Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Boston and Cape Cod, Massachusetts

We decided to make a quick stop in Mass to see a childhood friend of Betsy’s and check off another presidential library.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time to hang in the area but are hoping on another trip to explore more of the cape.  We had just enough time to see a few things that covered the gamut of history, food, friends and glass. 

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is the nation’s official memorial to the 35th President (1961 -1963). The stunning structure at Columbia Point on the south side of Boston fittingly overlooks the sea that Kennedy loved so much and the city that launched him to the Presidency with admiration that lives on today.  The site was chosen by his wife Jackie who also selected the relatively unknown architect I.M. Pei whom she felt had the imagination necessary to capture the breathtaking view for her first husbands’ fitting memorial.  As with all official Presidential Libraries and Museums, it was built with private funds (dedicated in 1979) and is administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. 


The museum briefly touches on Kennedy’s childhood and early years before politics with an introductory film then quickly moves into his presidency.  Kennedy was well known for his iconic televised speeches and the museum has created many vignettes with large-screen projections and interactive displays that highlight this aspect of his career.  Kennedy moved the country and world with simple yet lasting phrases like, “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on” and “We celebrate our past to awaken our future” as well as the often noted, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

Kennedy’s presidency was filled with foreign policy challenges.  It was a time when the cold war was stirring, the Berlin Wall was erected, Vietnam was exploding, and the Bay of Pigs put the world on edge.  On the domestic side he is remembered for creating the Peace Corps, addressing civil rights issues, improving conditions for those with disabilities, and the lofty goal of landing a man on the moon.  


In addition to the Kennedy Library and Museum is the Ernest Hemingway Collection - the first ever major museum exhibition devoted to the work and life of Ernest Hemingway.  The collection contains approximately 90 percent of the Nobel Prize winners manuscripts and an extensive array of photographs, reels of sound recordings, video tapes, motion picture film and printed material.  Hemingway’s widow Mary contacted Jackie and offered the collection of works to the JFK library which was then in the planning stages.  During his lifetime, JFK expressed admiration and praise for Hemingways’ work.  Despite a U.S. ban on travel to Cuba (due to the Bay of Pigs incident) JFK made arrangements for Mary to enter Cuba to claim family documents and belongings, a gift she would later grant to the library, a place where she felt would be a “place where [Hemingway] would be to himself and have a little personal distinction."
We had a great time catching up with Betsy’s friend Suzie over dinner and she was kind enough to spend the next day showing us around the quaint cape town of Sandwich.  One stop we made was to the Sandwich Glass Museum.  The museum is centered around works of the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company (1825 – 1888) and combines classic exhibits with state-of-the-art technology to bring static objects to life.  Your visit starts with a glass blowing demonstration where beads of glass are carefully transformed into a wine glass or vase.  As you move through the museum you wander into multi-media exhibits that illustrate how glass objects were used in everyday life from salt bowls to fly traps. 

Before leaving Cape Cod we just had to pay a visit to the Cape Cod Potato Chips factory.  We never miss an opportunity to see how something is made.  This family-owned business started in 1980 in a small storefront in Hyannis with the intent of making the best potato chip possible.  To achieve that goal they believed the kettle-cooked process was best.  Unlike typical commercial brands made using a continuous frying process, in which potato slices travel through a tub of oil on a conveyor belt, Cape Cod chips are cooked in batches in kettles, fried in a shallow vat in oil while stirred with a rake, producing a crunchier chip.  While Cape Cod did not invent this process, they sure made it popular.  Apparently customers like the chips as the company has experienced rapid growth going from making 200 bags a day to 350,000 with nearly 20 flavors of potato chips and popcorn and corn chips.

The self-guided tour (which didn’t allow photographs) walks you through the process of sorting, cleaning, peeling, frying, centrifuging (to remove excess oil), inspecting, salting, and packaging.  Don’t worry if you think watching potato chips being made is going to make you hungry because you get a complimentary bag as you exit through the gift shop. 

Unfortunately, our time on the cape was short and didn’t allow us to get to Provincetown and the National Seashore but maybe another time when we can spend more time with Suzie exploring the area. 

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