Thursday, August 25, 2016

Rockport - August 2016

Last week I visited Massachusetts for the second time with my wife. The first time we came was in December of 2013, just a few months after we started dating, so that I could meet her father who lives in Rockport just outside of Boston. It just so happened that the week we were there was one of the coldest weeks they have had in that area in almost 25 years, and I also managed to catch the flu during the flight. But despite single digit temperatures outside and trying to contain my triple digit body temperature inside, we managed to have a fun trip which included touring Fenway Park and catching a game at the Garden to watch the Celtics play the Knicks. We also spent a day in Rockport, which was the day it snowed over half a foot. Seeing snow fall that hard while also looking at the ocean was a surreal experience for me.

This time, we were smart and decided not to visit the Northeast during the winter, and would be seeing Boston and the coast in the middle of August. Amanda has been visiting the area for most of her life, as her father has lived in Rockport since she was 4, so visiting for her feels as much as a homecoming as it does a vacation. I have been lucky enough to go to Ecuador to visit my father earlier this year, and more recently took a trip to Lake Tahoe with Rogue Expeditions (see previous blog post for a recap of that trip), so I was excited about getting to take one more trip before we both start the Fall semester of our graduate school programs.

After early flights, we arrived around lunch time and her dad picked us up at the airport and drove us the hour or so out to Rockport, where we ate lunch on a patio overlooking Cape Ann and the Atlantic Ocean. We ate clam chowder and caught up, and then headed to his condo to unpack and get settled. After a short jog around town to shake out our legs, the evening was spent telling stories and laughing, and once in bed, we stayed up to watch Benjamin Button all the way through despite being exhausted from our 3 AM wake up call that morning.

On Friday, Amanda met with a higher up at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for lunch to network and learn more about the hospital, and her father and I strolled down Newbury Street, a popular shopping and eating destination in the heart of the city. My father in law proceeded to give me excellent life advice over our lunch, which is typical when spending time with him. When we picked up Amanda after her meeting, she was beaming with excitement for having gotten to see a lot of Mass Gen and share her ideas for her future with a fellow UT graduate. We stopped for ice cream on the way back to Rockport, and settled in for a movie that night.

The next morning, I decided to go on a running adventure and run along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway to the Annisquam Lighthouse about 6 miles away from where we were staying. The road itself lived up to its name, and the Light(house) at the end of the tunnel was stunningly beautiful. People commenting on the photo I posted to social media asked if it was really a photo I took, or rather a picture of a painting I was posting. I had not been prepared for how beautiful the coast is in the Northeast during this time of year. Even the rocks were beautiful. That night Amanda and I shared a romantic dinner at the same balcony restaurant we ate lunch at the first day, and watched the sunset over the sleepy town.

On Sunday, Amanda and I rented bikes and explored Rockport on two wheels. The houses are a combination of historic, huge, and beautiful, and come in all shades of colors. We finished the bike ride with a dip in the ocean at Front Beach, which added to the bodies of water I have gone swimming in this calendar year (Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador, Lake Tahoe, now the Atlantic Ocean). We ended our day watching Memento, which we had never seen.

It was bittersweet having to head home the next day, as we felt as though we had just gotten comfortable and relaxed in our little beach condo getaway. But it was great to finally get to take a trip together, as we had both traveled without each other over the course of our first year of marriage, but hadn't taken a trip together since right after we got in engaged over 2 years ago to Portland. While it can be good to have those breaks away from each other at times, trips like these remind us that we truly are each other's best friend, and it left us feeling refreshed before we both get busy in the grind this Fall.

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