Come to Melrose for a Good Sleep

If you couldn’t tell from the last post, Howard and I love having friends visit and stay with us.  We have a guest room with a straight up bed; not a couch and sleeping bag combo, which is the level of hospitality most people in our age/income brackets are at and which is perfectly fine, but a straight up bed.  Clean towels, clean sheets – with the exception of Marissa, our most frequent guest, we also clean the house before each visit (we don’t generally clean it otherwise.  Also, how else to show off the wainscoting?).

And that’s just the guest room!  We also stock the liquor cabinet and purchase snacks we think you might enjoy!  We cook meals, and choose  music according to what we perceive are your tastes based on the outfit you’re wearing when you walk in the door (with a tasteful ignorance of travel rumpling)!  We will show you tv shows we think you’ll think are funny, pictures of the cat you might find adorable, and even the CAT HIMSELF!

Things available to you in “fancy-pants” Melrose: all of the above, + muffins the size of a baby’s head, a starry sky, a pond with birds, the best church thrift store you’ve seen in a while, the local greasy spoon, a nighttime quiet away from streetcars and late-night parties that allows you to sleep as deeply as you do in your parents’ home after a day of fresh air; basically, the kind of small-town experience many of our friends who live in urban areas or are extremely busy don’t often get to enjoy.   And we live on this street:

Doesn’t look exactly like this anymore, but close enough.

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friends, together

This weekend my friend Martin was in town. Everything Martin does is accompanied by great, infectious enthusiasm, and we were really looking forward to his visit.

Friday night: Martin got in late from NYC. I picked him up at a Harvard Business School party, where, true to form, he had already had an experience worthy of theatrical retelling. Then we swung by the Cyclorama to pick up Howard, who was just getting out of a show – straight up carpool style, all cool kids in the Volvo.

Saturday started off with the requisite muffins:

Then moved briefly to downtown Melrose, where we purchased mittens and beer. Then the train into the city. Pizza in the North End, where I snapped this shot at Polcari’s Coffee:

Looks like a great place for general store supplies (or at least a general store experience.  Also probably coffee). From there, we walked to the ICA, on the waterfront:

There we saw several things: the Mark Bradford exhibit (very neat), incredible views (see below), and the following interaction.

Little boy: “Look, Jenny, that’s a piece of ART.”
Little girl: nothing.
Little boy: “Are you LOOKING!?”

But really, we spent a lot of time just hoping no seagulls would careen into the windows and talking about how much Kanye would love it there.

Then we headed to Louis (looks French, I know, but I think it sounds like “Louie’s” – at least that’s how we do), Howard’s maybe favorite menswear establishment in Boston. They do have some quality menswear; also, fragrances, womenswear, housewares and a listening station, where Martin and I spent a little time:

When I realized I would never be able to either fit into or afford any of their womenswear, it was time to go upstairs to Sam’s at Louis (Usher has been there EFF WHY EYE), where we met up with a friend of Martin’s. The view alone could make this place, but they also have quality schmancy cocktails (still dreaming about the ice crown), great snacks (French fries with sage + herbal catsup style), pretty sweet mod/hardwood decor and a hostess who complimented me on my crazy tulip sweater vest. No pics at Sam’s, but here is one I snapped at the door to Louis/Sam’s before we wandered to the main thoroughfare to catch a cab – I guess I thought it was emblematic of something, maybe? Or just a good contrast. Either way, somehow connected to the ice crowns, no doubt:

From there, we headed to Central Bottle for some wine, nice chocolate + Allagash White (the smell of $$$ cheese in that place is intoxicating), and on to a dinner party at Martin’s friend’s. Then to Lord Hobo’s (which is a college bar for grad students with fancy beer – not really our thing, but if it’s your thing go to), and Martin’s friends were kind enough to drive us home from there despite the snow and my horrendous navigational skills.

Sunday morning, I walked Martin to the train; we had some life-oriented words before saying goodbye and I waved as the train rounded the bend into Malden.