Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Harvard, Museums, and Lobster Bakes. Boston Saturday August 15th

We had purchased the Boston Ticket pack, which meant we had prepaid for admission to several museums in addition to the Aquarium, which we had visited on the first day. I wanted to walk through the Harvard campus, and coincidentally the Harvard Natural Museum was on the list of places we could peruse. We hopped the T (experts at this point), and headed to Cambridge. You exit the T right onto Harvard square, and it was impressive. The streets were filled with students and parents attending orientation.

To get to the Harvard Museum of Natural History, you had to walk through campus, naturally. It was beautiful, and we got to hear snippets of tours being led through the grounds.
I thoroughly enjoyed the  museum; there were many specimans, fossils, glass flower arrangements from the 1800's, and a meteorite room!
After the Harvard tour we went back towards the Charles River to visit the Science Museum
It was geared more towards kids, but it was free, and there were several really interesting exhibits, including the CritterCam by National Geographic that scientists attach to animals in the wild to observe their natural behaviours. Matt found a plane engine and a triceratops that he adored.

On our way back to the train station, we encountered a beautiful old hotel (way out of our price range). It was quite posh inside, but I was only able to snap a picture of the exterior.

After a quick nap, we left the hotel for a late dinner at Legal Sea Foods by the harbor. I received a Management Excellence award at work, and part of the prize was a dinner to be expensed! We went all out for our last night in Boston with a nice bottle of wine, crab cakes, a lobster bake, and a delicious berry tart with coffee to close the meal. It was my first whole lobster (well, the first time I'd had more than a tail, but we split a large lobster), and it was delicious. Our waitress was amazing, she had all sorts of great recommendations for wine, dessert, how to order the meal, and even gave us the name of a cool Irish bar for after dinner fun. What a great night!!

Sam Adams Tour!! Friday in Boston-August 14th

Friday morning we lazed around the hotel room, then around 1pm, decided to head out to the Samuel Adams Brewery, which offers free (donations requested) brewery tours. For a $2 donation to a local charity you get an hour tour, a sampling glass, and three 7oz samples of beer. A young college student was our guide, and he got to carry a full size Sam Adams glass full of beer, which he drank frequently throughout the tour. That would have been a hell of a lot more fun than my college job!!

After the tour I made my way through the gift shop, buying a sweet Cherry Wheat tap handle that is too long to function on our new kegerator and a set of 4 Sam Adams lager glasses which came with a sturdy Octoberfest stein.

We went back to the hotel to deposit our loot, and since it was still early we decided to walk the freedom trail. Unfortunately I have no sense of direction and we cast out with a right turn instead of a left and wound up in a wrong part of town. After several more turns, trying to read the map upside down, and wondering if were going to be mugged, we gave up the search. Luckily, Matt didn't get angry at me, and we eventually found our way back to the hotel, then on to a bar for dinner. At least it was an adventure!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Boston Trip-Fenway Day!!

Thursday arrived, and with it our primary reason for vacationing in Boston. We got up, ate a quick breakfast at the hotel, then went to the train station to go to Fenway (It's at this point I wish we would have known the geographic layout of Boston better. We could have walked and avoided being packed into the T like sardines). Matt used to watch Red Sox games with his grandfather while he was growing up, so he has been a fan his entire life; going to a game at Fenway was a dream come true for him. I adopted the Red Sox back in 2004 when they came back from an 0-3 defiicit to beat the Yankees and Curt Schilling, a former Dback was pitching through his bloody sock to break the curse of the Babe.

We arrived at Fenway just before they opened the gates, which meant we had plenty of time to grab a few beers and enjoy the history of Fenway park. We meandered through, looking at all the old memorabilia, and eventually stumbling out onto Yawkey Way, which is closed off during games and considered part of the ballpark, so all ticketed fans can enjoy the shops and restauarants on that street.

It was a beautiful day for baseball, overcast and cool, with no rain. Unfortunately Verlander threw a shutout for the Tigers, and I only got to see Captain Varitek when he came out inbetween an inning to warm up the pitcher, but it was still amazing to be at the ballpark and watch a Red Sox game in person.

After the game we walked back to the hotel, enjoying the parks, architecture, and feel of the city. We had dinner at the oldest pub in Boston, Jacob Wirth's, with a delicious lobster macaroni and cheese. The bar has been open in the same spot since 1868, and it has a beautiful Mahogany bar, lots of great beer, and a friendly atmosphere.

August 12th&13th-Arriving in Boston

Europe doesn't seem to be in my plans for 2009, so I took Matt to Boston, which was as far East as we could go. A co-worker of mine who lives in Boston said if we ever made it out that way when the Red Sox were playing at Fenway, he would sell us his season tickets for a game. I managed to arrange the trip for the week of the Detroit series. The game was Thursday, and we took a red eye out (less points and guaranteed first class) Tuesday night. We arrived in Boston after a 5 hour flight at 5am, EST.

After gathering our luggage, we made our way to the "T Station" and only had to change trains once to arrive at our hotel, which was conveniently located just outside of a T Stop on the orange line. I loved Boston's public transportation; it made life much easier, and was a lot more economical then taking cabs, which we didn't have to do at all. We checked into the Downtwon Boston Doubletree, found a Dunkin Donuts for coffee, avoided a ridiculously expensive breakfast at the hotel, then took the T back to the Aquarium stop and waited for the New England Aquarium to open up for the day.

It was grey and overcast, so we thought we would avoid the rain by staying inside. (Later this proved to be the wrong decision. The weekend was HOT and HUMID. This coming from two people who have lived in AZ almost their entire lives.) If you ever visit Boston, definitely make time for the aquarium. We spend a few hours there, and there were some amazing exhibits. A large tank filled with a representative sample of fish/turtles/sharks from the Caribbean, a Penguin display, a seal exhibit, and lots of little tanks with a ton of educational information. As the morning wore on, more and more families and school groups showed up, and it was encouraging to see the kids so excited about something other than television or video games.

After the aquarium we walked over to Faneuil Hall Marketplace in search of clam chowder and beer for lunch at a local pub. We were not disappointed. After lunch it was back to the hotel for naps, then getting all cleaned up for our dinner cruise aboard the Odyssey.  The cruise was recommended by a few of my friends, and definitely worth the splurge. We got to dress up and get a few nice photos, as well as enjoy being out on the water, seeing the small islands in the harbor, and a light house. We shared two bottles of wine, had dinner, and danced. What a wonderful evening, and a perfect start to the trip.