Thursday, July 10, 2008

Boston: Days 3 & 4

Our goal Monday was to see the small portion of the Freedom Trail that we had missed the day before, see Newbury Street, and watch the Red Sox game.

We started off with the Freedom Trail, visiting the old city hall, King's Chapel, and the burial ground next door. Again, I was amazed by the old cemetery. This one was a bit more eerie as there were several trees that kept the most of the grounds in shade.

Next we headed for Newbury Street, which is Boston's version of Fifth Avenue. There were tons of boutiques and big name-brand stores. We always like walking around these areas, but never seem to find our way into the Armani or Saks Fifth Avenue stores. We always just feel out of place.

Lunch was at a restaurant called Uno. It is a small chain that was founded in Chicago. It was kind of like a TGI Fridays. But it didn't seem quite as commercial.

We spent part of the afternoon back at the hotel to relax, then headed to Fenway. We stopped at a bar and grille called Cask n Flagon. It was directly across from the stadium. We arrived nearly three hours before the game and the place was packed. Kristin had the chili which was awesome, and I had a swordfish sandwich. It was great food for the type of restaurant.

After dinner, we walked a lap around Fenway, then headed in. The only other old stadium I have been in is Yankee stadium. This one felt much, much older than Yankee, but by no means did that take away from the charm. When we got out into the stands, it felt very intimate...much smaller than it really is.

The Diamondbacks were in town. The matchup was Josh Beckett vs. Dan Haren. The game was actually a bit boring for being there in person. I don't mind watching a pitchers duel on TV, but in person I like a lot of action. There were only three hits through the first six innings. Final score was 2-1, Arizona. There were no double plays, no home runs, no big break-out hits. There were a couple good defensive plays though -- a quick-reflex catch of a liner by third-baseman Mike Lowell and a diving, full lay-out catch of a Coco Crisp bunt by one of the Diamondback pitchers. (Honestly, who names their kid Coco Crisp??? Actually, Cleveland sports at one time had Coco Crisp, Milton Bradley, and Ben Gay. Talk about free advertising during the games!)

If you click the first picture, you can see that I marked the approximate location of our seats in right field with red. The second picture is the view we had during the game.

Tuesday was our last day. We got up and checked out of the hotel. Then headed out to the Samuel Adams plant for a tour. It was interesting, but not what I expected. I work for a food manufacturer, so I was anxious to see their brewing and bottling facilities. But the tour simply took us to an area where they had smaller equipment set up to run small batches to test recipes. We did get to learn about the whole brewing process and history of the company, so it was enjoyable. It also included a tasting (at 10:30 in the morning) of Boston Lager, Boston Ale, and Summer Ale. You can't beat free beer!

We headed back into town, then went to a little Chilean sandwich shop called Chacarero. I had discovered this place when I was in Boston a few years ago for work. The sandwich has steak and/or chicken, green beans, cheese, tomato, avocado spread, and a spicy sauce on a round loaf bun. They are very different than anything you can get in my neck of the woods. We then stopped at the Omni Parker House hotel for some Boston Cream Pie for dessert. One of the Parker House's claims to fame is that it invented the Boston Cream Pie. I must say that they do a fine job with it.

Next, we headed back to Fanuil Hall as we had never had a chance to walk through the shops there. When we were finished, we realized that we still had a few hours to kill. So we made the trek back across the river and up to the Bunker Hill Monument. The 294-step climb to the top was not too difficult, but it was terribly hot and humid inside. When we reached the top, the six or so people already up there were dripping with sweat just as we were. But the view from the top was a fabulous panorama of the Boston and some of the small towns north of the city. It was well worth the effort.

After making our way back down, we walked back across the river and into Little Italy, where we stopped again at Mike's Pastry. This time we shared a cannoli.

Sadly, that was the last highlight of the trip. We finished our pastry as we walked back to the hotel to retrieve our luggage and head home.

I must say that I love Boston. There is so much to see and do, so much history, and overall a very friendly crowd. We could have easily slowed down our pace and stayed at least one, if not two, more days. There was still a lot to see. I would definitely like to go back occasionally for weekend trips.

The only city I've been to that is as big or bigger would be New York, so I constantly found myself comparing the two. Both are rich with history. But Boston seems to embrace the history and use it as definition of the city, whereas in New York they seem to just acknowledge the history but look more toward the present and future. Both are pedestrian cities, but Bostonians are much more friendly to pedestrians that are New Yorkers. Boston also does not feel like it has as much hustle and bustle, nor as much crime, as New York. In New York, around every corner is a Duane Reade drug store. In Boston, it is Dunkin' Donuts. I like both cities for different reasons, but I'm not sure which I prefer. I can say, however, that if the Broadway theater district were in Boston rather than New York, then I would have no problem declaring Boston as a favorite.


Rae! said...

Wow love the pics!!!

Chris said...

Great pics, and have to agree on "Bahston" over "NewJork". When I have to work in NYC it's off the train, walk two blocks to my back to the train and get outta dodge!

I've had seats at a Sox game last year that were nearly identical to yours! And laughed at your comments on the pitchers duel. I read "Beckett v. Haren" and was like yeah, great matchup! then read the rest, lol! Yep, you were in for a low scoring game for sure! Needed to go to a Wakefield, or Matsuzaka game for run production ;-)