23 Oct Visiting Cohasset (and Boston)
Our farm stay in Cohasset was a thing of serendipity. It’s the perfect example of the unconventional, intentional travel that we love so much.
We met Michael and Michelle at Jake’s Off-Road Triathlon in Jamaica two years ago. We were serving a two-year term with the Peace Corps on island and they had flown out for vacation. As we all prepared to race on our various relay teams, we got to talking and really hit it off.
The following year, Michael and Michelle flew out again for the triathlon and we returned from our corner of the island as well. When they asked us what our plans were after Peace Corps, we told them that we hoped to travel and also learn some new skills- like gardening and farming. Little did we know, they owned a farm!
They generously offered to host us at their farm in Cohasset, Massachusettes- just across the bay from Boston. Like we did with our friends in Washington, we would exchange a little of our manual labor for room, board, and a great learning experience. It was another “unofficial help exchange. “(The official version is found at sites like HelpX.net or WorkAway.info where you can search for work exchanges like these around the world.)
It just so happened that we could easily tack on a long “stop-over” in the Boston area on our way home from our big Fall Europe trip. So we made a week out of it and even got to briefly visit a few friends in Boston as well.
The farm stay turned out better than we could have imagined. We were graciously welcomed and generously cared for. We stayed in their beautifully appointed, spacious loft apartment above the barn. They provided for all of our meals and even let us borrow one of the cars to use in our free time. We were even able to continue working with our social media and web clients the whole time, thanks to their high-speed internet.
Their property is home to two beautiful horses, five delightful chickens, hives of bees, rows of berries, and a large vegetable garden.
In the mornings, we helped them prepare the garden for winter, did a little landscape upkeep, and repainted the basement hallway. They taught us how to feed and care for the chickens and horses, which we eventually did on our own when they attended a weekend wedding.
In the afternoons, we either worked on our own web projects or did something active- went for a boat ride with Mike, jogged along the coast, or took their mountain bikes to the nearby State Park. Overall, it was a great mix of work and play.
One aspect of their life we were very interested in was the community Farmer’s Market that they manage. We were fortunate enough to participate in the last market of the season and, although it was significantly dampened by a rainstorm, it was still easy to tell how vibrant and important the market is to the community. We came away with some top-notch salmon, a few fresh vegetables, and delicious home-made pumpkin pie!
Cohasset is just about an hour down the coast from Boston, whether by car, commuter train, or ferry boat. We had a couple opportunities to go into the city that we had heard so much about. Upon our arrival, we realized how fortunate we were to experience this place in Autumn. The Fall leaves were absolutely beautiful.
Mike’s Pastry in Boston’s North End was a must-do. They are well-known for their cannolis of various flavors and have a wide selection of Italian pastries as well. I have had very few cannolis in my life but the chocolate mousse one was delicious. Modern Pastry had good cannolis, too, but apparently Mike’s gets more hype.
We also ate at Flour Bakery, which has multiple locations in Boston. Jedd is a big fan of Pastry Chef, Joanne Chang’s, cook books so that’s what brought us in. Everything on the menu was tempting. We ended up ordering a sweet potato sandwich with sticky bun, which were both amazing.
Hopefully we’ll have the chance to return to this part of the States soon. Neither of us have had much chance to explore New England beyond this past week. Where should we go next? What did we miss in and around Boston?
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