Saturday, April 9, 2011

New England Trip -- in closing...

Thank you, New England Gamer (that pic's her avatar in Plus+), I had a great time touring Boston and visiting your hometown, as well spending some time with you, your husband, and getting to meet your kids and your parents. I'm glad to have met them.

It's always amazing to meet up with someone that you only know previously in text only, and then that person turns out to be like a best friend you haven't seen since forever. I've met up with net friends before, and the incredible feeling of happiness in that first handshake never diminishes. OMG you are real! And the risk I take is well worth it when things turn out this amazing. Again, it has. And I feel blessed.

Thank you. - Liz (Ravenblack)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Winchester - Aberjona River (March 2011)

Winchester, New England (March 2011)

This is Winchester, in New England, in the state of Massachusetts, in the United States of America. (Not Great Britain, as people are prone to thinking so because of the England-ish names.).


1. Shops of all sorts on the main street.

2. Police station and fire house.

3. Winchester Town Hall

NEG took me on a walkabout of her neck of the woods, so to speak. I get the sense she didn't think it would impress me as much as say, Boston or Salem. "Here's the town center... here's the town bookstore... of course a Starbucks" etc and on she goes.

And I was just thinking what perfect place it was to settle in. So quiet, so neat, so serene and no constant traffic noise or sense of crowded-ness.

Winchester isn't very far away from Boston, so it is ideal in that one can still work in the city and come home to this peace and quiet, as contrast to being constantly in high people-density places. I feel like I've got a very small alone space to rest. One almost wish half the population would disappear just so one can have a little bit of more peace.

Of course, I know not all American neighborhoods look like this. But this seems like a very ideal one to me.

"This is a really nice town." I said. And I constantly seem to be saying that, about her town, her neighborhood and her house -- because it's just all perfect to me.

"Yeah...I like it. It's a nice place to raise a family.... The schools are all here... We can get what we basically need from the stores here." NEG said like it was all nothing very exciting.

But for the city-saturated me, I really would want to live in a place with a whole lot less excitement and noise. I might even sacrifice being where I'm always 10-15 minute walking distance from the nearest eating place.

Greek Independence Day celebrations (Sunday, March 20th)

History of the Greek War of Independence

Greek Independence Day is on March 25th, but this celebration was done on the Sunday before. I'm so glad I visited at the right time to attend this.

This celebration is held at a Greek Orthrodox Church. The children, from little ones to teens, had put together a show with recitals and various dances. Dressed in their various ethnic costumes, it was a very colorful performance and they all danced very well.

NEG's son performed this incredible dance with a round tray where he had place one cup and then two cups of water on the inside rim, and swung it around. It was amazing, not a drop spilled! The cool bit was at the end where he and his dance partner took the cups of water and drank the water after. Everyone was impressed. :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Salem MA: Common and a House On Fire

We were walking through Salem Common when we saw a crowd gathering and black smoke rising from a house in the distant.

We walked towards it to see what was happening and saw trucks and firemen surround and aiming their hoses at a house on fire. At one point, we saw flames coming up through the roof. We stood with the crowd and watched as the house was being ruined by the fire within and the hose water smashing through windows and tearing up planks on the front of the house.

Later we learned from the evening news that there was an old lady in the house when the fire occurred, and fortunately she got out. No info as to how the fire started.

Salem: Derby Wharf Light (March 2011)

Lighthouse was build in 1871, situated at the end of Derby Wharf and looks out towards the Atlantic Ocean.

Salem: Salem Maritime National Historic Site (March 2011)

At Derby Wharf. Salem was once a rather busy port.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Nathaniel Hawthorne Birthplace (Salem MA, March 2011)

1. Nathaniel Hawthorn is the author of House of the Seven Gables. This is the house where he was born.

2. NEG says this is probably the only flowers I'm ever gonna get to see while I was there, so I'd better take a picture of it.

House of the Seven Gables (Salem MA, March 2011)

On which the book is based.

Took a guided tour through this house.

Town of Salem -- Streets

The town is rather peaceful while I was there. Salem is a very popular destination to visit during Halloween, and that's when it can get crowded. Note that there are some tours that are open only in certain times of the year.

Salem -- The Witch City (March 2011)

Info about the Salem Witch Trials

1. Salem Witch Museum: inside is a visual (life-size diorama) and audio presentation of the 1692 witch hysteria.

2. Memorial cemetery for the victims of the Witch Trials. Each of these stone slabs have a name of a person who was executed because they were accused of being "witches".

3. Samuel Pickman House (1681) -- it was closed for renovations. A rather horrifying tale attached to it.

4. This was on a side of police van.

Butterflies in an enclosure at the Boston Science Museum (March 2011) - II

I didn't take pictures of the many exhibits of the Science Museum. I highly recommend visiting it and spending the entire day there because of the excellent learning environment -- not boring at all, most of the exhibits are interactive and encourages experimentation and observation. There's also an iMAX theater and Planetarium. Food court overlooks an ocean front and the food is excellent.

Butterflies in an enclosure at the Boston Science Museum (March 2011)

The Boston Science Museum has a small butterfly enclosure which you have to pay a small fee to enter.

Charles River (Cambridge MA) March 2011

1. Harvard's Weld Boathouse in the distance.

2. Charles River and Harvard U across it.

Summer activities on this river include rowing, sculling, sailing and even dragon boating.

Statue of John Harvard (March 2011)

Notice the shiny toe of his boot. Apparently, shining his boot will help you score in your tests.

Harvard Yard (March 2011)

Oldest part and center of the very prestigious Harvard University campus.

Yeah it was snowing rather heavily that day. But I liked it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Bunker Hill Monument -- Spectacular views from the top

NEG: "You alright?"

Me: "uh huh" (Holy crap I'm going faint.)

4 small windows look out and down at just about the entire city of Boston and a little beyond.

We couldn't stay very long as the top room was filling up with people and not nearly enough air.