I fell in love with Boston when I was out at school. I had always been infatuated with it and the history there, but it quickly turned from lust to love in my four years on the East coast. I would live there in a heartbeat if I could, and I think I almost have Joel convinced too. That has a lot to do with this trip, though. All of our sports trips up until this one had been GO-GO-GO with games, and we didn’t have much time to do anything else in the cities. That’s generally totally fine with me- I get frustrated if we’re somewhere and there isn’t a plan or something to do, and my interests in most cities are pretty limited to their sports teams and maybe a restaurant or two. But while the girls were at camp, it also happened to be the all-star break for MLB. That week has to be the worst sports week in the whole year. Summer is already pretty dead besides major league baseball, and then you have some time off from that! We watched the home run derby and some of the festivities, but it wasn’t “must watch” tv, so we had to find some other things to entertain ourselves. Luckily, Boston has plenty to offer!
Most of Monday was spent dropping the girls off at camp and making sure they were situated, but in the afternoon we decided to go see a movie. And by we I mean Joel decided. Some would say that I’m an “overplanner” (I’m working on it) and the thought of being in an exciting new city and sitting around doing something that I could easily do at home makes me anxious. I once wandered alone to the front desk of a motel to call home to my parents (bawling the whole time, I might add) while I was down in Florida for a volleyball tournament at age 13 because on the first night we had eaten at iHop and wandered around Magic Kingdom without going on any rides. Burke had taught me better than that kind of inefficiency and lack of planning. So I was a little wary of going to a movie when we easily could do that at home. Joel insisted though and it was actually just what we needed. We went to Life of Pets, so it gave us a little puppy kick (we were missing our dogs pretty bad), we got a nice cry in, and it was a nice relaxing afternoon to split up the busy-ness of the rest of the trip. That night, we went to a bar right by Fenway Park called the Cask N’ Flagon. The food there was delicious and afterwards we walked over to J.P. Licks, a Boston ice cream staple. I would never in a million years have planned this day, but it was absolutely perfect and taught me a bit about building some flexible time into my itineraries (I’ll never change THAT much).
I had dragged the girls around to all of our Red Sox DestiNations stuff and hadn’t left much for them in terms of exploring Boston, so Sunday was our day to get all that in before they headed to camp on Monday. We still had the final game of the series in the afternoon, but we started the day off with a Duck Boat tour in the morning. A lot of cities offer these tours in old boats/busses that can run on land and in water, but I think it’s the best way to see the biggest chunk of what the city has to offer in one shot. Plus, the drivers dress up and you get to quack at random passersby on the street. It was a little chilly (the whole weekend was), but I think the girls enjoyed it and Joel definitely did- the history teacher in him was geeking out. These don’t run in the winter (since they go in the water) so it was his first time too. Fun fact learned on this particular tour- they used to feed prisoners in Boston crab and lobster, which were considered the bottom feeders of the ocean and not desirable at all. How times have changed.
Our day 2 started off with a behind the scenes tour of the field. I had obviously looked forward to the entire DestiNations experience, but this was the part I was most excited for. I’d been on 4 Fenway tours at this point (and had honestly seen something new every time) but this promised things I hadn’t been able to do before- walk on the warning track in the outfield and go inside (INSIDE!!) the Green Monster. It was so cool to be able to see the view that the people who run the scoreboard get to watch from and get to be up close and personal with the Monstah. I fell even more in love (if that’s even possible), and the best part was that it was just the beginning of our day!
After the tour we made it up to one of the suite areas for the catered lunch. It was your basic ballpark food, but paying for it at the field it’s basically gourmet food prices, so I wasn’t complaining! The player we got to meet with was none other than… Steven Wright! He was heading to the all-star game the following week, so it was a perfect guy to come eat with us. He did a quick Q&A session (during which I asked a very good question, if I do say so myself) and then signed autographs, followed by a picture session. About 40ish people did the DestiNations, so he was going through signing quickly and at first either didn’t notice what he was signing of mine or thought it was weird and didn’t comment (probably the second). I had brought a picture of me in little league baseball throwing a knuckleball, and I thought it was perfect since that was his bread and butter! I mentioned it when at first he didn’t say anything, and he then thought it was cool/I was less of a psycho having him sign a picture of me. He even made a comment about it again when we were taking a picture with him about 30 minutes later. After he left, a guy who wrote a book of poems about the Red Sox came and recited a couple of his poems from the book, which was really cute so obviously I bought a copy and had him sign it.
And the free swag! Oh my goodness, I knew we were getting stuff, but I had no idea how much/how nice it would be! The shirt was a nice soft cotton blend material (not your run of the mill mass produced t-shirt) and it’s still one of my favorite shirts today. We got a David Ortiz commemorative hat, a David Ortiz bobblehead, a vial of Fenway dirt, a baseball and a case (if we wanted to have Steven Wright sign that), and a few other knick-knacks all put into a nice leather drawstring bag. I was pleased, to say the least.
Just a couple of sports fans touring the world, one stadium at a time.