I’ve been living in London, England, for the past five years. As much as I love London and my friends and my job and all that London has to offer, Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers say it best in their song New England: “I’ve been all around the world, but I love New England best.”
So, in this post I want to share with you what I got up to while I was visiting my family and friends in New England!
Fall River, MA
I grew up in Fall River, MA, before I moved to Boston for college.
While I didn’t have the easiest time in Middle School or High School, Fall River still holds a very special place in my heart.
These pictures were taken at Battleship Cove, which harbours the largest collection of preserved US Navy ships in the world. It’s also home to the Carousel, an antique wooden ride built in 1919. The ride was shipped from Pennsylvania to North Dartmouth, Massachusetts’ Lincoln Park in 1920 and resided there until the park closed in 1987.
When I was a kid Battleship Cove was one of my favourite places to go, because if the Carousel was open (it’s open seasonally) my dad would take me in and let me ride it!
When we visit my family, we stay in my old bedroom that’s been completely changed and is now empty of my belongings. Now it’s decorated the way my mom likes. But in the morning the sun shines in the most beautiful way that I remember from my teenage years.
And every morning when we’re with her, we get up early and make hot drinks and stand around the too small kitchen talking.
This year we were home for Easter, so Jeff and I took over cooking and made my mom’s recipes for the family.
Fall River is also home to one of the largest Portuguese (mainly Azorean) populations in the USA, and chourico is very popular. So while my mom isn’t Portuguese (her family is all French Canadian!) a lot of our dishes have been modified to include chourico – like this corned beef and cabbage recipe that we made for Easter Sunday.
Because my mom is who she is, we ended up with two different types of corned beef and cabbage (so she could compare the recipes and decide her favourite!), lasagna, salad and about a dozen dressing choices. My grandmother was pretty damned pleased with the spread, and for the rest of the week while we were there she continuously asked when Jeff would be cooking again!
And considering she’s now well over 90 years old, I can only hope I look half as good as she does at that age with half as much of a sense of humour!
One of the things I love most about visiting my grandmother is wandering through her apartment, because she’s covered the walls with photos of the entire family over the years.
This picture is one of my favourites because it’s from a family holiday in the early 1990s. I remember being excited about the water, but also nervous about getting wet!
One of my other favourite things about Fall River is Al Mac’s Diner. When I was in high school we used to come here at night at the weekends because it was open 24 hours, and it gave us something to do while we were old enough to drive but not old enough to do anything after dinner. I always ordered a grilled cheese with chocolate milk and a pickle on the side.
Al Mac’s has technically been around since 1910. First Al McDermott (Al Mac) started out his business driving from mill to mill with a horse drawn wagon providing food and drink to the workers in the mills. (Fall River is historically a mill city.) By 1917 there were 49 mills, and capacity in the cotton mills reached over 1 million earning Fall River the distinction of the leading textile city in the USA. However, by 1940 many of the mills had moved their business to the southern states, and during that time Al Mac began purchasing diners around the Northeast. Including this one – a 1953 stainless steel silver and green DeRaffele.
Whenever we visit, Jeff and I make our way here for all day breakfast!
On this trip we got the same thing – the Portuguese-American version of an American breakfast: Bolo, chourico, scrambled eggs and hash browns.
One of my other favourite breakfast spots is Cindy’s Country Cafe in Portsmouth, RI, which is a short drive from my mom’s.
On this trip we went there for our final breakfast, ordered three dishes – an omelette, blueberry stuffed French Toast and cinnamon swirl French Toast – cut them in three portions and shared them equally.
Boston is about an hour drive from my mom’s house, so while we were home we drove up and visited my college friend CJ – and her new baby! It was such a wonderful feeling seeing one of my closest friends and meeting her daughter. It’s crazy to think that ten years ago we were meeting for the first time, going out and dancing and now we’re both grown up and starting our own lives as adults.
New London, CT
One of my other close friends from college is Emily, who lives in Connecticut. We visited her and her boyfriend in New London, and went for a walk along the beach. (If there’s anything New England isn’t short on, it’s gorgeous coastline!) Like when we saw CJ, it was awesome to catchup and talk about what we’ve been up to and hear all about her new job.
As much as I miss it, and love where I’m from, whenever my plane lands at Heathrow I’m always happy to be back and come home with Jeff.
Till next time, New England! I hope it’s not too long of a wait.