Friday, August 23, 2013

Jackson US Summer Tour 2013 - Boston and Newburyport, MA

     In recent years a summer trip up to the New England area has become a given as we have family in Newburyport as well as friends in Boston.  It doesn't hurt that ol' Beantown is a great city with lots of colleges for Marisa to visit and breweries for me to check out.  Last year we came down for a Red Sox game, toured Boston College and endured a Sam Adams brewery visit.  We also participated in several Yankee Homecoming events in Newburyport which were reason enough for a return trip.
     This time around we stopped in Boston first to see my boy Matt Davis in his new home of Somerville before continuing up to Newburyport for a second helping of Yankee Homecoming festivities.  Of course the primary goal was to spend time with the Winters, visit our nephew Nolan and log some hours poolside.  I'm happy to report that all objectives were met this year.

Highlights from our time in Massachusetts:

1.  Harpoon Brewery
     While we didn't make it in time for an official tour of the place, we had a great time sampling beers and throwing down gourmet pretzels in the taproom with Davis and Kim.  Having done both Sam Adams and Harpoon now, I definitely put my stamp of approval on both of these fine establishments.  Don't visit Boston without seeing at least one of these.

Matt is not afraid of the dark. 

One thing I appreciated was that they sold three different samplers to try: IPAs, UFO series, and seasonal (or whatever this one is called) 

It looks worse than it was......or maybe it looks exactly like it was.  Don't worry, we were able to take public transportation afterwards. 

Marisa's favorite - UFO hefeweizen. 

Great time had by all, but not the easiest place to get to using public transit.

2.  Salisbury Beach
     Now I don't want to admit to being a beach snob, but when someone refers to a beach in New England I have already passed judgment and written it off as a cold, rocky strip of beach that may feature a sweet lighthouse but isn't fit for summer enjoyment.  However, we were able to take a short drive to Salisbury Beach and I now stand corrected - there is at least one beach in New England that doesn't suck.
Sisters reunited at the beach

Susan stayed bundled up 

 and I worked on my skin cancer.

3.  Yankee Homecoming Events
     Once again there were several events that we participated in for the festival.  The beer fest was a huge improvement on last year, mostly in terms of the weather, but also the offerings.  Marisa and I ran the 5K again, both setting personal bests from the previous year.  Perhaps the biggest addition was the authentic local wrestling which brought back memories for me from the Paulding County Community Center.

Nothing better than a beer festival WITH a designated driver - thanks again Kendra. 


The "New England Championship" pitting "Big Gun" in the luchador mask against the Yugoslavian Grizzly.  It was intense but by far the most entertaining part was the heckling from the sidelines.  "Put 'em in the Boston Crab".  "Slap his chest".  "There's a ginger on your back, Gun!  What?  I don't think he knows its a ginger." 

Jeff and Nolan, seconds before Nolan cocks back and tosses the football through a tire with zero hesitation......left-handed.  Can you say "scholarship"? 

It was nice getting to introduce Newburyport to Matt and Kim since they aren't too far away now. 

Another year, another ride on the train.  Note to self, if I ever get desperate for cash I should operate a train at festivals.  At $3 per head we decided that he easily pulls a few thousand per weekend - that explains the smile on the conductor's face.

Pre- 5K race 

Post 5K race 

Nolan digs the mighty machines

4.  Guys' Nite Out, Girls Nite In
     While Jeff, Nolan and myself went out for dinner and duck-feeding, the ladies hosted a jewelry party with tons of yummy finger foods.

Just as we started to feed the ducks we were distracted by a small snapping turtle.

Jeff scores man points by subduing this reptilian beast and demasculating it by showing everyone his underside.
There were a lot of ducks and Nolan went with the "feed one enough so that he'll make it through the winter" strategy rather than the more socialist "a crumb for every bill" method.

Jewelry party!!  Kind of makes you glad to have a penis so you don't have to partake in these things.

Fancy finger foods 

Sisters with the jewelry party lady, Heather.

5.  Other breweries and family time
     Throughout the week we were able to get-together with extended family and friends, hang out at the pool and visit a couple more local breweries in New Hampshire and Newburyport.  We always enjoy the simple life of a New England summer.

Portsmouth Brewery/Smuttynose Brewery - Portsmouth, NH

Marisa, Kendra, and Susan with family friend Mary.

Extended family time with the Riley/Faherty/Mitchells.

Pool time with uncle Justin

Newburyport Brewing Company

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