For our second Christmas since moving to Boston, Cade and I were able to make it home again for about 10 days to cover Christmas and New Year’s. It’s such a treat to be able to just escape our hectic life for a bit to unconnect from daily responsibilities and reconnect with the family. This year was particularly special, as I got to meet new family members and learn some history about my dad’s side of the family.
But, before we headed home, Cade and I had a little celebration of our own. On the day before we head home, we always treat ourselves to a lunch out. This year it was at a place called Rebecca’s Cafe, which was new for us and took us to a part of the city we hadn’t been before. We also decided to do some kind of outing together instead of buying each other gifts, due to financial and space constraints. We really considered the Boston Ballet, but instead opted for doing a tour at Harpoon Brewery. I know, us choosing something involving beer..so shocking. We are planning on going to the Boston Ballet another time, possibly to see the Black Swan this spring. But, we had a really great, relaxing time, which is what’s important.
When we arrived, they had already booked for the closest hour tour, so we needed to wait for over an hour before we could begin the next one. With there being a tap room, this was not a problem. We opted for getting a sampler, so we could try several of their beers that we hadn’t had before, and also got a pretzel, which I would highly recommend! It was made from the leftover brewing yeast and the sauces are made with some of their brews. Very likely the best pretzel I’ve ever had.
After chilling with our pretzel and beer samples, we headed for the tour soon enough. It began like any other tour, showing you around the facilities, tell you about how they make their beer, covering the history.. Then, the best part comes..the samples! Harpoon was a bit different than other tours we had been on in that they didn’t provide a certain amount of samples that were predetermined. They sat aside a certain amount of time and allowed you to try as many as you liked. When Cade and I heard this, we gave each other that “let’s do this” look. The challenge (I’m pretty sure it wasn’t meant to be a challenge, but look who you’re talking to) was on and we were able to try all of the samples the had on tap.
After the tour, we had to get a growler to match our Samuel Adams growler. Funny thing that we didn’t realize was that you’re supposed to drink it in the first 72 hours, and we held off until after we got back from the holidays. Luckily, it was fine and we got to enjoy it.
Once landed, my mom picked us up and we began our usual routine of hitting all the Christmas’ as each parent’s house. Along the way, we had some fun, including trying some ancient beer that my dad got Cade for Christmas, having some dinners out, and playing games.
Cade’s mom took us to Little Zagreb’s, which has the best steak around. Cade and I always get the sirloin for two, and it’s enough to feed both of us twice!
Cade’s mom also taught me the secret red velvet cake recipe, which even with all my anxiety turned out really well.
And, as is tradition, we spent a couple nights playing games with the family.
One of the special things about this holiday was that I got to meet some new family members, including my cousins new little one. That cousin also has a couple other small additions with her recent marriage, and a couple of other cousins had their SO’s there for me to finally meet.
The last special family moment was getting to see my grandparents after, I believe, three years. My grandmother has since developed Alzheimer’s, which was difficult to realize how much she struggled to remember who I was, but it was nice seeing them nonetheless and getting to hear some stories from my grandfather. Those stories ended up sparking a whole lot of curiosity in me, and my dad ended up having a few for me on our drive back from the visit.
One story in particular that my grandfather told was one of his grandfather, who is the member of our family that immigrated from Germany. He told of his defiance against the war and being smuggled on a boat to the United States. It’s one that I would love to get in writing from him. My mom also gave me some copies of pictures on my dad’s side. The first is my dad as a young fella. The second is some of my dad’s siblings before he was born (he’s the baby of eight). The third is my great-grandmother’s family. And, the last one is my great-grandmother, grown up with her siblings.
Before we knew it, the New Year passed and it was time for us to head back to Boston. Cade’s dad and stepmom took us out for our New Year’s Day lunch and up to the airport. We had a smooth flight and got to start our year off with some good luck by scoring a free beer! Watch those airline deals for free drinks on certain holidays.
Once back in Boston, we settled in with all our new goodies and memories and prepared for Cade to take off for New Mexico in a couple days. I’ll get to those adventures in upcoming posts.