Alexander and Me

Two years ago today, the Sister and I were breathlessly seated in the very last row at the Public Theater – about to see Hamilton on stage for the first time. In honor of that anniversary, it seemed appropriate to share a little about my long-time history crush and the road that brought us to that room.

It took 5 years to get me into “the room where it happened” – or rather the house where Alexander Hamilton and his family once lived. The morning was bright and cold, and I had followed my friend uptown, navigating icy sidewalks until we arrived at the edge of St. Nicholas Park in Hamilton Heights, Harlem. Nestled in drifts of snow was a cheerfully yellow house built in the Federalist style. It was a Saturday at the end of February 2015, and it was the culmination of a trip I’d convinced my sister to take with me – flying across the country to a New York City still in mid-winter so that I could indulge my history geekery.

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The Sister marveling at the snow outside the Hamilton Grange.

An almost magical confluence of events and connections had led to this trip, involving a friend discovering my love of Hamilton and text messages about an upcoming off-Broadway musical that I honestly thought was not real. But the heart of this is my crush for the oft forgotten Founding Father, but that’s a story I have to the start to tell.

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Concord & The Revolution

On this day, April 19, 1775, two skirmishes occurred between the British Redcoats and colonial militia in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts. These events together are seen as the opening “battles” of the American Revolution. The confrontation that happened in Concord, in particular, would later be known as “the shot heard ’round the world,” a phrase coined by American poet and writer – and Concord native – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

And in October 2015, I visited the place where it happened with the Sister during the last leg of my U.S. History vacation. Yes, I requested and planned a vacation with my friends around seeing Revolutionary History sites, and you’ll be hearing more about that in time on this blog. Concord wasn’t originally on my itinerary and is not a place I thought I’d see given that it’s a small town and a bit out of the way from Boston, but when my friend Tracey* offered her hospitality at nearby Lowell (another historical town – an old mill town, in fact) and a ride to Concord, I couldn’t say no. She knew to tempt me with Revolutionary and literary history (and apple cider donuts).

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Why Nerds Travel (Pt 1) – Stories (Inspiration)

When MARLON of Nerdcoolture said he was working on a series of blog posts about “nerd travel,” I immediately volunteered as tribute. After all, I basically started this blog to talk about the intersection of my wanderlust and geekery, and I had recently gone on the nerdiest trip of my life (so far).

And while Marlon and I had first “met” during a remote podcast*, we really connected over the topic of planning geeky vacations. So I’m excited to be blogging about the topic in collaboration with him. A little about Marlon – he’s all about bringing the geeky into everyday life, particularly through fashion! He’s also super into the Simpsons and takes epic travel photos.

So what is “nerd/geek travel”?

It’s travel but with a geek lens! Marlon and I are exploring this idea and what it means to us individually with this series of posts. I hope you’ll stick around for all of them as we talk about what inspires us to travel, how we prepare for trips, and how we keep it all geeky!

Marlon already posted his Inspiration for Nerd Travel (spoiler: video games!) on Monday, which I hope you’ll check out. And now I’m sharing what inspires me to travel…

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November 6 on 6: Gold

I’ve been meaning to participate in the 6 on 6 photo challenge started by Emma at Scruffy-Little Nerd Herder, and this month, I finally remembered to do it!

The rules are simple: take 6 geek themed photos and post them on the 6th of the month. There’s also a color prompt for each month to help guide you. For November, the color is gold, which is a color I love. So I had to participate!

1. Books – Anyone who knows me knows of my lifelong love of books, and they always make for such lovely photo subjects. My collection of gold-foiled books is woefully small though. My favorite new thing in this photo is the book necklace. I bought it during my recent visit to Salem, MA at the House of Seven Gables made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The necklace contains a fragment from the 1851 first printing of the House of Seven Gables!

2. The idea of Fall – I’m from southern California, so Fall isn’t really a season around here. Most of the trees on my street are still green right now. But I love the idea of fall, especially the kinds of fall those of you who have actual seasons rave about. This pic is a bit of a cheat since I took it a few weeks ago, but it’s from my New England trip. It was my first time experiencing one of its famed autumns, and the leaves were stunning. I had more pictures than I could Instagram at the time, but in going through them, I rediscovered this one of the fallen foliage submerged in the Concord river. It was a gloomy day in Concord, MA and the leaves shone like gold in the water from my vantage point on the Old North Bridge, where the U.S. Revolutionary War started. The Revolutionary period is my main history nerd passion. So this excursion was especially meaningful to me. It was one of my favorite days of my trip.

3) Travel – While I’m generally a homebody, I do have a bit of my mom’s wander-loving spirit (hence this blog – read more about it here). Taking annual or bi-annual trips has been fostered in my sister and me since we were young, and now that we’re old enough to be planning adventures on our own, the wanderlust is even stronger. Here’s a collection of recent travel souvenirs from near (Disneyland!) and far (Paris!).

4) Hamilton swag – Related to my love of the Revolutionary period and my history nerdom, I love Alexander Hamilton. He’s long been my favorite Founding Father, so you can imagine my utter delight when I found out about the musical. And even better, Hamilton the musical is absolutely incredible. I’m about as obsessed with it as I am about the man himself; I flew across the country (twice!) for this!

5) Bicentennial Medallion – More history geekery. After my trip, I went poking around at an estate sale and found this beautiful medallion. It’s from 1976 and seems like it was a commemoration souvenir for the United States bicentennial. How. freaking. cool.

6) Loki – Norse mythology was never as fun as its Greek counterpart to me, but I always did enjoy the Loki stories. Trickster gods always spice things up. So it worked out when the MCU made me and my sister into Loki fans. We loved him so much, we named our dog after him, which turned out to be appropriate because our Loki is as shifty-eyed and mischief-making as his namesake. And I adore him to pieces. Depending on the light, his eyes go from deep amber to warm gold.

What do you geek out about? What’s your 6 on 6?