Thursday, July 24, 2014

Playdate in Concord

Talk about hardcore parenting, we made a trip down to the Boston area so that A could visit her buddy from homeschool camp. Now normally I'd say you were crazy to drive that far just so your kids could see a friend, but she's a good buddy of hers, and we made a fun trip out of it. I think it worked out well, even though it was a brutal drive and took up a couple of days. That's two days when I couldn't do real man's work here at home, but such is the life of a real man in training.

A's friend lives down in the Concord area (home to Walden Pond), and they have been corresponding regularly by email, Skype, social media, etc. I can't keep up with all this stuff. They have been trying to set up a rendezvous for awhile, and finally her friend J got her mom involved, and she's clearly a go-getter. She contacted us and invited A down for a sleepover. A was thrilled, but we weren't sure how we were going to manage all this. We pondered it and came up with a plan. Now as crazy as this sounds, I drove down with A&N and dropped A off at J's and N and I spent a couple of days in and around the Concord area. It was fun, and I think N enjoyed it, mainly because we got to do things that he wanted to do. I was his valet for a couple of days, but what else is new?

J lives in a really nice area. Concord has money I guess, it's one of those affluent Boston suburbs, and they have a beautiful house nestled in the woods, though traffic was a nightmare. Even though they have a beautiful house nestled in the woods, there is major traffic all around. All those commuters chasing the American dream. I have to say, it really reminded me of LA. We were stuck in traffic the entire time we were there, it was crazy. We met J's mom, M, who was really nice, and dropped A off for her fun sleepover. They have a beautiful house, with a kitchen to die for, not to mention major renovations. It reminded me so much of when we lived in Providence, people are very focused on their homes and remodeling. Basically the same demographic: young affluent families that are highly-educated and hyper-socially conscious. Nice people with pedigrees that drink South African wine and take their kids to the opera.

Once we dropped off A, that left N and I to hit the town. Concord is nice, and very historical. There are all sorts of interesting historic sites to visit, especially ones pertaining to the Revolutionary War. Of course we ignored all of these things in the pursuit of more important stuff, like disc golf, swimming, and skate parks. What else is there? We were staying at the Best Western which for the record was very nice, with a killer pool. Very key during these hot summer days. We checked in, dropped off our stuff, and went looking for disc golf, our new obsession. I'd been recently told that disc golf is big in MA, and there are plenty of opportunities to play, though you have to drive to them and spend some time in traffic. We found a double course (36 holes!) in the nearby town of Deven, which was about 30 minutes away. The traffic was a little rough, but we managed to get there in one piece. N is an excellent navigator, which isn't easy with stressed-out dad at the wheel. Before we hit Deven, we went to Natick to find a Dick's Sporting Goods to get N a new golf disc. Talk about retail hell, the place is like one big mall, and huge ones, to boot. We found Dick's, N picked out a nice driver and we then headed to Deven.

The town of Deven was an interesting place, I'm not quite sure what to make of it. Apparently it's a military town, or rather, base. It's called Fort Deven, and it reminded me of business park, college campus, and recreation area combined into one. It was very nicely developed, but there was no central entity to speak of. Huge tracts of grassy fields, clearly designed for recreation, and what looked like dorms. Our tax dollars at work, I guess. Either way, they have an amazing disc golf course, or rather, two of them. They are difficult to find if you don't know what you're looking for, but once you find them, they are amazing. They are nestled in the woods and beautifully done. I'm no disc golf expert, but it was pretty impressive. It covers a huge amount of space, and each tee and hole was beautifully done. Plus, it's deep in the woods, so it's like taking a hike. The trees made it challenging, but we never lost our disc. There were tons of people going through, as well. We had a blast, and N got to try out his new disc, which he loved. It took us well over an hour to golf, and by the time we were done, it was getting late and the pool closed at 8:00.

We jumped back into traffic and headed back to the hotel and went for a swim. There were other kids in the pool and I spoke with the grandmother watching them and she said they were there for hockey camp. Now I could be losing my mind, but I could have sworn she said they were visiting from Alaska. I should have asked her to clarify, but I didn't want to be nosy. Talk about hockey dedication, I can relate to it. After the swim, we went to our room and ordered some Chinese food. I made sure to get the broccoli in garlic sauce so we had some veggies, and then we Skyped mom. We then watched a movie and went to bed.

The next day we were up early and had a nice breakfast at the hotel, which for the record was nice by chain hotel standards. Then it was time for more disc golf. We went to Burlington (MA) this time. The course was in a park and was not as impressive as Deven (nothing could match that), but was still nice. We did nine holes and then N got to ride his bike/scooter at the skate park adjacent to the golf course. The park was smack in the middle of the busy city, so the sound of traffic was prominent, which was a little distracting but not a huge deal. It was getting really hot, so we decided to head back and go for a swim. We had to check out at 11:30, so we didn't have a huge amount of time. We hit the pool, which was amazing in the 90 degree heat, and swam for an hour before heading off to our next adventure.

Now by this time it was hot, and we had to get A around 5:00, so we didn't have unlimited time. We headed back to Natick for lunch and decided to see a movie. N suggested Olive Garden, and I seconded because there were healthy options there. I got the unlimited soup, salad and bread, and he got the meatball sandwich, which also came with salad. I gave him my minestrone soup. Salad and bread is my kind of meal, and we avoided overly-unhealthy stuff. We then hit the theater and saw How to Train Your Dragon 2.

When got out, we figured we had enough time to get A at her friends, and then head home. What to do about dinner? We were going to have to eat on the road, so what would work best? It turns out that there was a Boloco near the theater, so I got burritos, and we were on our way. We hit traffic again to get A and were late, as usual, but we got there. We loaded up the car and headed home for the long drive. I have to say, we had a really nice trip, but it must be a bit of a hassle living there. Sure, it's beautiful and affluent, but everyone works in Boston and you spend your life in the car. You get the dream job and house, but at what cost?

Concord is also the home of Walden Pond, and we drove by it several times and I have to say, it's not what I thought it would be. Either way, it was nice to be back in Vermont, where traffic jams are rare and people let into their lane when you need it. We got home around 8:30, and we all hit the sack, exhausted. It was nice to see mom again, and of course, nice to he home.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Joanne C Sullivan for the pic.

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