The Bros of Sail (Age of Sail fans on tumblr) had a meetup at the USS Constitution on Saturday. txanne was coming in from Long Island for it, so I agreed to split a hotel room with her, rather than trying to cast around locally for someone to put the both of us up. Her train got in to South Station on Friday at 3:30PM, and I drove in & parked at Alewife & went to meet her. I was later than I expected, because there was an accident on the Pike somewhere around Worcester, which made a longish backup, but I still got in in time for us to go to the Bromfield Pen Shop in Downtown Crossing, where she decided that the glass pen she'd wanted to replace one she'd broke didn't actually suit her, and then we walked over to Legal Seafood, where she'd offered to buy me dinner. Mussels and fries for her, grey sole in lemon caper butter for me, and a half bottle of Sancerre -- no, we were not being adventurous, but there's a lot to be said for the classic French dishes, too.
Instead of getting dessert there, I pointed out that we should go to Finale. After all, txanne isn't in Boston much, so I felt obligated to show her Cool Things. I thought we'd share the sampler plate, but then one of the other things jumped out at me - the seasonal cornucopia. There was a coconut cherry rice pudding, roasted apple with cinnamon cake croutons, and... this was the thing that really sold me, and now I can't exactly remember what it was, but the words "cardamom", "pistachio", and "pudding cake" were involved. As Anne was feeling the apple a la mode for herself, we decided that the tasting plate could wait for another time. The pudding cake thing was fabulous. The rice pudding was a bit of a disappointment -- I think rice pudding should be sticky and creamy, and this was more infused separate grains of rice molded into a scoop. I may have to try to make a coconut cherry rice pudding for myself. And Anne enjoyed her apple a la mode. We didn't quite finish it, because SO MUCH FOOD, but it was good anyway.
Back at the motel (which was in Watertown for budget purposes), I sat Anne down with the "Mutiny" episode of Hornblower. She's read my fixit fanfic, but she's never seen the films -- she's a Hornblower book fan, since fifth grade. So I HAD to show her. And while we watched, we had some arrack-punch -- which I'd mixed up that morning and brought in a sport bottle (with a concealing fabric insulating sleeve). Purely for historical interest, of course! /sarcasm. Actually, with the lime and the nutmeg, it was very tasty.
Up the next morning, and, as the meetup was scheduled for 11 AM, we got to the Deluxe Town Diner before the line got ridiculous. And I got to have biscuits with sausage gravy, which I pretty much never get. Om nom nom!
I was deliberately building cushions for travel time into our schedule, so we got to the Constitution on the early side, even after a quick stop at a CVS for me to pick up a box of Dixie cups, so I could share the punch with the Sailbros. HISTORICAL INTEREST I TELL YOU. Because we were early, we ducked into the gift shop. Anne found a pair of earrings made from copper reclaimed from the bottom of the Constitution's hull, and some postcards to send. I picked up a little keychain flashlight (I'd wanted one anyway) and a packet of tea made by the same company whose tea got dumped in Boston Harbor. When we got back out, o_saya had arrived, and was standing in front of the visitors' center holding the promised sparkly sign (because we couldn't do anything SMART like send each other pictures beforehand so we could recognize each other). We knew chelengk wasn't going to be able to come, because of moving, and it turned out that brotherathelstan had to bail at the last minute, but we did get aria , polarisnorth , hellscabanaboy , and megcubed , who actually works for the Park Service AT the Constitution! I'd never met any of them before, and I didn't even really know any of them from tumblr except o_saya who's emir-dynamite who organized the thing, but it didn't matter; they all turned out to be awesome people.
They weren't giving formal tours of the Constitution that day, just open deck, which suited us fine. Alas, they weren't allowing people onto the lower deck where the hammocks were slung (Meg said that was only in the summer), but we had plenty to occupy us. Here's a picture of us all (except Anne, who took the picture) gathered around the gun called "Willful Murder" (it HAD to be that one, as there was also a Willful Murder on the Surprise):
And here we are all (minus me, as I took this one) crammed into the quarter-gallery:
Meg was unaware, until we told her, that the quarter-gallery was not merely a private reading nook, but a PRIVY. There was much laughter and repetition of the phrase "seat of ease".
Then we went to the museum, where we spent a bit of time playing with the cannon-firing game, and looking at the ship model exhibit, but MOSTLY going upstairs and playing with furling the sail while standing on the foot-rope, and trying out the HAMMOCKS.
There was a certain amount of discussion of the feasibility of getting two people into a hammock, and what they might be capable of doing if they DID manage it. Dear fanfic writers: if you describe anything more athletic than cuddling or handjobs, don't expect us to believe it! The attempt showed that any two people would have to be WAY friendlier than any of us were with each other.
After the museum, it was time for the tea party. At Taj Boston, which will always be the Ritz-Carlton to me, dammit. But, whatever they're calling it, a pot of Shanghai Rose tea and a tower of goodies that looks like this
can never be a bad thing.
We were all kind of fading after that, so we split up and headed home. Anne and I took a bit of downtime at the motel, and watched most of "Retribution", until it was time to head out for the dinner gathering I'd organized, a Gathering of Light, as they get called when regulars of Making Light get together. I'd called it for Mary Chung's, as I hadn't been there in ages, and made reservations for 8:30, because after stuffing our faces at tea, I figured Anne and I wouldn't be ready to eat before then. That was ALSO lovely, and I introduced Anne to suan la chow sow. Om nom nom.
Because we were RIGHT THERE, and because I was still doing the Showing Off Cool Places thing, we all walked over to Toscanini's after. Anne and I could only manage microscoops, but it was worth it for salted saffron and goat cheese brownie ice cream. Then back to the motel, and finishing up "Retribution", and showing Anne the RELEVANT bits of "The Frogs and the Lobsters", which is to say any bits with Edrington or Archie in them, and then SLEEP.
Not ENOUGH sleep. Because Daylight Savings Time. And because Anne had an early train back home. But the earliness meant we could get to Sound Bites when there was practically nobody there, and Anne could try the Boston's Best Blue -- a split and grilled blueberry muffin spiced with cardamom is not lightly to be missed. I had corned beef hash. Then I dropped her at Davis, so she could get to South Station, and I drove home.
So I had a fabulous weekend, and met awesome people, but I don't think I'll need to eat for a week.