Sketching Boston, with a dash of NYC.

I’m surprised by how much water and shoreline I can see from the plane as we make our landing.

Boston. What will I think. How will it be.

Well, it’ll take a few days of images and impressions to float by me before I’ll begin to know.

Spring has certainly sprung.

I know it snowed recently so I’m surprised that it’s so hot and blue. Clear Cobalt. 27degrees.

New green shoots on the sycamore trees are a smudge of Sap Green and sunlit edges everywhere.

I hadn’t expected the full blown cherry blossoms in lush pinks and whites. Are they real?

A wash of Permanent Rose here and a dot or two of cerulean will get that effect.

Plenty of white round the edges.

The city is not of high rises but of brick 4- 10 storey office buildings, Georgian style with the classic white trim.

Contemporary buildings meld the two styles.

A very genteel city.

Trees everywhere and huge open green spaces named after important events and people. JFK for example. After all this is a Kennedy town.

However there is something very British in the influence, with a Stars and Stripes overlay.

We walk down tree lined streets called Elm, Chestnut or Oak and Willow, with neat homes of painted timber, white picket fences, lattice work and a seasonal wreath placed on the front door. And the stars and stripes flag.

The gardens are bright with tulips pansies and azaleas.

Squirrels dash about in Tufts Park stopping to nibble.

Walking to the train (the T) we pass more dental businesses than I’ve ever seen.

Churches and teeth must be big business here.

But fewer nail manicure, massage and beauty boutiques which we seem to have on every corner in Sydney.

One morning we head to South End via Chinatown.

Here are the classic brownstones. Grand houses. Lots of detailed iron railings and window boxes.

Every street is lined with trees just coming out in green.

The blossoms are a magic touch.

So much sketch material at every corner.

Boutiques of clothing, gifts art and antiques are grouped on stylish streets often with a plaque to tell its history.

Cafes sit between. It’s important to find the ones who do espresso. That’s a good start. They do love their filtered coffee here.

We were off to Cape Cod on another day.

First stop was to Sofra cafe. An Art Deco style building but with the best coffee by far. Oh yum. Had that with a tasty little almond treat and savoured every mouthful.

On the road again and next port of call for me was to see a classic Cape Cod lighthouse.   I ‘ve seen these in pictures and illustrations since I was a kid.

Aaaah there’s one. Wow. I did a quick sketch of the red and white one at Nauset Beach.

Further along was an abandoned looking white building – as if it was a film set – overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It’s the old Coast Guard Station.

Down the sandy boardwalk we trot to have a good look at the vast sandy white ocean beach and the Atlantic ocean so blue.

Quite a few folk were having a day at the beach, with picnic baskets, and it was hot, but a strong on shore breeze.

The water looked to be freezing but a fabulous blue.

We dropped into Welltown, another quaint little place, and admired the church spires and flower lined streets. Of course plenty of flags flapping in the breeze.

There is something very Norman Rockwell about the small towns out on this peninsula.

The characters one sees do seem perfect for their role.

I’m intrigued by how much the architecture stays in style. And that goes for all of the Boston I’ve seen.

Nobody seems to break the mould. Or if they do, it still suits the setting.

All the buildings, churches and homes seem beautifully proportioned. That to me makes them so sketchable. It’s the colour, the detail, so yummy like apple pie.

We are feeling like some lunch as we start heading back towards Boston.

A roadside cafe serving lobster looks promising.

I try a lobster roll at lunch and the others have scallop rolls. Food of the region. Very nice.

For dinner we order 4 lobsters once nearer home and serve them with corn cobs. I’m not even going to mention how they get from the tank to your plate!

Oh and they seem to drink water here out of jam jars, with or without handles!

We did have to wipe the floor after little bits of lobster go flying! It’s not a pretty sight this lobster eating.

Lobsters get to be a symbol on many of the products in tourist outlets and are one of the things New England is famous for.

Of course Boston is also home to some of the worlds most prestigious universities.

We take a look around MIT. It’s like a city. Grand buildings, some contemporary and others more functional. All are connected if you ever get to work it out.  Art floors and historical statues go together

Harvard is nearby. Equally as impressive in its presentation. Though that depends which one you attend apparently.

Colleges and universities abound in Boston and are very well endowed.

Tufts University along the street from where are staying is unbelievable. The grandeur and gold emblems embellishing doorways and entrances is impressive.

The kids wandering around look like university students everywhere. Hats pulled over long hair, clothing from the seconds shop and so on.

In fact this is Commencement Week. In other words graduation, but the commencement of their post graduate lives.

All universities are preparing for this week. Parties, farewells and parents arriving. Quick, clean the condo up!

Off to the Berkshires for the weekend.  A few hours driving but I was happy in the back seat watching the world go by.

Everyone in our family enjoys a good coffee, so it was fantastic to find No 6 Depot (once a railway station,) on the edge of the small village of West Stockbridge, with some very quaint shops and a millhouseon the river.

This coffee was the other best one I had and it went down so well I almost didn’t get a pic of it.  Great croissant and home made muffin. Aw. Happiness.

Our home for the night was the old Stone Schoolhouse in Lanesborough. A pin sized village in rolling hills where Anne of Green Gables might have run through the long grass – if she hadn’t lived in Canada!

Downstairs was the schoolroom with very high ceilings, little old desks, and the blackboard. A large bed was placed to the side. You could stay in bed this morning as it was Saturday and school was out!

Up the creaky stairs was a huge attic room, with a 4 poster bed, dining table, and kitchen.

So very USA. Just loved it.

Next morning we packed our bags and headed to the Shaker Village. I think when we mess up the world, this is where we’ll all need to go back to, and learn how to survive from the ground up.

They had it totally worked out. Loved the furniture, fabrics, box designs, and the happy smiling farm animals. And the round barn. Now that is brilliant.

I was keen to go to the Norman Rockwell Museum.

I was brought up with The Saturday Evening Post as a kid, and I adored his story telling illustrations then as now.

Sadly nobody can do this sort of thing anymore.

It’s done on a computer without any of his drawing and technical skills.

The town of Stockbridge features very much in his work, so we wandered down Main Street feeling like we were  actually in his paintings, because all the buildings are there which he painted

There was a quick trip to New York City, almost at the end of our stay.

Such a contrast to Boston. So much noise, sirens, honking horns. Can’t hear yourself think!

I started off being totally overwhelmed by everything, but began to really warm to all the sights and sounds of this full on town. Enjoyed the cultural mix of people too.

Our apartment was in Harlem. Used to be a bit gritty at that end of Central Park, but not these days. Very much an area of Jazz, Blues and soul food.

We had a memorable dining experience at Chocolat nearby.Very moody blues style decor and we loved the food. Southern Fried Chicken. Grits. Wow.

Loved seeing the sassy girls out to dinner together wearing glittery outfits and skyscraper heels. And the cool dudes hanging out together making music on any corner.

We found a cafe round the other corner to have breakfast and coffee. I ask for double strength, cos the cups are so big.

The others tried bagels and salmon and really enjoyed it.

I walked around the 5th Ave area while the others were at a meeting, strolling nowhere in particular but taking it all in.

I decided to do a little street sketch in a side walk cafe. Nice. I like listening to people around me. I sketch happily while they chat about their lives. Just like anywhere.

Brownstone condos are opposite, neat front fences and pretty gardens. Everything here is pretty, leafy and green.

After the meeting, we checked out MOMA, and then head to Chelsea, in the meat packing district, and High Line.  We choose The Standard to have lunch. Enormous with many quite different sections in varying decor. We liked the loungy outdoor part.

We found the Chelsea market nearby and loved the interesting shopping there. Eleni’s Cakes and biscuits particulaly fascinated me with our Sketch your Cake in mind. Never seen anything like it.

Sketched from a NY cafe

Our Boston visit is coming to an end but to complete the experience, we take in a Red Socks baseball game at Fenway Park.

I order a hot dog with sauce before the game. We find our seats high up in the stand and look in amazement at the grounds below. I’ve never seen a Baseball Park before. This is Fenway Park. Home of the famous Red Socks. Tonight they play the Canadian Blue Jays.

When the thousands of people are seated in this traditional wooden stadium, the band comes out and plays Stars & Stripes.

 

The game starts and I’m surprised how slowly it seems to take place.

Every now and then all the players seem to wander off to their cages, have a discussion and come back out.

I had a sudden urge for an ice cream as there were lots of people doing similar. So much food was being carried up and down the stairways and sold while the game went on.

A great night and we wended our weary way home along with thousands of others getting the ‘T’ to their homes somewhere in Boston.

Cup of tea and pack our bags for the early flight back to Australia first thing in the morning.

What an amazing amount we’ve squeezed into such a short time. We have been to large numbers of cafes, and eaten in restaurants from Boston, The Berkshires and New York City.

A big thank you to our adorable family who run themselves ragged making sure we don’t miss a thing.

So what did I think! Loved it all and I’m going home re-inspired and full of ideas. Look out everybody!

Just a few of the great places we shared meals with friends and family.

©ErinHillMay2014

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