Massachusetts Vacation 2014 – Concord, Pt. 1

Surprise! We snuck away for our family vacation last week! I didn’t post about it in advance because we’re those super-private, protective people who don’t like to announce when our home is free for the pickin’. Call us crazy (it’s okay, we’re used to it), but we’re mostly concerned about the kitties. 


Anyhoo, I figured I’d write a few posts on the trip itself (was going to do a quick rundown today, but I’m chatty), then share a post or two about how we kept a toddler happy along the way, how we alleviated some of the “rush here, rush there”ness of a road trip, a few of the sights we enjoyed most, and anything else that pops into my head along the way. Sound good?

Let’s just say from the start, this trip wasn’t a relaxing retreat. It was meant to be a fun family adventure, which usually recharges the adults’ minds, gives the little guy some new, fun experiences, and, though enjoyable, makes us all feel happy and lucky to return home safe and exhausted at the end of it. Check, check, and check! 

We left on Thursday to drive the 4+ hours to Concord, Mass. I picked Concord because I love its history and because the monkey is still way too unpredictable and non-listeny (totally a word… “disobedient” sounds so evil, and it’s not really accuratre) for a big joint like Boston or Philly. We also hoped to fit in some friend-visiting in western Mass, which we did; I, however, still feel guilty over the people that we missed. I’ve gotta get over it, and I know that a toddler is a natural time usurper, but I still feel badly.

So, anyhoo, we left just shy of 8am (later than I’d hoped) on Thursday morning, packed to the gills with clothes, toys, food, a pack ‘n play…pretty much everything in our house sans the cats. I’ve gotta say we lucked out with our monkey on the trip; for the most part, he was an absolute trooper while traveling. Sure, he got cranky once in awhile, but I was generally pleasantly surprised and proud of what a great boy he was for the drive.

 
The trip out was long, but not bad. Hadman hadn’t slept well the night before and ended up in bed with us (see above picture; hugely rare these days), so we were all pretty tired; he fell asleep and did a morning nap vs. his usual afternoon nap. It was PERFECT for the drive to-and-from Mass. We took a couple of stops along the way, and we snacked on healthy stuff I’d packed for the road.

When we reached Concord, it was too early to check in, so we took a quick potty break at the visitors’ center (loudest. hand dryers. ever.) then parked on a Walden Street. We scoped out the storefronts for a game plan and decided to grab a meal at the Main Streets Market and Cafe. Again, after a week of terrible two behavior, I was shocked at how well-behaved Hadley was for lunch (for the most part). Oh, and the joint had awesome food. Top-notch, really.

We then hit up the Toy Shop of Concord, which was beyond awesome. It’s an independently-run joint and was super kid-friendly (one would hope), so it gave Hadley a chance to get out of his stroller and engage with other kids and (mostly) toys, toys, and more toys. The funny thing was, I love buying things we’ll use every day while on vacation to remind us of the fun trip we had, so I was fully planning on buying him whatever the heck he wanted…and he picked nothing. He enjoyed certain toys, but then moved on to the next thing, so it was impossible to get him to select something on his own. Eh. We ended up with a Green Toys submarine for some fun in the hotel bathtub that night.

After Dave threw more money in the meter, we hit up my favorite antique shop ever, Thoreauly Antiques. I mean, perfect, right?! The place isn’t very big, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in substance. Their selection is perfectly in-tune to a modern antique-collector. Here are just a few of the things I was eying:


I seriously almost got one of the lavender sachets (either 3 or 6 for the “3 humans, 3 adults” or “6 altogether”). And the NY Central drove through my hometown, so, yeah.

 
Sorry for the fuzzy picture; I had a man with a stroller hot on my heels. 😉 But the vignettes around every corner were just incredible. (That’s a plate of old keys, BTW.)

Pages of French from the 1800’s. So much could be done with those. Oohh, la la. 


Old hotel numbers on brass key chains. I started to look for our home number, but *someone* was getting fidgety. Not saying whom…who?…but it wasn’t Dave and it wasn’t me.

More keys!

Knowing full well how almost-to-capacity our car was already, I didn’t grab a darn thing. We did head a few doors down and purchase a bit of candy (as a “thanks so much” gift for our neighbor and my mom, who watched the house and checked on the cats while we were gone…and as a gift to ourselves for eating such healthy snacks in the car) at Priscilla Candy Shop. In all honesty, the customer service left something to be desired, but the candy was worth it.

Then, we took one final stop at the GORGEOUS Concord Bookshop. My word. I’ve never seen a library or book store in my LIFE that was more impeccable than this one. I assume the shelves were mahogany, and everything built custom for the space. The book selection was insane (the first thing that hits you as you enter is the biography section…they must’ve seen me coming a mile away), and it was quieter than any library you could ever imagine (although it had a good stream of people swimming throughout). We purchased a few books then hit the road.

By the time we checked in and unloaded anything we’d need into our room at the hotel, it was after 5pm. Hadley was still bouncing with energy and I had no idea what to do for dinner. We found a couple of menus for a nearby Italian restaurant, so decided to order in for the night. (Very important tip I’ll dive into further in a future post: Know thyself. If your little one is probably not willing to sit still, going out to dinner — even if you had your hopes set on it — is not a “must” while on vacation.)

Besides, we could sit back in our comfy clothes, allow him to run around, and watch precious C-A-B-L-E (HGTV FTW!). Plus, when I picked the food up I saw how dressy most of the people eating and working at the restaurant were, so it wouldn’t have suited us much, anyway. One large pizza, a pile of pasta, and two flan-ish desserts later, we were satiated (half the pizza went to waste; Hadley’s appetite was unusually chill). Two bathtimes later (Had’s and mine), Hadley was in the hotel-appointed crib…playing a highly amusing game (to him) called “Hi, Mama! Hi, Dada!” Ahem. Into the bed he came. Within moments, he and Dave were completely zonked. I finished my episode of House Hunters, read some more of my latest favorite book (Marmee & Louisa, highly appropriate to the trip), and went to sleep.

Have I mentioned how much I love the squishiness of sleeping in a hotel bed? Because I do. And, apparently, so does Hadley.

That’s it for today! I’ll stop by this week with the last activity at Concord, then meeting up with our friends back to the west. Yay!

3 thoughts on “Massachusetts Vacation 2014 – Concord, Pt. 1”

  1. This already sounds amazing! I love to visit the not-so-popular places because you end up finding the best locations, like that antique shop (MUST BUY ALL THE KEYS!) and what sounds like the best book store ever!

  2. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the trip and everyone made it home in one piece 🙂 And I've ordered delivery food to eat in my room when staying in a hotel before so I understand – sometimes it's not just 2 year olds who aren't fit to dine in public!

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