The author on vacation; or How We’ve Come to Love Massachusetts

Yeah. that’s not referring to me.  I’m the Authoressista.  I, too, went on vacation, but obviously the “author” reference is to His Writerlieness- also known as my husband.  We spent some time in Concord, Massachusetts for our summer vacation.  It was, to be honest, one of the more perfect trips we’ve ever taken.

Please note that this is the second Toshiba laptop I’ve had with a keyboard problem.  The last one had a “c” key that didn’t work and this one has an entire diagonal row that likes to repeat letters.  If you see repeated “r”, “f”, “v”, or “4”, now you know why.  The last one was my fault- I spilled gelato into the “c” key”.  This one is a mystery.  I’ll take it though- at least the letters still work!  I just won’t set my heart on any typing tests.  Ahaha.

On to Concord.

We initially thought of going somewhere besides Massachusetts, but we do dearly love the state and we’d very much enjoyed our trip last year to the Berkshires and the Birchwood Inn in Lenox.  We ended up deciding we wanted to see Eastern Massachusetts and the Boston area, so the final selection from Select Registry was the Hawthorne Inn in Concord, MA.  I was particularly excited about seeing Concord because it’s in the curriculum I teach in 4th grade (let’s just say there’s more Revolutionary War than you can shake a musket at).

Concord is a perfectly welcoming city, regardless of the assertion that they “don’t like tourists”.  I found everyone welcoming, helpful, and warm (not Southern, of course, nobody called me “sweetheart” in line or anything).  We spent several wonderful afternoons in the local museums, taking in Walden Pond, and just generally exploring.  The Concord Museum is a must-see with a wealth of history and culture and exhibits and art that are accessible and informative.  It’s also air-conditioned and in the middle of July, even New England is an oven.

The shops in downtown Concord (almost three full city blocks!) are almost all local, adorable, interesting little getaways in well-maintained historical buildings and homes.  There’s quite a bit of food and entertainment in the area and it’s all worthwhile.  We dined at Main Street Market and Cafe for a late lunch/early dinner on one occasion and found the service friendly and efficient and the food delicious and well-cooked.  They did, however, bring out cornbread as an appetizer and it had sugar in it, y’all.  I like Johnnycake and it was quite good, but I had to smile a little.  Brooks had fish and chips (wonderful- seafood in Eastern Mass is a dream) and I had an avocado BLT that was to die for.  Everything in Concord seemed locally produced or obtained from farms in the area and the quality of the food really showcases that.

We ate two dinners and a dessert/coffee at a new chain called Papa Razzi.  They have several locations in the MA area, so it’s a local chain, but it’s really, really quite good.  The location in Concord is the original location and apparently the training location, so the service is top-notch and the food is impeccably prepared.  The chef will basically do anything you want him to, but of course the menu ranges from unadventurous fare (ravioli) to the divine risk (in my case, that’s puttanesca, but I realize that’s not really a leap for a lot of people).  Brooks had both a puttanesca pasta and a similar pizza and I enjoyed a delicious penne and pollo and then a Caprese salad.  The chicken melted in my mouth and I could smell the fresh tomatoes in the Caprese before I even opened the container (more on that later in a medication update).  The desserts were all fabulous- although I couldn’t tear myself away from ordering the Lemon Mascarpone cake every time we stepped in the door.

There are so many wonderful things to do and see in the area and it was very easy to plan our days and evenings.  We visited Salem (touristy), the Peabody Museum (absolutely amazing), and Essex (for seafood).  Although Brooks did discover an intense dislike of fried clams, the feeling of driving along the New England coast is a novel sensation and extremely enjoyable.  Woodman’s was a wonderful dining experience and my fish was very good (I can’t eat fish unless it’s VERY fresh, so this worked out well for me).  Brooks enjoyed his meal very much until he encountered his first fried clam and discovered they just aren’t meant to be friends.

How about the inn?  We’ve stayed in several now and they’ve all been lovely.  We tend to choose renovated houses instead of built-to-be-an-inn locations (aside from Berry Springs in Pigeon Forge, but it’s absolutely picturesque).  The Hawthorne Inn is certainly historic- surveyed by Thoreau, owned by the likes of the Alcott family and Emerson.  The current owners are a lovely couple, Marilyn and Gregory.  They are vivacious, funny people with people skills that rival a politician’s.  Both real estate agents, they know the area intimately and have an undisguised love for not only Concord, but Massachusetts and New England as well.  They are a very informative about what to do, where to eat, and how to get to, well, anywhere in the area.  The rooms at the inn are beautifully and uniquely decorated, well-appointed, and comfortable.  The breakfasts were three-course affairs of local fresh fruit, granola, yogurt, eggs, and various sweet treats.  We never left hungry and had no appetite for lunch on many occasions!  Concord and Salem were both easily-walked areas and Brooks had the good fortune to ride the commuter rail into Boston on the day I wasn’t feeling well.  He met up with a couple of fellow writers and they had lunch and gabbed (as creative-types do) and he absolutely enjoyed the whole experience.

If you ever have occasion to visit New England, we very much recommend the Hawthorne Inn and Concord.

Have a few pictures.




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