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College Road Trip to Boston and Belgian Waffle Muffins AKA Waffins

Belgian Waffle Muffin AKA the Waffin

Belgian Waffle Muffin AKA the Waffin

Okay, this is a very long post…..if you don’t want to hear about Boston,it’s okay by me to just skip to the end for the recipe.

I just got back from another trip to Boston to visit Miss G. This time I was accompanied by my friend, Pam, and her high school junior daughter, Gracie the Girl Genius, who came along to check out some Boston area colleges. There are more than fifty colleges in the Boston metropolitan area  and some of the top ranked schools in the nation. We only made it to four. Thankfully, we missed the previous week’s blizzard, but it was still bitterly cold with deep piles of snow everywhere.  Those Bostonians do a great job clearing sidewalk, paths and salting stairs. So, for the most part, the snow did not interfere with our college quest.

Friday morning after getting off our red-eye flight from Seattle we headed straight to MIT after dropping off our bags at our hotel, The Liberty Hotel {loved this place, a renovated old jailhouse…cool architecture, lovely room, right across the street from the redline MGH/ Charles stop}. We caught a little bit of the 10 am information session at MIT before Gracie had to meet Daniela, the student she was to shadow for the day. As Pam and I are too old for red-eyes, we lunched at Flour , a scrumptious little bakery/ cafe renowned for their sticky sticky buns, before heading back to the hotel for our most needed nap. Meanwhile, Gracie attended classes and ate lunch with Daniela. Gracie loves math, so she was so excited to attend a differential equations class. Yes, I think MIT is a perfect fit for her.

MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology):*

  • Private (founded 1861)- 4,503 undergraduates (2012-2013)/ 6,686 graduate students
  • Male:Female – 55%/45%
  • student/ faculty ratio: 8:1
  • professors with terminal degree: 88% (100% at core classes)
  • average class size: 9
  • freshman retention rate: 98%
  • 6 year graduation rate: 93%
  • study abroad: 20%
  • avg. % students who stay on campus on weekends: I couldn’t find this statistic
  • % students living on campus: 90%
  • 2012-13 Applications: 18,109
  • Acceptance rate: 8.9%
  • SAT middle 50%: Math: 740-800, Critical Reading: 680-780, Writing: 690-790
  • Academic GPA: not reported
  • US News Ranking: National Universities: #6
  • 2011-2012 tuition/room/board/fees: $54,238….remember they are need blind and meet full demonstrated need of all accepted students

MIT’s school of Architecture was the first architecture school in the nation. Because of this, the campus is full of cutting edge architecture and a lot of buildings made out of concrete. You’ll find find buildings by Alvar Aalto, Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Frank Gehry, Steven Holl, Fumihiko Maki……not your usual ivy laden classical brick buildings. William Welles Bosworth’s early buildings on the campus, such as building 10 and the Great Dome are limestone clad neoclassical beauties. Be sure to walk the infinite corridor, the 825 ft.long spine of the Bosworth buildings connecting the east and west ends of campus. MIT is known to be one of the most intellectually demanding universities in the nation specializing in engineering, science and math. They also are leaders in economics, political science and management.

Pam: MIT is way more urban than I expected. I like it!

Gracie: I like that the focus is on math and that they don’t take English too seriously here. You can do math all of the time here {she says excitedly in a positive manner}. I enjoyed the dining hall with the windy stairs. I like how the a cappella groups are named the Asymptones, Chorallaries and Logarhythms. I love it here.

After we picked up Gracie, we headed to Harvard, two subway stops past MIT to pick up Miss G. We headed to dinner at Faneuil Hall/ Quincy Market – a tourist’s delight. The long corridor of the Quincy Market is lined with various food sellers. Between us, we had sausage hoagies, shrimp linguine, a lobster roll, and gigantic macaroons, peanut  butter cups and whoopie pies. Awesome! Exhausted, we had a good night’s sleep that night.

Pam and the pizza maker

Pam and the pizza maker

The next day, Saturday,  was very relaxed. I wanted to try dim sum in Boston’s chinatown, so off we went to Hei La Moon. I was soon to discover that dim sum was a little to exotic for Pam and Gracie’s tastebuds; and they don’t really like seafood. However, they were very good sports and seemed to like the baked cha siu bao (pork buns) and sesame balls. Miss G. loves dim sum, but has recently turned into a pescatarian, so would only eat the shrimp dishes. The good news about all of this is that I had the shu mai all to myself! We then walked around Boston Commons and went to a movie. Pam and Gracie’s meager dim sum lunch necessitated pizza in the”Little Italy” of Boston- the North End. So, off to Regina Pizzeria we went for cheese pizza for the pescatarian and  sausage cacciatore pizza for the rest of us. It was good pizza. Effervescent Pam, the former Ms. Snohomish, connected with the man in charge, so he was bringing her special sauce and took her picture with the pizza maker, while I and my fellow wallflowers waited outside for her. We picked up a substantial amount of tasty pastries at Bova’s, the all-night bakery,  and then dropped Miss G. off at Harvard and then back the The Liberty Hotel for us.

Pam braving the cold at Boston College

Pam braving the cold at Boston College

Sunday, another bitterly cold day, we leisurely made our way to Boston College on the green line. This subway ended up above ground, so we were able to see Boston University as we passed by and other sights of the city. Since it was the weekend and there were no official information sessions or tours, we decided to lunch at the Corcoran Commons and tour the snowy campus ourselves. At Corcoran Commons we all ate very good, very expensive cheeseburgers. Pam sat us by the BC cheer squad and of course, was ready to join the cheer squad by the end of our lunch.

Boston College:*

  • Private (founded 1863)- 9,100 undergraduates (2012-2013)/ 4,900 graduate students
  • Male:Female – 48%/52%
  • student/ faculty ratio: 14:1
  • professors with terminal degree: 98%
  • average class size: 15
  • freshman retention rate: 95%
  • 6 year graduation rate: 91%
  • study abroad: 40 %
  • avg. % students who stay on campus on weekends: 90%
  • % students living on campus: 82%
  • 2012-13 Applications: 32,974
  • Acceptance rate: 29%
  • SAT middle 50%: Math: 640-730, Critical Reading: 610-700, Writing: 620-710
  • Academic GPA: not reported
  • US News Ranking: National Universities: #31
  • 2011-2012 tuition/room/board/fees: $49,560….remember they are need blind and meet full demonstrated need of all accepted students

The Boston College campus is full of gorgeous roxbury puddingstone clad Collegiate Gothic style buildings. Gasson Hall is one of the architectural gems found on the campus. The students we saw had a J.Crew look about them.  All the many students we talked to in our quest around campus were gracious and friendly. Boston College is a Jesuit institution. A Jesuit education is a rigorous and open minded education .  The most popular majors here are Communications,  Economics, Finance, Political Science, English, Psychology, History, Nursing, and Human Development.

Pam: The food was awesome, but there are some awfully big staircases here.

Architect Mom: I ‘m glad we didn’t visit this school when Miss G. was looking, because she would have wanted to add it to her list of schools to apply to.

After Boston College, we headed to Harvard for our tour from Miss G. First, though, was a necessary stop at Burdick Chocolate near Harvard Square for a cup of hot chocolate to warm our chilled bones. Boston is way colder than we Snohomishites are used to. Miss G. then gave us an abbreviated tour of campus and then Pam treated us to dinner at Legal Seafood. Miss G. still had studying to do, but Gracie kept her company and spent the night with her in her dorm.

Harvard University:*

  • Private (founded 1636)- about 6,700 undergraduates (2012-2013)/ about 14,500 graduate students
  • Male:Female – 50%/50%
  • student/ faculty ratio: 7:1
  • professors with terminal degree: 100%
  • average class size: 78 % have less than 20 students
  • freshman retention rate: 97%
  • 6 year graduation rate: 98%
  • study abroad: 60%
  • avg. % students who stay on campus on weekends: 98%
  • % students living on campus: 98%
  • class of 2016 Applications: 34,303
  • Acceptance rate: 6%
  • SAT middle 50%: Math: 700-790, Critical Reading: 690-800, Writing: 710-800
  • Academic GPA: not reported
  • US News Ranking: National Universities: #1
  • 2012-2013 tuition/room/board/fees: $54,496….remember they are need blind and meet full demonstrated need of all accepted students

Ok, it’s true; Harvard is a really awesome school. You will find classic brick buildings here. It’s progressive, but steeped in history. It’s almost 400 years old, for Pete’s sake! Miss G. is over her homesick phase and really enjoying it. She loves her dorm entryway and the amazing people she is surrounded by. Her classes are hard, but she is doing fine. What I like about it is that there is a lot of support for the kids. I especially love the housing system. Freshmen all live in or adjacent to Harvard Yard and they all eat at Annenberg Hall. Spring of their freshman year they are randomly sorted (with up to 7 of their friends) into one of twelve houses where they will eat, live and play for the next three years.

Pam: Absolutely amazing! I love the history of the place and Harvard square.

Gracie: Harvard is super beautiful. I love Harvard square and that the Starbucks is open until 1 am.

Monday morning Pam and I headed to Harvard to pick up Gracie and tour Tufts before heading out of Boston later that afternoon. Tufts is just a couple of stops past Harvard on the redline. But, you either need to then catch a bus to Tufts or walk about 15-20 minutes there. Being from Snohomish, we could not figure out how to catch the bus, so we ended up walking. It was nice to see the quaint houses and buildings of Somerville, but our journey was a bit hampered by the snow; the sidewalks weren’t so well cleared in Somerville as they were in Boston. We made it to the information session in the nick of time and learned all about this fabulous school.

Tufts University:*

  • Private (founded 1852)- 5,117 undergraduates (2012-2013)/ 5,588 graduate students
  • Male:Female – 49%/51%
  • student/ faculty ratio: 9:1
  • professors with terminal degree: 95%
  • average class size: 20
  • freshman retention rate: 96%
  • 6 year graduation rate: 90%
  • study abroad: about 50%
  • avg. % students who stay on campus on weekends: I couldn’t find the statistic
  • % students living on campus: 66%
  • Class of 2016 Applications: 16,378
  • Acceptance rate: 21%
  • SAT middle 50%: Math: 680-760, Critical Reading: 670-760, Writing: 680-760
  • Academic GPA: not reported
  • US News Ranking: National Universities: #28
  • 2012-2013 tuition/room/board/fees: $56,540….remember they are need blind and meet full demonstrated need of all accepted students

Tufts is another school with a beautiful campus that sits atop a hill. It is not quite as conveniently located to the subway as Boston College, but once you’re on you’re just a couple of stops away from fun Harvard Square. It has half the undergraduates that Boston College has. It is well known for its international relations program and is strong in engineering, political science, biology, drama, and languages. Students here develop close relationships with their professors.

Pam: Uuuh, it’s a little hilly…Somerville reminds me of Snohomish…this would be a great school to go to.

Gracie: I really like the the 6 semester world language requirement.

Architect Mom: Hands down, Tufts has the coolest mascot – Jumbo the elephant.

Unfortunately, that was all the time we had. I would have liked to have seen Wellesley College and if Gracie was more interested in engineering, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering. Now, it was time to leave Boston and Miss G.; Pam and Gracie headed to New Jersey to visit relatives and Princeton and I headed back to my little town, Snohomish.

While I was away, Mr. D. came up with waffins (waffle muffins) .While making breakfast for Coco and himself  he had doubled the following recipe for Belgian Waffles and had way too much batter left over, so he made them into muffins. He even made his own streusel topping. They’re actually really good {but then again anything with a cup of butter usually ends up good}.

Belgian Waffle Muffins AKA Waffins


  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • *** waffin topping***
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup flour

Cooking Directions:

  1. For Waffles:
  2. Combine flour, sugar and baking powder in a bowl.
  3. In another bowl lightly beat the egg yolks and then add the milk, butter and vanilla. Mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until combined.
  4. Beat egg whites until stiff and then fold into the batter.
  5. Bake in a waffle iron.
  6. For Waffins:
  7. Use instructions above to make the batter.
  8. Spoon batter into a greased muffin tin or paper cupcake holders in a muffin tin. Fill about 2/3 full.
  9. Cut together brown sugar, butter and flour for struesel topping. Sprinkle on top of muffins.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.


* college statistics found on the respective school’s website, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator , http://collegeresults.org , http://collegeprowler.com , Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, The Insider’s Guide to Colleges 2012, US News and World Report Guide to Colleges

please note: each source didn’t always agree with another

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{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Gayle March 11, 2013, 1:32 pm

    Hi Joan,
    Fun to hear about your trip and all the different schools and of course, tasty treats. Sounds like fun! Pam, (or as you said, the former Miss Snohomish) is always crazy and fun. Glad to hear Miss G. is loving it. Thats a long way from home. Might have to try the waffins! Thanks for sharing!

  • architect mom March 2, 2013, 3:53 pm

    Hi Beth,
    Thanks for lurking & commenting! I love it!

  • Beth Hamlin February 25, 2013, 9:11 pm

    What an awesome post Joan – – I learned so much! And the Waffins actually look pretty interesting. Way to go Drake. Just to let you know – – I’m more of a creeper. I check your blog every single day and love it. I get so excited when you post a new recipe. Cheers to you!

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