9.18.2010

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Day One: Bah-ston, 9/10/10
Even after a late night of packing and cleaning, I eagerly awoke at 6 am Friday morning to get ready to head to Boston. Brian and I had been looking forward to our weekend for a long time, and it finally arrived. Last December, we decided to start saving up for a vacation instead of giving each other big Christmas presents, so we were excited to treat ourselves to an amazing meal in addition to covering our hotel and rental car expenses. We headed out around 8 am and hit some annoying traffic before the Whitestone bridge. After 45 minutes of slowly crawling, we finally crossed and were truly off! We stopped once in Connecticut to gas up and pick up our usually road trip treats, and made it to our hotel around 1:30.
After freshening up and settling into our hotel room (which we loved), we headed back into Boston. Again, we were delayed a bit by traffic. But Brian was very good at reminding me that even in traffic, we were together on vacation and happy! We drove into the city by Quincy Market, parked our car, and went to the Union Oyster House for lunch. I had taken pictures of this restaurant on all of our trips because it is the oldest restaurant in America, but we had never eaten there. We were tucked into an old wooden booth and served warm corn bread as soon as we sat down. Brian was excited to treat himself to fried clams, and I ordered chicken and vegetables. We really enjoyed the food, atmosphere, and each other's company.
Then we walked towards Quincy Market. I always enjoy walking around this area- grabbing coffee, window shopping, and picking up souvenirs. And we did just that. For the first time since last spring, I ordered a hot coffee and needed it to stay warm! We shopped around and picked up a few things, and then walked over to Long Wharf on the Boston Harbor. There was a local art fair set up along the water and a live music stage, which was great. We browsed some of the art booths, and then walked along the water. We found these wonderful blue plastic lounge chairs that were perfect for two, so we sat for a few minutes admiring the crazy yachts docked in the harbor. Before going back to our hotel, we drove over to the REI near Fenway to get some chairs for the festival.











The highlight of our first day was definitely dinner. First of all, Brian surprised me by packing his gray cardigan. Now, I realize this probably sounds stupid. But it is something we bought together in Maine two years ago, that I learned he only agreed to buy because I loved it so much. Isn't he great? The problem is, he never wears it. So I was very excited to see him in his bright blue v-neck and gray cardigan. We had 9:30 reservations at Abe & Louie's, one of the best steakhouses in Boston. We got back into the city with no traffic, valet parked the car, and were seated right away- that right there already makes it a great dinner! We knew going into this that we meant business. I purposely had eaten light all day with the intention of thoroughly enjoying massive amounts of filet mignon. We started with a caprese salad and oysters (for Brian). Then came the much anticipated meat- filet mignon covered in aged cheddar for myself, and a massive double-cut prime rib and 1 lb. lobster for Brian. And for good measure, we threw in some fried onions and grilled asparagus. I have never seen a person eat as much meat as Brian did. I take that back- John Candy in The Great Outdoors was comparable. It was crazy! My steak was perfect, and I was one happy lady. The last couple times we treated ourselves to a nice steak dinner were on special occasions, like our anniversary and Valentine's Day, so it made the evening feel even more special. And just when we thought we couldn't eat anymore, we looked at the dessert menu. Carrot cake and key lime pie... ah, yes please! The carrot cake was hands down the best we have ever had. All in all, a perfect meal. I love vacations, I love Boston, and I love Brian. 

Day Two: Life is (so) Good, 9/11/10
After our amazing dinner, Brian and I had a relaxing start to our Saturday morning. Our plans to wake up and head to the hotel's gym quickly changed into eating breakfast in bed while watching Law and Order. We packed our backpack full of water, blankets, and warmer clothes, and headed to the shuttle pick up location for the Life is Good festival. We caught a shuttle right away and in a few minutes we arrived. After getting scanned in, we walked around the grounds for a few minutes to see what was there before heading to our VGP (Very Good People) tent to check in. We were instantly impressed with the set-up of the festival. There was the Good Kids area, which had face painting, crafts, obstacle courses, parachute play, sack races, and "Dino Discovery." There was also a kids music stage that had performances throughout the day. Then there was the Good Karma section, which Brian and I came to know and love over the two days we were there. In this section, there was a Cookies by Design tent where you could frost your own cookies, an instrument petting zoo, and the Chase Freedom Lounge. We got into the lounge with my Freedom card, and could not believe all they had to offer. Right away we made our own flip book, with cowboy hats, tiaras, and props. It turned out so cute! It is a fun little souvenir from the weekend. In the lounge there was also Wii set up, airbrush tattoos, free water, and air conditioned bathroom trailers. And, best of all, they scheduled three private performances: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Brett Dennen, and Guster! Brian's mouth dropped open when they told us about the Guster show on Sunday.
After checking out the Freedom Lounge, we walked across the field and checked into the VGP tent. Brian and I both fundraised for the Life is Good Kids Foundation, and raised enough money to have access to the VGP area all weekend. Together, we raised over $1,200! Thank you to everyone who supported such an amazing cause! We were warmly greeted by Jes and Julie, two of the nicest people who worked for Life is Good. They gave us a tour of the tent, seating areas, and private concert viewing area. We did not think we were going to have our own concert viewing area, so we were very surprised and grateful! We also found out that they were provided Chipotle for lunch both days, and some dinner options as well. It was amazing! We set up our blanket and chairs in our viewing area, and were ready for some serious music listening.
VGP area
Our view of the stage all day, both days. 
The lineup for the day was: Chris Phillips, Eli "Paperboy" and the True Loves, Will Dailey and the Rivals, Mavis Staples, Donavon Frankenreiter, Ozomatli, Dr. Dog, Ziggy Marley, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and Ben Harper & Relentless 7. Seriously, AMAZING! I planned on seeing every performance, so we walked back and forth between the two stages all day. We had free water and food in our VGP area, so we didn't have to worry about waiting in lines for most of the day. We did take some breaks though to get coffee, ice cream, and the most delicious somosas I have ever had. We were really both just so incredibly happy. Everyone at the festival was so nice, the volunteers did an incredibly job, and there was plenty to do all day long. I was so impressed with the organization of the event, they had even thought of having volunteers next to the garbage/recycling/compost areas to insure everything was thrown away properly. And the farm was beautiful; we were surrounded by mountains and walking on grass and dirt, instead of the concrete I am so used to. And even though my feet were the most dirty they have ever been, they still felt more clean than after a day of walking around the city with flip flops. As Brian said, it was "clean dirt" at the festival.
A very happy Brian
Dirty, but happy, feet
There large wooden signed were scattered throughout the grounds, this one was made for Brian. 
My favorite performances of the day were Donavon Frankenreiter, Grace Potter's private performance, and Ben Harper. The Chase Freedom Lounge did an amazing job with their private performances. I stood four feet from the stage and listened to Grace Potter with two of her band members, and they played a five song set all acoustic. The great thing about the festival's lineup was everyone was good. Even though I was not familiar with some of the artists, I really enjoyed the concerts and never was bored. And as soon as we got back home, I started buying lots of new music on Itunes!
Will Dailey & the Rivals
Donavon Frankenreiter


Ziggy Marley
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Ben Harper & Relentless 7
After Ben Harper finished around 9:15, Brian and I took our time walking back to the shuttle pick-up area. We assumed that getting back on busses to go to the parking garages would be a mess, so we were in no hurry. Again, due to the organization of the festival, the shuttles were quick and easy! Who would've thought? And, to make it even better, they had a jazz band playing for you as you waited to load the buses. The workers made a point of telling people to get back on the buses where they were dropped off in the morning. Brian and I walked to where we were dropped off, and asked two people if the buses were making all parking site stops. They said yes, so we got on and headed out. After five stops, we noticed that the bus was empty, except for us and the bus driver. We asked her, "There are more stops, right?" and she told us that no, her route was done. Wow. We felt stupid. We explained that we might have been the only people who had not drank alcohol all day, and that we listened to directions and apparently still got on the wrong bus! She was super nice, and offered to drive us to our parking garage. We later realized that because we arrived at the festival so early in the morning, our bus had dropped us off at the wrong area. We were the only ones from that bus, hence the embarrassing confusion! We made sure to pay extra attention the next morning when getting dropped off, but confirmed that the mistake was definitely not out fault. Day 2 of our vacation weekend was amazing, and Day 3 got even better! Life really is so good!
Day Three: Forget Life is Good, Life is Amazing, 9/12/10
Brian and I woke up Sunday morning beyond happy. Day One of the Life is Good festival was amazing, and we could not wait to get back for Day Two. The lineup for the second day was: Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Toubab Krewe, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars, OK Go, Galactic, Brett Dennen, Guster, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Jason Mraz. Brian and I were most excited for Chase's two private performances; first Brett Dennen at noon, and then Guster at 2:30. We arrived, set our stuff down, and then headed to the Freedom Lounge to get good seats for Brett Dennen. We sat on a couch right next to the stage. I was sort of familiar with Brett's songs, but Brian had never heard them. He was so chill- he walked right on stage, took his shoes off, plugged in, and started playing. He played a new single that is not out that I really liked, "Sydney, I'll Come Runnin'." He was so fun to watch. He somehow chewed on something the whole time he sang (ginger maybe?) and danced with his feet and knobby knees. I loved it. I bought a lot of his music right when I got home.
In the Chase Freedom Lounge waiting for Brett Dennen's performance
Brett Dennen
After the first private performance, a guy in front of us asked if we were staying put until Guster at 2:30. We hadn't really thought about it, and were not planning to sit for two hours. But then four people darted up to the front, and we quickly changed our plans. Two nice girls from Michigan grabbed the very front couch, and we started talking to them about the concert. We decided to trade off holding the seats, while the other pair walked around and ate lunch. Good deal! Brian and I left first, went back to the VGP area, and got some Chipotle. Unfortunately, Trombone Shorty missed his flight and had to be rescheduled, so we could not watch anyone while we ate.
Our seats in the VGP area, with complimentary Ben & Jerry's, yum!
After walking around for a bit, we headed back to the lounge to meet up with the girls and let them walk around for a bit. Truthfully, it was kind of nice to be out of the colder weather and sitting. While we were sitting, a guy who worked for Chase Freedom (Angus) walked over and said, "You guys know Guster is not playing until 2:30, right?" We explained that we were huge fans and wanted to have the best seats for the concert. Brian got to talking to Angus (imagine, Brian talking to a stranger? No... ha) and told him that he was currently banking at another bank, but was seriously considering switching to Chase after the weekend we had had in the lounge. Angus talked to us a bit longer, and then asked us if we would be willing to be interviewed on camera about our experiences. Brian's eyes lit up with the mention of some camera time, and he nearly lost it when Angus mentioned that if we were interviewed we could also get a meet and greet with Guster. We of course said YES! We headed out to a separate, more exclusive part of the lounge where Angus upgraded our white wristbands to the super special blue bands. He showed us around, offered us some lunch and yummy desserts, and then asked us to wait to be interviewed. We were shocked. We now had access to catered food for lunch and dinner, and more time with Guster. Angus was amazing, and made sure we were taken care of for the rest of the day. As did Gretchen, another worker in the lounge. We interviewed with the Chase people for a few minutes and then headed back to our front row seats for the concert. Guster was amazing. The space was pretty tight, so Brian (the drummer) didn't have much space. But they made it work, and played a lot of favorites and some songs from their new record coming out in October. For the last song, they performed unplugged in the middle of the lounge. It was great! After the concert, we headed out around the back of the tents and did a quick meet and greet with the band. Brian knew them from back in '94 when he was performing at the American Repertory Theater and they were performing in Harvard Square, so he got to reintroduce himself and talk to them for a few minutes. I just sat there smiling from ear to ear, so excited for Brian to get to see them up close and personal. It was a really special experience.
Guster's set-up
GUSTER!
Unplugged
So happy! Photo from Chase Freedom. 
Meet and Greet: Brian, me, Brian, Luke, Adam, and Ryan's feet (man, why couldn't the lady with our camera have gotten everyone in?!)
After our time with Guster, we still had lots of music to enjoy! We walked to the smaller stage and caught the second part of OK Go's concert. The band was awesome, and I knew more songs than I thought. They were a little more rock than some of the other bands, which was a nice change. Every time we went to the smaller stage, we stood on the right side and got to go right to the front, which was cool. I sat in our VGP area for Galactic, while Brian waited for coffee. Then we saw Brett Dennen again, this time with his band, and then Guster on the main stage. We were standing right next to the band members' families, which was kind of cool. 
Brett Dennen
Guster
So happy to see Guster
We headed back to the Chase Lounge after Guster, and could hear Corinne Bailey Rae while we ate dinner in our private little area. It was so wonderful to not have to wait in line for food, because the wait time was up to an hour around dinner time. And, on top of that, the food was really good! Prime rib, mashed potatoes, chicken nuggets, salad, and lots of desserts. Thanks again Angus! Finally, we finished the evening and weekend with Jason Mraz. Another perfect day.
Jason Mraz
The best part of the weekend was getting to be with Brian. We were both so happy to just be with each other, and the amazing music and people at the Life is Good Festival was an added bonus. Like I said before leaving for Boston, we always have such a great time! I love Boston and can't wait to go back again. And like the guys from Life is Good said, where there is music there is love.
Huge picture made of thousands of tiles painted by people at the music festival. 

2 comments :

  1. How awesome! I loved hearing about the festival--what a great thing to do :) Good pics too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Carly! I love seeing your comments, you might be one of the few who actually read my blog :) The festival was amazing, I highly recommend it if you are ever in the Boston area when it is going on!

    ReplyDelete

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