Back from College Heaven

Some of the best times I’ve spent with my family this year are precursors to what will undoubtedly be, at least temporarily, one of the saddest times. We’ve taken a couple of short trips back East to visit colleges with my high school senior daughter, who has her heart set on going out-of-state for college even if it means paying back loans for the next twenty years of her life.

In the spring, we visited several schools in Pennsylvania over a couple of raw wet days filled with dirty snow and dreary skies. The campuses, however, were impervious to the weather, populated as they were with perky tour guides who excelled at walking backwards across campus as they extolled the virtues of their schools, and encouraging admissions officers who were thrilled at the prospect of attracting a bright and shiny new freshman from the under-represented West Coast demographic. Not that I’m cynical or anything.

This time, we went to Providence, RI to visit Brown (which my daughter pronounced “Beautiful even in the rain!”) and several schools in Boston. In Providence, we met my parents for a visit that included a delicious dinner at Mill’s Tavern to celebrate two birthdays: Mom’s and my husband’s. My dad outdid himself, calling the restaurant’s pastry chef in advance to request a special cake… it was extravagantly delicious, with a dense, moist crumb and chocolate ganache frosting. Though it was incredibly rich, I kept taking just… one… more… bite… because it was too good to stop eating. We could hardly get up from the table when the meal was finished.

Everywhere we went, I was childishly pleased to see that the fall foliage had not completely dropped off the trees.

We stuffed ourselves with chowder, oysters, and other rich New Englandy seafood dishes in between campus tours. We wandered around the Faneuil Hall Market square, and admired the historic old architecture of the Back Bay and Beacon Hill (pausing at a house on which a placard announced it as the building from which Paul Revere set out on his midnight ride), and window-shopped Newbury Street after dark to walk off yet another rich meal.

We connected with our daughter’s best friend from her summer program in France, and had dinner at a wonderful restaurant in the North End with Sophie (on the left) and her parents.
And everywhere we went, there were more of those brilliant gorgeous trees…

In three days, we toured four colleges, and did drive-throughs of another three. Quite a whirlwind, yet each school left its own distinct impressions. Memory being an imperfect thing, thank goodness I took so many photos of all that foliage those buildings!

These are the three inter-denominational chapels at Brandeis University, one of Rachel’s favorite spots on our tour of that campus.

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