Blame it on the Museum of Fine Art, Boston.
This is the second time they’ve hooked me with one of their bewitching lures – an exhibit of works by William Merritt Chase, prolific painter and teacher.
Of course I know and admire his work. Of course the show opens in October and closes in January.
I teetered on the brink for a few days. It’s a tight window and bad timing – we’re already traveling and gone for a week in November, the family’s here for Christmas, and with setting off for Rome scheduled for February, how can I possibly go?
Boston’s winter weather is frigid. The hotels are frighteningly expensive.
But at the same time as this show, there’s an illuminated manuscripts exhibit at the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum. Not to mention, but I must, an exhibit of 100 pieces of Nubian gold work at the MFA.
The deciding vote was cast by intense yearning. Also, tick-tock, it makes no sense to put anything off. I should go while I still can, while my knees still bend and my eyes, however blearily, still see. Who knows what challenges tomorrow may bring? Seriously, what am I waiting for?
Yesterday and today I’ve been playing with the pieces, juggling exhibition dates, prior plans, Robert’s schedule, flight cost and room expense/availability.
Mid-October, every place I’d like to stay is booked, November ditto, plus dizzying prices. I played around with some early December dates, but the B&Bs were still booked up and the hotels are, well, too costly for me. AirB&Bs were surprisingly thin on the ground and seemed sketchy.
No surprise, $300-400 rooms plummet to $108- $195 after New Years. I figure it’s not going to get any colder in January – or not that much colder – and boy, is it ever cheaper. The sweet spot for me is Jan. 4-11th.
I’m looking at a big hotel across the street from Boston’s main public library (murals by Sargent), a compact boutique hotel known for helpful service, and three B&Bs. No matter where I stay, I’ll be Ubering through the snowflakes, thank you very much. When I am done being ravished by art, I want a soft, warm place to land.
There was a happy moment when realized my Russian gear – those impervious snow boots and mountain-climber-grade warm coat – will be perfect for Boston in January. Another good reason to go! It’s a return on my initial investment, right?