Blue sky and sunshine
What a beautiful day it's been here. Just the kind of weather we'd have ordered, though perhaps, given the choice, we might have asked for a little more chill in the air. Because really, walking about in the sunshine was just a wee bit on the warm side after a while.
On such a glorious day, we just had to walk, didn't we? First stop, breakfast. In a new (to us) place my hero had discovered, a couple of blocks from our hotel.
A couple of others arrived at much the same time as we did, so we stood patiently whilst they were seated. The Friendly Toast seemed to be a popular place, though as we were shown downstairs into the basement, we questioned our choice.
No need though, because when my French Toast with apples and smoked bacon arrived, it was delicious, and my hero's choice of corned beef hash (of course) combined with eggs benedict was declared to be a hit too.
No wonder then, that there was a huge queue outside by the time we left. We must remember this!
Invigorated by that calorific boost, we continued on downtown, noting as we did how Christmas has arrived here overnight. Suddenly, almost every building has a garland of greenery, a Christmas tree or, what appears to be the current trend, a planter with sticks of birch surrounded by green spruce and fir cones and berries. We mooched around the downtown Macys a while, noting as we did how bleak it felt in there. Clearly, internet shopping has hit such large stores hard and this one seems to be the last man standing around here. Though it was filled with plentfiul stock, there were few customers and the whole store felt unloved and uncared for, even though there were deep discounts on offer.
I had a couple of things on my list from Bath and Body Works, just across the street, so that was our next call. Here too, the store was scruffy and in a mess and the two staff members dealt with the transactions in a dismissive manner. When we reached the front of the queue, my puchases were rung up of the register and put into a carrier bag as I swiped my card and input my PIN. But by the time I had removed my card, the bag had been pushed towards me and the two young women were continuing their conversation about eye liner or whatever - customers were a mere hindrance to their more important concerns.
The downtown shopping experience here appears to have polarised somewhat with the middle ground disappearing to the suburbs or possibly altogether. Those shops we enjoyed browsing, like Williams Sonoma, Eddie Bauer and Restoration Hardware are no longer here, leaving the properties empty or just like at home, replaced with coffee shops and beauty salons. The high-end, designer name stores are still here but in rather more exclusive locations such as the mall by our hotel.
Whilst in the mall yesterday, we'd noted the opening of Canada Goose, a brand previously unknown to us but one I'd recognised from an "opening soon" sign on Regent Street. I'd seen a couple of young women wearing coats with clear branding on them and we were curious to see a queueing system outside this store here in Boston. Once back at the hotel, I googled to learn more about this label and why there was such a hoohah
For now, we were glad to leave the shopping behind and walk over to the common, where there was more pleasure to be had out in the sunshine. We were not the only ones to enjoy that fresh air this morning, unsurprisingly.
A group of tourists were enjoying the patter of their guide, dressed as Paul Revere, perhaps. He was delivering his story in a very animated way and was gathering more and more to his group as he went along.
We carried on further, admiring the glorious colour in the trees and doing our best to navigate the pathways to end up in exactly the spot where we wanted to be. I always find this part of Boston confusing, getting my bearings wrong unless I pay constant attention to a couple of landmarks.
We passed by an entertainer who looked uncannily like Geoffrey from Rainbow, I thought, singing Obladi Oblada to a crowd of families. As we went my hero and I tried to remember the lyrics but had to admit defeat once we'd hummed through the same verse over and over again. Yes, we got the bit about Desmond and Molly having a barrow in the marketplace and her being a singer in the band...but then? I seemed to think there was a bit of a transgender story in there somewhere but maybe I'd mixed it up with Lola...L O L A, Lo-oh-la..... Oh, the strange ways our minds work sometimes, eh?
On the pathway through the park and aiming for the statue of Gen. Kosciusko on Boylston St, we passed by this frame, set with an invitation to stand and pose for a photo by the lake. Finding a bench conveniently placed for a ringside view of the neverending series of groups waiting to be photographed, we sat a while and watched.
As we left, I noted the small plaque set in the cobblestones. So sweet.
Of course, then I had to read the others - and photograph this lovely one.
We did well. We came out of the park exactly where we needed to be, for the next place on my list was Paper Source. I came out empty handed though - either their prices have increased significantly, maybe I was feeling more abstemious than usual or perhaps I was just not feeling like parting with cash this morning? Nothing I considered buying was discounted and the "up to 50% off" must have been applied to goods already sold out, for there appeared to be few bargains in there at all. Anyway, it was good to have looked, and better to have saved!
Feeling in need of a little refreshment by now, we made our way down Newbury Street, where we understood there was a new Shake Shack.
Sure enough, the root beer float and Back Bay Blended Frozen Custard hit the spot nicely!
Our feet were complaining however, so we gave this co-ordinated Christmas family outfit little consideration. Perhaps that's as well?
We lingered by - and smiled at - the Dad Joke of the Day though.
But both of us agreed, we'd had enough and having made it to the end of the street, we turned around and headed back. We couldn't resist the draw of Crate and Barrel though, having spotted it still there!
The displays are always so lovely, the styling so smart it's probably a good job they haven't made it across the Atlantic, for we'd be poorer if they did. But there they were again, those birch sticks!
With a last look round, we took the short route back to the hotel rather than head back through the mall. Our feet were thankful for that.
We even caught some art along the way.