The little lady and I arrived in Boston early Friday afternoon.
She was lamenting the 6am flight but it allowed some daytime touring in Boston.
We got through Logan International Airport quickly. A short cab ride dropped us at the hotel.
We stayed at the W Boston. Nice hotel, contemporary decor, pricey, but a pillow-top mattress…ahh! It’s located a block south of Boston Common, so very close to the race day bus pick-up on Tremont St. Unfortunately, it was a 15min walk to the expo. There are definitely more centrally located hotels.
Props to me for being OCD about the weather and remembering to bring the umbrellas. It rained most of Friday. Check-in wasn’t for a couple of hours and our room wasn’t ready early so we left our bags and grabbed some lunch at Panera across the street.
We then headed down Boylston Street to the Hynes Convention Center. After a false turn into the downtown Library (which didn’t go unnoticed by the wife), we turned into the expo and took our place in the queue. Rain must have brought people out early because it was packed.
The line was long but once the packet pick-up opened up we were inside in 5 minutes. This was the first expo day and I highly recommend coming Friday if you’re in town. I breezed through bib, finishers shirt and swag bag pick-up. Everyone was trying their shirt on. So when in Rome… I did the same. It is an Adidas brand shirt but a lower quality material and seemed a little small for routine sizes. My advice is to try it on before taking it home.
We then were funneled into the Boston Marathon apparel section. There is a large area just into the expo but if you skip this one, there’s another area in an adjacent Hall without a line. Several 2012 race reviews mentioned this…good advice. I got my much anticipated Boston Marathon jacket. A very popular item. You saw people wearing this year’s and previous year’s all weekend. Mine was going into the suitcase until post-race Monday afternoon. Superstition. It did make me nervous trying on the finisher’s shirt though. Man, I need to get a life.
Bar None the biggest Race Expo, I’ve ever seen. Hours could be spent checking out all the booths. All the major Clothing, Shoe, Electronic Vendors had staked out prime real estate. Plus lots of smaller booths representing everything from chia seeds to windows for your home. Not clear on the window vendors. They were aggressive though…jeez.
Luckily, I stumbled unto the Team Hoyt booth. He was gracious and friendly. Quite a remarkable man and son.
Coming earlier got me plenty of room on the signature banner. Just a quick shout out to DecaturTriClub and the Sox.
One last pic by the race course poster and we were ready to hoof it back to the hotel. We settled into our room and pondered our dinner plans. We decided to walk a block to Legal Sea Food. It’s a chain restaurant but the seafood was fresh and well cooked. Sorry no pics. The steamed mussels were delicious. My wife had these huge scallops cooked perfectly and she is a connoisseur. So ended day #1.
I slept fairly. Missing my firm pillow. Not a fan of down pillows. The wife was sleeping in, so I geared up and jogged down to Boston Common. Time for a little run tour with the Iphone camera.
There’s a nice little hill to make your way up to that overlook. Then you turn back and get a great view of the Common and downtown. Sorry the cloudy skies make it look so dreary. At least the rain was mostly gone at that point. Sunny skies on Sunday brought everyone out to this park. A very cool place.
I got a pic of the famous Swam Boats. For some reason, I always thought they were 2 seaters but they’re actually multiseat “boats” with a pilot sitting in the swan, paddling around the lagoon. We skipped the ride this year but it’s on the to-do list for next time.
Exiting the Public Gardens, I snapped a pic of George Washington and horse.
I crossed the street and ran down the central mall the divides Commonwealth Ave. Very popular with the dogs also. Owners out in force with their Ziplock bags and latex gloves. City living with pets, Ahh. We have the backyard. Though Beau, our Lab, is slowly killing all remnants of grass.
There are beautiful brownstones that line the streets. I hear some one bedroom leases can go for $3000/month. Another plus of living in a smaller town. But I have to admit the address is pretty cool.
Another couple of blocks over took me to the Charles River Esplanade. It’s really just a open park next to the Charles River basin. I stopped to check out a crew boat with it’s 8 rowers and small coxswain. It seemed an appropriate sighting with Harvard a few miles north.
The CITGO sign was spotted as I continued west. It’s an iconic landmark for the Boston Marathon. You’ve got about a mile left in the race when you pass it. I ran up to and along Harvard Bridge and took one last picture across the Charles River basin. Where’s the Sun?
Six miles later, I made it back to the hotel. Yes, my beautiful bride was still in bed. Two hours later we left the hotel…just kidding. She got going pretty quick once I jumped on the bed repeatedly like a 2 year-old. We decided to walk down to Newbury Street which is stacked with lots of cool stores. The wife went to Athleta and I went to North Face. Newbury Street is definitely geared towards tourists and those with affluence. But I’d give it a 4 star, gotta-see-while-visiting rating.
Giving my best Armani pose. I think the blue gloves may not be GQ material. Wish I had $1000 for a new suit though.
My attempt at visual art. I call it “Windows of Sewing Machines”. Pretty good eh?
One last Newbury St icon is this Jack Wells logo’d Land Rover. Window shopping over, we took the T (subway) to Kenmore station and walked the 5 mins to Fenway Park.
My advice…Don’t miss seeing the Sox while in town. You do not often see a game in a 100+year old stadium.
After the game, we headed to my Club:
Or Not.. Actually we headed over to the Summer Shack for some Chowder and Lobster rolls. Pretty damn good if you ask my wife and I. But, I don’t have anything to compare.
I read about 2 other places that are good as well. I missed my chance to make reservations at Island Creek Oyster Bar near Fenway but probably saved a few dollars. Lot of people also head to Union Oyster House. They’ll be on the list next time. Long Saturday over, we both crashed like 80 year olds before 9pm. On vacation away from the kids and we’re asleep by 9pm. I apologize to those that wanted a review of the Boston nightlife.
My plan was to lay low on Sunday and rest the legs. They were already a little sore from walking around the last 2 days….So… we decided to ride the T over to Cambridge and check out Harvard Square. Yes, more walking. We did have reservations for brunch, though.
We greeted the statue of John Harvard as we crossed Harvard yard. I didn’t get a chance to rub his foot for good luck as is one tradition. Another tradition, I’ve read about involves peeing on the statue by some students before graduating. So, we’ll call it a wash.
We spent the rest of the time souvenir shopping at the COOP. It’s a bookstore/cafe/gift shop in Harvard Square. Trying to plant some seeds in my kids for future education choices. Unfortunately, they’re all homebodies. Damn nurturing mother. I have big plans for their bedrooms and they don’t want to leave the state for college. But I digress.
We ate brunch at the Harvest Restaurant which offers a three course prix fixe menu. How does a Prosecco Mimosa, Local raw oysters, Corned beef hash with fried eggs, and Bread pudding sound?
That was well worth the price of admission. We’ll call it a modified carbo load.
We T’d it back to the hotel and chilled for the rest of the afternoon. I went for a 30min shake-out run on Boston Common and was feeling fairly fresh. Looking more and more forward to the race in the morning. Pizza is my preferred pre-race food. A quick Google search found us a small Pizzeria, the Upper Crust, on Charles St up in Beacon Hill area. Some of best thin crust pizza I’ve tasted. It’s a tiny place. Just a couple of tables and bar inside…cozy. Good way to meet new friends or at least eavesdrop on their conversations. May not be there long however.
I spent the rest of the evening getting my race gear situated. Alarm was set for 4:30am Monday morning.
Had a great time on our brief tour of Boston. Sort of like our Washington, D.C. trip a few years ago. Hard to see all the sites in 2-3 days. A few more random pics below.
Thanks for reading,
Race report coming next!