Hey ya’ll. I’m sorry I haven’t posted in awhile. The last two weeks were amazing and insane and the exact polar opposite of one another but equally busy. The first week, my boyfriend and I were on vacation in NEW ENGLAND. Like basically all of it.
First, we flew up to Boston. His parents picked us up at the airport. We dropped them off at their house in Beverly (30 minutes outside of Boston, like Bethesda to DC), then took the car and drove straight to Portland Maine (about an hour). We’d had to get up at 3:30 am for our flight, and I took a xanax because flying (or dying in a plane crash) is my biggest fear and I could quite literally take my own life just with the ANXIETY my body creates on a flight. I can’t deal with being suspended in air, so high. I always say that it’s not really…the flying that is the problem, it’s the height. Whenever we’re just taking off, and I can see the ground, and we just feel like we’re a building off the ground, I’m chilled out. I could fly at that height from here across the world. I always look around and start panicking the higher, and higher….and higher we climb. It’s like, why can’t we just stay at 100 feet above the ground haha. WHY DO WE HAVE TO GO SO FUCKING HIGH. I don’t like it. So with 3 hours of sleep and a xanax at 6 in the morning, Saturday was pretty much the worst day ever.
I was too tired to want to do anything except eat a lobster roll, which is basically what we did. I had what is the best lobster roll a human has ever or will ever had. It was at a restaurant called East Ender. Goes down on my list of being the best lobster roll in all of the world. Sometimes just for fun, I catolog my list of BESTS in my head. Because since I’m such a hyperbolizer and EVERYTHING IS THE BEST THING EVER people think I don’t actually have real bests. But I DO. that’s the thing. I have very clear notions of what is the best thing I’ve ever eaten/drank/done in my mind and here is my list:
- Best Mussels I’ve ever had (and I have eaten mussels at no less than 100 restaurants because they are my favorite thing E.V.E.R.) are at Canoe Club in Hanover, New Hampshire, where Dartmouth is. HANDS DOWN.
- Best pizza I’ve ever eaten (and like with everything on this list, I’M NOT PICKING THIS FROM A SMALL POOL OF APPLICANTS. I’ve eaten A LOT OF FUCKING pizza, mussels, etc in my life in a lot of different cities (obviously the famous places in New York- Grimaldi’s and Lombardi’s and Italy itself– and mussels in France. These recommendations don’t come lightly))– is Pupatella in Clarendon, Virginia. Yep.
- Best vanilla ice cream/root beer float I’ve ever had: Burger Tap Shake in Foggy Bottom DC
- Best hot coffee I’ve ever had was at a small no-name cafe in Poble Nou Barcelona– I will never forget that cup of coffee ever and I could walk to the cafe right now/show you where it is if I were there, but it has no name.
- Best iced coffee IN THE WORLD is coffee bean & tea leaf in LA *AND* La Colombe in Soho
- Best Peppermint ice cream in the world: is at Barnacle Billy’s in Ogungquit Maine
- Best lobster roll in the world: this place in Portland Maine
- Best chai latte is at Tryst and Busboys and Poets in DC (and I order them in every city I’ve ever been to)
- Best tacos I have E.V.E.R had including Mexico, Malibu, LA, Philly, and all food trucks ever are CHUPACABRA Taqueria– a food truck in DC
That’s my list so far. It’s a work in progress. But if someone came to me and said I could go to my favorite places in the world for those things, that’s where I’d go for all of those items. I love mentally cataloging “bests” in my head. I do it with brands and items of clothing I own too. I just enjoy trying gillions of different options and determining which things…soar above all other things in quality. Researching, trying, selecting, or not researching at all and just happening upon greatness in any form. Then when I find it, it really doesn’t matter what else may come my way because bests are bests and I am loyal to the death. Not because I’m not able to be flexible, it’s just like…YOU KNOW WHEN YOU KNOW, the same way you fall in love and know when you know and it doesn’t matter who you meet forEVER, or what comes along, you just know when someone is the winner and will never have competition because there’s just no denying that it’s better than anything else that could even conceivably exist over the course of your life on earth. No lobster roll I ever try for the rest of my years on earth will beat this one from East Ender, and no one will ever do better hair color than Denis De Souza, no one will ever be more design genius than the owners of Good Wood, no cities will ever capture my heart more than LA/Barcelona (you don’t understand– it’s not possible), I’ll never love any books more than I love In Cold Blood, Revolutionary Road, A Visit From the Goon Squad, Alice Munroe’s Short Stories, and Anna Karenina (though I’m sure I’ll add to it because books are different), no small American town will ever beat the beauty of Hanover/Norwich, and no person will ever compare to Alex. Those are my bests. Music, movies, and books are kind of the same. I definitely have my 10 or so bests, but those can be added to.
Also throughout the rest of our trip, I had 7 other lobster rolls (not kidding) in everywhere that specializes in them because that’s everywhere in New England, from Maine to Hyannisport to little sea side towns in Massachussetts, and nothing even comes CLOSE to East Ender!!! Like it’s awkward for all other lobster rolls because every place in the Northeast thinks they have great ones and they’re just not even in the game…my biggest fear in life is the chef of East Ender deciding to leave or quit and stop making those lobster rolls and I won’t know how to live because I intend on having them multiple times again in the course of my life and possibly at my wedding.
After an exhausting day in Portland, we drove to Bowdoin to visit Alex’s alma mater. It was beautiful and felt like camp and I imagine how much fun it must have been to go there, especially when he showed me a series of apartments he lived in that were literally……IN THE MIDDLE of the woods. It was so cool and I could feel how much fun it must have been to be 20 years old living with your buddies in the middle of the woods (I’m imaging/remembering this as ME, not Alex), and making hot tea on Saturday nights in the fall/winter as it snowed or rained outside the windows in the woods, and scaring myself every night into thinking some townie was going to murder us all (a feeling I imagine would have been fun, with friends around), watching scary movies on the futon couch (it’s college, remember), in giant sweatpants and sweatshirts under a blanket, reading a book for class or checking Facebook on a laptop while the scary movie plays in the background, and even if you weren’t talking to a soul and each person was doing their own thing while the movie played, you felt so UNalone because it’s college and you know that next door, and next door to that, and everywhere around are just other 20 year olds studying for the same things or showering and putting on their makeup to go to the frats and drink watery beer, and you can hear the base playing from their room while they’re getting ready to go out— Talking Heads or MGMT or The Knife, or M.I.A. (2008). Ugh, I LOVED the cozy sleepy Fall weekends of a small New England college. Saturday nights at 8 p.m. were like the best. It was still so early and sometimes you’d be in sweats watching a movie/getting work done and hearing loud voices of groups walking by your window outside, already drunk or ready to be, and even AFTER that, at like 10pm, you might shower and start playing your music and head out to a party at 11:30. Possibly nothing better. Saturdays at 8 pm in October. The energy of the start of the Fall semester still there, the feeling of summer long gone and the feeling of winter around the corner but not yet there, homecoming and Halloween, football, crispness, sweaters, boots, leaves, books. I could feel it all as we walked around the Bowdoin campus late afternoon in August. I knew exactly what it must have felt like to have been a student there despite it being my first time.
That night we drove back to his parents house and stayed there doing nothing (except drives and daytrips to nearby little coastal towns like Gloucster- the town The Perfect Storm was about, and having seafood-y lunches, etc). Tuesday, we drove to Kennebunkport to visit my friend Ellie and take a perfect boat ride, eat a perfect lunch at Barnacle Billy’s in Ogunuquit, and just smell the beautiful Maine air for the afternoon. Then we drove to Dartmouth for the night so Alex could see my college like I’d seen his, and also so that *I* could be back there.
We stayed at The Hanover Inn where I’d never stayed while in college because as a student you obviously don’t have a reason to stay in THE hotel in town, unless your parents are there and my parents never stayed there. You kind have to have been there to get it. Dartmouth is essentially a green lawn (a beautiful green lawn with beautiful buildings and architecture all around it), and DIRECTLY across, The Hanover Inn, and then one street– Maine Street– my FAVORITE. STREET. With Canoe Club (the place for the EPITOME of a preppy boy’s club loung-y retreat with leather couches, canoes and oars hanging from the ceiling, vintage Dartmouth skiing posters framed on the wall, and it always somehow feels like Christmas), the bookstore, Dirt Cowboy (the corner coffee shop), Lou’s (the FAMOUS famous diner for donuts and french toast and Mexican breakfast burritos), Molly’s (the place for pizza, beers, bread, salad), and Bella (the store. The only store). That’s it basically. That’s my little world. It’s basically a lawn flanked with a stunning library at 12:00, beautiful preppy old buildings at 3:00 and 9:00, and The Hanover Inn at 6:00, with Main Street going outwards. And how small Main Street is. And then you’ve basically got one square block. You take a left from Main Street and you get Ramuntos (the ridiculously good pizza joint), some Indian food, two small bakeries, and what used to be Ben & Jerry’s. Then you take another left and you’ve got the back of the gym, the football stadium etc., and the you’re basically back at the Green. So The Hanover Inn is iconic. It’s not a hotel really. It’s like, part of the campus. And it had this outdoor patio where once we turned 21, I’d take my friends for cocktails whenever I had someone visit me. And we’d sit out on the patio and you could just stare at the campus and see any and everyone you know walk by. So staying there– actually as a guest, in bed, with Alex, with the mountains out of our window– was the best thing EVER!
That night we had dinner at Canoe Club– always feels like December in there, in the best, best, greatest way possible. People on dates, blackberry wheat beer, a famous cheese plate appetizer, swanky live musicians singing bossa nova 2 feet from our face, the big glass windows that look directly out on Main Street so you can see all the college kids walking up and down the street at 9 pm flirting with each other, and The Hanover Inn across the street. Ugh it was THE BEST. My roommate and I *directly* outside of Canoe Club, in a beautiful flurry of snow during winter of our senior year (people inside on cozy dinner dates could see US out the windows the way we do when we’re on the inside):
After dinner I gave Alex a night-time tour of all of my favorite places. The inside of the library, the top of the library tower that is E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. you think a place like that would be– secluded, so very masculine, low lighting, old books evvvvvverywhere, floor-to-cieling, with old covers, huge stately furniture in dark wood and dark green and maroon, dark oriental carpet, painted portraits of past Dartmouth presidents looking exactly how they should look, windows that look out on the green, big arm chairs for curling up with books, exactly how you’d think Thomas Jefferson’s library would be…something from the 18th century. It was my favorite place to hide when I would study for art history exams, which were always in the winter, and being up there at 7 pm AS it snowed and covered the green, flipping through my flash cards on everything from 4th century to the Renaissance, buzzed off of studying so long, skipping dinner because I couldn’t bring myself to get up and leave the comfort of that spot and go out into the snow itself…I just wanted to sleep there in the chairs with my slides and books and the sight of the snow separated from me by this literal tower. I could marry that room. Alex never wanted to leave. He was completely obsessed with it. This is a shot of the green looking AT the library/tower room, so that second floor of windows is where I’d be, looking out to the green and the the rest of the town, on a stormy Fall night like this, or covered in snow in the winter):
The flash makes it weird here, but you can kind of see what the room feels/looks like in this photo Alex snapped of me sitting in the exact chair I’d do my studying in:
Another photo of it– from the back of the chair where you can see the windows and how they’d look out on the green. It looks light in this photo (from the dartmouth facebook page), but it was my favorite at night because like 2/3 of those lights would go out and it was very romantic, especially when the Christmas tree would go up on the lawn and the whole town would have its holiday lights.
After the Tower Room we walked all over the campus and then retreated to our little hotel room with it’s plaid-and-leather pillows and wooden benches and old school preppy cable-knit blankets in Dartmouth’s green and white.
OLD. BOYS. CLUB, the whole college, town, everything– and I lovelovelovelovelove it more than anything.
Idyllic, is really the only word. I could have never learned in an atmosphere that was modern and sleek and updated. I so vibed/craved/worshiped the history, of the buildings, of being in a small little room in Dartmouth Hall, with creaky wood floors, that literally felt like a one-room school house, with like…a blackboard on the wall instead of some silver-framed whiteboard. With a wooden podium for the professor to stand at, probably the same one that was there 100 years ago. Dartmouth Hall– with some football players outside of it for an event, in their little ‘D’ letter sweaters…so old school preppy collegiate.
I liked it most at night when it was illuminated, in the fall, and in the winter.
I’d go in there sometimes at night and stay up all night and study for exams. I remember staying in one small room and studying for my French Revolution class, alllllllll my papers out on the OLDSCHOOL desks– those desks from legit like 1950 with the compartment above your lap for your materials, and a groove for your pencil…and staying there till 7 am reciting shit in my head, practicing hypothetical essay questions. Whenever I think of or see or hear anything remotely related to the French Revolution, my brain instantaneously goes directly to that spot. I have no control over it. The memory is so lovely and solitary and it’s now just a part of me, that for the rest of my life— if some reference is made to Robespierre or the tennis court oath or David the famous painter whose paintings I’d already studied in art history and who I wrote a paper on for this History class, on the theme of Nationalism and how his art portrayed it, and whose art I later saw IN PERSON, in real life, 2 feet from my face (GIANNNNNNNNNNNNT scale, so insanely moving) in Paris as a student studying abroad 1 year after the exam in question)— I see and feel myself, my books, my desk, my papers, in that room in Dartmouth Hall, studying for my French Revolution final exam. The memories are so mine, so personal, because I spent so much time alone at Dartmouth in my own could-never-get-enough-of-this-subject-matter way, reading, studying, writing, alone- and I cherish them. I’m such good friends with the self I was at Dartmouth and in Barcelona where I studied abroad while there.
I spent all my free time in Barcelona wandering alone. (My all time favorite picture I snapped while there, when the air/sky had a similar feel to fall nights at Dartmouth, on one of the thousands of walks I took alone):
Barcelona, where I learned about Almodovar, everything about Franco and the the 1930′s and allllllll about The Spanish Civil War and Orwell and all the ex-pats, and Spain in the ’80′s, with the genius and formative filmography of Almodovar. And then from Barcelona as my home base, traveling to Paris and Rome, just me. In Paris I had a 24 hour love affair with a brilliant French man who I met in an out-of-the-movies way on the bus when the trip began (he was from Paris and had been visiting Barcelona and was flying back to Paris, I was obviously leaving Barcelona to fly to Paris, there was one seat next to me on the whole bus (the one that was bringing us to the airport to fly to Paris), and my stomach dropped the second I saw him, he sat down, we clicked the second we locked eyes even before he sat down, talked the entire bus, the entire flight, the entire cab from the airport to my destination, except he spoke to the cab driver in french and brought me to the Eiffel Tower at midnight where we kissed in front, and later gave me a driving tour of the city as the sun rose at 6:30 am and we made out in the back of a cab, and then I spent 2 days visiting art museums with my friend Beth seeing everything I’d ever learned about in art history, in person. My photo of the Eiffel tower that I took that night:
And my photo of the gargoyles on Notre Dame:
In Rome later that month I spent the afternoon alone at the vatican– one of the greatest afternoons of my life, and again, saw 9 months worth of art history in person, and knowing the stories behind the pieces when you see them in front of you for the first time, your first time ever in Europe, and you’re young and in college and everything you care about is learning all there is to know and falling in love with whoever may come into your life– it’s an unmatchable feeling. My photo of the vatican:
And the Roman Ruins:
Those 4 years, being an undergrad, were THE defining years of my life. I learned everything that made me me….it was the foundation for everything.
After Dartmouth Hall I showed Alex the auditorium where I took my film classes with a dry, dry, arrogant but so smart professor with a New York way of talking, that everyone was scared of/hated but me, because I always found him to be hilarious in how directly/cockily he carried himself, in whose class I learned about Bunuel and his insane film Un Chien Andalou, (references I’d see/hear in thousands of places afterwards, most recently in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris), and Fellini, and Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven, and the defining moment of the class and my life for me– David Lynch and Mullholland Drive.
I took Alex to the spots where I’d walk alone and sort thoughts out in my head and just soak up my surroundings. We walked to the pond and through the hiking trails in the mountains just a few feet from the campus basically.
We went to Bella, the boutique where I’d also had many a formative memory, looking for outfits for events I’d later remember and associate with those outfits.
It’s a magical fucking place and if it were a man it would be Alex because I feel such a profound, overwhelming sense of love for the place and how it shaped my life. I kind of wish I could marry Dartmouth and had no idea that it would ever be possible to love something that’s not real, the way a human is, in the way I do Dartmouth/Hanover.
Then, we drove to Hyannisport where Alex’s family was having a family reunion for 3 days. I don’t really have the time to write about that here so I’ll probably do a separate post on it, but it was beautiful and restorative and we were 2 feet from Taylor Swift and Connor Kennedy at all times. My WASPY Hyannisport outfit– Peplum + Polka Dots (the pants I got at Bella, obvi).
I’ll write more about Hyannisport and the second half of my last 2 weeks soon.
Hope you enjoyed this post. My “quick” update on life. haha it’s seriously ABSURD– I sit down and start with these titles, like, “short recap of the weekend” and then 4 hours and 9 pages later I’m like………I guess I should revise that title……
But I don’t.