27 August, 2009

Of Books and Coffee!

I wanted to post a few photos of books, book related-things, some of the coffee shops, and coffee-related things we enjoyed along the way on our journey to New England and back a few weeks ago. I thought it an interesting way to present our vacation in between visiting and lingering at some pretty phenomenal historical, natural, and literary places.

I'll start with this shot on the inside of The Old North Church (aka Christ Church of Boston). Notice the hymnals in the boxed-in pews. We knew ahead of time that we would be able to worship with the congregation there. This was a highlight at the end of our first week away. The liturgical service was absolutely wonderful. The music, simply stunning. I loved reading musical notes again. I was not familiar with the hymns we sang, so it was a good workout to my sight-singing skills. The sermon was surprisingly casual, yet well-done!

We saved our bulletin/order of liturgy sheets. No photo of that, though.

We do know this hymn, but we did not sing it on that day.

We visited S'bux occasionally for a quad-shot Americano for most of us. The Americano is one of the cheapest routes to go w/coffee drinks here. Getting the employee discount saves quite a bit, too.

This is the former home of the once-famous Corner Bookstore, the *first* brick building in Boston. Here, Ticknor and Fields are said to have revolutionized American book publishing between 1845 and 1865. They earned the status of "worldwide renown" for "having a well-stocked shop, a prominent publishing house, and for being a magnet for the literary world." Here, they published the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, Longfellow, and Horace Mann.

I should remember the coffee shop and bakery just to the left of the shop there. We bought iced coffees, but I'm not sure I took a photo of the place. What I keenly remember was that the iced coffee was too weak, so hubby bought a shot of espresso from s'bux to add to my iced coffee ;-)
I love that man.

Further interesting reading along our path in Boston: It kind of makes me smile.

Hubby found this treasure for me, off the tourist path:

We spent probably 1 1/2 hours here at this basement bookstore and came away with some treasures, plus a couple of free books thrown in! Nice staff here. Hubs bought a couple of books for himself, one nice, boxed copy of The Autocrat of The Breakfast Table by Oliver Wendell Holmes. I picked up an 1896 copy of Women of Colonial and Revolutionary times by Eliza Pinckney. Though written about her family who lived in N. Carolina, I thought it perfectly appropriate to purchase it at the home or 'hotbed' of the Colonial Revolution. This book was only ten dollars, btw.

The dollar table to the left where I purchase an old, large hardback copy of the sketches and works of Winslow Homer for just $1. Another fitting purchase from New England.

Leaving Commonwealth Bookstore

I didn't get pictures at the garage sale we drove by while in Concord the second time. Sweet Hubby stopped so dd and I could search for little treasures. I found a stack of five or six books, an old limp-leather bound Bible, a hardbound book about The White House, and another book about the presidents, all for just two dollars. Dd bought a book on herbs and a cookbook. I think she spent 75 cents. Nice find, that! We also visited with an older British couple whose sons live in America now, down south not too far from where we live. It was a neat exchange about culture and climates. Not just small talk about the weather, for sure!

We didn't buy coffee here in the heart of Boston this time, so I couldn't compare flavors. However, the storefront is simple and elegant.

Coffee shop on the edge of Lexington.

Monument on Lexington Green, near the Minuteman Statue. It has the names of all the ministers who served at least one of the historic churches in some way. I think it was for the John Hancock church there on the green. (There are two buildings of different congregations on the green, but the monument was nearest the J. Hancock church building). Yes, one of the men on the list was John Hancock himself. Something new for me to research. I also liked the book/Bible on top of the monument.

(photo taken by our 14 yos, so is not crisp and clear)

The next photo depicts ice cream night at our old favorite home-made ice cream shop in Lexington that is *still* in business after all these years, so no coffee. We could, however, enjoy some wifi while we just lingered on the benches, taking in the fresh air and visiting like the locals. We did not feel rushed, nor did we feel like tourists. We were oldies coming back to one of our homes. It was fantastic.

This S'bux is on the main street in Lexington, just down from Lexington Green and the Minuteman Statue which marks yet another place where militia fought and fell on April 19, 1775.

This next shot is not a book but it is from the writing of R. Waldo Emerson. It is etched in stone near the Minuteman Statue and the North Bridge in Concord, MA. This brief section is but a portion of what became known as "The Concord Hymn."

Now to one of my favorites of the trip. This is a reproduction at Plimoth Plantation, a well done replica of a period, hand-sewn, raised-band, leather on board binding, with 'splayed-out thongs.' You can see them in the photo, they look like stick people under the leather. This was exciting to see and handle.

And I cannot forget our own, special camp coffee. Has a taste all its own! Most of the time, it is pretty good!

I would be out-of-line if I did not confess that several times, when we got up quickly and quietly to break camp and move to our next destination, that we opted for Dunkin Donuts coffee. This was for hubby, as we do have fond memories of DD coffee when we lived and worked in the Boston area. I took no photos, though some of the DD shops were in old, old homes and structures. All part of New England building codes, which certainly adds to the charm and keeps New England looking mighty lovely. I am a huge fan of that.

One final place in Maine was a log Cabin. I lost that photo in transferring all our shots from a laptop to my computer after returning home. At this little shop in a small township, we shared Maine Blueberry Pie and a giant Pecan sticky bun, for breakfast. Both were fresh and hot. The coffee was just alright, but the simple sweets and berries MORE than made up for it!

In Vermont, I found this treasure, but it was too expensive and too heavy to bring home:

a giant coffee grinder, over $300. Cast iron, and probably nearly as heavy as my antique book press!

Other books and coffee presents picked up or purchased on our journey:

clockwise: Cape Ann mug, American Writers at Home (photojournal of the homes around the country of our American authors, including some that we visited), Orchard House mug (Louisa May Alcott), Plimoth Plantation authentic reproduction mug (dd bought two for herself), The Wayside (House) pamphlet with historical timeline, sketches, and a few photos, bookmarks, Vermont camping magazines

Walden Pond bookbag/tote. This one is nice and large, and has a flat bottom. I needed one like that to tote things to bookclub. The two books are from Hubby's collection of Library of America series of books. I brought these along to read during the trip, to gain more insight into our travels, and these men's writings. It has been a long time in coming. Truly, I should have read these through before now.

Mosses from an Old Manse, purchased at The Old Manse (appropriate, don't you think?). This is a collection of some of Hawthorne's best known short stories, including ones that are traditionally studied in High School American Lit courses like the one my husband teaches. The first story is non-fiction and is the author's descriptions and memories of scenes from renting and living in The Old Manse with his young family. Loved this story! I began reading it in the Walden Woods/Pond one day, then finished it on the long drive home.

I hope, my dear reader, that you have enjoyed a few of the treasures from the Books and Coffee trip journal of...

Javamom :-)

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