For my last spring break ever, I wanted to travel to a new city instead of working at the nail salon like I’ve been doing since 9th grade. I had been talking about Nashville for several months, but we somehow decided on Boston, Massachusetts. Lily and I semi-spontaneously booked our flight in the middle of January because we wanted to get an early start on planning. As we got closer to the trip, we found out that our destination of choice was getting slammed by yet another blizzard. Our trip to Boston was serendipitously sandwiched between two snowstorms, the second of which caused a school cancellation, which to my knowledge, is almost unheard of in the north.
Travelling with Lily is great because we both love packing our schedules, so that we can make the most of our time in a new city. As soon after we settled in to our Airbnb on our first night, Milan showed us around Harvard and we went to Pinocchio’s Pizza and Subs. There were a few tables and chairs jammed into the ridiculously small space, but people were coming in and out nonstop. Their website also says “We sell award-winning sicilian-style pizza”… It all made sense when I bit into my first slice.
On our second day, we spent the morning walking around Boston Common. I’m still in awe that there was more than enough snow to build snowmen as tall as we were and still have some left over. On our way to the Boston Public Library, we walked past a man surrounded by hundreds of pigeons and got to fulfill our lifelong dream of having animals come up to us willingly (with the help of a handful of peanuts). He’s been coming here every morning for the past 10 years to feed the pigeons and squirrels and hasn’t missed a single day.
The Boston Public Library was truly a dream. It’s a perfect mix of antiquity and modernism. The original library was built in the 1800s, drawing inspiration from Renaissance style architecture, yet the children and teen sections of the library were very accommodating with plenty of outlets for charging devices. Teen Central has a media lounge with multiple video game consoles and the Lab for digital experimentation. The Children’s Library is a vibrant whimsical space for the kiddos. We’re not ashamed that we spent a lot of time here rereading some of our childhood favorites. If Atlanta had a library as breathtaking as this (or the New York Public Library), my productivity would increase exponentially.
Before we left for Boston, I was bombarded with midterm exams and ended up catching a cold I thought I could sleep off before leaving Atlanta. Unfortunately I was extremely sick the entire trip, but my ailments were temporarily relieved by Pressed Juicery’s Wellness Shot. I couldn’t tell if my tears were ones of joy from it clearing up my nasal passages or if it was the extreme spiciness of ginger and cayenne at work. Needless to say, we paid Pressed Juicery a visit almost every day.
We ended the night at an Italian restaurant in North End, where I had lobster ravioli and Lily had chicken parmesan. The owner came by the talk to us and throughout the conversation, her ‘ah’s were mixed with my y’all’s just like the snow swirling around outside.
Another highlight of our trip was Chinatown, the third largest one in the United States after New York and San Francisco’s Chinatowns. We started our morning with dim sum at Hei La Moon, which was bigger than any restaurant I’ve been to. The clanking of silver dim sum carts in addition to the lively chatter reminded me of why dim sum is one of my favorite eating experiences. It was also in Chinatown that I found my new favorite bubble tea, Earl Grey with boba, at Gong Cha. I was beyond ecstatic when I found out they opened a location in Duluth this summer and proceeded to tell everyone I knew.
This was also the day we set aside for dumpling adventures. One of the main reasons I chose Boston was to taste their dumplings, and they did not disappoint. After exploring Chinatown, we drove out to the suburbs for the Tasty Momo. One of my friends is always sending me pictures when her family makes these Nepali dumplings. Anyone who knows me knows I love dumplings, so when I read about this restaurant opening in Boston, I had to make a stop. We came back to Chinatown for dinner where we had soup dumplings. No Atlanta soup dumplings can even compare. I still dream about the piping hot soup inside the small doughy pouches sealed with a simple twisted pinch. Our dumpling escapades ended in a food coma and my heart was as full as my tummy.
On our last morning, Lily and I woke up at 5 AM to watch the sunrise at Fan Pier. Watching the sun slowly rise over the water and shine on this beautiful city was breathtaking (and worth the loss of feeling in our butts).
After an iced caramel macchiato and a very long nap, we spent the day at the Boston Museum of Science and inched through rush hour traffic for one final trip to Chinatown in search of the elusive egg waffle. They have been a popular Hong Kong street snack since the 1950s, but are overpriced, trendy, and usually not as good in America. These authentic, no-frill bites from the back of a cramped food court were worth the 2.75$. I’m incredibly grateful for Lily who went through the trouble of finding an ATM so that I could cross off the final thing on my Boston food Bucket List. When we got home, neither of us recovered for a few days because Atlanta was about as cold as Boston, but we’d go back in a heartbeat for the deafening screech of the Orange Line train.
While watching the sun rise on my last day, I remembered why I chose Boston. Aside from the food pilgrimage, I wanted to visit a city that was so full of sophisticated culture. There were many historical sites around every corner, some were older than anything in Atlanta. I could physically touch pieces of American history. Alongside the historical buildings were contemporary skyscrapers. It was a beautiful juxtaposition of new and old.