Running the Cape ~ Ragnar Cape Cod

So, Ragnar Relay Cape Cod.  Where do I even begin?  The fact that I ate more bread in a four-hour period than I had in two weeks (I’m talking heavenly delicious blueberry granola bread from When Pigs Fly)?  Or that I got a total of 3 hours’ max of restless sleep?  Or that I had three of the hardest runs in my life (or last four years) and pretty much was crying on leg #3, my second 9.6 trek? Or that I had an absolute blast and couldn’t stop laughing the entire trip?

Yeah, I don’t know where to begin either so let’s just start at the beginning.  As I mentioned last Friday, I had completed a few of these Ragnar Relays in the past.  As a matter of fact, I completed the Wasatch Back Relay, which was the inaugural Ragnar (it started back in 2003).  When you tell someone that you are voluntarily paying to run between 15-22 miles and sit in a car for 24+ hours, they will probably think you are insane. I tried again and again to explain what would happen and why it was fun but it turns out you can’t comprehend what will go down on one of these trips – no matter how many posts and articles you read – until you have completed one.

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BAA Marathon 16 + NP The Book

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So you already know that I was up in Boston this past weekend to watch the Boston Marathon.  There also happened to be this thing called the November Project book that launched last week and has been a pretty big deal.  Ok, maybe just a big deal to those involved in one of the various tribes.  Anyways, here’s a little recap of what’s been going on in my NP world.

On Sunday afternoon I met up with my friend Emma and Jackie to drive up to Boston for the marathon.

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^^ I had just eaten my breakfast smoothie but agreed to a quick pitstop in Harlem (all the way up in 151st street…exploring a new hood) for some Mexican fare.  All three of us went for some version of carnitas, which was a solid choice.  Emma’s burrito was a little more than we could manage but it was a good attempt.

We made it to Beantown around 5 or so, dropped off Emma and went to explore Cambridge.  We were actually staying with one of the Boston NP members and I have to say, what a darn cool group of people to have in your life.  Our tribe had done the same thing for the New York Marathon where we created a google doc listing out people that were offering space to stay and those who were looking for housing.

Later that evening, we met up with our pal Jess (who happened to be running the marathon!) for dinner at Cambridge Common.  I may have eaten my entire weight in nachos, so it was a good thing that I wasn’t running extensively the next day.

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^^ The next morning Jackie and I ran about 4 or so miles to the destination workout and wouldn’t you know, we got to pass by both the Wednesday and Friday workout locations – Harvard Stadium and Summit Ave.  The Harvard steps are still on my bucket list, but a view from a far was good enough for this trip.

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^^ If one knew other tribe members, they went up to one another, embraced and reconnected.  The rest of the tribes sort of stayed in their own little groups (t#juniorhighdance).  Then we bounced (promptly at 6:28), did some sprints, played tag, and did a bit of a group challenge workout – this time mixing up tribes and forcing us all to meet new people.  Guilty moment – I don’t remember most of the names of the people that I met.  I am terrrrrible with names and it’s certainly something I need to work on.

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^^ Post workout where Brian (the one with the bib) went off to casually run a marathon (a race that happened to be his 9th Boston and 74th marathon!) The rest of us dispersed to eat and shower before heading to the Mile 18 cheer station.

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It sure was one hell of a race to watch. This was the third marathon that I have spectated and I give all the credit in the world to those people running.  This was also a different breed of race since a majority of the runners had to qualify in order to get in (*there are bibs for charities as well)  That meant that they are SPEEDY and 100% beast mode.  The weather was glorious for spectating, but a temperature in the high 60’s and low 70’s left some runners struggling.  For many, it wasn’t the race that they had expected or had hoped.  But, they made it and most finished, so that in itself is a major accomplishment.

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Video Collage of Mile 18

>> https://twitter.com/ohanaloverun/status/722122687296966656

https://www.instagram.com/p/BEWdPdwEF8u/

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^^ We may not have run 26.2 miles but between running to the workout, the workout, and walking around the course, this was a solid day of mileage.

YouTube (via Fox News) ~ November Project Leaders Brogan and Bojan came up to New York to talk about about the release of the NP_Book as well as participate in a little North Face Athletics workout in Central Park.  What’s hilarious (to me) is that so many people follow the two of them (and many other leaders) so we obviously know where they are traveling and often feel as if we know them personally.  Then, when you actually are right there asking for them to sign the book, you find yourself a bit speechless and thanking them (in a very cheesy manner) for starting this movement.  Or maybe that’s just me.  Cool.

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^^ Now here we are, back to the Wednesday grind at Gracie Mansion.  Today’s crafty caption was “suns out buns out”.   If you’re interested in checking out the hype, come meet us Friday at Chelsea Piers (6:28a) and next Wednesday at 102nd St. footbridge (UES) at 5:28a/6:28a.

“The reason I joined the Tribe was the unique combination of fitness, community, respect, love, and most importantly inclusion.” – Bart Yasso (Chief Running Officer of Runner’s World magazine)

Boston Bound for Marathon Monday 2016

Here we are with yet another Marathon Monday and another Patriot’s Day in the books.  To be honest, I don’t think I really knew or fully understood the importance of the Boston Marathon before I moved to the east coast.  Sure, I ran but I wasn’t immersed in the running community and was not friends with anyone who had run the race.  It’s the oldest consecutively run marathon and obviously known as one of the most prestigious in the world. (source*)  People normally spend months training for a marathon.  But for the Boston Marathon, you may end up spending months and even years first qualifying and then running Boston.  But, with all that hard earned blood, sweat, and tears, it’s sure a race to remember.

Now that I’ve lived out here for 2.5+ years, I’ve seen the race on TV (well on my computer…same thing) and it’s about time that I see it in person.  I managed to clear my schedule, submit my PTO, and find a crew willing to trek up from NYC to watch and cheer our friends on.  Carpe diem.

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Last year I just so happened to be in the area, but was actually visiting Cape Cod with family and didn’t get to see the race.  I did however run to Boston’s Friday workout on Summit Avenue (no joke those hills are killer) and saw plenty of runners shaking it out on Sunday before our train back to NYC.

Some people say that the only way you should be able to run Boston is by qualifying.  It’s the thing to do for the bragging rights and something to prove you are a true runner.  Not so fast.  Part of me would love to participate and race in such an established event, however since I still have yet to run a marathon, the verdict is out if I’ll be in any place down the road to qualify.  (*women 18-34 must run 3:35 and with so many speedy people, they pretty much need a few minute buffer to ensure acceptance).

Boston means so much more to people and while there will always be the speedy crew, there is also the option to participate in a charity and help fund raise for a well-deserving organization. Quite a number of charities actually provide training and support programs in exchange for raising money.  Below is just a glimpse at one such program by Bain Capital.

More Than Miles 2xHere are some articles related to the marathon, including a very well written tribute after the ’13 bombing by Emily Faherty

Huffington Post ~ “Heartbreak in Boston

Runner’s World ~ Boston Marathon

~ “A Brief History of the Boston Marathon” ~

~ “Boston – It’s Time to Run Again” ~

WSJ.com ~ “Why A Fast Time Might Not Fly for the Boston Marathon

BAA.com ~ “History of Qualifying Standards

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Today has already started on the right foot with a Boston NP Destination Deck workout and we’re off to cheer on our friends and so many others running in today’s race.

“Toeing the starting line of a marathon, regardless of the language you speak, the God you worship or the color of your skin, we all stand as equal. Perhaps the world would be a better place if more people ran.” – Dean Karnazes

Celebrating More Good Times in NYC ~ Year 2 ~

With that, year two is complete in the NYC.  Boom.  This happens to be the second-longest I have spent in one place (third if you count when my parents and I lived abroad in England – but I was just a baby).  As I went to write this post, I was amazed at how much has and hasn’t changed in a year.  The groups of people I hang out with, the things I like to do on the weekend (hello run + brunch), and just taking a look back at year one in the Big Apple and I already feel that much more mature and accomplished.

Most of my friends at NP joke that I’m not really the 24 year old I claim to be.  I guess that can be a good thing, right?  Some days I act wise beyond my years and maintain a bedtime of 10:30.  Other days, I continue to freak out about my future, if what I’m doing is right or enough, and all those other 20-year old stresses.  I think this post from Katie Wanders about her first year as a transplant, sums up life perfectly.  It’s not easy and there are ups and downs.  Thanks to technology, we can phone home (probably too often…sorry mom), document our adventures (but try not to get caught up in FOMO or “grass is greener” syndrome), and find pretty much any activity or job we would like.  I’ll spend another day to ramble on all of that, but for now, here’s to a fabulous two years in the city and at least one more!

Forewarning, this is a long post with LOTS of pictures.

~ FALL 2014 ~

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Towards the end of my first year in the city, I started going to a little thing (or big thing) called November Project.  I’ve talked again and again how it’s been part of the glue that keeps me sane in this city.  Who knew that just showing up to one workout could really lead to so much fun?

IMG_6013Quick hop, skip, and a jump to visit my friend Laura in her San Francisco hood and then meet up with a college friend – Alexis – for a little time in Seattle.  Ok, not exactly “NYC” recap, but still, good times.

IMG_6062A little bit of time in the wilderness (hey hey Appalachian Trail!) goes a long way.  The gal directly behind me actually ended up spending three or so months on the trail hiking from one end to the next!  I think I’ll pass on that bucket list item.  Maybe portions of the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail)…maybe.

IMG_6035Paying tribute at the recently completed 9/11 Memorial

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A SPLENDID trip down to Washington D.C. where I spent the weekend with my grandma Nance and family friends in Maryland. We had a hoot walking around a couple museums, soaking up some time in the suburbs, and overall hilarity that ensues with this family.

IMG_6558 That time New York recreated the Friends cafe for its anniversary.  I can now say that I have finished all most of the episodes from seasons 1 to 10.  Honestly, I got a little bored with it all and resorted to watching every other episode when one of the roommates had it on.

IMG_6553 ^^ All the pumpkin and all the Chobani.  Did you know that the SOHO store even lets you keep the bowls?? Maybe I need to make another trip soon.

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Fall trip to Beantown where I was able to visit the November Project Mother Tribe for HILLS FOR BREAKFAST.  Now the question is if I can make it to the epic Wednesday Harvard Stadium workout.

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More Boston Travels (a delightful trip around the city despite the rainy weather!)

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I LOVE SETH MYERS.  Unfortunately he is married.  But we got to see him live in person and see his show, so I still consider myself lucky.  Still working to get into see Jimmy Fallon (and one day SNL)

IMG_6904 ^^ The very first race that I ever volunteered and needless to say I am HOOKED.  I signed up as a part of November Project’s #mile14 takeover, working from 6:30ish until 2.  I was exhausted to say the least.  Of course not as tuckered out as those runners but boy, screaming and handing out water/gatorade for that long does wear you out.

IMG_6918 OH AND GET PUMPED FOR MILE 7 THIS YEAR!!!

IMG_7062 ^^ THE ONE AND ONLY NP PICTURE DAY.  This was around the time I really started to focus on my plantar faciitis and give it a rest.  I ran PR day and took this picture, which I love but my family members do not.  Oh well, you can’t always win.

~ WINTER 2014/2015 ~

IMG_7018 ^^ Aren’t the lights and decorations at Macy’s beautiful?  They really do make you believe there is magic during this season.  Of course not pictured (as well) are the hundreds of pushy people flocking to THE holiday store in the city.

IMG_7107 ^^ Volunteering as a seat filler (you sit down at the tables if – and only if – the very important people have to use the loo or leave) at the CNN Heroes event at the Museum of Natural History.  Outfit of the day by LOFT.  I love me some cheetah and leopard print. 🙂

IMG_7168 Nice little visit from Mom and family friends 🙂

IMG_7828~ HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM NP AND ME TO YOU ~ Let the gosh darn cold season begin.  We may be smiling above but we were freezing our rears off on the Randall’s Island footbridge.

IMG_8313Here we are at one of the many Saturday runs out of NYRR (New York Road Runners) – some of my friends in the front including miss Ali.  You know, I do love my weekend runs but I never would have given myself enough credit to go out and choose to run in the cold.  That is, unless my countless running buddies were also going along with me.   Fingers crossed we can make it work again this year!

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^^ Work trip to Chicago had me thinking “ok, if I fly out Tuesday I can make it to a Wednesday AND Friday workout.  Brilliant”.  Of course it ended up being -16 on both days.  Oh fun fact – I used to think that 59F was COLD.  Yeah, good times.

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Drinks out with the girls at a local speakeasy – Dear Irving.  I can thank Lindsay for moving out to the east coast and encouraging us to go out and explore more of the night life 🙂

IMG_8794 IMG_8729 ^^ My NP buddies who are ALSO born on the very best day…May 6

IMG_8962~ SPRING 2015 ~

IMG_9220 Rain or shine, November Project all the time.

IMG_6647Took a trip with the grandparents to Cape Cod.  They flew out for a little rest and relaxation on the brisk east coast and were kind enough to let me tag along.

IMG_6763 IMG_9564 Trip down to Philly for the Broadstreet 10 Miler.  Love that Alex is rocking her red, white, and blue grassroots gear.

IMG_9674 Guess what?  We are all born on the very same day (but different years).  So much love.  And on Wednesdays, we wear pink.

IMG_9933In May, I took about a week and a half to visit my sister abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark and from there, we took on Scandinavia! A little time on the roller coasters of Tivoli (Copenhagen)

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IMG_0097To crushing a half marathon in Goteborgs, Sweden

IMG_0291Celebrating CNN’s 35th anniversary with free swag and a couple of my best work buddies.

~ SUMMER 2015 ~

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Farmborough Country Festival ~ June 2015

IMG_0800 They say rain is a good thing.  I say thank goodness for sheltered performances.  We stuck it out under the tent until it was time for Brad Paisley to perform.  Then we ran our way across the bridge to the subway and home (completely soaked).  Got to love country.

IMG_1185 ^^ That time I decided to sign up (twice) for a skeeball league.  Not only did I perfect the art of throwing a skeeball, but I made a few solid friends along the way.  Like I said, we may not have the perfect relationships all the time, but people certainly do come into your life at different times and for different reasons.

IMG_1251 #runtoeat … 9 miles and a doughnut ice cream sandwich later

IMG_1378 ^^ Celebrating Zara’s birthday at quite possibly the most fabulous rooftop in the city – Gallow Green.  Sure, it’s in the worst location (subway wise) but too perfect with all the planters and excellent drink combinations.

IMG_1569 A trip down to Baltimore to visit a good friend. Sarah knows her stuff – running, ice cream, and how to spend a good Friday night.

IMG_1600 Best.ice.cream.cone.ever.

Mic drop.

IMG_1557 Summer isn’t complete without America’s favorite past-time.  LET’S PLAY BALL! But let’s also be realistic, if this were a National League game, I’d be rooting for my boys in blue (Dodger Blue) all the way.

IMG_1782Making the most of summer streets with Marnie.  We powered through 8-9 miles that day (a lot for me!), saw all the sights, picked up a free coconut water, and a couple of green juices.

IMG_1789Please summer, don’t leave us.

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Congrats if you made it to the end of this post.  You’re a trooper.  I always enjoy looking back at my posts, my pictures, and those old-school scrapbooks.  Reminiscing and remembering, considering how things may look differently a month or few years down the line.  We change and we evolve.  We have amazing adventures and days that bore us to death.   But even though the sun sets in one area (hello gorgeous Central Park sunset), there’s still a bright new day (and year for that matter) ahead.  Let’s power on to make each moment worth our while and embrace the good as well as the not so good.

“Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.” – Phillips Brooks

Running Boston

A few people thought that from my Instagram posts, that I was running the Boston Marathon last week.  No, I just happened to be in the city on Friday and Sunday and was able to enjoy the festivities.  There is something magical about being in the city during this race weekend that makes you want to run a marathon.  Folks, that’s months of training, maybe even years of training and even a bit of pure luck if you can get into the Boston Marathon.  Sure, it may be a crazy dream but I would love to run it one day.

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Back when I started to run cross country, I just wanted to place for my team.  Later on I happened to be one of the faster runners but that’s not really saying much for our division.  I also managed to graduate right before my sister and her teammates annihilated each and every one of my times.

In college I ran for fun and I started to get more competitive.  I ran a number of half marathons, just with basic road running as my training.  No diet adjustment, no strength workouts, and no speed training.  Then I joined November Project and started to think about running a marathon.  So many other people do it, why can’t I?  Certainly I could break 4 hours.  But what about qualifying for Boston?  It seemed that if I didn’t run fast enough, I wouldn’t be a worthy runner.  That’s 1) not true and 2) who knows what the future holds.  Running is competitive but should also be about celebrating everyone that is out there pushing their limits.

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As you may pick up from my pictures, I’m not exactly built with the typical slim-speedy-marathoner body.  Even if I were to stop eating my mug cakes (probably should do that anyways) and clean out my diet (which is already filled with vegetables soooo sugar is the remaining culprit), I don’t think I’ll ever look like Kara Goucher or Shalane Flanagan.  I still want to run a marathon and I still want to run Boston.

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So now, with that all in mind, let me take you through some Boston moments as seen by yours truly prior to the 2015 Boston Marathon.

IMG_9332Blue and yellow adorned almost every building near the finish line (and the church).  There were flower beds filled with blue and yellow colors, tulips, and so much more.

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As seen on my run to NP Boston (Summit Ave hills).  Aren’t these adorable?  I almost fell in love with the town, enough to consider living there one day.  But then I realized I couldn’t survive the winters.  Not by a long shot.

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While the trip to Boston had been planned a few months back, I was able to arrive on Thursday night, perfect for a quick jog around town and November Project workout on Friday morning.  I even happened to run (literally) into my NP_NYC friends Brian and Mary, both of whom were running in Monday’s race!

IMG_6761IMG_6760Groups upon groups of people out and about, running the course, running through parks, and soaking up all that sunshine.

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Even Mrs. Mallard took her little ducklings out for a shake-out run prior to the marathon.   Aren’t they adorable with their little spring hats?

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Then there was the actual running and viewing of the marathon itself.  I had a few friends lined up to race and decided to watch and track them online.  BAA had this amazing little setup where you could track the runners and their various paces throughout the entire course!  They even had little running figures map out where exactly each runner was.  Nifty, right?

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Each one of them (and the thousands of others) crushed it.  I really was quite in awe of so many people running their hearts out.  A special shout-out to my family friend Mia who ended up running 3:25 and is a truly awesome person.  Well deserved!

Of course following any large sporting event, there are articles, slideshows, and interviews with the top names.  The other day I read Shalane’s take on her race and something she said really resonated with me.

What goes through your head? When a race is going so wrong, why keep going?

SF: In life you can’t expect everything to go your way, every single timeYou never know what’s going to happen up front sometimes when there’s a battle going on—sometimes they come back your way. 

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Running has truly become an identity and a best friend.  I love the feeling of running a race and the excitement from all the runners around you. I love talking about training (or at least getting ideas about training since mine is often called “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants”) and I love that feeling of accomplishment you get after working out.  Call me crazy, that’s fine, but it’s a lifestyle and I love it.

Boston’s Freedom Trail

What better way to explore a town you are visiting than by walking around?  Well, if you happen to find yourself in the northeast, you are in for a treat.  Boston’s Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile path, takes you along 16 different historical sites, past countless museums, and other cultural sites.  If you are looking for a city wide tour, I recommend picking up a ticket for a hop-on and hop-off bus, but I find that walking or running the streets gives you a more in-depth look at it all.

A few weeks ago, my friend Lindsay and I happened to be traveling to the Beantown and of course on the day we had planned to walk the Freedom Trail, it was raining cats and dogs.  After finishing brunch and wandering a few stores, the rain started to ease up.  We decided to check out Boston Commons in hopes that the sun would shine through.  Slowly but surely we found ourselves at the start of the trail and the rest is history.  Really though…

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The tour itself (self-guided or guided) starts at the visitor center in Boston Commons and travels along a noticeable brick path. Here you can pick up pamphlets, maps, and other guides of things to do in the city.  You can even take a tour by a guide dressed in historically themed garb if you are so inclined.

 Note: there is another visitor center at Faneuil Hall where you can select a tour.

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Stop #1
Beacon Hill – Black Heritage Trail – Otis House Museum

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King’s Chapel – Historic Burying Grounds – Park Street Church

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 The idea for the trail was created by a local  journalist William Schofield back in the 1950s.  When it was finally created in 1953, almost 40,000 started walking the trail each year.

IMG_6230Because in our society, placing a popular chain steak house within a historic monument (or area) is totally normal.  Just dining alongside Paul Revere’s grave – no big deal.  Here you pass along the Old South Meeting House and Old State House before arriving at Faneuil Hall.

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Faneuil Hall – a marketplace and meeting spot that has been around since 1742.  It has even been the spot for many famous speeches by Samuel Adams, James Otis, and others that supported independence from Great Britain.

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Quincy Market – a tour in itself.  This place is stacked with eateries and I guess you could call it Boston’s food court.  There are some classics such as chowder (shall I say “chowda”?) and lobster rolls, as well as good ‘ol ice cream and pizza.  This could certainly serve as a nice lunch spot and on a nice afternoon, there are plenty of places to sit outside and soak up the sun.  The ground was still a bit damp and the air a bit chilly, so we weren’t as lucky, but still lots of fun to people watch.

The path winds in and around the North End, where you will soon find yourself in the Italian district and if you are still hungry, I highly recommend picking up a cannoli from the well-known Mike’s Pastry shop.  We saw person after person heading back towards the center of town with a white box that read Mike’s Pastry and knew we had to give it a shot.

IMG_6238Don’t be alarmed by the length of the line.  They know how to turn customers over and make those customers happy – or at least their stomachs happy.  

IMG_6246Hungry enough to fill an entire box?  How about some to take home?  Nope, we decided to eat ours then and there.  Plus as a couple of gals from California, we were trying to be green and reduce waste 😉

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I selected the double chocolate flavor while Lindsay went with cookies and cream.  Hands down – best cannoli ever.  I’m just salivating as I think about the sweet ricotta and crunchy pastry dough.   Sweet tooth satisfied and it’s time to continue along the trail.

IMG_6252Old North Church past the grand ‘ol Paul Revere statue and the Revere household

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As you continue along the Charlestown Bridge, check out all view over the Inner Harbor

IMG_6255 Sun starting to set over the Zakim/Bunker Hill Bridge

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The most adorable houses leading up to Monument Square and Bunker Hill, which means you have made it to the end!

Bunker Hill was the first mega-conflict between the British and Patriot forces during the American Revolutionary War.

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As we headed back on the trail towards the North End, we stopped by the USS Constitution.  The ship was closed for a private event, but we were still able to watch the nightly ceremony where guns are fired off of the ship at dusk.  If you happen to be in the area and don’t mind waiting outside the gates, it is one beautiful way to watch the sunset.

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The Freedom Trail
~ Sites ~ Map ~ Tour ~

“The traveler sees what he sees.  The tourist sees what he has come to see.” G.K. Chesterson