Boston Marathon Weekend & Restaurant Question

Old Apr 13th, 2008, 11:05 AM
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Boston Marathon Weekend & Restaurant Question

We're going in for our son's run of the Boston Marathon this coming weekend. We plan stay in RI with family and take the train up Sunday and have one night at the Hyatt Downtown.
1. He is in the early wave of runners, and we haven't figured out how to be see him en route and make it to the finish line (he's on a 3.40 pace) to see him. Even at the finish line, I'd welcome any suggestions on where to try to get a good view. Any other tips welcome.

2. We're not going to do the runners dinner. Any suggestions for a great pasta dinner in the North End? Do places take reservations? I'm assuming it would be a good idea. Thanks.
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Old Apr 13th, 2008, 01:11 PM
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OpenTable.com is a good way to find a restaurant. I hope you still can find some good options. Lucca is one of the ones we like, altho many others have been recommended on this board.

No tips on finish line....I am sure others have some.
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Old Apr 13th, 2008, 02:19 PM
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Thanks. I will check it out. I am hoping some local folks have some suggestions.
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Old Apr 13th, 2008, 02:40 PM
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I'm assuming you're looking for good North End southern Italian pasta restaurants -- three of the best include Pagliuca's, Maurizio's, and Saraceno's

Both Daily Catch and Giacomo's specialize in southern Italian seafood on top of pasta. Antico Forno will also have pasta but specializes in baked items, some of them southern Italian.

Lucca struck me more as a Northern Italian place, though they'll have pasta. It's good, though the two best Northern Italian spots (both expensive but excellent) are Mamma Maria and Prezza.

Some of these places will take reservations and some won't. Giacomo's definitely does not.

In any event, avoid anyplace where someone is standing on the sidewalk trying to wave you in.
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Old Apr 13th, 2008, 02:51 PM
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My knowledge of Boston is limited, but I know that a lot of people watch the runners on the hill by Boston College. I am wondering if you could watch from a spot along the route and then hop the T to get to the finish???
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Old Apr 13th, 2008, 03:52 PM
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BAA.org is the official website with link to official Boston Marathon page - it gives route and a list of suggestions for spectators and runners.

It possible to only get a relatively short distance from the finish line (a few miles) by easy public transportation - and MBTA has all sorts of delays and re-routes on race day. You could take green line out to Boston College area and then hop back on a train and hope to reach finish line in time. But the half mile at least area prior to finish line gets packed early. And this is all compounded by rare Red Sox morning game (11 AM) that day which will let out at about race end time. MBTA.com will help you with specifics about this and also is likely to have a note about what is running on what schedule that day. It is a Massachusetts state holiday (Patriots Day), but fewer and fewer empolyers actually observe the date.

Restaurants in North End are tougher. Most do not take reservations. We usually just walk around until we found a menu we like.
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Old Apr 13th, 2008, 06:21 PM
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I just checked Open Table for Sunday night and there are a number of North End Restaurants that show availability at 6:30, a time I randomly assigned, assuming it would not be a late night with your runner! I strongly suggest a reservation because come Sunday, the city will be mobbed with tourists as well as many people enjoying the festive pre-Marathon atmosphere!

And, yes, Lucca is more northern Italian, but they have lots of great pasta dishes. I notice the names of some of the other places recommended to you as also being on Open Table.
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Old Apr 13th, 2008, 07:33 PM
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I have limited experience with watching the marathon too, but I have a feeling it is very difficult to do what you want...see him enroute AND get to the finish line. Because its very hard to move around during the race itself. My only experience actually watching, was 2 years ago when I was at the aforementioned morning Red Sox game. We walked up to Kenmore Square and watched the runners go by. then we walked down to the finish line, and frankly, we couldn't get anywhere near it. It was totally mobbed with people for a block or so in every direction.

we were able to get a good view around Kenmore square. even with the crowds of Sox fans.
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 04:00 AM
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Here are some ideas for great food with moderate prices, and somewhat off the beaten track. Massimino's (207 Endicott St.), Filippo Ristorante (Try the fried artichoke hearts for an appetizer!)(283 Causeway St., right next to Massimino's), Al Dente (109 Salem St.), and Strega (379 Hanover St.) These are all excellent and with the exception of Strega's off of Hanover St. which can be quite congested. I would definately call for reservations, although they may not all take them. Save room to go to Caffe Vitoria on 296 Hanover St. for a Caffe and some conoli!
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 04:54 AM
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The best place to watch is Beacon Street in Brookline. It covers miles 23 to around 25 and there's lots of space to set up chairs or just hang out.

Take the Green line C train to either Coolidge Corner or Washington Square, either of those locations will work. In the past I've also been able to watch the finish in front of the Pour House on Boylston St. It's obviously crowded though.
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 06:08 AM
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Thank you all. Wyatt- How long do you (or others) think it would it take to get back from Brookline to near the finish line- given the reality of the day?
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 06:16 AM
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The finish line is about a mile walk from Coolidge Corner. If you take the T back, you'd have to get off at the Hynes stop, as Copley is closed. So best case, taking the T and walking, probably 20 minutes.
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 07:34 AM
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Thanks. I'll have to look at a map and figure it out, but it looks like I could see him at 23 mile, and at the 7min mile pace he does, I might not beat him back (sigh) but could get back in reasonable time to connect. Maybe we'll divide and conquer with DH and DD at the finish, and me at 23 to push the end.

You said Green line C train to either Coolidge Corner or Washington Square- it may be obvious, but is it the same train back? and is one station a better choice than the other?
Thanks for the prompt reply!
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 07:38 AM
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The finish line is at least 2.5 - 3 miles from Coolidge Corner.
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 07:40 AM
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Yes, same train back. The C line is a trolley line so they'll only be one option for coming back so it'll be easy. I suggested Coolidge Corner and Washington Square because they're the neighborhood centers of Brookline so they'll be food, ice cream, etc. There are lots of T stops in between the two neighborhoods so you could wander around and find a spot that you like best.

You could also watch from Kenmore Square (near Fenway Park) but even then you wouldn't be able to watch him go by and then make it to the finish line in time (unless you're a fast runner!).
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 12:56 PM
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Wyatt- Sadly, nowhere near as fast as the 18yr. old- but I really appreciate the tips!
Beacon Street sounds like a good plan and I like the idea of seeing him after he's over the hills (motherly relief).

Thanks.
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 01:01 PM
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Make sure you have plans for reuniting after race - there are so many thousands of runners, you can't just say we'll meet near finish line.
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 01:51 PM
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Of mariag's suggestions, Massimino's and Al Dente are probably the best, but I still think none are as good as Pagliuca's, Maurizio's, or Saraceno's for this type of cuisine. Filippo's food is only OK and service can be grumpy, while Strega can be hit or miss and has been known to pull fast ones with pushing bottled water on customers who want tap water (something that some North End places try on a regular basis).

And I'm also not a fan of looking at the menu in the window and taking a chance when it comes to the North End. It's too easy to end up eating really horrid food at bad places (like La Famiglia Spagnuolo, Dolce Vita, Piccola Venezia, La Famiglia Giorgio, Riccardo's, Ida's, Caffe Pompei, or Joe Tecce's) this way. I cringe when I see folks through the window in these spots knowing they could have done lots better.
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 02:17 PM
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I like Massiminos
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 02:55 PM
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Maybe I have no taste, but I disagree with bachslunch - I hagve never had "horrid food" in North End of Boston and have eaten at several of the places s/he lists as the purveyors of such.
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