Well, this is exciting.
In the next couple of weeks, my wife and and I are taking a trip to Boston — the first time either of us have been there. The last time I even had a chance to go there was 2004. I managed to work into the budget travel for one editorial board member to attend each of the presidential nominating conventions. I decided it would be really selfish of me to go to both of them, so I sent Mike Fitts to the Democratic convention in Boston. I went to New York. I didn’t regret it, because it was the first time I’d been to NYC since a day spent there when I was 9 years old. But I’ve always regretted missing Boston.
This time, we’re going up to see my twin granddaughters who are doing a summer program training with the Boston Ballet. But since they’ll be busy all day in classes, we’ve got a lot of sightseeing planned, including:
- Historical walking tours downtown. One if by land and two if by sea, and all that. A big deal to a guy who concentrated on the Revolutionary era in college.
- The Adams National Historical Part in Quincy. Walking the home ground of my fave Founding Father John, and other members of his distinguished clan.
- “Old Ironsides.” Walking the deck of the U.S.S. Constitution will be a big deal. One of the U.S. Navy’s six original frigates and now the oldest ship in the world still afloat, this is a treat for a guy who loves naval stories from that period so much. I expect to walk about exclaiming, “What a fascinating modern age we live in!”
- A game at Fenway Park. And not just any game. The Sox will be playing — wait for it — the New York Yankees!
I’m particularly excited about that last one after something I just learned yesterday.
As I’ve probably written in the past, I’m a weird sort of baseball fan. I’m more in love with the idea of baseball than I am the game of the moment. For instance, I enjoyed Halberstam‘s Summer of ’49, which is why think it’s great to be able to see these two teams play each other. No, the DiMaggio brothers won’t be there, but still…
I would follow the sport on a more current basis, but I can’t. I don’t have cable, and in case you haven’t noticed, the freely available TV stations very rarely show baseball games any more. Back in the days when everyone had only two or three channels, you could see baseball any weekend. Now, you can find all the football you want (and far more than I want), and staggering amounts of golf — but rarely is an inning of the National Pastime available.
Which, of course, is what is wrong with America today. In case you were wondering.
During playoff and World Series season, I go to great lengths, sometimes signing up for absurdly overpriced subscriptions, to see the games. And often, that’s the first time in the whole season I become familiar with even my favorite teams’ current players. (My favorite teams are the Braves and the Red Sox. At various times, many years back, I was also a fan of the Cardinals, the Phillies and the Reds.)
So it was that I was surprised yesterday to learn a wonderful thing. I was doggedly viewing highlights of some recent games online, and… there was Jackie Bradley Jr. in right field! Last year he was with the Brewers, and now the MVP of the Gamecocks’ 2010 College World Series was back with the Red Sox. Just in time!
And guess where our tickets — which I bought a couple of days before learning this — are?
Yep, right field. So, assuming he’s not injured or not playing that night for some other reason, he’ll be the player we can see the best.
No, Babe Ruth won’t be playing for either team. We won’t get to see Ted Williams, or Carl Yastremski, or Big Papi. And Mookie Betts is still playing for somebody else.
But we will (most likely) get to see Jackie, and that’s good enough.
Yeah, some of you avid fans will think I’m a big idiot for not having already known he was back in Boston. And maybe I am. But in this case, I’m a happy idiot…
Brad, you’ll love Fenway! Its like going back to 1955 or something. ! Awesome ball park! And seeing “JBJ” will make it super special. Like you I am a Braves and Red Sox fans though quite frankly, I just love baseball. I live outside DC and tried to convert to the Nat’s but just didn’t happen….While you are in Boston, I might also recommend the John F. Kennedy Presidential library. Its well done and only located a short distance (may 20 minutes…) outside Boston. But have fun! Really looking forward to what you have to say about your trip!
You’ll love Boston. I took the family in early November last year, and it was great. We did all the walking tours. Some you can do self-guided, and some are guided. We did a guided ghost tour, which was really great.
Depending on how ambitious you are, you can walk to the USS Constitution from Boston, but it’s a bit of a hike. It’s about as far as I would want to walk (there and back) with my kids in a day. It would be a super-quick Uber ride. The USS Constitution is also right near Bunker Hill, so you can combine both of those in the same day.
You should also go inside the main Boston Public Library by Copley Square. It’s free. The history and architecture inside is amazing. I would also recommend a Duck Boat tour. Great way to see the city from the land and the water.
Fenway is great. The baseball season was over by the time we got there, but we were able to take a tour of Fenway, which was amazing. Enjoy!
I was thinking Old Ironsides would be a “Great way to see the city from the land and the water.”
All I’d have to do is cut her out and take her out into the harbor. We could do some target practice on any debris floating in the floating in the harbor, then take her out.
Who knows? Maybe Broke would be waiting for us in HMS Shannon. And I, for one, would not wait for an invitation. No man will call me shy…
Yeah, I know. I seem to be a bit confused over which side I’m on. But hey, I love BOTH of those navies…
Not to forget:
Old North Church
Paul Revere house
Bunker Hill (up the hill from the Constitution)
United First Parish Church in Quincy (where both J. and J.Q Adams are buried)
And farther down the coast:
Plimoth Plantation (outstanding living history museum)
Thanks, Ken. All good calls. And I think we’re hitting most of those.
I don’t know about Plymouth, but we have been talking about a day trip to Salem. What do you think about that?
One of my doctors told me he and his wife enjoyed a side trip there from Boston…
My daughter visited Salem while she was doing an internship in Boston. She said it was a tourist trap. I’ve been to Plimoth (they use the old spelling) Plantation twice and enjoyed it both times, 30 years apart. Well worth the roughly 45-60 min. drive from Boston. The “inhabitants” (historical reenactors) act as if it’s still the early 17th century and play specific historic characters. No need to ask them about anything beyond their period. A lot of visitors do that, wasting a great deal of time trying to get the reenactors to come out of character.
Going to Boston and various other spots in New England in September. Still winnowing down what to see. So many choices. So little time.