A Weekend in Boston

Friday, September 23, 2005 - En Route, then partying at "Cheers"

I had been wanting to go on a weekend getaway to Boston for quite a few years; now that I'm living in southwest Florida, once I saw a turbo-cheap airfare that would give me a break from the stifling summertime heat it was a no-brainer to make that weekend happen!  After departing on Delta Song (wow, is THAT ever a nice way to travel - 24 TV channels, hundreds of MP3s, flight tracking... all from a touch screen in the seatback in front of you... almost makes enduring babies for a three hour flight a piece of cake!) my friends Ti andBobby picked-me-up at Logan and graciously offered to play cabby to get me to my hotel.  Interesting city to drive-around-in... took us many circles in the vicinity before we finally found The John Jeffries House - I quickly checked-in, changed clothes, then the three of us took a 10min walk to the Bull & Finch Club - better known to the rest of the world as the inspiration and site of the exteriors used for the TV show "Cheers". 

The Bull & Finch Club (aka "Cheers") on Beacon Street in Boston The entrance DOWN to Cheers (no, I don't know who the blonde is... just another patron) Remember this alleyway entrance from all those TV episodes? The Bar Entrance to Cheers Fanueil Hall The Cheers "clone" at Fanueil Hall (the original location looks nothing like what you saw on TV)
Bobby says "cheers!" (yes, pun intended :p) David, downing his EIGHTH Roborita! =:-O Ti didn't want me to leave... lol

Now, mind you, I've cheated just a little on those last two photos (nevermind the time sequencing - how does it go from bright blue sky in the first to nighttime in the second - ha!)... the interior of the "original" location looks NOTHING like what you saw on the television show - my reaction is how teeny-tiny it was (no more than a dozen tables in the front area, and a bar some folks might have in their homes).  But it provided a wonderful backdrop for drinks (excellent), eats (eh, good but nothing remarkable), televised sports (yes, if there was any doubt, they LOVE their BoSox there!), and camaraderie as I got to know my two online friends in person.

We had the distinction of closing-down the bar (along with a few other folks, including the blonde in the second photo above) - we walked back to my hotel 1-ish and not too long after that Bobby & Ti began their drive back home (which, after a stop for some coffee and additional sober-up time put them in their beds around 4am - yikes!).

 

Saturday, September 24, 2005 - The Bostom Freedom Trail

Once I got control of my pounding morning headache (despite rumors to the contrary I don't drink that much, that often, these days) I set-out for a marathon day-long walking tour of Boston... which is doable because the city is so very compact and really geared to getting-around on foot.  The original plan was to spend the day with my friend Julie, but in true ditz fashion (I don't think she'd take offense to that remark in this case) she forgot that I was there (despite a prominent entry in her calendar) and instead spent her weekend in Maine. :(  After strolling a bit in Boston Garden and Boston Common, I headed-up to the State House and began following the red brick line in the sidewalk that denoted The Freedom Trail. - I particularly enjoyed Fanueil HallPaul Revere's House, and the Old North Church (all shown below):

Statue of Samuel Adams in front of Fanueil Hall, Boston The Quincy Marketplace at Fanueil Hall, Boston The Paul Revere House, Boston The Old North Church, Boston

Continuing along the trail I was especially looking forward to touring the oldest commissioned warship in the world - the U.S.S. Constitution, just across the Charles River in Charlestown - as well as the nearby U.S.S. Constitution Museum:

Tom Graves (yes, a real Naval Sailor) conducting a tour of the USS Constitution from its helm. The USS Constitution - the oldest commissioned warship in the world! The Gun Deck of the USS Constitution The original (and oldest) Dry Dock in the U.S.

From there I wandered to the high ground of Charlestown to The Bunker Hill Monument, and - thinking I'm a much younger man than I actually am - without hesitation began climbing the 294 circular steps to the top.  Come about No. 200 I was seriously rethinking the decision... burning and shaking in my legs, plus a rather stout heartbeat and beads of sweat indicated just how magnificently out-of-shape I actually am... but I persevered and eventually made it to the top:

The Bunker Hill Monument, Charlestown
A composite photo of downtown Boston, taken from atop the Bunker Hill Monument, Charlestown.

Note to other couch potatoes contemplating a trip to the top: there are only four small, rectangular windows at the top - so while the view is spectacular, you'll spend no more than a couple of minutes before commencing the trip back down.  Would I do it again?  Nope... but, then again, I say that having made the trip.  Now me thinks I should give serious thought to regularly walking and perhaps investing in a stairmaster?!! lol

I hobbled back to my hotel - having concluded the entire Freedom Trail - and thought I'd catch-up on some news about Hurricane Rita and perhaps catch a few Zzzzzs before venturing-back-out for dinner and some evening photography.  I elected to go back to Fanueil Hall for some seafood at The Salty Dog... wow... best meal of the weekend!  A spectacular mug of "Chowda" (the stuff I've previously eaten that was called Clam Chowder is NOT in the same universe as what is served in Boston!) followed by the biggest, juiciest piece of broiled scrod you can imagine, accompanied by an excellent house rice and cole slaw... and all washed down with large cold glasses of Harpoon Beer.  Just typing these words has me again salivating and vowing that I'll go back to Boston again in the near future - if for no other reason than an eating expedition over several days!

On the way back to my hotel I snapped this early evening pic of The Old State House - location of the Boston Massacre:

The Old State House, Boston.

And, finally, on the nearby waterfront took this photo before walking-back to my room for an early night's sleep.

A Sunset view down the Charles River, towards the Boston Back Bay business district.

 

Sunday, September 25, 2005 - a bit more Boston Touring,
then En Route back home to Cape Coral, Florida

Having gotten to bed so early I awoke at first light of dawn - and, getting my final wish for this trip had to don my sweat shirt before venturing outside (overnight temps dipped into the high 40s... hell, it'll be Christmas - if then - before I feel temps like that in my part of Florida!).  The cool morning air was INCREDIBLY invigorating... but before I got too high on things I also noted the colorful markers coming off of the various fire hydrants and such that help locate them when buried under several feet of snow... no, I'll keep my Southern weather, thank you. :)

An early morning view down the Charles River towards Back Bay. An early morning view across the Charles River towards Cambridge.

After shooting an almost identical photo of Back Bay from last night I turned the camera a tad to my right (north) to snap that photo of the sailboats with the city of Cambridge in the background.  MIT sits just to the left of that photo, with Harvard a bit further off in the distance to the left (incidentally, after hearing a tour guide say that current MIT tuition is $44,000 a year, I was ecstatic that my daughter has chosen a much less costly in-state school!).

Continuing-on I found where The Boston Pops conduct their famous Fourth of July concert and fireworks extravaganza; I then found one of the ten most famous examples of American architecture - the Trinity Church (one thing I've come to realize is that the only thing Boston has more of - than restaurants and neighborhood pubs - is churches!); the finish-line for the Boston Marathon; and a final look at the current State House:

The Clam Shell, summertime home to The Boston Pops A tribute to conductor Arthur Fiedler (man, I'm so old it only seems like yesterday I used to idolize the man). Trinity Church, Boston The Finish Line for The Boston Marathon The current State House, Beacon Street, Boston

Little did I realize that this day was the 375th Birthday Celebration for the city - and that most of the major streets were being shutdown by 11am for a noontime parade that was to last for several hours - so erring on the side of caution I navigated the city train system to get back to the airport well in advance of my return flight home... with enough time to enjoy a few more Harpoons as well as something I've not had since my days in Atlanta - a burger from Fuddrucker's.  But not long thereafter it was time to say "goodbye" and my quick 48-hour getaway to Beantown wound-down.

Bye Bye Boston!

Ti & Bobby, thanks again for your hospitality.  Julie - maybe next time? =:-O  Boston, I'll be back... I love to eat-and-drink FAR too much to not make a return visit in the near future!

   
 

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