To Atlantic City and ATL, Part 5: Boston

Boston, Massachusetts. (Map)

Summer 2016


Tonight was going to be pretty special. As an Orioles fan, I don’t have much love for the Red Sox, but there home is still Fenway Park - one of two fantastic pro baseball stadiums left from the neighbourhood ballpark age. Of course the other one is Wrigley Field in Chicago, and with my love for that stadium and all things dated, I was certain that I’d love Fenway.

We cut lighthouse visits out of the afternoon to make sure we got into Boston with plenty of time to deal with traffic and check into the motel. After an hour of relaxing, it was time to head across The Fens marshland for which Fenway could be named - it also could be named for the Fenway Realty Company – to see about grabbing food and drinks near the ballpark.

It being a fine Friday evening, I didn’t hold out much hope for what we’d find, but after walking into a jam-packed bar, the waitress said she had one table available and checked if it was okay that we were tucked away from the bar excitement at a spot right across from Fenway. Yeah lady, this’ll do!

I’ve never brought water into the ballpark before, but yells of “get yoah watah heyah! Get yoah watah heyah!” almost changed that.

Organized baseball in Boston started at the old Huntington Avenue Grounds in 1901. The Red Sox would construct Fenway Park as a replacement, moving into the stadium in 1912 and demolishing the Huntington Avenue Grounds shortly after (that land is now home to a Northeastern University athletic center).

One of the most beautiful features of old ballparks is that they were shoehorned into cities, as opposed to being built in a sprawling wasteland at the edge of town. This means that Fenway, bounded by Brookline Avenue, Jersey Street, Van Ness Street and Lansdowne Street, has strange dimensions leading to unique features like the Green Monster and The Triangle.

We bought pretty good seats down by the field, behind first base. The only problem, and this kills me to say this, was that I was too big for the seats. My knees were jammed into the seat in front of me & there was nowhere to spill out since the house was full.

We only spent a couple of innings in those seats, but it would be pretty memorable as David Ortiz came up to bat. Throughout the season the media focused on this being Big Papi’s last season, and right now he was tied with Red Sox great Ted Williams for career home runs. The crowd was abuzz with Ortiz up, although they always seemed to get up for their beloved Red Sock. But then, smack! The ball was clearly out of there right from the moment it left his bat and the crowd went bonkers. No sport romanticizes and savours its history like baseball, so it was special as everyone felt the importance of Ortiz passing Williams. This moved Ortiz up to 19th all-time on the home run list.

After finding seats in another area and then standing around for a bit, it looked like the threatening rain was finally going to come.

And at least it wasn’t one of those half-assed rain delays. Almost no one was still sitting in the exposed seats as sheets of rain blanketed the stadium. The only bullshit was that the delay came after 6 and 2/3rds innings and I thought we’d be able to get beer throughout the delay and make the best of it - but even though last call is the 7th inning, they simply made an executive decision to stop all beer sales. Nonsense. This would never have happened if Deval Patrick was still governor in these parts.

Walking around the interior spaces of Fenway during the delay, I loved the pillars and metal windows because it felt like I was walking around an auto factory in Windsor or Detroit. Wrigley felt like an old stadium that I saw in movies or read about, while Fenway felt more familiar. Through it all, I never knew that famed “architect of Detroit” Albert Kahn designed Fenway, haha.

(Fenway was actually designed by some James McLaughlin fellow.)

Another thing I enjoyed was after Atlanta’s Turner Field became Shelloo’s first ballpark, Fenway was her second. There certainly could be a greater contrast, but there are also lots of stadiums that are really similar. To go to your first 2 baseball games in 5 days, there’s a good amount of variety between the stadium in Boston and the stadium in Atlanta.

After our lengthy rain delay and the walk back to the motel, we were both tired and didn’t feel like going out. One thing that was nice was that we actually found somewhere to grab a late night bite. This pizza wasn’t the greatest, but it beat the taquitos from 7-11 or the Chinese food I’d been forced to eat late night on previous Boston trips.

The next day we did some touristy things like checking out the library in Copley Square. I really dug the reading room known as Bates Hall.

We also walked down Newbury Street because I wanted to revisit a certain clothing store. Stepping inside, the interior had changed quite a bit since Geordie and I visited 7 years ago. Today I walked through a door and found myself alone in a small room with instructions to pull on the oven door. The inside held a couple of workers and fake ovens with t-shirts and other clothing items on baking trays. Yes it’s a little hipstery, but it’s also cool and elaborate.

The other notable thing on Newbury St was the number of promising breakfast spots. We’d stopped at some random hotel earlier to have overpriced and mediocre food, and now we were kicking ourselves for not walking a little further.

One of the benefits of travelling with another person is that they’re going to plan things that you wouldn’t do on your own.

Would I have gone to the library on my own accord? Maybe. Would I have planned to grab a highly-regarded cannoli in order to sit and eat it in Harvard Yard? Probably not. But as I sat there and friendly sparrows picked at my delicious crumbs, this was alright.

Back downtown, we stumbled upon King’s Chapel Burying Ground.

King’s Chapel Burying Ground was created in 1630, becoming Boston’s first proper burial ground. Mary Chilton, supposedly the first woman to step off of the Mayflower, was buried here in 1679.

I’ve been to Boston a number of times now, but most of those times have been with Massachusetts friends where we go exploring buildings or stay in the neighbourhoods. It was exciting to be down here in the thick of Boston, exploring the streets and about to grab something delicious.

We were saved by the slow service at the first place we tried. The Bostonia Public House would be up some people’s alleys, but I wasn’t looking for a craft cocktail or sliced meats and cheeses on a wood board. We ended up at an Irish pub, which felt hacky because of the whole Irish Boston touristy thing, but The Black Rose has good reviews so I don’t think it’s a simple matter of me being basic.

There was also the matter of how hungry I was, where I didn’t want to risk being unsatisfied after ordering the duck confit or whatever. Admittedly The Bostonia Public House looks good in hindsight, but maybe I’m also hungry as I write this.

I briefly thought about going back to Fenway tonight – and it would have been entertaining since the Sawx won 21-2 – but eventually decided against spending the money. Instead, it was a quiet and early night.

As for the Midtown Hotel, if you’re in Boston and need a relatively cheap place to rest your head, I found it to be a good option amongst the expensive accommodations of the city. It wasn’t shady or grimy; it was simply a bit dated with a confusing layout.

This last night had to be an early one because the next day we had a 12.5 hour drive from Boston to the ferry in North Sydney that would take up the entirety of our Sunday. I’d wrap up the whole trip by riding the skatepark in North Sydney for a few minutes before breaking my chain.

As we sat in the lineup for the ferry and it started to rain, the trip was worth it overall, even if I had a bit of a chuckle at the free time, money and driving I had to put up just to get down to Philadelphia and Atlantic City. I suppose I’d do it again, just cutting around Connecticut and its awful traffic this time.


Go Back to the Main Page of this Website

To A.C. & ATL (Roadtrip 2016)

Part 1:
Getting There

(North Sydney, NS
to Atlantic City, NJ)

Part 2:
Seeing Turner Field
(Atlanta, GA)

Part 3:
Mostly Delaware
(Cape May, NJ to Point Judith, RI)
Part 4:
First Lights of Rhode Island
(Point Judith, RI to Newport, RI to Scituate, MA)
Part 5:
(Boston, MA)

< Older Update:
To Atlantic City & ATL
Part 1: Getting There

< Older Update:
An Extravagant Home Across The Bay
(Sunny Cottage, Bay d'Espoir)



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