Austin to Boston- Travel Tales
Updated: Oct 20
Behind the scenes with founder and program director: Kassi Kincaid
For as long as I can remember, I have loved to travel. There is something about packing a suitcase anticipating the unknown adventure. While I love all methods of transportation, I get an additional excitement about traveling by plane. For me it's the whole experience: the distance traveled, the hum of the jet while boarding, the G force at take-off, and, of course, the Taco Deli breakfast tacos at the airport.
I have been fortunate to have deep Texas roots. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has been my lifelong airline hub to more adventures than I can count, but this time was different. While I have traveled by plane in the past for Book Days, this was my first official trip as program director. Hard to believe the last time I was in Boston, I had just launched the program with Pete the Cat. A lot has happened in four years!
This trip was a rite of passage I wanted to share with you, retracing my footsteps and memories, because some things you just can't get from YouTube episodes or social media. To all of you reading this blog, WELCOME! I hope you enjoy this behind the scenes look into Book Days: the travel adventures, the people we meet, and the joy of reading we share.
Day 1- Fun Before Filming
6:00 AM- Arrival at the airport. It was hard to believe this day had arrived. Inspiration had struck only a brief month prior, materializing this brief unexpected trip to New England in its most notable season. My mom, dad (videographer) and I were shortly met by my sister, brother-in-law and my adorable nieces and nephew. For the first time ever, we had pulled off a joint Book Days/family trip.
1:40 PM- We landed in Boston after a smooth 4 hour non-stop flight from Austin. Once we got our rental cars, my sister and I decided to check out a part of Boston we had never explored- Newbury Street. It was an incredibly quaint historic neighborhood filled with a tremendous variety of shops, restaurants, and goodies!
Our first stop was none other than a Swiss Chocolate Shop called: Teuscher. I am not a huge chocolate fan, but their raspberry truffles were AMAZING. By 3:00 PM and having no lunch, we stumbled upon a delightful taco shop named La Neta. Ya'll! It seriously gave Mexican food in Texas a run for its money! Having Hispanic heritage, Mexican food is my favorite and this restaurant had warm salsa- a true mark of authentic Mexican cuisine! Our last stop of the evening was Emack and Bolio's. This ice cream shop served up delectable ice cream- even crafting vegan ice cream made from coconut milk! I tried the vegan pumpkin ice cream and it was an absolutely perfect treat! I couldn't think of a better ending to the day than with my whole family in Boston, in the fall, strolling the architecturally rich streets of Newbury all because of Book Days!
Day 2- The Red Apple Farm
10 AM- After a restful night at our house in Cambridge, we ventured out into the Massachusetts countryside to the Red Apple Farm, the location of the Book Day filming, The Giving Tree. Since I knew my nieces and nephew were accompanying me on this trip, I tried to search for a destination that would not only serve the needs of this episode, but would be a family friendly New England fall destination. That was not an easy task, as there are numerous orchards in New England! This farm was truly the best of both worlds!
I was privileged to film The Giving Tree episode with Al Rose. His family has owned the Red Apple Farm for 110 years and he lives in a 1700's farmhouse on the property! He is one of my favorite people I have ever interviewed for Book Days. His light-hearted personality and knowledge about apples created such a fluid engaging presentation that blew my mind. If you have not watched the episode, it is a must see! I really appreciate the time he took to do this interview amongst his many farm responsibilities.
This was the ultimate day of mixing business and pleasure. It had been a dream of mine to film The Giving Tree, I never imaged it would be in Massachusetts in the fall with my whole family on a 70 degree fall day surrounded by vibrant foliage, red ripe apples, on a century old farm! I had traveled 2,000 miles for this experience and it did not disappoint. Driving home, drinking hot apple cider, I felt so thankful for this experience and excited to share it with you all too!
Day 3- Downtown Boston
9 AM- After our beautiful day in the country, it was time to pound the pavement in downtown Boston! We started our morning overlooking the serene Boston Harbor where the Boston Tea Party took place. I love how much history this city has! Elegantly crafted skyscrapers will be on the same block as historic buildings from centuries past. Truly, this city is where the past and present collide. After a wonderful caramel pumpkin spice latte at Tradesman Coffee Shop we took an UBER to the Museum of Science since my sister got free tickets from a meeting she had at the museum. If you are ever traveling to Boston with kids, I highly recommend this museum! They have a 4-D theater featuring short science films. We watched the show on sharks. In addition, the museum has multiple wings featuring state of the art exhibits about a variety of topics.
1:00 PM- After the Museum it was time to go to work. The filming of the day was Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. The setting of the book takes place in downtown Boston. For the episode, I retraced the steps in real life with expert tour guide Saba Alhadi from PhotoWalks Tours. We strolled the picturesque neighborhood of Beacon Hill ending up in the iconic Boston Public Garden. This book is so famous that in 1987 permanent bronze statues of the Mallard family were placed in the garden as a tribute to this literary masterpiece and children's literature. These statues attract a constant flow of fans both young and old. We had to wait our turn to film with them!
2:45 PM- With filming done, we headed to the historic district of Quincy Market to grab some food and souvenirs. The market is one large food court in an 1800's building that highlights a lot of local flavors and is surrounded by local shops. Next, we went to the Boston Public Market to scope out any final treats. Little did I know I would get to see Boston's Official Pumpkins that weigh over 1,000 pounds! These pumpkins were donated by the Red Apple Farm who have a booth in the market featuring their fresh cider and famous donuts.
Day 4- Heading Home
8:30 AM- Our last day was a travel day. The only item on the agenda was getting to the airport and making our 11:40 AM flight. While that seems like an easy feat with a mere 8 mile drive, the Boston traffic combine with rain showers meant we left nothing to chance. After getting drenched twice in the pouring rain, we safely made it to the airport with our seven large suitcases in tow. With business complete, it was time to say goodbye to Boston and start making our way home to Austin.
As our plane took off over the Boston Harbor, I felt incredibly blessed for the last three days of life. The weather accommodated our itinerary perfectly, holding off the rain until Thursday evening. We got to experience the country and city life of Massachusetts. This trip was special because I got to do what I love- bring books to life to encourage a love of reading in children, but I got to do it with my family.
As we go into the holiday season, I hope you will have a greater wonder of life and savor every single day with the people you love. Go to the park, take that coffee break, relish family dinners. Slow down and enjoy the magic of ordinary days. It's not what you do in life, it's the people you do it with.
Until next time,