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adventures rural and urban

Living where we do we have a wide range of possible adventures close at hand. Last week, a friend invited us out to Great Brook State Park in Carlisle. Leah and I had been before, but not since Harvey was born, so we weren't really aware of the range of kid-friendly farm-visiting opportunities there were available there. But first we had a picnic.

Zion and a friend on a lawn with pond and farm behind them

a fine day for a farm visit

While the big kids and grownups ate lunch and ran around, Lijah enjoyed some quiet time on his own pulling up grass and biting on leaves and sticks. He can get himself around just enough that if he sees something interesting close at hand he has the means to obtain it for himself!

Elijah playing on the grass

almost-crawling freedom

After a bit we headed over to see the animals. There were cows.

a cow looking through the fence at the camera


Also present were sheep, goats, chickens, a duck, and many many pigeons (the pigeons were of the "wild" variety). There were horses around too; we saw several people riding, which was a much more exotic sight for the boys than the other livestock. There are farm tours at Great Brook sometimes, but not on November Tuesdays, so we had to stay outside the fence.

When we finally managed to tear ourselves away from the animals we took to the trails for a hike. You never know what you're going to get hiking with two- and three-year-olds (we had one of each in the party), but since it was so nice we launched ourselves on a pretty ambitious loop and didn't actually do too badly. It helped that there were lots of dramatic rock features for the kids to observe and climb: climbing energy is different than walking energy, and a couple minutes of strenuous climbing will restore your typical child for at least an equal period of boring walking. Harvey brought his new notebook along so he record his observations.

Harvey atop a pile of rocks in the woods, with backpack and sketchbook

observant explorer

Then yesterday we took off in the entirely opposite direction. On a day with steady rain that looked like it wasn't going to stop, I figured I could take the boys on a train ride: exciting and under cover! Leah dropped us off at Alewife and we took the Red Line to Park Street, where we changed to real(er) train and chugged up out of the tunnels on our way towards Newton.

the view out the front of a Green Line train on the D line

conductor's-eye view

When we felt like we'd seen all there was to see of the D line we hopped out, dashed across the tracks, and jumped on an inbound train not two minutes later. I did have enough time to snap a memento of our visit, a shot of the station at Newton Center... excuse me, Centre. A charmingly old-world structure to be sure.

the station at Newton Center in the rain

looks like a train station

Back downtown we emerged from the subway tunnels to discover that the rain had tapered off to a fine falling mist, leaving us free to explore the city aboveground. At the Library Main Branch we saw lots of tourists visiting but weren't able to locate the kids area or even any books, so we gave the place up for a bad deal (though it's just the place to go if you want marble walls; and we did also find a restroom, which was handy). Then across the street we were confronted with a real live skyscraper.

Trinity Church and the Prudential tower in the misty rain

sky scraper scraping

Harvey's theory was that a town as big as Boston ought to have a toy store somewhere, so I led the party in the direction of FAO Schwartz, only to remember along the way that the Boston location closed five or ten years ago. We looked in to the Marshalls that's now in about the same place, but it's toy selection was smaller than the boys are used to at our local store (have we written about our dealings with Marshalls? we should!) so we pushed on. No toy stores, but a tour of Boylston and Newbury Streets landed us at the Public Garden, where we fed pancakes to the ducks and then had to fend of their increasingly aggressive attempts to get seconds. Zion was seriously nervous; we were all much happier viewing the avian life of the garden from the safety of the bridge.

Harvey and Zion looking over the bridge railing at the duck pond

safe way for ducklings

There were lots of pigeons there too—very pleasant uniting theme to the two adventures!

When the rain started up again we ate lunch in the bandstand on the Common (sharing the mostly-dry space with some homeless folks) and then walked over to Park Street to take the Red Line back towards home.

Both outings were tiring but rewarding; both are worth doing again soon!

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