The answer to your first question is yes, this trip was also planned around baseball. This is my life. Although Eric had already been to Fenway (and therefore it is not a new stadium to cross off the list), I had never been and Eric felt we just couldn't go to Boston without going to Fenway Park. So, we picked a day when the Tampa Bay Rays would be in town and planned a weekend around it. My cousin Jacob and his lovely (expecting!) wife Zita live there, so we were excited to visit with them, see their new home, and check out Boston a little bit.
We took the BoltBus from NYC up to Boston at the crack of dawn (6:30 a.m.) on Saturday. As we walked to the PATH train at 5:30 in the morning there were still people stumbling home in their going-out clothes from the night before...remember those days? Good times. Now we are old people who are starting our day at the crack of dawn, rather than ending it. And time marches on.
BoltBus was great, much better than the Chinatown buses I used to take back and forth between D.C. and NYC when Eric was a summer associate up here...I once rode in one in which the seat in front of me was literally held together by a 2x4. I also rode in one once in which the driver kept falling asleep and starting to veer off the road. Passengers tried talking to him to keep him awake and when he finally stopped at a gas station, half the bus decided to take cabs the rest of the way home (which was quite a considerable distance). Not me, though! I lived on the edge and stuck with Sleepy, and lived to tell about it. (Mom, I hope you skipped this paragraph.) But anyway, BoltBus was comfortable (albeit freezing), had electrical outlets at every seat, and got us there FASTER than their website said would happen. Amazing!
Jacob and Zita picked us up from South Station in Boston and we set right out for a walking tour, largely along the Freedom Trail but with a few quick detours here and there. We saw Jacob's office at the start of our tour, and also made a detour into the Botanical Garden because it's pretty. We also saw the duck statues from "Make Way for Ducklings," which were adorable. As Jacob and Zita are expecting their first child in December, the cluster of strollers parked at the ducks made for a good opportunity for them to fill us in on their stroller research. Yay for stroller advice!
Tons of stroller parked at the ducks...there's me on the left being told about the various stroller features by Jacob and Zita
The people that go in the strollers playing on the duck statues
Jacob and Zita in the gardens
Enjoying Boston so far!
We also stumbled upon a big festival calling for the legalization of marijuana, which was...fragrant.
The fair food booths (funnel cakes, fries, pizza, etc.) must make a killing at this gathering.
After these various detours, we really got on our way with the Freedom Trail. We started at Boston Common, then saw the Massachusetts State House, Park Street Church ("My Country 'Tis of Thee" was first sung there!), Granary Burying Ground (final resting place to the likes of Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, and the Boston Massacre victims), King's Chapel (I loved the cool pew boxes inside), the site of the first public school, the Old Corner Bookstore, the Old South Meeting House (where the Boston Tea Party began), the Old State House (where the Declaration of Independence was first read in Massachusetts), Faneuil Hall (I loved the grasshopper weather vane!), Old North Church (where Paul Revere hung the lanterns to signal the approach of the British: "one if by land, two if by sea") and Paul Revere House. Jacob and Zita were great tour guides!
Massachusetts State House
Park Street Church
Paul Revere's marker in Granary Burying Ground
The grave of Samuel Adams in the foreground, and the headstone for the victims of the Boston Massacre behind it to the left
Inside King's Chapel
The site of the first public school
This is the Old State House, and the Declaration of Independence was first read in Massachusetts on that balcony. I thought this was a cool picture of an old building in the middle of modern-day Boston, complete with construction!
Grasshopper weather vane on Faneuil Hall
Paul Revere statue with the steeple of the Old North Church behind him, where he hung his lanterns
Standing on the Freedom Trail!
We also made a brief stop along the way for cupcakes, because we are people who like to stop for cupcakes.
After the Freedom Trail fun, we made our way over to the aquarium to check out the seals outside. I love me some seals.
The aquarium - we didn't go in, we just wanted to see the seals.
Oh, hello there!
By then we were all pretty beat, so we headed back to Jacob and Zita's house. They have a lovely home! It was great to see their place, and we settled in just in time to catch the Gators game (as I also flipped through all of Zita's pregnancy books!). We ordered in some BBQ for dinner, and then spent the night watching football and playing Mario Kart on the Wii, at which I am laughably terrible.
Jacob, Zita and Eric (and Theo!) playing Mario Kart
Theo just stares lovingly at Jacob all the time
Playing Wii with cousin Jacob
Jacob and Zita going to town!
On Sunday, Jacob and Zita went out and picked up some bagels and pastry for us for breakfast, then we got ready to start our second day in Boston.
Jacob and Zita took us out to walk around the Harvard campus, which was lovely. We really just sort of meandered around and enjoyed the pretty scenery.
I already forgot what building this was, but it was pretty.
Nothing like a little croquet on a Sunday morning
With the John Harvard statue
We saw this in a tree on our way back to the car and I thought it might just be the cutest thing ever. If you opened the door, there was a little stuffed bear and stuffed tiger inside!
This guy was also hanging out nearby, and I thought he was pretty cute.
We didn't stay at Harvard too long, and then Jacob and Zita drove us out to Fenway and dropped us off so we could spend some time exploring the stadium before the game started. We bid them farewell then got ready for some baseball!
Outside the stadium
Ready for Red Sox v. Rays!
With the Green Monster behind us!
We had standing-room only seats up on the very top level, which really weren't bad because we were able to get a little ledge to lean on (and eat our hot dogs off of!), but it was freezing up there in the shade when the wind was blowing - in the 50s, probably? I mean, that's just not baseball weather. On the upside, it calmed my usual craving for a cold beer! (Seriously, do you have any idea how rough it has been to visit all these stadiums this summer as a pregnant woman without beer? Baseball just needs beer, and that's all there is to it. Hot dogs and water just don't go nearly as well together.)
View from our "seats" at the top
Press box to our left
But, the game was great - the Rays ended up winning it 8-5, and I really liked Fenway. I guess I'm an "old stadium" kind of gal - it just feels more authentic to me, or something.
Just like Wrigley, I liked the old manual scoreboard (they're in the process of changing the numbers in this picture!)
Tim Wakefield pitching for the Red Sox
David Price pitching for the Rays
David Price got hit right in the chest with a ball (ouch!) and everyone rushed out to make sure he was okay
David Ortiz, just as he hit what looked like a home run but turned out to be foul
Eric and I had to leave the game a little early to catch the train (the "T," excuse me) to South Station to pick up our bus back to NYC. We took the Lucky Star bus back this time, and first of all, this is their logo:
Who wants to tell me exactly what that is supposed to be? The best we could come up with is some sort of pig/deer/dragon/kangaroo hybrid, or something. So that's your first problem. Really, the Lucky Star bus wasn't bad, but the ride was much longer (and also included a stop) and the bus dropped off in Chinatown, so further from home for us. I prefer the BoltBus for sure.
But, we made it home without too much trouble and had a really great couple of days in Boston! Thanks again so much to Jacob and Zita for your hospitality and tour-guiding services - we're always happy to return the favor if you decide you want to bring the little one to the Big Apple next year!