18. May 2014 · Comments Off on Spending the day in Boston · Categories: Boston, kids, travel · Tags:

Yesterday was a very good day.

Late in the week, we realized that neither of the kids had to work on Saturday. Since their mom was out of town for work, it was a perfect opportunity to spend the day together – a Daddy-kid day as we like to say. I don’t get many of those days anymore, so grab the opportunity when it’s there. The youngest just loves Boston, less than 90 minutes from home, and she heard that the New England Aquarium had several cool new exhibits – penguins, refurbished coral in the main tank, and . We set the plan in motion, leaving around 9:30 (at least that was the schedule), and headed to the MBTA Riverside Station after a quick stop at our local Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast.

Riding the T (MBTA) is the best way to get into the city. Parking is about 12 miles from the city, only $6 for the day, and you can get practically anywhere in Boston for a $5 round trip per person. You cannot park anywhere in the city for the $21 we spent for parking and the T tickets, and you have to deal with Boston streets (terrible), getting lost, and hoping your car is in one piece when you find it. Then there is the traffic out of the city. Taking the T is a much better route. One of the stops that we could have used to get close to the aquarium is shut down for major reconstruction, so we couldn’t get close but couldn’t have asked for a better day as far as the weather was concerned.

The day was supposed to be at least partially a washout, with a chance of rain through at least 11 AM. By the time we got to the Riverside parking lot, the temps were in the upper 60s and the sun was out. It was a spectacular day to be walking around Boston! We parked and purchased a single, $20 ride pass for the T to share, and waited about 5 minutes for the next train to arrive. On weekends, there is plenty of parking in the T lots unless you are late and there is a home Red Sox game starting within a few hours of your arrival. 40 or so minutes later, we ended up at Park Street Station, about 3/4ths of a mile from the aquarium. We could have switched trains and ended up close to the aquarium, but opted to walk on this gorgeous day.

When you arrive at the aquarium, there is an external tent used for ticket sales, then a harbor seal exhibit between that tent and the front door. While it is nice to watch the two seals, the real show is inside. If you get a chance to go to Boston, the aquarium isn’t to be missed.

We left to grab a bite to eat, at Granery Tavern on Milk Street. The chicken, avocado salsa, lime aioli sandwich was fantastic – and the Sam Adams Summer Ale was the perfect beverage to accompany the meal. A chipotle mayo served to my son for his burger was the perfect dipping sauce for the homemade potato chips.

We headed back to the aquarium to finish our tour and even saw a little creature that showed off their fantastic, natural light show. We knew that a trip to Mike’s Pastry shop, for a box of goodies to take home, was the only way to end our day trip to Boston. A quick walk back to Park Street Station and we headed home with many Red Sox fans exiting the T near Fenway (making a crowded outbound train, then nearly empty train).

The weather, food and sites, no matter how good, fell far short of being the best thing about yesterday. Just getting to spend the whole day with my adult children was by far the best thing about the day!

The kids behind the New England Aquarium

The kids behind the New England Aquarium

Chicken sandwich with lime aioli and avocado.

Chicken sandwich with lime aioli and avocado.

Strange creatures, fascinating to watch

Strange creatures, fascinating to watch

Mike's Pastry

Mike’s Pastry – the perfect end to a Boston trip!


17. May 2014 · Comments Off on Enjoying a Sam Adams Summer Ale in (where else?), Boston! · Categories: Boston, vacation

New Instagram Photo: http://ift.tt/RKCFCm

Yesterday, I went to our Boston office to work and meet with a few of my project colleagues. After leaving the house at 5am and riding the commuter rail, I pulled into the office before 8 with a large container of Dunkin’ in hand per my normal routine. Around 11:30, I took off for a small sandwich shop near the office and got what I think is my last BLT of the year and walked back by the waterfront to sit and enjoy a quick bite and take in the beautiful day. A short 15 minutes later, I was back in the office to finish up. I love the fact that you can get pretty much anything you want to eat within a 10 minute walk from that office. It’s in the financial district, so lots of high rise buildings which make for a busy lunch crowd. Service is necessarily quick almost everywhere – at least at the busy places.

After meetings and other work was done, I took off to walk to North Station to meet my youngest child. Kaite is in college in Maine so she took the Downeaster train from Saco to Boston. The station is about a mile from our Boston office; it’s an easy walk on a beautiful day like yesterday. Once I found where her train was arriving, I found my beautiful daughter and got the best hug I could have hoped for. Being away from her for a month always makes that first hug so much sweeter.

Her food allergies have driven down the number of places we can eat, but there are no complaints on my part. We walked around for a bit, then headed to Cheer’s at Faneuil Hall (the replica bar from the TV show of the same name). We sat on the patio where the heaters were turned on, making it a very nice afternoon to sit outside. A couple of quick burgers later we headed to Mike’s Pastry to get some treats for Kaite to take back to school. Two cannoli and six macaroon cookies headed back to Maine in a box to satisfy one daughter and three roommates. We said a quick goodbye and she headed north and I went off to navigate the T system to make my way south to barely make the 5:55 commuter rail back to Worcester. As I pulled into the house just before 9pm, I was one tired man but very happy that I got to see my girl, if only for a couple of hours. She looks great and, unlike last year, she seems quite happy with her life. And as her Dad, that is the most I could hope for.

21. April 2013 · Comments Off on FUT: Fear, Uncertainty, & Twitter · Categories: Boston

This week was a tough one. Following friends and co-workers as they ran the Boston Marathon is a part of every Patriot’s Day for me. I love watching the splits, aching for some of them as the split times decrease in the latter 5Ks, silently cheering as they cross the finish. With the splits shown real-time for every 5K through the end, you have to think about what they are going through as the miles tick by.

On Monday, the 5K splits took on a different meaning. Many of my friends had crossed the finish line in their normal, fast paced fashion. Former co-worker Mike from Richmond clocked in at just under 2:58; current co-worker Cheryl was a tad over 3:54. Just 16 minutes after Cheryl crossed the finish line, the city of Boston, hundreds of families, and my running community was turned upside down.

As I watched fellow runner Chris Russell during the race, he was slowing down particularly after the half. After the half, his mile pace went from sub-ten minute miles to 12:17, 13:44, 13:27, and at 40K, to 15:33. The final time that gets shown for all runners is after they cross the finish line. It was a few minutes after Chris passed the 40K that a co-worker came rushing back to his desk and told me that there were what appeared to be bombs that had exploded at the finish line. Unbelievable horror.

I anxiously checked Chris’ split since he was the last person I knew still on the course, and saw that his finish time was never recorded. If my calculation is right, he was less than a mile and a half from the finish at the 40K split, before disappearing from my visible radar. I cannot believe how his family felt not knowing where he was, if he was okay.

My running feed on twitter lit up. Everyone wanted to know that their friends and family were okay. Twitter seemed to be the best, real time source of news about individuals and about what was going on. I pretty much stopped working while I started following what was going on. There were many people that I follow on twitter checking in with simple tweets. I’m ok was probably the most tweeted phrase of the day, but it was enough. That simple message was all it took to have a family breath a sigh of relief. I’m guessing that it was an hour or more until word came through that someone had heard from Chris’ family had found him in the chaos and he was okay. Chris’ first tweet after he stopped said it all.

“I’m ok. Fucking horror show.”

Here’s a link to Chris’ Run Run Live podcast where he first interviews Dave McGillivray, Race Director for the 2013 Boston Marathon. This interview was done a week or so before the Marathon, before any of the madness started.

Starting just about 25 minutes into the podcast, Chris tells the story of his 2013 Boston Marathon. It’s great insight of what Chris experienced, and I’m thankful that he shared this incredibly difficult story. Please listen – it is well worth an hour of your time: CLICK HERE

Friday brought a Wear Boston Day at work. There was a sea of Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins shirts everywhere you looked. Everyone was supporting Boston, even though the murderers were still at large. Cheryl wore her bright yellow 2013 Boston Marathon technical shirt with pride. I can’t imagine just how many strangers came up to her and asked about the Marathon, and how difficult that must have been for her to answer. She had finished with a very respectable time, but wasn’t celebrating.

Finally, in the latest, special unnumbered The Extra Mile Podcast episode, one caller talks about how the support of our family and friends is so important. It really came home with how many of those friends and family were injured waiting for their runners at the finish in Boston. I’m certain that the events that unfolded on Monday and throughout the week will make everyone think twice about attending a race, and that it will be very difficult to stand at the finish line waiting for your athlete to cross that line without thinking about that fateful Monday. Hopefully, they will remember that this was two sick individuals, and that the greater goodness of the people of this great country of ours came together to stop it and start to heal.