Monday, August 10, 2009

Boston, Cont'd: Fried Dough, Steamers and a Birthday Bash

We spent the second half of our trip to New England with Dave's family; we planned this trip around being there for his stepmother's 70th birthday party on Saturday, August 8th. On Friday we enjoyed a great day with Paige, as the three of us headed up the coast about an hour to Hampton Beach, Mass. Friday's trip also brought two New England traditions; now, if you already know about steamers and fried dough, then hey -- you are MILES ahead of me. If you aren't familiar with them, then stay tuned.

Before we headed up to Hampton, Paige and I had lunch with my Aunt Theresa, who lives in Chelmsford, Mass. It was wonderful to see her again, and to see my Uncle James as well. Aunt Theresa was the only sibling in my mother's family that moved far away from the midwest, and it has been nice to reconnect with her since Dave's family lives so close to her. (Of course I know my Aunt Mary, who regularly reads this blog, will remind me that I have now seen Aunt Theresa twice in just a few years - I definitely owe HER a visit in Iowa, soon!)

It was a beautiful day for the beach, the sky was filled with puffy white clouds and the breeze on the beach was balmy and not too hot. We walked up and down the beach in the surf, and enjoyed the weather and the people-watching.

Ah, see the jetty below, a trail of rocks that juts out several hundred yards out into the ocean? Looks like it would be so easy to get out where Paige and I are standing below, doesn't it? Like it would just a "hop, skip and a jump" out on these large boulders, all the way to the end.

Well, for some sure-footed people it probably would be. And that was the case with Paige, but NOT me. Good freakin' grief, this was not one of my more graceful adventures. Luckily I was sandwiched between her and Dave, so that they could help me navigate the large crevices between some of the rocks. See this below? Me, laboriously climbing down into the gaps? Not so much with Paige, who has been in cheer and tumbling for the last several years. She easily leapt from rock to rock like a little mountain goat (that's a compliment, Paige) and then would turn around to make sure I was doing ok, God love her. :)

Dave asked about halfway through if we wanted to turn around and go back, and I assured him that NO, this was like mountain climbing, you don't just stop halfway -- we were going for the summit. And, considering this was the most exercise we had on this vacation, it was probably a good thing that we did exert the energy to go all the way out to the end and back.

Before we left the beach and the boardwalk on Hampton, Dave said we just had to try the fried dough. Well, actually it was the "fried doe" or "fried dogh" as a couple of signs read; I was glad that the one we ended up at spelled it correctly, and Paige agreed. Dave just rolled his eyes at my spelling Nazi-ism.

Fried dough is what it sounds like -- think funnel cakes here in the Ozarks, but this is one big dinner plate-sized piece of dough that is deep fried and then covered with your choice of toppings - carmel, powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar and several others. We all three split one, and it was yummy.

Dave's last stop down memory lane was at Brown's, a little restaurant on the beach that has been there for almost 60 years and is famous for its fried seafood and steamers. Steamers, or steamed clams, were what Dave was craving; he said he couldn't leave Mass without having some, and Brown's was "the" place to have them.

They were $12 for a quart (I think; it was about 30 of them) and it was quite the process. First you open the shell, peel the clam out and take off the membrane at the top of the neck. Then you dip it in steaming hot water to clean it off, and then finally in a cup of butter before popping it into your mouth.

I tried one, and that was all I needed. They must be an acquired taste; while I do like fried clams, this was just way too much texture for me, to put it politely. Paige was a trooper and ate about seven or eight, and I think she actually liked them fairly well.
We headed back to Dave's sister's house that evening, and spent the next few days with all of the family. It was especially nice for Paige to be there, since it has been three years since she has been to Boston, and her next few years will be very busy with college. She enjoyed spending time with Gail and Jr, Dave's parents, pictured below.

Dave's sisters worked very hard to put on a great party for Gail, with about 40 people in attendance. Several of Gail and Jr's friends from Florida (where they spend the winter) came to the party, as did some relatives from NY and NJ. It was a fun evening, with some great food and a yummy cake, as you can see from the picture of Paige and Dave below (nice blue frosting, guys!)

Now we're home, and while it was an awesome trip, I'm glad to be back. It was the longest time I've ever been gone from Jace, and I missed him lots. He had a good time with his dad and stepmom, and stayed busy with all his summertime activities, but I know he was glad for me to be home as well. I picked him up after dinner last night and we went for Andy's frozen custard and got caught up on everything.

I'm also back to work and getting caught up here; finishing typing this over my lunch hour, and now must get back to reading and following up on all the emails that came in while I was on vacation. I'll close with a big "Thank you!" to all of Dave's family, his friend Scott and other EMC friends, and my Aunt Theresa for showing us a great time while we were in New England, it was a blast!


Rob said...

Did you get any photos of Aunt Theresa?

Lucas said...

I would have been just like you with the steamers; one would have been enough. :) Sounds like an awesome trip! Thanks for all the stories and photos.

Tara said...

Wow, it looks like you guys had a great time!! The fried dough sounds awesome!! :) Not so much on the steamers, but kudos to you for at least trying them.