I am adamant to get this post up before summer 2017 ends! Done, with days to spare. 😁
Last year, my family and I spent the Independence Day weekend in Massachusetts to FINALLY meet some of my blogger friends in person.
I was an avid blogger back in 2005 to 2009 (?), and I ‘met’ a great deal of amazing people in the process. At the time, before the Internets got all saturated by content and before every piece of content became all sorts of self-promotion (read: marketing), it was more post to express, not to impress. There was real connection to be made with other bloggers, and it was easy to find AND belong with a community. It didn’t feel like you needed to prove anything (i.e. number of followers, clout, influence and all that) to be worthy to be in it. At least, that’s how it was for me.
Two of the bloggers I connected with were Ces and Glo, both currently living in the Boston metro area. As I struggle to get back into a more regular blogging grind, Ces and Glo have long stopped. Life happened. With the demands of self, family, career, and other passions mixed with the equally demanding pressure of producing content, it’s plain to see how one would just prefer things simplified. We've downsized to micro-updates - visual shares of life happenings on Facebook and Instagram. Maybe even Twitter. Quick photo and video uploads in place of blog posts. Our once regular readers have moved on, or, like many of us, only have time to consume short updates they could skim-read and scroll up.
Ces, Glo and I had stayed connected, though. While most bloggers today get in touch with their networks through social media groups, we (and most of the bloggers we've knew from our communities) are friends through our personal accounts in practically every social network. It’s pretty safe to say that we had been somewhat witnesses of each other’s milestones and cheered each other on as we celebrated the mini victories and huge triumphs. We 'saw' each other’s children grow, and shared the joy of their achievements.
After a few failed [lukewarm] attempts since I moved to the east coast in 2011, we finally got our acts together and took advantage of last year's 4th of July holiday weekend.
One thing I should mention about Ces is that she's suuuuper creative. If you follow her Instagram feed, and I urge that you do, you'll find amazing snapshots of her travels, her perpetual beautifying of her home with new and thrifted finds (which she rehabs), captures of her photography gigs, and mouthwatering noms - oh my goodness, all the delicious food! She's all-around artsy-farsty, as is to be expected from an ex-interior designer, I suppose. 😉
Ces' husband Marco is equally multi-talented, and he's boss in the kitchen like she is. And then there's Glo, Pastry Chef at Boston's Empire Asian Restaurant and Lounge + Red Lantern Restaurant. Their creativity overflowed as they prepped our welcome spread, and they made everything look so effortless.
We arrived at Ces' home in the Boston suburbs before noon; and as slow traveling goes, we spent the rest of the afternoon gormandizing on food, drinks and life stories. We even had a siesta in the early evening.
Marco fired up the grill when we awoke at dusk. And we resumed the gormandizing of food and drinks, this time by the fire pit (thrifted and rehabbed by Ces, of course) and with some music by my husband, Ken, and Ces' son, Chino.
Because you don't do this part of Massachusetts without a Cape Cod jaunt, Ces and family took us to Hyannis the following day. The largest of the seven villages in the town of Barnstable on the Cape Cod Penninsula, Hyannis is home to the private Kennedy Compound and beautiful beaches like the Kalmus Park Beach and Veterans Park Beach.
We got to Veterans Park Beach a little later than one usually should in the height of summer, so there was a bit of parking space struggle. Despite that, the place didn't feel overcrowded, and we managed to get ourselves a nice, quiet spot on the beach.
It's clear to see why Veterans Park Beach is so popular among Hyannis beachgoers. The beach is pristine and the water is calm, but there's plenty of activities happening. There are barbecue grills and an assortment of food offerings from the snack bar, a volleyball court, a playground, and lots of boats coming in and out of the Hyannis Harbor.
There are two historical shrines in the park area: the John F. Kennedy Memorial and the Korean War Memorial. I'm suddenly remembering that I was having problems with my iCloud during this vacation, which is why I don't have photos to show of both memorials (and so few of the rest of our trip).
As huge advocates of accessible travel, it's very important for me to mention that Veterans Park Beach is disabled accessible! 👌👌👌
After Hyannis, we drove to Hingham Shipyard to tick off another must-do. My husband, Ken, and I got hooked on the reality show Walhburgers on the A&E Network, which shows the behind-the-scenes of the titular restaurants, Walhburgers, owned by Chef Paul Walhberg and his Hollywood-star brothers, Donnie and Mark.
I'm not sure if the Walhberg family owns this joint in Hingham Shipyard or if it's a franchise. Regardless, we were impressed by the selection of burgers and enjoyed the ones we ended up ordering.
I had the OFD (as in Originally From Dorchester), an ode to Dorchester, Massachusetts where the Walhberg brothers spent their childhood.
It's not an Independence Day shenanigan without the usual local festivities. We met up with Glo again later that night at Manet Beach for our penultimate activity for this trip. As we partook in the bonfire and watched the skies light up with fireworks, we certainly felt how proud the Bostonian's are of the country's freedom. I could say that, after years of living in the US, I've never had a 4th of July celebration as this one. 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
We headed back to Ces' for a nightcap of sparkles topped with pink limoncello and, of course, more chitchat. 😊
My family and I hit the road for New Jersey early the next day. We couldn't thank Ces and Marco enough for welcoming us into their homes, and we couldn't wait until we could return the favor. Special shout out to Ces' daughter, Sam, for letting us camp in her room ❤ and, of course, to Glo for taking some time from her super hectic chef life to see us.
I recently mentioned in a Facebook travel group that I love blogging to share, just like how I did in the old days. As someone who works in the digital marketing space, I try my best to be as genuine as possible when writing blog posts, no matter how tempted I am to be SEO-y. I miss reading Ces and Glo's posts. I've actually urged Ces to blog again a few times! I also wish I'd be able to build a bond with some, if not all, of you whom I engage with on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter via these awesome travel groups. 😊