Thursday, April 21, 2011

115th Boston Marathon

Well, we are back from Boston. Had a really nice trip up there.

We went up to Houston last Thursday after hub got off work, and stayed at a motel by Hobby Airport, because our flight took off at 6 am (who the heck books a flight for 6 am???) So I woke up at 2:41.. :| and we got to the airport. I was REALLY surprised by the TSA guy, he was really nice. He must not have been on the job that long. I had forgotten I had those stupid quart bags of liquids in my backpack, so he had to look through it. AND I had 2 baggies. not allowed. He was nice enough to try to repack them in there so it would all fit into one, but there were still a couple things that would not fit. I told him being they were Clinique stuff, it was too expensive to just throw away. He asked me if I was traveling with anyone else, and he said we could wait for my husband (he had to return for his 2nd boarding pass at the kiosk) to see if he had room in his baggie for my stuff. I gave him a tract, he looked puzzled & said what is this? I told him it's a tract, and it's for you to read later when you're not busy. I wish I had gotten his name, and his supervisor, to tell the supervisor that this guy was really nice & deserved a raise. Did NOT have to go through Nude-O-Scan. I slept the whole way to Baltimore. That was the only leg that we were able to sit together.

In Baltimore, it's mandatory (or at least I told the hub) that we MUST have a crabcake! So we went off in the airport looking for a place to get them - Phillips Seafood is what we found. I first got the appetizer crabcakes, they were better than we get here, and were ok. Those are deep-fried. The waitress suggested the lump meat crabcake that is pan-fried. Said sure, and :O oh it was the BEST darn thing I have had! It's Ritz Crackers, lump crabmeat, and their own seasoning (comes in a can, celery salt & celery seed are the first ingredients). Ok, $25 later, we get on the plane to Boston. Paul was in the very front row, I was in the very last row. I sat next to a couple, started to talk to the wife (she was knitting, so that got us started), and it turns out that they were going to Boston for his 30th!! time running the marathon there. She gave me some tips on what side of the road to watch it from, and a good seafood place to eat (Legal Seafood).

In Boston, we stayed down in Braintree at the Motel 6 (darn expensive up there too), and we took the train/subway thingie called the "T" down there. If you do go up there, for more than a day, make sure you buy the 7 day Charlie Ticket - you can get all over Boston for only $15 a person. This also allows you on the buses that run other routes besides the T. Its a heck of a bargain.

Friday afternoon we took the T from the motel (a 2 minute walk from the T stop), down to Faneuil Hall, where they have Quincy Market, north & south market. We walked around and looked at stuff (Quincy Market has gobs of food vendors in it!) and we ended up walking across the street to Union Street, and stopped in at The Purple Shamrock to eat dinner. It was really good, and inexpensive. I had the broiled seafood platter (fish, scallops and shrimp) and Paul had the seafood fra diablo. The scallops are so very tender! Nothing compares to fresh seafood. The Red Sox were on the TVs all over the place (it was an irish pub).

Saturday, we got up & showered. My towel was very rough, and it felt like being bathed by a cat getting dry. :| We had breakfast at Quincy Market, there is a shop at the end that sells baked goods - bagels etc. We walked around and looked at stuff, then I picked up a guide book listing sights along the Freedom Trail, and we started off from Faneuil Hall to Boston Common. It was really interesting. We stopped off on the way by a Borders, at a bagel shop, for a bagel and a water. I took pictures of the statues commemorating the Irish Famine, people coming to Boston. Then we went on. We went through a couple of graveyards, one is where Samuel Adams, Paul Revere are entombed, and Franklin's parents. I got some photos of the gravestones. One thing was very interesting on those markers - there are many skeletons, and skulls with crossbones under them. I think that was the Granary graveyard? We walked along, and came to Old City Hall. There was a statue of Benjamin Franklin there, and some tables/chairs, so I got to sit for a couple of minutes. In Kings Church graveyard, the woman who is thought to be the inspiration for The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne is buried there - I have a photo of her headstone.

We finally got to Boston Common, and had to take the Green Line down to the Hynes Convention Center, for number pickup, Tshirt and bag pickup for the race. Wow was it busy! Paul got his #, Tshirt, bag and we went into the expo. Lots of vendors, and now Adidas has the marathon gear, so we were looking at jackets/tshirts, etc. with the marathon logo on it. He didn't find anything he really liked (the colors this year were green/black, and I managed to find a light hoodie (white with green stitching). Paid for that (darn expensive - $70) but even a regular hoodie was $50. We walked up & down Newbury Street for a while, looking for a place to sit, relax & get a cold one. We went to Charley's Saloon, had an order of O-rings, and a couple of beers. They had a horseradish sauce for them, I enjoyed it.

We ended up going back to Faneuil Hall, and eating at McCormick and Schmick's. White tablecloths, upscale restaurant. The maitre d'took us to a table, pulled out the facing chair for me, and dummy that I am, pulled out the other chair, and sat down. faux-pas! gah. felt like an idiot after sitting down. Guess upscale is not my cup of tea! Had a nice dinner however, I had the haddock with lump crab stuffing, with a lemon-butter/white wine sauce, with asparagus & spaghetti squash. It was one of the chef's recommendations for that evening. Each menu is only for that day - their seafood comes in fresh each day. It was a toss-up between that haddock, and the halibut from Sitka, Alaska (as I have been to Sitka). Paul had the penne with salmon, with a pink sauce. He said he wasn't happy with the selection of food, but he ended up enjoying his dinner.

Sunday, we split up - Paul stayed at the motel, while I went out walking the North End. I followed the red line (Freedom Trail) and went into the Italian section of Boston. Wow! nice architecture. I really like the buildings. It was alot of fun stopping at each Italian restaurant, and looking at the menu to see what was on there, as he wanted to have Italian that night, to carb-load for the race the next day. One restaurant I passed, La Familia Giorgio's, a guy came out & said they have HUGE portions, with really really good food. I went in & asked if they were taking reservations this week, he said no, due to the Marathon, however, he would see about taking one for me. But I really should have NOT declined, because later that evening, after 6, it was NUTS. Lines everywhere.

I walked up Salem St. in north end, till I got to Prince street, and walked across to Hanover. I was behind sumdood in a suit, talking to a family about a pastry place - Mike's Pastry - and that they had cannolis. I had seen people carrying about boxes that said Mikes Pastry, tied with string, and I love cannolis! So I get around the corner, and there is the line. Mike's is about half-way down the block, but the line moved quickly. Once you get inside, it breaks up into 7 or 8 different lines - just line up and make your way to where a string comes down from the ceiling. They have 17 different types of cannolis, plus other pastries, and gelato. The cannolis are $4 apiece, and the gelato is $4, however, the cannolis are huge, and the amount of gelato they put in the cup is a very generous helping. I picked up 2 cannolis - hazelnut, and pistachio, and a cup of tiramisu gelato. Kept walking north on Hanover, went past the Revere House and took some pictures. Sat on someone's stoop and finished off my gelato, then went a bit further north. Decided it was about time to head back to Faneuil Hall to meet hubby after his day of relaxation.

I remembered a place that had a sign that advertised 80 craft beers - so down the stairs to The Hideout I went. It's just below Durgin Park (a yankee restaurant) and they have a menu of their beers. Waited for Paul to get to the hall, turns out I have no cell phone service downstairs, so I had to go sit upstairs to get a call from him that he was coming into town on the T. We went back to the North End to look for a restaurant, but there were too many lines, and they were long, so we decided to return to The Purple Shamrock for dinner. He had the same thing as the other night, and they have a lobster dinner, complete with slaw & fries, for $15? $16? Anyway, it was delicious. Had a longneck, then returned to the motel.

Monday morning - Paul left the motel at I have NO idea what time, to get to the starting area early. His corral didn't start the race till 10:20. I woke up at 6:30 and he had already left. I showered (this time the towel was soft!) and watched the coverage of it on the TV. I watched the start of the wheelchairs, the elite group of women, the elite group of men start off. Watched the finish of all 3 of those - some exciting stuff! and when the 2nd corral started off, I figured it was almost time to leave. I had signed up for status texts on his times, and when I got the 10k status, figured it was time to leave for the race.

I had been planning on being at Heartbreak Hill on the 21st mile, however, the T was packed, and it took longer than expected to get on it. So I went to the Hynes Convention Center station, at the 25.2 mile mark. I had 2 cowbells with me, gave one to a kid to ring at the people, and I was at the railing yelling "1 more mile - you can do it" and shaking the cowbell like a crazy person :) The people that started walking, I yelled to them "get moving!" I had the camera in one hand, and the cowbell in the other. I saw a caveman go by (barefoot!) but I didn't manage to get a shot of him - or mucha lucha either. I did get a shot of the pickle suit guy, and a shot of the guy in a gorilla suit, however. Finally Paul came past, and I got a picture of him. Then I left there, and went to go get on the T back to Park Street (boston common) to meet him.

The T was PACKED. Only 5 people (if even that) could get on it. I said the heck with it, I'm going to walk! and came up on the other side of the road. Started walking, and taking pictures as I went. Walked about 2 miles to the T, and it was backed up so much, that the stairs leading down to it, was full. Said screw this, I'll keep walking. I kept asking directions, how to get to this street, and that street, and finally found myself back on the red line (freedom trail) at one of the cemetaries. Told myself I know how to get to Faneuil Hall now! and kept on truckin. Finally got there, after about 4 miles of total walking, and sat down outside the Best of Boston store. Was hoping they still had samples of their salt water taffy but they were out :(

Sat & waited a while, then Paul called & said he was on his way up there. He had said he wanted an IPA after the race previously, so we went back to The Hideout, and one of the other runners was there, eating surf & turf. We ended up eating there - really good food - bacon-wrapped scallops appetizer, Paul had the lobster, steak, baked potato and carrots, and I had the fried seafood platter. Turns out I do NOT like fullbelly clams, they have the same texture as mussels. yuck! but the fried scallops and shrimp were good. After, we took the T back to the motel & went to sleep.

Tuesday morning, we flew out of there. I was really surprised at Boston Logan, as the line for security, we figured at least an hour, but it was only 15 minutes at the most. We connected through Philly, and we split a cheesesteak. It was very messy. Got in to Houston about 4, and drove home. Decided to head to PMR before going home, to get some dinner. Yah! M, T, and W its' prices from years ago, so it was only $4.95 for a plate of cheese enchiladas, rice & beans. Then we finally got home. The kitten was very glad to see us.

I have yet to unpack. Guess I'll do that today LOL. Yesterday I uploaded ALL my photos from the Boston trip - all 153? 154? of them. Took from around 2:30 yesterday, after I picked up the dog and Mr. Fatty (the fat cat) from the vets, and finished uploading around 10 pm last night. Here is the link to the photos: my flickr set of Boston. Enjoy!


  1. Diane:
    Sounds like one heckuva great time.
    Scallops made ANY WAY (but raw) are great!
    Connected through Philly, huh?
    THAT explains the "messy" cheesesteak...LOL.

    You gotta go to either Geno's or Pat's if you want the REAL deal...THOSE guys are TOPS - everyone else is tied for second place.

    Glad you had a good time and made it home safely.

    Have a very Blessed Easter.

  2. Thanks! Hmm. We stopped at Chickie and Pete's in the airport. Easter was good - had an egg hunt for the kids at church, then I had 11 kids in childrens church, and then home to roast a leg of lamb and some roasted asparagus!