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Monday, September 3, 2012

The Journey There & Back | Our Time in New England

I'm writing this post from the air on my way to my first overnight stay away from Emma.  This is my first significant amount of time away from my baby (24 entire hours... 7 was the previous record).  Only after leaving her for 3 hours (and counting), I'm already nostalgic about our time together so far.  I have spent most of the flight watching vidoes of her grow up on the ipad. 
Through my video journey, I realized I hadn't properly brought our time in New England to a close for the blog - and maybe for myself.  I think I will always think of our journey to Massachusetts as our journey to get Emma.

It all started with a little twist of fate...  almost two years ago on our honeymoon flight to Italy, I was browsing through the October Martha Stewart Living (seriously... how MUCH has this magazine influenced my life) and was reading an article about a little town in central Massachusetts - Deerfield.  So charming and quaint.  Knowing Mike was thinking of exploring new job opportunities, I said, "You know, if you found an opportunity someplace else, I think I'd like to move someplace - just for a little bit.  Let's go have some fun someplace.  Look at this adorable town in the middle of Massachusetts.  We could live there!"  My comment to him was half joking and half serious.  But when we arrived in Italy, our minds really started wondering as we explored the hills of Tuscany.  Mike was convinced that we needed to just stay in Italy and by a little villa.  It was official, after our trip we had been stung by the exploration bee.

When we arrived home from our honeymoon, Mike (who had not yet reached out to anyone regarding a job search) had an email in his inbox from a recruiter about a job... in Boston.

After a couple of months of interviews and negotiations, we put our house on the market and went to visit New England to look for a new place to live.  I had a vision for what I wanted in a new location - something in a small quaint town similar to what I had seen in the Martha Stewart Living.  Through my research came across a little town called Concord.  It was only 10 miles from Mike's future office and looked to be very cute.  I booked a room for us at the Colonial Inn at the beginning of February. 

Concord's Colonial Inn when we came for our first visit - 5ft of snow!
You might recall that the Winter of 2010-11 was a doozie in New England.  There was 5 feet of snow on the ground when we went on our visit.  As we drove the 20 minutes outside of Boston to the country, I instantly fell for the white-covered pristine country side.  It was almost surreal as we drove around on the winding country roads, seeing all of the colonial houses tucked into the woods.  We arrived in Concord - such a charming and idyllic little town settled into the country. 

The Main Street Market & Cafe in Concord, Ma.
With the heavy, heavy blanket of snow, the town was so so quite and peaceful.  But, that night we had dinner at the Main Street Market & Cafe - sort of an old-time general store.  Mike and I chatted about what we thought about the town, how we envisioned our life there and if it was what we were looking for in a town.  We started talking about when we wanted to start a family and decided that we wanted to start trying - guessing it would take a little while. 

As we were chatting about our future plans and while the snow had quieted the rest of town, there was a crowd packed into this charming glowing little restaurant.  The band started up and people were kicking off their snow boots, stripping of their stocking hats and dancing their tails off.  We loved it.  I am not sure if it was the music, or the fact that it felt like a glowing and bustling party in the middle of a snowed-in town, but whatever it was in that moment it had the "it" we were looking for.  

A month later we had sold our house and drove ourselves and Mr. Darcy across the country.  Going into it we knew we probably didn't want to stay there forever, but we were open.  We were free to explore and experience for as long as we wanted. 

We are pretty sure that I got pregnant sometime during the first week we were there.  Yes, one month from when we decided to start trying - Emma was with us during our entire journey... we just didn't know it yet!  Almost instantly our need for exploring turned into my natural instinct to nest.  I felt myself wanting to find a home asap and settle in.  We did just that in a house we rented in Concord, Ma.

During my pregnancy we still kept our adventurous spirit and went exploring every chance we got (as you have seen).  We did our best at filling every spare moment with a new trip or experience.  But as Emma got closer to her arrival date, our love for exploring started to fade into a yearning for setting up a more permanent life for us. 

In December, Emma was born at Emerson Hospital in Concord.  Our families came out for her birth and for the Holidays and when it was time for them to leave I knew it was time for us to start making our way home.  While we had loved our time on our own, growing as a newly married couple and a new family, I knew that I wanted Emma to grow up with the rest of her family

We didn't want to leave too soon though, we still wanted a little more time out on our own and to check some things off our list.  We loved living in Concord and frequenting our new favorite places- Verrill Farm, Barefoot Bookstore story time and Mr. Darcy's favorite walking route through the historical town center.  When I would get anxious about wanting to get back home, I would (try) to remind myself that this was just our little life vacation- and that is how it felt.

Though short lived, I will never forget or regret our time in New England or the spirit we enriched from having gone out to explore on our own.  While I don't know that our experience was exactly what I thought it would be in some ways, it was so much more in others.  I can't wait to go back to some of our favorite spots someday with Emma and the rest of our family to show them that life is exactly what you make of it.  I hope that we can teach her that life is about getting out there and living and never being afraid to come home... especially now that we're the parents.

Hiking in Stowe Vermont
 
Hiking in Stowe Vermont
Sunrise Walk on the Main Beach in East Hampton
Mike's dream car in Sandwich, Cape Cod.
The view from the top of the hill in Concord's Town Center.

My Dad admiring the Minutemen monument at Concord's North Bridge.
Mike biking through Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard with my entire family!
Martha's Vineyard Family Vacation
Lobsters on Martha's Vineyard
Concord's Town Center in Autumn

On our way out to Our trip to Deerfield - the place that inspired everything!

Me looking as big as a giant pumpkin in Our trip to Deerfield, MA (read about our trip here!)

Giant Pumpkins in Deerfield, MA

Mike and Mr. Darcy settled into our house in Concord.

Our hunt for a Christmas Tree in Vermont
Mike and Mr. at the Christmas Parade in Concord

Emma at 9 months... pre-birth

Emma, Day 1

Emma, Day 2
Our First Christmas

Emma and her Dad at Christmas

Emma at 3 weeks
Ski trip to Woodstock Vermont

Emma's Valentine's Day

My Birthday Trip in East Hampton

Emma's First Trip to the Beach, East Hampton

Strolling thru the Boston Public Garden

Emma by the Swan Boats
Mother's Day Beach Picnic

Sunset, Mother's Day, Duxbury, Ma.
Memorial Day at Chatham Bars Inn, Cape Cod

See you at home!

18 comments:

  1. hi jenny,
    this was my favorite post of yours. ever. i loved reading about your decision to move to new england, as well as your one to return home. you made so many wonderful memories and captured them beautifully. i missed new england each and every time you posted. we left boston after i finished work for my degree for the same reasons, we knew eventually we would have children and we wanted our them to grow up around family. we have never regretted that decision but i did insist on living in the most new-england-like community i could possibly find. and buying an old colonial home so i could, on occasion, pretend i was still there. i honestly think one day, maybe when my boys are grown, we will find ourselves back in MA. till then, it is midwestern living! best wishes to you as you settle in. tessa

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  2. Loved this post as well. As a young couple, I am too faced with the challenges of wanting to explore but not wanting to loose that valuable time with family. Cheers to your life.

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  3. What an absolutely beautiful post! Thank you so much for taking us along on your wonderful journey. The photographs are stunning. I can't wait to see what happens during the next fabulous chapter.
    Best wishes from England and the best of luck in your new home!
    Paula x

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  4. What a gorgeous post and fun adventure! My husband and I did something similar with a three year venture to Denver. It is such a great opportunity to explore a different part of the world. Welcome home!

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  5. Hi Jenny,

    I don't think I've ever commented but I have kept up with your journey periodically over the last few months and I have to say, this post is my absolute favorite. Thank you so much for sharing what inspired you. You're story is motivating, refreshing, and encouraging, and it makes me want to get out and explore a little! Love all of these gorgeous photos as well. Here's to a fabulous new journey back home with your little one... xoxo

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  6. Hi Jenny -- I'm so happy to read that your time in Concord will have such good memories for you, Mike and of course Emma. I loved getting to know you and having your help on the old/new house I moved into this past fall. I hope you do come back to visit and will let me know when you come back into town. I so wish you would do your fall entertaining class in Concord. I'd be happy to have you use my home and I know I could get people to participate. Can NOT WAIT to see your photos of your house. How exciting! Give Emma a kiss for me!

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  7. I love Deerfield, my husband hails from that area. The Yankee Candle Company, Hancock Shaker Village and the wonderful covered bridges. No wonder you were drawn there. The pull of family and home is a strong one though, that's why I am back in Wales, hoping my husband doesn't feel that pull back to Mass too soon.

    Emma is beautiful!
    Di
    X

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  8. Jenny, I am an avid follower of your blog. I always look forward to your entries. Can't wait to see what you do with your new house. It's adorable from the outside! Keep up the good work...you're so talented : )

    Sue

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  9. Anonymous6:11 PM

    I was born in Boston, grew up there, and didn't leave until I was married and off on our own adventures. Three boys and many moves and many years later, I find myself in the middle of the country, in a place that reminds me somewhat of New England, but I always manage to get back there for the real thing at least once a year. Your blog during the time you were in Massachusetts tells me that you experienced, and lived, and appreciated the essence of the area, and I appreciate being able to see it through your eyes. Love your writing -- your style -- your recipes -- thank you.

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  10. This is one of those posts that you need to print and keep in a book somewhere. (And put away a copy for Emma too.) It touches your readers, and it chronicles this portion of your life's story. Thank you so much for the sharing this adventure with your readers here. I know many more are in your future!

    Kelly

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  11. I love that it was a "vacation from your life" - I feel that way about 4 years I spent living in western Montana. How special for you and your husband to always look back on that time together...

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  12. This post really touched me. My husband and I moved overseas a year ago just months after our wedding. While our experiences are half a world away from Concord so many of the sentiments you expressed mirror what I feel on a daily basis about our time on the little island of Cyprus.

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  13. Kristin8:44 AM

    Jenny - I'm so glad you wrote this. Although we only met briefly, I was sad to see you leave Concord but I completely understood why. My husband and I lived in various parts of the country pre-kids, but when it was time to start our family, we wanted to be home in Minnesota. We were blessed to spend the first decade of our "kid years" with family and friends around us, but when the career opportunity came up in Boston, we had to follow it. As you might remember, it took me 4 1/2 years to "find" Concord, having settled at first in another MetroWest suburb - but once we rooted down here (right behind the Colonial Inn!!), we all agreed, we'd finally found "home". The pull of the Midwest will always tug at my heart and I will always be a Minnesotan (as will my kids, thankfully!), but I have come to love this little enclave of Concord and Carlisle and believe it is truly a very special place...I'm so glad you got to experience it too! All my best for a wonderful life back home - there is nothing like the Midwest and her wonderful people! xo

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  14. Jenny,
    I've only been to Concord once but I thought it was so charming. I am so happy to read how you came to live there. I am fairly new to your site. Where are you now? I haven't read your archives so I'm not sure where home is. Your story is so heartwarming. Thank you for sharing.
    Karen

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  15. chic and stylish addition to any window. Anyway, if this is your before version of the house tour, you're obviously going to leave us reeling when it's finished.

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  16. Your time in New England looks fantastic. :-)

    I have one silly question, in the photo of you 9 months pregenant 9adorbs by the way), there are stockings hanging in the background. Do you know where you got them from? I am pregnant and due in Jan 2012 and I am on the lookout for new stockings for me, the mister and our little guy.

    Thanks so much!

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  17. I just stumbled across this post via pinterest (of all places!) and I am so glad I did. It made me fall in love more with where I live. My son was born at Emerson (and my husband works there!) two years ago. Concord truly is a lovely place. Hopefully you made it to Nesting on Main, right above that lovely place to eat.

    ReplyDelete

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