Our Fair Cambridge

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The day was devoted to Cambridge. We left the subway at Harvard Square and walked the entire afternoon, stopping in several Tibetan shops, for her, and whatever struck my fancy. One was Leavitt & Pierce Inc., just off Harvard Square. I could have spent an hour in the nearby Harvard Book Store (or the Grolier Poetry Book Shop behind it, but Grolier was closed for a long holiday), but quaint bookstores would kill a sunny day.

Leavitt’s windows made it seem like a mere guys’ novelty shop, but on entering it was obvious. This was (since 1883) a tobacconist, but with smoking bans, much fresher smelling. How sad. But well worth an hour, with shaving items, traditional game sets and quirky antiques. This was a man’s place (sorry, no evident Web site), quirky and classy and masculine without being laden with testosterone. In short, no sporting gear, except decades-old black-and-white group shots of one Harvard team or another on the walls.

About 4 we turned a corner and found Cafe of India (warning, audio), just in time for an early dinner — we soon would need to get to the Boston Esplanade for the open dress rehearsal of the Boston Pops Orchestra’s Fourth of July outdoor concert.

After our Vegetarian Dinner for Two, we walked around Harvard Yard to see some of the campus’ oldest buildings. Then I grabbed a couple of coffees at the Harvard Coop to take on the train.

I liked Cambridge, but my wife was surprised at it being dirtier and with more street people than she expected. -30-

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