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  • THE CHARLESTOWN Navy Yard in Boston might strike one as an odd place to put a hotel. We took a little road trip last weekend, to mark the occasion of our granddaughter Nora's fifth birthday. By playing Internet Hotel-Booking Roulette, we fetched up at the Constitution Inn, just a couple of blocks from the USS Constitution, Old Ironsides, right smack in the middle of the Navy Yard.

    It was an unexpected delight. The Hotel was Siamese-twinned with the Downtown Boston YMCA, which offered an impressive array of fitness facilities, including full-size pool and sauna. Too bad neither of us brought swimsuits or athletic gear. (At my age, "athletic" means moving from Point A to Point B at a moderately fast shuffle).

    The image on the preceding page shows the attractive view from the sixth-floor balcony, down the hallway from our room.
  • ON SATURDAY NIGHT, we attended the grand finale performance of the 2013 Boston Celtic Music Festival, at the First Parish Church on Harvard Square in Cambridge.

    My daughter Lindsay, Nora's mother, was one of the featured dancers in a Scottish Highland pas de deux. Being the classy lady she is, she asked the audience to sing "Happy Birthday" to Nora before launching her performance...
  • ON SUNDAY, we celebrated Nora's birthday by taking her for a swim at the YMCA pool, then driving back to Harvard Yard...
  • TO MAKE a birthday cake, open gifts, order pizza, and applaud as Nora modeled her new dancing leotard....
  • LITTLE BROTHER Caleb North sat back after dinner, twirled his mustache, and asked for a Cuban cigar. "Sorry, Kid," we said. "They're considered contraband in this country..."
  • MONDAY we drove home to Pennsylvania. But when we got to the New Jersey-Pennsylvania state line, it appeared Interstate 78 into Pennsylvania was closed, thanks to the geniuses at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation....
  • SO, BEING resourceful as well as tired and frazzled from a six-hour drive, we found an alternate route into Pennsylvania.

    But not before we'd stopped for some refreshments along the way...
  • IN SHORT, it was a fun trip. We covered a fair amount of ground, saw some beloved family members we don't get to see often enough, and a grand part of the country. At the end, we looked at each other. "That wasn't so bad, was it?" I said.

    "No. it was wonderful," Eve said.

    "We should do this more often, then?"


    Photos by North.
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