Boston and ALA

A few weeks ago I traveled to Boston for the annual American Literature Association conference. This is the second trip I’ve made solo to Boston!

A beautiful view of the Boston Public Library from my hotel room

It seems like every time I go to Boston all it does is rain, but I try to make the best of it. I chose to fly out of Raleigh at 6am on Thursday  (which meant I had to leave the house at 3am – gross) because my dissertation director was presenting at the conference. It’s been three years since I’ve seen him, so the early flight was worth it.

I’m usually pretty organized when it comes to travel, but I hadn’t figured out a way to get from the airport to my hotel. Oops. After about ten awkward minutes of standing in baggage claim, I decided the train was the cheapest, safest, and most effective choice. I’d like to apologize to the men (yes, multiple) I almost wiped out with my luggage.

Sometimes I procrastinate so much that the conference hotel gets booked before I can get a room, but I made sure to reserve mine in time, and I’m so glad I did! The Westin Copley Place was a beautiful hotel, and I kind of felt like a queen in the room!

Another plus about the hotel, especially in rainy weather, is that it connects to so many other buildings (Copley Place, The Shops at Prudential Center) that you can spend hours shopping, walking, and eating (and staying dry).

I could see the bay from my hotel window, so on Saturday it seemed like a good place to visit. And it was! The rain stopped for a bit and it was really nice to get away from all the people and noise for a few minutes.

The Charles River Esplanade was a beautiful location for a walk, and several runners and bikers had the same thought as me – to enjoy the break in the rain while they could.


Another part of Boston that I love so much is the old architecture, especially the brick

I couldn’t not eat seafood while in Boston. My first clam chowder was in Boston several years ago. This time, though, I was craving shrimp. After a ton of searching online, I thought my best option would be to hit Legal Seafoods on the harbor so I could also visit another part of Boston and view the infamous tea party ship. It was a fun surprise to see the Old State House when I came out of the train station.

Fun fact: The Declaration of Independence was first read to Bostonians from the balcony of the Old State House.

After a bite for lunch (see the next post!), I walked along the marina and made a stop at the infamous Boston tea party ship. Every time I see this ship I’m surprised at how small it is.

The first year I went to ALA I missed the walking tour of Poe’s Boston, so I was determined to do it this year. My conference presentation was scheduled to end ten minutes before everyone was meeting, but I was convinced I could make a quick change and sprint to the location.

Ya know Murphy’s Law? The one that basically says, if it can go wrong, it will? Yeah. Not only did every human in the hotel use the elevators at the same time, but my room keys became deactivated. Twice. Needless to say, I missed the walking tour again. I was hoping to find a self-guided tour or map online, but couldn’t; HOWEVER, I managed to stumble upon Poe’s statue once I finally found Edgar Allan Poe Square (weird that the statue would be in that location. Derp.)

And of course I can’t miss walking through an old cemetery.

 Since it was Memorial Day weekend, there were American flags everywhere!

In the middle of Boston Common is a memorial to soldiers who fought and died in the American Revolution. The Freedom Trail also goes around this area, which I highly recommend doing! Looking back at all the monuments and historic sites makes me want to go back with a more organized plan. The Freedom Trail even offers a Revolutionary Women Tour which I will certainly be doing on my next trip to Boston!

And I couldn’t leave without strolling up Beacon Street to see the beautiful Massachusetts State House!

The most amazing part of the trip and the conference was hearing Jamaica Kincaid read from her newest book! I teach her prose poem “Girl” in my World Literature class, so I’m excited to show my class the pictures of her. If you don’t know who Kincaid is, you should definitely look her up, it’ll only take you three minutes to read “Girl” and it’s worth it!

Boston is always a fun trip for me because I love how deep the history runs.

What are your favorite landmarks to visit or tours to take in Boston?

Jacksonville, Florida

At the beginning of November the boyfriend and I traveled to Jacksonville, Florida for the South Atlantic Modern Language Association conference. I won’t bore you with any details about the conference. You’re welcome.

I will definitely fill you in on some delicious restaurants in the Jacksonville area, though! Continue reading

A Year and a Few Months Later…

Those of you who can blog while also working a full-time job are amazing. School got started last year, and I had zero time to do anything. This year has been even busier, but hopefully I can re-start my blogging and not go another year ignoring it.

Last weekend my little town got pretty torn up by Hurricane Matthew. None of us expected to be hit so hard (we’re 1.5 hours from the coast), but Lumberton and its people are really struggling. The power is still out in many places, water was restored in some areas yesterday with limited pressure and essentials-only use, and so many homes were destroyed. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t driven through it and saw the houses swallowed up by water.

The boyfriend got me tickets to the Virginia Tech/UNC game for my birthday, so we were in Chapel Hill the day the hurricane hit Lumberton so hard.


Leave it to my Hokies to thump a ranked team and then lose to a bad one. 

I thought it was a stupid decision, but it ended up being the best thing we could’ve done. And a trip to the Cheesecake Factory is never a bad choice (mac ‘n cheese burger? Yes, please!).


Yes, that’s a giant fried ball of mac ‘n cheese on that burger. #noregrets

Up next? A recap of my Disney World trip!




Let the blogging begin!

Biscotti, the Scottish Terrier

For almost a year my sister has been saying, “you need to start a blog.” I’m not sure if she thinks I need a hobby, or if she actually thinks I have interesting ideas. Either way, I finally got the nerve to set one up.

Here’s a little bit about me that might give you an idea of what to expect from my posts (although to be completely honest, I’m not even sure at this point what to expect!): I have a Ph.D. in early and nineteenth-century American literature and teach English at a small, public university in North Carolina. I love to eat. A lot. I especially love to eat when I’m traveling. Along with eating, I enjoy cooking and baking, and I hope blogging will inspire me to attempt new recipes. To counterbalance the eating, I make myself run. I enjoy clothes and accessories – I like to think of getting dressed as a fun art project – and I love the lady who runs our family, Biscotti the Scottish Terrier, who will definitely be making guest appearances.

That’s me in a nutshell. Welcome to Biscotti and a Ph.D.!