The road to Harvard

Now I understand why it’s so hard to get into Harvard, you have to find the place first!

Sean & I set off at about 6.30am in our rental, confident that if we took the coast road from Manhattan and Boston, we could be there in four and a half hours. So with the wedding not due to start until 3pm, we had plenty of time to exit the highway along the way and get our feet wet in Long Island Sound. We did just that in Milford about 100Ks north of the city, a picturesque place with a bird sanctuary fronting onto the water’s edge. It was a glorious morning, perfectly calm, and the only sounds were those of the many birds ducking and diving around the marshes. Elevated walkways took us over the wetlands, and as we approached the beach, we could see the sun glistening on the water with a few boats and a small island in the distance. Apart from a few joggers we felt the fresh morning was ours alone, a ‘great to be alive’ moment, until we climbed a sandhill and suddenly saw about 50 people spread across the sand in ‘downward dog’ position. The surprise we shared reminded me of an experience in Queensland many years ago when I climbed a lonely sandbar only to find the seaside slope covered with soldier crabs. Although in this case the yoga devotees didn’t scatter, they just rolled into the next position…

After Milford we wandered along the Interstate 95, pulling off the highway occasionally to soak in that ‘summer at the beach’ feeling. There were the classic Cape Cod wooden houses right on the water, and life guard towers looking across flat water to Martha’s Vineyard where they shot Jaws all those years ago. Back on the road there were as many Harley riders as there were traffic jams, making us wish we could join one to avoid the other.

It soon became apparent that we would have to get a move on if we were to get to Harvard with enough time to change out of the shorts and into a bit of lipstick.

After the grid pattern of NYC, finding our way around Boston was a challenge. We weren’t worried, even without a GPS in the car, because we had maps and could always use the iphone to get us from A to B. But a major traffic jam on a bridge with closed exits meant we were thrown completely off course, and the iphone couldn’t locate where we were to start with, let alone where we wanted to be. The terrain was definitely not ‘Cambridge’ looking – more like ‘whatever happens stay inside the car’ and as 3 pm drew closer, and Sean redefined the meaning of one way streets, we knew we needed divine intervention. That came in the form of a bald headed young man in a red pickup in the next lane. I suspect it was the Australian accent in ‘Hey Mate’ that got his attention, because when I asked him where Harvard was, he said ‘follow me!’ So in a flash we were at St Paul’s, we wriggled into our wedding clothes in the car park, & when a couple of passer-bys gave Sean a look, he quickly said – ‘there are no telephone booths!’ So we made it to the church on time, it was a gorgeous event, and the reception really made our day. Not only was the food excellent and the celebration stylish, but we met some very salt-of-the-earth people. A testimony to the motto of the place….

The Harvard Club grew out of a ‘town and gown’ club established the century before, and was born during prohibition. Fortunately this was a passing phase, and the civility of wine and women has brought us now to the present day, where an ‘affiliation with the Harvard Community’ will open doors for you. I was hoping to report that access to the charming Club accommodation would be open to all – it would be a fabulous place from which to explore Boston. But at this time those without an Ivy League connection are only welcome in the dining room. Which is not a bad second. Certainly a visit to the Harvard Club ( if you can find it ) is definitely worth studiously contemplating…

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3 Responses to The road to Harvard

  1. Peter Kolodziej, Sydney, Australia says:

    Hi Gabrielle,
    I have been a longtime listener to ABC Overnights with Trevor, Rod, Suzanne et al.
    I listen in bed. Its a good thing I’m a light sleeper otherwise I’d miss a lot of worthwhile radio!
    Anyway, I’d like to compliment you on your “postcards from…all over” You are a breathe of fresh air at 4am or whatever for us Sydneysiders. You sound so enthusiastic and are a terrific communicator-yep, you’ve got the gift of the gab! If only all people on radio were like this!
    So, I appreciate your efforts in describing your adventures. Hey, there’s got to be a book in it.
    I recall last year when you regaled us with your trip to the Faroe Islands. I was intrigued and had to Google to see what all the fuss was about. You were right. Incredible location. Wow!
    So Gabrielle, keep up the good work and be aware you have many fans out there.
    I’m impressed that despite many years in the US, you still come across as so Australian (no American twang!)
    Best Regards

    • Peter your message ( still ) sits in my inbox as a source of inspiration and encouragement. Thank you for your thoughtfulness in writing and your support in listening. I am fortunate to have so many opportunities for adventure, and being able to share them makes it all the more fun. So keep tuning in – we’re off to Turkey in May!

  2. Mili says:

    Hi Gabrielle, love hearing you stories on Overnight. I am in Perth so you come on at 1 am. There are the odd occasions when Perth has an advantage over the East Coast of Australia. Travelled to the USA in March and April this year. It was our second trip to the US. Took the train from Washington to New York and Boston. Beats flying. Took a tour of Harvard. Our guide was a final year student. Highly recommend the tour. Regards Mili

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