I met Lindsay six years ago in prenatal yoga, where we bonded over our relatively low-key approach to pregnancy and both having husbands named Dan. In the time since our daughters were born three weeks apart, she’s become one of my favorite friends. Fiona and Rylan play almost miraculously well together, and our families always have a great time hanging out, despite the fact that Lindsay and Dan have that reserved, no-nonsense New England thing going on, whereas Dan and I are over-hugging, oversharing Californians to the core.
But no matter how much we loved having Lindsay and family nearby, we knew deep down we couldn’t keep them. They missed their families and wanted Ry to grow up near her cousins, and so, after 10 years in San Francisco, they decided to move back to the East Coast and settle in adorable Duxbury, Massachusetts. Despite the macro-level heartache of them moving, the micro-level timing actually worked out pretty great. They were able to stay at our place while we were gone and they were staging and selling theirs, and we were able to incorporate a visit to their new home into the New England leg of our trip. Also, because Dan C. likes symmetry (and is an amazing human), he both drove us to the San Francisco airport when we left the country in March, and picked us up from the Boston airport when we arrived back in the US in July.
I have to say, if you’re going to arrive back in the States after a long trip abroad, making your first real stop in a little seaside town in Massachusetts is a pretty fitting way to do it. Covered in historic colonial houses and weatherworn seafood shacks with red, white and blue bunting everywhere, it all feels pretty iconically American. As new arrivals in this picturesque little town, our friends were excited to check out everything Duxbury has to offer—and take us along for the ride. And that is how our visit got EXTREMELY NEW ENGLANDY. How New Englandy? Here’s how:
We ate oysters! On our first day in town, we spent several blissful hours at Island Creek Oysters, where we toured their hatchery and then went out on a boat to eat freshly shucked oysters and caviar and drink white wine. It was a delightful mix of luxurious and down-home, as we shot the breeze with the famers and threw our empty shells over the side of the boat. Dan and Fiona learned to shuck! Fiona tried an (itsy-bitsy piece of) oyster! The kids got to steer the boat! It was all pretty awesome.
We went candlepin bowling! If you haven’t spent time in New England, it’s very possible you’ve never tried/heard of this particular pastime. I certainly hadn’t. But I’m here to tell you it’s delightful. It’s like regular 10-pin bowling, except the pins are thinner and the ball is smaller. Also, fallen pins aren’t cleared between frames, which means you can use them to try and knock down the pins that are still standing. This is called “playing the wood,” which made us giggle. Because we are 12. Anyway, Alley Cat Lane happens to be close to Dan and Lindsay’s place, so we bowled! The kids got bumpers. The grownups got beers, and also sore muscles, because candlepin bowling is not for weaklings. I was pretty bad at it. But it was still pretty fun.
We frolicked on warm summer evenings! The weather was warm and Lindsay and Dan’s backyard is inviting, so we did what came naturally. Namely, played lawn games and danced like children of the night.
We celebrated with seafood and sundaes! Our last full day in Duxbury just happened to be my birthday, which we commemorated in (you guessed it) proper New England style. We spent the morning lounging at the beach, lunched at the Green Harbor Lobster Pound (where I had my very first lobster roll!) and spent a festive evening tucking into sundaes with ice cream from Farfar’s.
Suffice it to say, New England really pulled out all the stops for us on our trip to Duxbury, as did our incredible friends. They hosted us only a month into living in their brand-new house and we couldn’t have felt more welcomed or well taken care of. We’re going to miss having them in San Francisco, but we’ll definitely be back to visit Duxbury again soon.
Next up on this trip? More New England, in all its glory… and LIES.