Watertown MA, MA
October 23, 3009
We had an uneventful drive into the Boston area until we tried to actually find my cousin’s house in Watertown. Jeff lives in one of those places that you can get within 300 yards of but not find; we went around in circles missing the road sign and probably getting close enough to yell at him but we just could not find Charles River Road to save our lives. After a few phone calls we finally found it and had to laugh at how very close we had been.
This was the first time we had met Jeff, my cousin Virginia’s son, but he quickly made us feel at ease and welcome. He lives in a wonderful location, on the second floor of a duplex along a tree-lined street that makes you feel you are in a tree house with nothing but the bright colors of fall outside the windows. His home is well situated right across the street from the Charles River with walking/biking paths on both sides of the river running all the way into Boston.
After getting settled in he was kind enough to lead us from his house into Boston, acquainting us with the route, a quick bus ride to Harvard Square and a walk through the campus and then we transferred to the subway into downtown Boston. Walking from the Commons through town passing Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market looked familiar but nothing else did until we reached the harbor. A large park has been created over the “Big Dig” to connect downtown with the harbor front and North End. The parkway is a nice addition since my last visit when the “dig” had the city completely torn up. We continued through the North End’s narrow streets and back out to the waterfront to find a place for dinner settling on the Union Oyster House already busy even though it was early evening. This is an old restaurant claiming to have been serving meals continuously since 1826. Practice makes perfect, we had a wonderful meal; I had scallops grilled to perfection, George and Jeff the seafood platter. With full bellies we retraced our steps back to his home and slept like babies.
October 24, 2009
Yesterday, while riding the subway, we noted a stop we thought might be near John Adams’ home and after checking on line found that the red line did stop in Quincy Center across the street from the Adams National Historic Park. So that was our destination for the day.
Incorporated into the park tours are the birthplace of John Adams (1735-1826), signer of the Declaration of Independence, diplomat, the first Vice President and Second President of the United States, the birthplace of his son John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), a diplomat, U.S. Congressman, Secretary of State, and sixth President of the United States and Peacefield, home to John and Abigail Adams as well as four generations of Adams from 1788 until 1927.
The modest homes where John and his son, John Quincy, were born sit only a few hundred feet apart on what is now a very busy street with little buffer from the hustle bustle of today’s world.
Peacefield, a much grander home and the last home of John and Abigail Adams is a mere 1-½ miles away and was home to four generations of Adams. John Quincy Adams’ library is located at Peacefield and is a beautiful detached stone building built to house his collection of over 8,000 books in a virtually fire proof building. No photography is allowed inside the homes or library but I did find one of the library interior on line and have included below.
The tour was worthwhile insofar the visit to the homes of these incredible patriots brought a third dimension to David McCullough’s book but it was very rushed tour and allowed no time to wander around the grounds of Peacefield or really photograph the residences the way we would have liked.
By the time we returned to Watertown we were famished and found a little restaurant called Stellina and decided to try it for dinner. Fabulous dinner! We started with a simple warm tomato salad of ripe plum tomatoes sautéed in olive oil & garlic, topped with fresh basil, and served hot with grilled crostini & Westfield Farm’s blue ribbon goat cheese (this from the menu). After a glass of wine and the appetizer we were both full but had each ordered an entrée of which we were only able to eat a small amount. Mine a linguine tossed with a mix of olive oil, garlic, mint & toasted pistachios, almonds & pine nuts and accented with golden raisins, sun dried tomatoes & pecorino cheese and George’s Pasta alla Siracusana, fresh fusilli tossed with a tomato sauce and eggplant, peppers, garlic, basil, olives, capers & anchovies with smoked mozzarella and pecorino cheese. Oh my was it good but most of it went home with us and Jeff was able to enjoy.