Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vacation Recap: Boston

I come from a super large family, my dad is the oldest of eight kids.  I'm not sure how my grandparents did it, but all of the kids are close which means we were all raised around lots and lots of cousins as we were growing up.  Cousins love you like siblings but go home to their own house like friends.  They are the perfect combination.

I'm one of the older cousins in my family, there are fewer older than me than younger.  A few months ago I learned that my cousin, Brian, was getting married.  Brian moved away from Florida to go to business school in Boston where he met his future wife, Michelle.  The last time the Brian and I really got to hang out together was before he was in high school.  After that I'd gone away to college and didn't go home too often and once I was out of college, he was away in Boston.  To see Brian all grown up was such a nice surprise.  He is a successful man, an actual man with a great career, a man who chose a woman to spend the rest of his life with him.  I think Brian is a pretty great

Stephen and I flew up to Boston for the long Memorial Day weekend where we met my dad, step-mom, sister and 12+ other family members - I lost count and the number changed at any given moment.  Our first stop once we landed was to meet everyone for lunch, including the bride and groom.  Look at that table!  I had a lobster sandwich and it was everything I had dreamed of.

After lunch we walked around the area before Brian had to head back to the rehearsal.  Brian took us through Boston Common and to a graveyard with some of the Revolutionary War heroes.

The Capitol Building.

Nothing in Atlanta is that old... we have some 1800s dated places, but not 1600s!

Our walk through the park.  Crazy to think that this land has been a public space longer than the country has actually been a country.

We love the Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta with Civil War era graves, we had to make the stop to see the older graveyard.  We weren't the only ones there, it was packed!

We saw quite a few graves including Samuel Adams, Paul Revere and John Hancock.

From the graveyard, we went to meet some more family at a hole in the wall bar where we met my sister right off the bus from NYC.

After getting back to the hotel we decided to head off to dinner with my parents and sister.  The hotel recommended we try Stoddard's, walking distance from the hotel.

OMG, so good!  The AC was out in the restaurant, so it wasn't the most comfortable meal, but the food far from made up for it.  For dinner I had oysters - Delicious.  The restaurant was decorated with old parts of Boston that were salvaged and put to new use.  From there we headed to meet the bride and groom and the rest of the bridal party and other side of family at The Black Rose.  From what I've been told, the Black Rose is the best Irish bar in all of Boston.

To stay in wedding shape, I drank vodka tonics instead of the Guinness that I really wanted.  We danced, sang traditional Irish songs and watched the Boston Celtics game, thank goodness they won!  I highly recommend The Black Rose for anyone visiting Boston for the real Irish bar feel.  We had such a great time with the live music.

Sunday was wedding day.  Stephen and I went for a run around the area and saw so many gorgeous parks.  One field was FULL of small American flags to honor all of the fallen Boston men and women from past wars.  It was such a pretty sight, but also sad that so many lives have been lost to war.  For lunch we headed to Marliave.

The restaurant patio is tucked in between two old, brick buildings.  We ate outside and enjoyed the cloudless day.  Again, the food was delicious.

From what I could tell, all of the family on both sides of the wedding were visiting from out of town.  That means a lot of people for the same event in one place.  Brian and Michelle needed to transport more than 70 people from the hotel to the church.  What a better way than a school bus!  Most of us hadn't been on a school bus in 10+ years and we all had a blast with the tiny seats and laughing at the person who had to sit by the wheel (me).

Words don't even describe how beautiful the church was.  Above is the inside of Our Lady of Victories Catholic Church.  Have you seen anything like that in the States?  Churches in Europe are that pretty, but I've never seen something so pretty in our country.  We were on the first bus trip to the church so we had some time before the ceremony started and Stephen and one of my cousins did some research on the church.  So much history!

Look how great we all clean up!

Yep, my aunt and I were wearing pretty similar dresses - great minds think alike.

The reception was held at our hotel which was so super convenient since 90% of the wedding guests were staying there that night.  We all danced late into the night and then closed down the hotel bar around 2:00am.    Notice I'm not wearing any shoes in the above picture, those were off as soon as the dancing started.

Overall, the trip was just perfect.  We got to spend time with my family and Stephen got to meet them all for the first time.  Such a treat.  Meeting so many members of my family could have been very intimidating, but he handled it so well and everyone loved him.

The weirdest thing that we saw while we were there... that's right, it's an oatmeal machine.  This was in a 7-11 that we stopped at on our way back to the hotel after the first night of drinking.  Really?  An oatmeal machine?  It's that hard to pour oats into a cup with some water or milk and then microwave?  Gross.

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