Every story starts somewhere, and ours started officially the summer before my senior year of college. I was home for the summer in our hometown, and Joel asked me out on a date a whole 2 weeks before I had to head back to school on the East coast for the start of volleyball season. Despite the short time together, we decided to do the long distance thing, and the rest is history! We made it through the first half of the year relying primarily on Skype and phone calls, but during the second semester, Joel came out to visit me for Valentine's day! Since I was so close to Boston, we agreed to meet there for a weekend in the city, starting with a Celtics game. They were playing Chicago, which just so happened to be Joel's favorite team. At the time, I fancied Rajon Rondo, so we did the ever adorable "split couple" ensembles and were on our way!
We were running a bit late to the game, so we didn't get to spend much time around the stadium, but the little time we did, there was a lot going on. We traveled via the T (subway in Boston) and it was super easy- definitely my recommendation for doing anything in the city. It's easy to understand and follow and you don't have to worry about parking. Boston is compact, so there really is not a whole lot to offer.
My personal favorite of all the things going on around the stadium was all of the shirts being sold on the street- I bought a "You Got Rondo'd" one for my sister and a hilarious "Honey Nut Carmelo's" one for myself (if you don't get the joke, look it up. Kevin Garnett is the trash talking GOAT), but there were plenty others, especially for the Laker haters out there. If you have zero shame in your sports apparel game like me, make sure you bring along some extra cash.
Joel bought the seats and did great- we were so close to the floor and opposite the opposing team bench, so Joel got a great view of his squad. I had been to another Celtics game pre-Joel, but definitely not this close. The best part of being this close to the floor is that you really get an understanding for how big these guys are- Kevin Garnett and Joakim Noah are HUMONGOUS. Unfortunately, Derrick Rose was hurt (this was before this was no longer surprising), and the Bulls didn't fare too well, but I got to see my boy Rondo along with Paul Pierce, so at least I was smitten.
One weird note about TD Garden that might not affect most of you but surprised us was that they don't sell alcohol to anyone under 25. So while I was 22 and Joel was 23, we couldn't buy beer. Not the end of the world, but also not super common.
Our trip wasn't just about seeing the Bulls and Celtics play, however. We were sure to take in some of the other great things that Boston has to offer! Depending on the weather, I highly recommend walking the Freedom Trail. We were lucky in that it was unseasonably warm, so we got to take in tons of the great historical sites around the city. Joel is a history teacher, so he especially enjoyed this portion of the trip.
Another fun thing we tried was skating on Boston Common. The Common is huge and has tons of interesting spots and statues and I'd always romanticized skating with a guy on one of those giant outdoor rinks. And while I'm glad we did it, I will honestly never do it again. Ice skating is HARD! I was a Divison I athlete at the time and I struggled. Hockey players make this look too easy. Also, the skates you rent don't fit great and you're definitely going to walk away with blisters. But for a one time experience, I think it was worth it. Maybe you're a better skater than me. Just wear extra socks.
In terms of food, we tried a bunch of different places, but the notable ones were the Cheers bar and The Barking Crab. To be completely honest, Cheers is another place I probably wouldn't go again because the food was pretty average and we didn't even get to eat in the actual bar area, but at least it made my parents happy and I got my dad a mug. However, The Barking Crab is one of my favorites and I have gone back every time I've been back to Boston. We had a friend with us and we demolished 3 pounds of the best crab I've ever had in my life... drooling currently just thinking about it.
One other must do no matter what time of year you're in the city is tour Fenway Park. As a Red Sox fan, I don't think you can ever tour this cathedral of basebell too many times because each time I've seen and learned something new. But I especially hope you aren't scared away just because you're there in the winter- granted, it was cold, but the tour we went on during this trip was the only time we were able to go into the opposing teams' locker room (it's a complete dump- it's awesome). This particular tour is also special to me because I think it's when I first planted the seed of turning Joel into a Red Sox fan :)
Finally, if you can swing it and aren't afraid of boats, definitely check out doing a dinner cruise. We went on one with Odyssey, and it is still one of my favorite memories. We wined and dined for 3 hours while sailing the Boston Harbor- does it really get much better than that?? (Guys, the answer for your significant other is no- trust me on this)
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Just a couple of sports fans touring the world, one stadium at a time.