For my 3 day weekend I went to visit my former roommate and one of my best friends, Anna. She lives in Jamaica Plains in an awesome Victorian house. We are both working a lot lately (she at an Arts summer camp building sets and doing tech) and me full-time, so we wanted to have a semi-lazy and not-too-touristy weekend. Thanks to the fact that I got Monday off (yay federal holidays!), I truly got a full weekend in Boston.

First up, and most importantly, we saw Toy Story 3. We had seen the Double Feature early this year and had to see the third together. If you haven’t seen the 3rd installment  yet, go see it! It’s truly wonderful. We cried, smiled and laughed. I think we felt especially connected to the movie because we’ve grown up with Andy and the toys. We know what it’s like to go to college, to have beloved toys, etc. We definitely related to the movie and at the end we just wanted to go home and play with our favorites. I know my drawer full of Barbies is still in my closet, as are my American Girl Dolls, my stuffed animals and my teddy bear and blanket. Also great about the movie was the short beforehand-Day and Night. It was really well done and great in 3D because of how the characters were juxtaposed with the black background. It was cool. So, basically go see it now if you haven’t!

Next up: a little walk through Boston Commons, which quickly turned into a relive-childhood-books-we-loved aka Make Way for Ducklings. It’s a classic, one of my favorites, and it takes place in the Commons. There are Swan Boats in the pond in the middle, that we hopped in line for. The boats have been a Boston staple for 130 years, it’s only $2.75 and is just a relaxing way to spend part of your afternoon. You are pedaled around a pond and see ducks, ducklings, spectators, hear awful street music and feel a nice breeze for 15 minutes. I would recommend it to anyone going to Boston, especially if you are looking for something “Boston” to do on a budget. It’s also a local favorite, as Anna recalled going on many a boat ride as a child, and still loves it to this day. (Anna dislikes touristy-Boston, well mainly the Freedom Trail, so the fact that she still enjoys Swan Boat rides says something.)

Then we found the Make Way for Ducks statues, they are adorable! I even took a picture on one-and rubbed all the heads for good luck (well all of the ones not occupied by small children).

We also saw a Revolutionary War reenactment, which was awesome since I’m a big history buff and love reenactors (long story). There was even a camp complete with children and wives as the men fought.

Anna and I decided that we wanted to check out the aquarium, and one of her good friends, and our NYU classmate Eric has a membership and was fortunately around that afternoon. So we went to the aquarium to see seals, penguins, giant turtles and sharks! I am a huge fan of aquariums and the New England Aquarium is one of the best in the country. They have a 4-story tank featuring sharks, coral reef, giant turtles and other fun creatures! Around the tank are smaller tanks featuring other fish and animals—including jellyfish, salmon, starfish (that you can touch), birds, penguins and seals! It’s expensive if you aren’t lucky enough to have a friend with a membership, but if you like marine life, it’s a must-see in Boston.

On the 4th of July we went to a neighborhood BBQ with delicious food and sangria. Then we joined Anna’s friends for the Boston Fireworks show. We didn’t go to The Esplanade where the majority of people go. Instead we went to a park behind the Science Museum which was less crowded and a perfect view. The only thing missing was the accompanying music. If you are watching at an unofficial viewing place, make sure you bring a radio. My favorite fireworks were the glittery ones and the rainbow-colored bursts. That probably doesn’t help you much, but they were beautiful and spectacular.

All in all it was a wonderful and relaxing Fourth of July, just what I needed. If you make it to Boston for the 4th there is a whole lot going on since it was such a major force in America’s independence. So enjoy the Americana, Happy Birthday America!