NOTE: This is the first installment of my three part series chronicling my time in Boston.
Last Thursday through Monday I had the opportunity to travel to Boston for leisure. I had a great several days seeing everything the city has to offer with my friend “Money” Mike. And believe me, when I say everything, I am not exaggerating. We went from place to place making sure to get the full Boston experience. We never had a dull moment and we were always engaged with something. Because we took so much in, I couldn’t possibly write about it all in one blog post. To make things easier and less overwhelming, I am going to write about my Boston experience in a three part series. Tomorrow I will reflect on my time at the memorial set up to honor and remember everyone impacted by the Boston Marathon bombings. On Thursday I will provide my readers with an in depth look at the ultimate professional sports odyssey we went on while in Beantown. But what about for tonight?…
For this evening’s post I want to do what has become custom for me when I get back from a new city. Below I will characterize the top five themes I will always associate with Boston. Then I will just offer a brief skeleton run down of everything we did while back in the northeast. I hope you enjoy my inside look at my Boston experience over the next few days. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.
TOP FIVE BOSTON CHARACTERISTICS (In no particular order)
1. Boston Strong – Let me tell you, I traveled to one tough city this past week. The Boston Strong message is absolutely everywhere right now….on t-shirts, scrolling on buses, in sporting venues, in churches, at the airport, plastered on windows, etc. But it is not just a message you see wherever you turn your head. Rather, Boston Strong is an attitude, a way of life so to speak. The people of Boston took the savage attacks very personally and united together to push back. Right now in that climate there is a distinct feeling of solidarity. From the moment we stepped on our cab at the airport and our driver started talking to us to the last person we chatted with at the hockey game on Sunday night the Boston Strong attitude came out loud and clear.
2. Old City – One thing you will notice immediately upon exploring Boston is that it is a very old city. No, not old in a rundown sort of way but rather old in a historic and architectural type way. Many of the buildings, streets, and parks just have a 1700’s type feel to them. Everything is built so close together and the reddish-brown color of a different era predominates on most of the buildings. Streets are narrow, sidewalks are jaded, and historical sites are abundant. Every neighborhood in Boston is full of history and charm. I got a kick out of walking the streets of Boston and after passing large buildings and businesses I would stumble upon a small cemetery that would stretch out for a few steps and then the pattern of large buildings and businesses would pick back up again. While visiting the city I knew I was walking in a place rich in history.
3. Thick Accents – As I learned when I traveled to the south, the native accent is not exaggerated one bit. Bostonians have thick, distinctive accents. All those times you see Boston characters in movies and television shows speaking with what seems like an overemphasized accent?…well, it is not overemphasized at all. I quickly learned that the people of Boston just sound and talk different than people in the rest of the country. The usage of “r’s” need not apply (say Hah-Vad instead of Har-Vard). The occasional drop of the word “wicked” actually happens all the time. The fast paced, expletive laced dialogue can be heard everywhere. The toughness that embodies most words spoken by a Boston resident comes out through the accent. I always feel a little left out that I speak with a neutral accent because I feel that it lacks character and distinction.
4. Sports Town – Boston is one of the best sports towns I have ever stepped foot in. The city loves its teams. With all major professional leagues represented with a team in Boston, there is never a shortage of sporting events going on. People just love the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, Patriots, and Revolution. Everyone walks around wearing gear of the local teams. Vendors sell apparel on every corner. The pride and success that defines many of the teams in the city is openly celebrated. There is just that tradition of sporting excellence along with larger than life legends and current athletes that residents latch on to.
5. Great Transportation System – The public transportation system, called The T, is excellent. In fact, I put the system in the same category as Washington D.C. when it comes to efficiency and cleanliness. When we got to the Boston airport we immediately bought our T passes. For $18 we rode The T what seemed like a million times during our stay. The trains come frequently, the route system is not too confusing, and I always felt safe. Maybe the route system was never too confusing though because Mike was a complete whiz with how it worked. He always kept me on task with what trains we needed to get on and what transfers we needed to make. With or without his help though I could easily see that the accessibility of The T was top notch. You could easily get wherever you wanted to go in the city in a short amount of time. Although not to the degree of New York City or Washington D.C., the diversity on each train was always something that I enjoyed observing. You really experience the culture and ethnic makeup of a city when you ride public transportation.
Quick rundown of what we did during our time in Boston:
Thursday, April 25: Landed in Boston at around 5 p.m. Visited the site of the Boston Massacre. Explored Downtown Boston. Went down to Boston Harbor. Visited the Cambridge Galleria (shopping mall). Ate at the Cheesecake Factory.
Friday, April 26: Viewed the memorial for the Boston Marathon victims. Stood at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Visited the Boston Sports Museum in TD Garden. Went to the top of the Prudential Center fifty stories up and viewed the whole city from above. Visited some of the old churches of Boston. Visited some Revolutionary era cemeteries. Lounged at a Boston dive bar. Went to Fenway Park and watched the Red Sox defeat the Houston Astros.
Saturday, April 27: Toured Chinatown. Ate lunch on the patio at Boston’s Joe’s American Grill. Went on the campus of Harvard University. Walked around Harvard Square. Explored North Boston. Went inside Paul Revere’s church. Drank Sam Adams and watched NBA playoffs at a Boston Harbor outdoor bar. Watched the Red Sox defeat Houston from incredible seats inside Fenway Park. Ate at Dunkin Donuts.
Sunday, April 28: Ate lunch at an exclusively macaroni and cheese restaurant. Visited a friend I have in Boston. Went to the Celtics vs. Knicks playoff game in TD Garden. Went to the Bruins vs. Senators season finale in TD Garden.
So there you have it, my broad outlook on my time in Boston. Of course I have left out the little things that define a vacation. Little things such as interactions with the locals, hotel experience, close calls, spontaneous decisions, bonding moments, etc. We definitely had all of these during our stay. I want to thank “Money” Mike for giving me the opportunity to travel with him to Boston. It was an experience that I won’t forget. Tomorrow night I will talk about my experience at the Boston Marathon memorial. Don’t Blink.