My 40th Birthday in the Judy Garland Suite

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Upon the occasion of turning 40, society dictates that a big hubbub is to be made. Hype and hoopla, usually my stock in trade, are expected, and the grandest of events are to be scheduled and set into motion when one reaches that vaunted age. As mentioned, this is largely the predicament imposed by a society that increasingly fears its aging as much as it wants to celebrate its wisdom. I’m for the latter and unaffected by the former, so when my 40th rolled around it actually took some internal persuading to make the day into something more substantial.

As for the way I honored the occasion, things were kept remarkably simple, with an indulgence in the form of a very sweet suite at the Lenox Hotel. It provided a home base (out of necessity, as my brother had told me he was going to be in the condo on my birthday) and so I reserved the Judy Garland Suite – a very generous gift from my parents. (Ms. Garland stayed in the hotel for an extended period, and they subsequently created a suite in her honor.)

Stepping back into a world of elegance, a world that seems to have gone by, but a world where exceptional customer service and personal touches still matter and make all the difference, we entered the suite and found this happy confluence of gifts – some chocolates, a card, a bottle of prosecco, and our very own stuffed Lenox lion. The beauty of a boutique hotel, and its personal charms, was in gorgeous effect.

When looking for birthday ideas, and being quite familiar with the city, I was on the hunt for something unique, and distinctly Bostonian. When the description of the Judy Garland Suite crossed my radar, I was instantly sold. It’s a jewel-box of a space, wondrously appointed (with whimsical touches like a ruby red slipper on one shelf) and elegantly assigned with built-in bookshelves, and couches and tufted headboards of velvet.

Golden sconces and sumptuous drapery lent a timeless elegance to the scene, while two television sets (one in each living space) added the modern amenities that were mostly lost on me. (Who needs TV with so much beauty around?)

A little bit of upstate New York found its way into our accommodations, in the form of the Beekman Boys, whose Beekman 1802 bath products were newly acquired by the Lenox in a perfect alchemy of good products and good people.

The ‘Fresh Air’ products aligned fittingly with the environmental policies that the Lenox was one of the first to institute. (Yes, I will re-use my towel!)

We spent the afternoon settling in, and as with most gorgeous rooms we’ve had the privilege of borrowing over the years, it was enough just being there and soaking up the atmosphere. The complimentary bottle of sparkling wine added to the air of enjoyment, and we clinked to the eve of my 40th birthday.

We would take an Uber to the Liberty Hotel, where we would dine at Scampo for my last meal as a 39-year-old, but for the moment we paused, alone in our quiet suite, and contemplated the stillness, the beauty, and the happiness of a late afternoon in the heart of Boston.

There’s no place like home, and home is where the heart is.

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