so we decided it made more sense to do it now, than then. As to why Boston in particular: Well, why not? It’s a fine American city, and Krissy had never been, and while I have been, every time I was there I was there for a reason — usually a convention of some sort — and didn’t actually spend any time at all seeing the city. And you know, Boston is where we conveniently stack up a lot of our historical stuff in a relatively small area, so it’s a great town to be touristy in, so we were for four days, and had a wonderful time.

I already hear some of you saying, well, why didn’t you come to Readercon, which was just few days earlier? Or, why didn’t you set up a reading or a signing? Or, why didn’t you let folks know you were coming to Boston? And the answer to this is, please see the above notation about it being an anniversary trip for me and my wife. Which is to say that it was time for the two of us to enjoy being a couple, rather than me doing something work-related. Nearly all my travel these days is work-related, and while most times that’s fun and cool, the fact is that it’s even nicer just to be about to spend a week with my wife and not have anything to do except what we want to do, and to go to the places we want to go.

And where did we go? Well, we hit most of the spots on the Freedom Trail, ogled the penguins at the aquarium, took one of those harbor tours, had nice dinners at the Union Oyster House and Giocomo’s in the north end, and dessert at Modern Bakery and the Parker House (where apparently the Boston Cream Pie was invented), wandered about the Boston Common and Faneuil Hall, took the tour at the Samuel Adams brewery, hiked up to Harvard and bought goofy stuff at Newberry Comics and watched the Red Sox get shellacked (alas) by the Texas Rangers at Fenway Park. Basically, your total tourist package.

In short, Boston’s awesome, and we would not hesitate to recommend it for folks looking to go tourist for several days. And don’t worry, Bostonians: I’m almost certainly going to be back in your neck of the woods reasonably soon, in official geek capacity.

25 Comments on “Where I Have Been, Revealed”

  1. John P. Murphy – I'm an engineer and writer living in New England. My research background is in robotics and computer security; my writing is primarily science fiction and mystery.
    John Murphy

    Glad to hear you had a good time!
    Liz and I stayed at the Parker House once, great food. Not only was the Boston cream pie invented there, but Ho Chi Minh probably baked a few while working in the bakery.

  2. My girlfriend was up there recently. I was insanely jealous, I wanted to take a tour of the Constitution and hit up the church from The Boondock Saints.

  3. So glad you partook of the Modern rather than Mike’s – the Modern is the best authentic Italian bakery in the North End. Sounds like a great trip.

  4. I love Union Oyster…

    Have you done the Philly historical touristy stuff? If not, happy to play tour guide on a future run…

  5. This is why I should never participate in these kinds of guessing games. I am always wrong and usually in a spectacular way.

  6. I grew up just south of Boston and my father worked in the city. Boston is one of my favorite places to go. It never gets old and the T makes it easy to go just about anywhere.

  7. Glad to hear you guys enjoyed this neck of the woods, sounds like you got in lots of cool stuff :) If you guys make it up here again, an Aquarium whale watch is also an experience I’d recommend everyone should have (at least) once. Happy anniversary!

  8. Good for you.
    Time away with the spouse is very good stuff.
    We did Boston (from Seattle) in Fall of 08. Loved it, although I suspect you had better weather. Last fall was Honolulu for a few days. Talking Vegas next..Lots of positive Karma for the relationship.

  9. This sounds almost exactly what I did in Boston when I visited back in 2003. Had a great time–glad you did too!

  10. Ah nice, my hometown! Your post made me very nostalgic. I used to spend way too much time in Harvard Square and at Newbury Comics when I was a tween/teen. I should go back there someday.

  11. Natalie – Delaware – I write about books and culture and whatever else strikes my fancy. I have so many opinions. I was a finalist for the Best Fan Writer Hugo in 2017.
    Natalie L.

    Boston is my favorite city–if I had unlimited funds, I’d move there in a heartbeat. There’s just something about it. (My mother was born and raised in West Roxbury and I’ve been lucky enough to spend a lot of time there over the years.)

    The best thing I ever got to do in Boston was ring the bells at the Old North Church. A friend of mine was (and possibly still is) a member of their change-ringing group and they were having practice one Saturday morning while I was in town. It was extremely excellent.

  12. Glad you had fun – come back soon! I’m sure we can compile a list of recommended Boston awesomeness for you. :)

  13. The only time I was in Boston as an adult was for the 1989 Worldcon (Noreascon 3). I took some time to see sights, but mostly I did the con. The best part of that was, I met Isaac Asimov!

  14. Did you at least get a cannoli in the North End? Or check out Legal Seafoods? Have a trip on a swan boat? Visit the Arlington Street Church? Hear Peter Gomes preach while you were in Cambridge? Have a cone at Emack & Bolio’s?

    *wants to go back to Boston so badly*

  15. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang for days

    Happy Anniversary!!! Glad you got to spend it in style. Plus you got to see the Sox get their asses kicked. Can’t get much more Boston than that!!!

    Nice place to visit, nice place to live. To think we were probably within four miles of each other and I didn’t get a chance to hug your knees once. Oh, well. Maybe in the fall.

    I’d gripe if you were in Maine and didn’t see Cat V. or came and took a yoga class with us. Also Cat makes a completely sick dipping sauce that uses no butter but does use another famous Maine export.

    No, it’s not Bob Marley’s sweat.

  16. Happy Anniversary. Glad you enjoyed the metropolis to the south. Next trip, come on up to the North Shore and lay back a bit. I moved here 33 years ago and never left. YMMV. :)

    Sorry to hear about Kodi.

    Regards,
    Jack Tingle

  17. Good to hear that you’ll be back. Not nearly enough of my books are signed by John Scalzi, and the one that is, is just the Subterranean edition of YHMMBG.

    . . . do you ever personalize books that are already signed? Or sign them again? Because I would totally have you do that.

  18. Happy anniversary!

    And yes, it sounds an awful lot like my trip to Bean town circa 2008. I greatly enjoyed the Sam Adams brewery. “Never since college has the combination of beer and history been so entertaining”

  19. Glad you enjoyed Boston; my wife and I went last year (leaving one daughter in Europe and the other at home in hot, steamy North Florida so WE could enjoy hot, steamy Beantown). We really, I mean REALLY enjoyed the Sam Adams Brewery tour, mainly because of the tasting room, where everyone got very friendly after a few of the more than adequate samples.

    Sorry about your dog; we had must have gotten our border collie mix Emily at about the same time and she was diagnosed with leukemia a couple of weeks ago and had to be put to sleep. Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do and your posts about Kodi brought it all back. Intellectually, you know you’re doing the right thing to make sure they don’t suffer, but emotionally, it’s about as tough as it gets.

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