Free Rise

New England is a great place to live if beer is your libation of choice. New breweries seem to be popping up all the time.

Don’t ask me why it took me a few years to make it to Trillium Brewing Company, even though it’s a 15-minute walk from my office, because I have no answer.

But this was the year that I added it to the birthday list. It’s a small shop on a random side street in South Boston. There is no tasting room; you stop here to buy growlers or cans. Just about two years ago now, Trillium opened a tasting room outside of Boston. Maybe I will get there next year…

I bought a mini-growler of the Free Rise, which is a dry hopped saison. And it was delicious.









Next on my list to try is one of its IPAs. Next brewery on my list to try is Turtle Swamp!


Bargain Shopping and Beer

What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than bargain shopping and drinking beer?

I grew up going to garage sales, flea markets, antique markets, you name it. So I was elated to finally make it to the Cambridge Antique Market.

Cambridge Antique Market







Allen and I spent a couple of hours perusing five floors of goodies. Vintage clothing, lots of china, old books and board games. Furniture and appliances. A little bit of everything.

We both walked away with one CD; he found a Death Cab for Cutie album for me, and I found a Patti Smith album for him.

Down the road is a craft brewery that we hadn’t been to yet = Somerville Brewing Company. I ordered a flight of its core beers, and Allen ordered a pint of the Trekker Trippel. I’ve tried a few of the beers before and they make me happy.

Slumbrew flight







I have about six weeks left until the birthday and nine things left to do. I got this.

Lamplighter and Lilypad

I went to a new brewery and a new (to me) music venue the other day.

Lamplighter Brewing Company is a hip little spot in Cambridge. A small taproom is connected to its brewery. And there is a “cafe” within the taproom. Genius! You can get good coffee and good beer in the same place.

I was meeting a friend at the brewery before we headed to the aforementioned music venue, so I opted to try one beer vs. a flight. I enjoyed a lovely IPA called Lucid Nonsense and ate a breakfast sandwich that was prepared at the cafe.









My friend and I walked 20 minutes to nearby Lilypad, a performance/community space that I have heard about for years but never stepped foot into. Our former colleague’s band, Steve Thomas and REAL INCOGNITO, was playing that day.

Lilypad, Cambridge









Lilypad is a nice, intimate event space. We had a fun time grooving along to the band’s jazz/funk/reggae beat. A bonus was the sound engineer’s super-friendly dog who walked around and visited everyone during the concert.

Steve Thomas and REAL INCOGNITO

Steve Thomas and REAL INCOGNITO









Next up: I see a musical at a theater I’ve never been to!


The time has come to commence my 13th annual birthday list. My friend Daisy helped me kick it off last weekend.

First, she helped me make a paper circuit (which I had never heard of before) at a great family makerspace called Parts and Crafts. We visited on a Saturday afternoon and it was buzzing with kids working on sewing projects, building vehicles with plastic wheels, and soldering who knows what.

Butterfly paper circuit: LED light, battery, and copper tape

Butterfly paper circuit: LED light, battery, and copper tape








Next, we went to Winter Hill Brewing for lunch, where I drank a “Somerville Specific,” a very interesting IPA, and ate a lovely chickpea burger with rosemary fries. I love beer and all, but give me rosemary on anything and I’m a patron for life.










My third and last item that weekend is something that I’m still coming to terms with…

I tried bone marrow. And oxtail for that matter.

We went to Toro, a Spanish tapas restaurant, for lunch. Daisy gently encouraged me to try the bone marrow, since a recurring item on my birthday lists is to try a food I haven’t eaten before.

There was a lot of oxtail on top of the bone marrow, which was probably a good thing. I kind of sort of tasted the bone marrow. I don’t think it tasted like much, but I was too overwhelmed by the idea of eating bone marrow to really pay attention.







Six months and 39 more items to go! Have any ideas for my list?

Birthday in the Bahamas

#40 on my birthday list was: Visit the Bahamas.

This was my second trip to a tropical island, and I have to say that I was born to live on a tropical island. I love sun, heat, and baking myself in the sun.

I spent four nights in Cable Beach, a few miles west of downtown Nassau. I rented a little bungalow:










The bungalow was rustic, but I had access to a private deck right on the ocean:








The water was absolutely mesmerizing. I laid out the first day I was there and subsequently learned a lesson: do not lay out the first day you are visiting a tropical island. Having not been exposed to the sun for months, my skin naturally burned in places that I naturally missed when applying sunscreen. So I dealt with burned body parts for the entire trip. All things considered, it was a small price to pay.

Following are highlights:

The Nassau Library

Nassau Library







I read in a guidebook that I could pay a nominal fee for Internet access at the library downtown. I forgot to write down when my return flight was, so I really needed to get online. I went to the library on my birthday and used the computer for 30 minutes.

The library building, formerly a prison,  is an octagonal shape. I wish I could have taken photos, but there was a large sign saying that photography was prohibited. It was the smallest, cutest little library with impossibly narrow aisles and shelves filled with well–worn mass market paperbacks. Decades’ worth of yellowed newspapers bundled with rope were stacked on top of all the shelves. In every section there was a lone office chair, waiting for someone to sit down and read for a while. Loved. it.

Not surprisingly, alcohol was involved in two other highlights:

Pirate Republic Brewing Company

I came across a brewpub that had only been open eight weeks. I took a tour of the brewery, which was given by the co-owner. She and her brother are native Bahamians who enjoyed homebrewing. A few years ago, they decided to open a craft brewery. Funnily enough, before they got their brewery up and running, they contract brewed at a brewery an hour north of where I live! It was awesome to see a brewery in its infant stage.

Pirate Republic Brewing Company







Rum Walking Tour

I was interested in taking a tour given by a local. I had read positive reviews of Islandz Tours, so I booked the Rum-Runner’s Passage Tour. Jason, the tour guide, was awesome, as were the two American couples on my tour. They were college friends who had young children, and they were ready to drink! I did manage to learn a little about rum along the way and had some fun drinks. We stopped at artist Antonius Robert‘s gallery and had a lovely chat wit him after eating some conch fritters and rum cakes. We also walked through a posh five-star resort called Graycliff and popped in at its cigar factory and chocolate shop. We ended up at John Watling’s Distillery, which was started by the Bacardi family. Suffice it to say that I have a new appreciation for rum.

John Watling's Distillery

Samples and cocktails at John Watling’s









Atlantis Birthday Adventure

Last but not least, I have to mention my trip to the Atlantis resort. A bunch of friends chipped in money so I could get a massage and nice dinner on my birthday. It took me 25 minutes to walk to the spa from where the ferry boats drop off people. I was late for my appointment and stressed out. The spa manager took pity on me and gave me the full time for the appointment.

After the massage, I walked around the grounds a bit before having dinner at an Italian restaurant. It was a quiet night at the restaurant, so my waiter came to chat with me once in a while. I mentioned that it was my birthday, and he surprised with me a dessert and “Happy Birthday” serenade from about 10 waiters. The dessert even had a candle.








The Bahamians are really friendly and I enjoyed talking with everyone I met. I would return in a heartbeat. I really need to start buying lottery tickets…







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40 things to do on the birthday list!

BirthdayJune 1st, 2015

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