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Mom & Son Boston trip report: Baseball, Campus Tours and Chilly Spring Weather

Mom & Son Boston trip report: Baseball, Campus Tours and Chilly Spring Weather

Old Apr 18th, 2007, 12:11 PM
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Mom & Son Boston trip report: Baseball, Campus Tours and Chilly Spring Weather

I want to thank everyone who offered advice and suggestions for our trip. We had a great time. This ‘college tour trip’ turned into a real quality vacation for my son and I.

The bad weather didn’t slow us down a bit. I brought my Uggs boots, a down parka, wool scarf & gloves AND wore them all nearly everyday! Though I have to say it became quite a pain to peel off layers every time you entered a building because it was always so warm inside all the stores and restaurants.

We stayed at the Eliot Hotel on the corner of Commonwealth and Mass Ave. The location was perfect for us. We had a 1 bedroom suite with 2 Q in the bedroom and a sofa bed in the living room. The space to spread out a bit was nice. For a $9.95 per day fee WiFi access was available in the rooms. I brought my laptop and was glad I did. The internet was fast and easy to connect (wireless or via phone line). Besides keeping in touch with home and the office via email, I used the internet a lot for directions and researching info for our college tours.

We stayed at the Eliot a few years ago and the staff was just as friendly and helpful as we experienced on our previous trip. By the second day the front desk staff, bellmen and housekeeping knew us and would usually greet us by name. There is a T stop 1 block away at Newbury Street. Also there is a City Convenience store across the street which was handy for picking up drinks, breakfast foods and snacks for the teenager.

So here you go, Mom and teenage son, a week in Boston-Baseball, College tours & a bit of shopping thrown in for good measure:

Monday April 9th: Arrived on time to Logan airport at 7am (uneventful Jet Blue overnight flight from Oakland). We had carry-on luggage so we were out of the airport pretty quickly. Rode the free airport shuttle bus to the airport T station and made one change to the Green line. Got off at the Hynes station and walked one block to the hotel. The 30 minute ride cost $2 per person and was easy but the trains were crowded with morning commuters, so we had to stand most of the way. We arrived at the hotel just after 8:00. I reserved the hotel room from the 8th so that with an early arrival we could get right into the room. We were tired and hungry so we ordered room service breakfast then went to sleep for a couple of hours. This worked out perfect for us. We were up, showered and out of the hotel by 1:00. It is cold and gray out.

We walked down Commonwealth Ave towards Boston University. One of the things my son wanted to do on this trip was to be able to keep up his swim workouts. I had looked up pools before the trip and found out he could work out at the BU Fit-Rec Center pool with the Masters. We wanted to find out just where the pool was located and see what we needed to do for the next morning. Then we stopped into the huge Barnes & Noble/BU bookstore to browse and get out of the cold. Temps hovered around 35 all day. Then we headed over to Fenway and Yawkey Way to check out the activity around the park for the next day’s home opener. My son is a huge Red Sox fan so just being near the park was exciting for him. Of course this just set him off on a plan to find a ticket for Tuesday’s game. Right…..how impossible would that be? We had tickets for Wednesdays night’s game. Wasn’t that good enough I asked……….NO. This is the Red Sox. He was on a mission now. Back at the hotel we inquired with the concierge and they set to work on it. I also looked on Stub Hub, which had some tickets but the cheapest were $150. Way more than my son had to spend. To be continued……..Anyway, back at the hotel we relax, unpack and warm up a bit.

For dinner the hotel had made a 7:00 reservation for us at Charlie’s on Newbury St. I figured someplace casual and close by for the first night would be a good idea. It was. I had a delicious meatloaf and son had a burger. The food was good and plentiful, server was friendly and the place was warm and inviting.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped into the Trident Bookstore to check it out. We were too tired to linger for long but we’d be back.

Tuesday April 10th: We’re up early, bleary eyed and tired we catch a cab to the Fit Rec center for the 7:00 am masters workout. He swims and I sit in a comfy chair overlooking the indoor pool, drink a large latte and read my book! After the workout we intend to take the T back to the hotel but they’re so crowded we decided to walk. Mornings on the T a proving to be a bit of a problem. Soon we’re too cold so we hail a cab. Back at the hotel we order room service breakfast. I had hoped we go out for breakfast more, but truthfully it’s so darn cold out that after workouts my son’s too cold, wet and tired to go anywhere. Eating at the hotel, while expensive and the menu is pretty limited, it is easiest.

Today is our campus tour of Boston University. It’s another cold gray day and while we liked the tour very much, walking around outside was pretty uncomfortable especially when the wind would kick up. Our guide was a very enthusiastic and likeable young woman. The 1 hour tour started and ended at the Admissions office located on Bay State Rd. We went into a few buildings including the library and a dorm but spend most of the time outside. We find out the schedule for tours of individual colleges. We’ll try to do that later in the week.

We were finished around lunchtime and you could feel the excitement in the air for the upcoming 2:05 Red Sox game. With the park just a few blocks from the BU campus, as we walked along on the tour there was a continuous stream of fans passing by on their way to the Fenway. My son would look longingly at each one. The hotel had been unable to find a ticket. We could purchase two at $250 each but they could find no single tickets. OK so it’s looks like the game is out. We settle for a walk around the stadium and some souvenir shopping nearby. We do not see a single ticket scalper, just other people looking for tickets plus a HUGE line of people waiting at the ‘same day’ ticket sales window. That looked like a hopeless waste of time to us. So as we are making a last loop around the park, before heading to find a restaurant to secure seat to watch the game on TV, a man approaches us and asks if we need an extra ticket? What is that you say……..need a ticket? My son’s eyes light up, and with his mouth hanging open he digs out his wallet. How much he asks……..he only has $50 to spend. The guy says that’ll work, it’s a grandstand ticket worth $40 bucks. Now there’s a happy kid! I see him off, hope he stays warm and try to move away from the mobs of people milling about the stadium. (Side note: 30 min. before game time and the long line for ‘same day’ ticket sales was even longer and didn’t appear to have moved)

I walk back to the hotel and warm up while I decide what to do with my free time. A good coffee and some shopping sounds perfect. I’m a huge Peet’s Coffee fan and knew there were a few in Boston so I did an address search online and viola, found one in the financial district. I set off on the T, got a little confused changing lines but made it to the area near Macys. Then it was a short walk to Peets. Ahh, it was worth it. I wind my way back towards Newbury St. I keep checking on the game as I pass through shops. So many people are listening to the game on radios; it’s easy to keep up with the score. The plan is to meet back at the hotel after the game. I’m wandering around the Trident Book store when my son calls to say the game’s over, Sox won and he’s walking back to the hotel. When I meet him there, he’s tired but excited. He said the seat was great, near 1st base, the game was a blast and the fans are crazy! Everyone is particularly excited to see tomorrow’s starting pitcher, Matsuzaka ‘Dice-K’.

Tonight we eat at an Italian place in the north end recommended by the hotel, a restaurant called Bricco. It has a stylishly trendy décor. Our meal was good and the food was artfully presented. The waiter was a little aloof and not the most attentive but it actually became a bit of a joke. The two young women sitting at the table next to us thought he was just mad at them. We laughed that in our opinion he just appeared to have an ‘attitude’ problem of his own. In the end I would recommend the restaurant. The atmosphere was cozy with dim lighting and a pretty décor. Our desserts were awesome. The best bread pudding I’ve ever tasted.

More later…………….
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Old Apr 18th, 2007, 01:01 PM
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This is great! looking forward to the next installment....
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Old Apr 18th, 2007, 01:09 PM
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so far so good
can't wait for the rest -
glad you got to wander in Trident, I love that bookstore and the Eliot is just so wonderful.
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Old Apr 19th, 2007, 11:57 AM
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Day 3, Wednesday April 11th:

We’re out early again for another swim workout. The Fit Rec center at Boston University is a great facility for students. It is next door to the Aggains Arena and looks very new. There is the large (I think 50 meter) indoor pool, locker rooms, a huge 2-level exercise equipment studio, a climbing wall, smaller studios for fitness classes, a café, store & lounge area. We had to pay $20 per day for my son to swim.

After the workout we caught a cab back to the hotel for breakfast and got ready to go to Boston College. It was an easy 25 minute ride on the T from the Hynes Center station. There are several Green line trains that go in the direction of BC. We rode the B line that is direct and dead ends at a stop across the street from the campus.

Today the weather is actually pretty nice. By the time we reach BC around 11:00 it has warmed up quite a bit and is very sunny.

Boston College is a beautiful school. I had heard that and we weren’t disappointed. There are several tours scheduled through out the day and an appointment is not necessary. There were about 30 parents and kids waiting for the 12:00 tour. We were divided into smaller groups for the 75 minute tour. Our group was led by a young woman was truly loves her school. She was very informative and we were able to go into several buildings. After the tour we went into the bookstore for some logo souvenirs and then ate lunch at a campus café. This gave us a good opportunity to see the students. I’m glad we were at the college near lunchtime when so many of the students were out and about. I’m not sure BC is the best fit for my son, but we were both impressed.

We rode the T back to town and hopped off at the Kenmore station. It’s a bustling area and with the nice weather we decided to walk from there back to the hotel. Son wanted to stop into the BU bookstore and pick up a few logo things there too. He’s torn between the 2 schools.

We have tickets for tonight’s 7:05 Red Sox game. We ‘need’ as my son puts it, to be there when they open the gates. So well before 5:00 we are heading back to Fenway. We grab all the freebies (posters, newspapers, carry bags, headbands, misc. junk to be stuffed in the suitcase and hauled home) being handed out along the way into the stadium. We take lots of pictures and head to our bleacher seats behind the bullpen and watch all the pre-game activities. It is very cold. I even will out the promotional paperwork for a credit card just to get the free blanket, I know, I’ve just invited a ton of new junk mail/email…but I was freezing! So we’re plenty of other people with the number of cheap blankets I saw around the stadium.

The crowd was hyped for Dice-K Matsuzaka and his first outing at Fenway. The first batter he faced was Ichiro so it was a really big deal. What an incredible sight to see the camera flashes at the first pitch, almost like a fireworks show. The bleacher crowd is a hilarious group full of crazed fans and just enough odd balls to keep things interesting. The game was mostly a pitchers duel so not too much action. Our dinner was a smorgasbord of typical baseball park food including the unique Fenway dogs. There like a hotdog on a Wonder bread roll.

Sadly the Sox lost, so we slowly inch, shoulder to shoulder with thousands of other disappointed fans, out of the park and down the street the few blocks to our hotel.


Day 4 Thursday April 12th:

After a late, cold night at the game, my son decided to sleep in today. I went for a walk and ended up at the Trident bookstore for breakfast. I brought my book but ended up chatting with a interesting older lady sitting at the table next to me. She was in her late 70’s, lived in an apartment around the corner, and came here everyday for breakfast. She had traveled all around the world and had such interesting stories to tell. It was such an enjoyable way to spend the morning. I had left a note for my son to join me if he wanted but he decided to chill and eat cereal in the room.

The weather has turned ugly and it only got worse as the day went on. Snow had been predicted, it never quite materialized but there was plenty of cold rain and wind. This was the worst day by far of our trip.

I had arranged for us to take a group tour of BU’s College of Communications today at 1:00. So after a leisurely morning we set off down Commonwealth Ave for the campus. Thank goodness we brought along the big umbrella offered by the hotel doorman. Although sometimes the wind was blowing so hard the umbrella hardly made a difference. Thankfully this tour was all indoors. We were very impressed with the Comm College. I think my son is sold on BU now. There were about a dozen of us on the tour, led by two students. They were very knowledgeable and had plenty of insightful information on the program and student life.

After the tour it was raining real hard so we hailed a cab to take us to the Fenway 13 Movie Theatre. We were early for the show and there aren’t many shops located nearby but we found a Cold Stone ice cream shop to sit in. We talked about colleges, looked through the brochures, ate our ice cream and were relieved to be temporarily out of the rain and cold. We saw the movie ‘Blades of Glory’. OK, it was the teenager’s choice and he loved it, but I will admit to laughing quite a bit. Full of corny, wacky and often crude humor, the movie was entertaining enough.

When we exited the theatre the rain was coming down so hard and the wind blowing so strong, the umbrella flipped inside out and we were nearly drenched just steps from the door. Thankfully, like magic a taxi appeared out of nowhere that we scrambled in for a ride back to the hotel. There we stayed until time for dinner. We almost didn’t go out at all but I didn’t feel like room service. We had reservations for Smith & Wollenski. I’m glad we went out. By 8:00 the weather had improved enough that we didn’t run the risk of being soaked going to and from a cab and the restaurant. We have never been to a Smith & W. We have Ruth Chris steak houses back home. The food is similar enough but Ruth Chris is a bit more elegant. The portions are huge and everything was good but my son said the RC steaks are better. Overall the meal was good, son got his steak fix and we had an enjoyable time talking about the trip. Tomorrow we have to go home.

Day 5, Friday April 13th:

Since out flight wasn’t until 7:45pm, I had requested and was given a late check-out, 3:30. We packed up the night before so we went out early to wander around for our last day in Boston. We were treated to a mostly sunny day. We walked from the hotel up Newbury Street and over to the Prudential Center. There was lots of activity in the area as the final preparations we being completed for the Boston Marathon on Monday. They are not expecting good weather at all for the race. Too bad. Supposedly there will be like 22k runners!

We walked through the Copley Square area and found Clery’s, where we decided to have lunch. The burgers were very good. (Thanks escargot). We sat at a table near the bar and watched ESPN. After lunch we walked to the Boston Public Library. I’m so glad we went in. What a beautiful building. We actually wandered around for quite a while and took pictures (no flash, of course) then browsed through the old books. My son was amazed by the huge Census volumes and Patent books. They were very interesting to thumb through.

We finished our afternoon with one more visit to the BU campus. We rode the T to the Kenmore station stop then walked around. It was starting to get cold and overcast so we made one last stop for coffee at the big Barnes & Noble then it was time to collect our luggage and head to the airport.

Traffic was lighter than I expected so we made it to the airport in less than 15 minutes. Quite amazing for a Friday at 5:00 I thought. The airport was crowded and I was a bit worried that the predicted storm might arrive early and cause flight delays for us. Thankfully everything went smoothly and we made it home without a hitch.

We really enjoyed our trip. Bad weather or not we loved Boston. My son may end of a student at a college here one day. If so we’ll be happy to travel here to visit him.

Again, thank you to everyone who offered advice and recommendations. I very much appreciated it. I hope someone finds this rambling report helpful or useful in any way.
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Old Apr 19th, 2007, 12:42 PM
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As a graduate of BU's College of Communication and a long-standing masochist (I mean Red Sox fan!), I loved your report!
Next time you come Boston, make sure you take the tour of Fenway Park. It's great!
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Old Apr 19th, 2007, 02:40 PM
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I'm glad you found Clery's...and went inside the BPL, so many miss out on that -

and, I join Howard as a graduate of BU School of Communication, ....only I date myself in that when I graduated it was called SPC .....School of Public Communication
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Old Apr 19th, 2007, 02:55 PM
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Ah the memories you have conjured up, suziem. My oldest son is a graduate of BU and he always felt it was the best 4 years of his life.

Thanks for sharing your trip. It sounds like you had a fabulous time with your son. Good luck to your boy!
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Old Apr 19th, 2007, 02:58 PM
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escargot, me too!
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Old Apr 19th, 2007, 04:06 PM
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Thank you everyone, we did have a great time.

This wasn't our first time to Boston. On a previous trip with the whole family, a few summers ago, we toured Fenway and went to a game. Touched the Green Monster and all. The fact that we all liked the area so much is a big part of the reason we are even looking at schools so far from home.

My son is interested in Radio/Broadcast Journalism and BU has a great program for that. He would also like to swim on a college team and interestingly enough, there are more schools back east with that combination than here in California.

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Old Apr 19th, 2007, 08:34 PM
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Howard, maybe that is why we seem to agree on many theater reviews

suziem: BU and Boston -great combo for his major - also with Emerson in the city and so many ops for collaborations and internships !
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Old Apr 21st, 2007, 03:28 PM
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SuzieM--
Just had to chime in that I thought you did a great job of capturing the details of your trip and really offered a lot of helpful information to out of town visitors. So glad you enjoyed Boston--we all hate the weather (and you saw some of our worst for April!) but love living here. Today, Spring arrived and we are hoping the 70 degree temps stay with us for awhile.

Best of luck to your son in the college application process. I know it's stressful but it's great he has a clear idea of what interests him.

Again, thanks for looping back and offering your trip report.
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Old Apr 21st, 2007, 04:07 PM
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Does he know there are lots of dorm rooms at Northeastern that he can watch the Red Sox from?
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Old Apr 22nd, 2007, 12:54 PM
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Suziem-My daughter and I are just back from Admitted Students Day at BU-we got the glorious weather that you missed. You are your son would have LOVED our room at Hotel Commonwealth overlooking Fenway Park. The lights literally kept me awake until I pulled the blinds! Best of luck in your journey-I am convinced that we found the perfect spot for my daughter in their School of Hospitality.
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