Last weekend brought us the loveliest summer weather, sunny and warm without the wilting humidity we usually get this time of year. While staying out of the full noon sun, we were able to walk comfortably around the city in the afternoon and evening, relishing the as-yet long days.
That lovely weather lasted most of this week, but has been steadily increasing in heat and humidity. This weekend will be hot and sticky, and we haven't quite decided on a plan of action yet. Beach? Or the coolness of museums and movie theaters? We actually did all of these things in the last week or so during my time off. The heat drove us indoors a couple of times and we saw a couple of unusual movies: Moonrise Kingdom, which was delightful, and Beasts of the Southern Wild, which was fascinating.
We also finally got to the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Alas, we were underwhelmed. I guess I realized they couldn't move any of the art out of the palace itself (per the grande dame's wishes), but I did think there would be more space for their occasional exhibitions of art not in the collection. After we'd wandered about for awhile, D asked the receptionist, "So, is this it?" She graciously admitted that every visitor asks that and explained that the new wing merely moved out the "amenities" - ie, the concert hall, the restaurant, gift shop, and restrooms (there's also a new "living room" with a large collection of art books to peruse). The new Calderwood Hall performance space is an interesting 3-story, 4-sided glass box, but how do people on the top rung see down? (The receptionist explained that it's all glass, so you can pretty well see down below to the stageless floor. Hm.) There's the one main floor with the "amenities" and some student housing next to a small glassed-off (ie, inacessible) botanic garden. Then there's a second floor accommodating the first floor of the performance hall and a small room for exhibits with a box-like space next to it for showing art films. Two upper floors are reserved for administrative offices.
The palace itself looks mostly unchanged by the new wing, even stripped of amenities. The only noticeable change is that the hall that was used for music performances is now filled with tapestries and period furniture. The courtyard - ah, the courtyard! - is as lovely as ever, even with some statues under wraps for cleaning.
Since photographing is forbidden almost everywhere except for outdoors and the first floor of the new wing, I have only the staircase to show.
So I guess we'll be winging it this weekend as we figure out what to do given the uncomfortable weather. I'll pack with options for whatever we decide to do. Will post anything worth sharing!