My Boston Birthday

                                                   The Boston Public Library entrance.

                                                  The Boston Public Library entrance.

This is the entrance to the Boston Public library.  It has been on my bucket list for a very long time. I have had a bucket list for years, always planning and dreaming of places to visit, most far away.  We have accomplished so much and knocked more off the list than I could have imagined. Lately though, as we grow older, our list is focusing more on the places closer to home, some even in our own backyard.  It is lovely to travel to foreign and sometimes strange countries and I'm am forever grateful for those opportunities and for the history lessons I've learned.  The world is beautiful and the people are wonderful and each moment was a treasure to behold, forever in my memory.  

As we move forward we will now visit local places, new States that we have never visited and enjoy all that is close by.  We started this new bucket list on January 31 of this year, my birthday.  Boston is so close and we both just love it there.  I have taught myself how to get to the North End by train and so I get to spend as much time there as I want.  What I wanted this year though was a trip to the Boston Public library.  I have seen many photos of the inside and I knew I would photograph it also.  So come with me on my birthday trip...not around the world but right here in Boston.  I visited the library and was facinated with all that it shared with me.  The marble floors, great art work and wonderful, rich reading rooms. We are so fortunate to have all this beauty right here not 20 miles away.  What a gift to spend a few hours here.  I will come back often.

We them moved to Charles St.  where we had lunch at a favorite little restaurant, that we love.  Not fancy, just super good.  Last but not least, after taking a peek in a couple of my favorite shops, we ended up at Tatte, my all-time favorite bakery and cafe.  So do a bit of armchair traveling with me...and feel the quaintness of old Boston and then we will take a walk up the Hill.

DSCF6685.jpg

A mural outside of Bates Hall on the second floor of the library.  French artist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1824-1898) was regarded as one of the best muralists of the 19th century, with works installed at the Sorbonne, the Hotel de Ville, and the Pantheon in Paris. The Boston Public Library Trustees went against their original goal of highlighting American artists and craftsmen in the 1895 McKim Building, seeking the commission from Puvis given his high reputation.

 Bates Hall....The main reading room.  Gorgeous, and those lights, and the light streaming in.  This is what I came for.

Bates Hall....The main reading room.  Gorgeous, and those lights, and the light streaming in.  This is what I came for.

                                The Light...The Wood...The Marble. Do you remember the card catalogues?                                                           

                               The Light...The Wood...The Marble. Do you remember the card catalogues?                                                           

DSCF6691.jpg

I hope you enjoyed the library tour and I would strongly encourage you to visit if you ever get to Boston.  It's a highlight for sure.  I waited too long but I won't wait so long again to get back there.  For longer visits, they do have a wonderful tea shop and cafe.

Moving on now to lunch.  So we head to Charles St., one of my favorite streets in the city of Boston.  It sits at the base of Beacon Hill and so the views all around are lovely.  It's quite a friendly street also, which makes for a pleasant time.  There are many shops and lovely restaurants and coffee shops.  I have tried some of them.  We stayed for a weekend at the Beacon Hill Bistro and Hotel, which is really great...but honestly, when I want a great breakfast or burger I head to the Paramount restaurant, so that is just what we did...

DSCF6712.jpg

We had been to the Paramount before but just for breakfast.  Since it was my birthday I was hoping that they would have wine and of course, Jim was wanting his beer.  We walked in and the first thing I said to the waiter, with a slight frown on my face..." do you serve wine"...he takes my arm and leads us to a table.  "If you want wine, we give you wine."  I then explained to him that we had only been there for breakfast and today was my birthday, so I wanted to be sure about the wine..."No worries" he says.  Sure enough, I tell him what I want and he delivers a nice glass of wine.  We both ordered the cheeseburgers, which I heard were great, and they did not disappoint.  A bit later the man came back and fills my wine glass again...saying "Happy Birthday."  Oh my, how am I going to get down from this high top seat.  We laughed and laugh,  it was so lovely.  Great burger, great wine, and great people.  If you're ever on Charles St. give Paramount a try.  You can't go wrong with either breakfast or lunch...

DSCF6713.jpg
                  Everyone knew her name...so I'm assuming she lives in the hood. Most likely on the hill.      

                 Everyone knew her name...so I'm assuming she lives in the hood. Most likely on the hill.      

After lunch, I needed to get my sea legs back again...so we stopped in a couple of cute little shops.  So many to choose from.  I do have a few favorites that don't mind if I take a couple of snaps, so I kind of sobered up a bit in there before moving on later in the afternoon for my tea and dessert...Off to Tatte's.  The best little cafe in town.

 Honestly, it takes about 20 minutes of looking and deciding because everything is so delicious...so hard to choose just one treat.  

Honestly, it takes about 20 minutes of looking and deciding because everything is so delicious...so hard to choose just one treat.  

 I don't drink coffee but I sure like the smell of it.  If you have never had a machta green tea latte, you should treat yourself.  Oh MY Gosh, the best ever and it's so good for you. They do it perfectly here.

I don't drink coffee but I sure like the smell of it.  If you have never had a machta green tea latte, you should treat yourself.  Oh MY Gosh, the best ever and it's so good for you. They do it perfectly here.

So this is what I chose for my birthday...The chocolate macaroon and my green tea latte. I also  packaged up the nut box to take home. So happy and what an end to my perfect birthday celebration.  It didn't end there though.  The manager came up, saw me taking photo's of EVERYTHING and asked me what my favorite sweet was.  I told him "most everything in the store."  He then asked me if I had ever tried the shortbread, jelly cookies.  I said "no".  He then proceeds to give me one, "on the house," he says.  "Wait a minute", I say.  First the wine and now this luscious looking cookie.  I ask him if he knew it was my birthday today.. He smiles and says "No but enjoy this cookie for your birthday."  Wow..and you know the rest of the story right.  The cookie was so good I ate it without even thinking of taking a photo of it.  

DSCF6736.jpg

Birthdays come and go.  Some are special, some are just to be endured.  Last year was one to be endured.  This year my thinking is a bit different.  Yes, I crossed over into another digit.  Not so happy about that.  Now I'm thinking if I'm lucky enough to get to this age, I should celebrate it.  So many don't.  I can still hear my brother in the back of my mind saying "Live life. You got 18 more years than I did."  Now my youngest brother joins him in that symphony of words, saying the same thing...with a different number. It seems proper and fitting that I honor them in doing what they wanted to do most...live.  So going forward that's exactly what I am going to do. Not on the other side of the world perhaps but right here in my own backyard.  I never take for granted the beauty that surrounds me here on the North Shore of Boston. I love where I live, a stone's throw from the ocean.  So Happy Birthday to me and many more.  

A special thank you to the guys at the Paramount Restaurant and at Tatte Bakery and Cafe for contributing so generously to my birthday celebration.  You made my heart sing.

Sometimes living life is just a matter of reaching out to yourself.  Not in a big, flashy way but in the small gift of gratitude for those who still speak to us and for those who continue to share our days. Life is meant to be lived...it is the greatest gift of all.

All the photo's in this post were taken with the Fuji XT-2 and the Fuji 23mm f1.4 lens.