My husband achieved his goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon and he decided to run during the coldest spring the NE U.S. has ever seen! Temperatures were consistently low during our stay and it rained 6 out of 8 days. However, we did have an excellent trip!
by Jehcekah on July 28, 2009
The Boston Marathon is one of, if not THE, premiere race in the world. Most runners qualify to run the race by completing another marathon with a certain finishing time and others pay big bucks to run for a charity. The level of runners in the field is much higher for that reason. However, one downside to the focus on the runner is that there is little or no focus on the spectators. It seems as though the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) has made provisions to provide information to the runners, but not to all of those people out there who help these runners through thick and thin! After all, without all of those millions of people standing along every road on the course, those runners would be awfully lonely, uninspired and unmotivated.I was in charge of planning for a team of spectators that included me, my parents, my husband's parents, his brothers and our two year old son. I was very disappointed with how little information is available online for spectators. Because of the lack of information, I was forced to get a bit creative. I spent the days before leaving for Boston online looking at maps, train schedules, the race layout, and any other bits of information that I could get my hands on. I decided that the best plan of attack would be to create three groups of spectators in order to increase the likelihood that my husband would see someone during the race. Unless you have inside knowledge on the city or can run the race yourself, the train schedules do not allow for pedestrian spectators to take in more than one viewing spot along the race route.I split the family up into three groups: I would go with my parents and my son out to Wellesley by commuter train. My mother-in-law and one brother-in-law would watch the race from mile 16.8, which was accessible from the T-train. And my father-in-law and other brother-in-law would meet up with the racers around mile 21 near Boston College. Fortunately for us (and my husband), everyone got to see him in their assigned spots. Thanks to a tip from a Boston local, Team 2 actually caught him again just before the finish, when it turned out that my husband needed some support the most. It is a real shame that the BAA doesn't provide more ways for spectators to get around the city. They should take a lesson from the organizers of the Chicago Marathon who really go out of their way to provide information and support to spectators!If you are a spectator, I highly recommend doing your research before you leave for the race. Do not expect the BAA to provide any different information or maps than what they give to the runners. The map designed by the BAA is rudimentary and not complete. Use google maps or another mapping tool online to create a complete race route. Look at train schedules and ticket prices to see what works best. Pay attention to the weather. We had unseasonably cold weather and the two previous years saw unseasonably hot weather. Dress in layers and make sure you have rain gear available.http://www.bostonmarathon.org
This tour can be entertaining for those who like beer and those who don't. The tour guides give a history of the brewery and the Sam Adams label along with a detailed description of the brewing process. We were lucky enough to get a tour guide (not sure if they have more than just this one guy) who was very entertaining and kept our attention throughout the entire tour. He also looked just like Tobey McGuire (scary!).After the tour, over 21's are served samples of beer from a bar featuring the Sam Adams staples as well as seasonals and unreleased varieties. There is a gift store at the end of the tour for all of the Sam Adams merchandise you need. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
It was one of those vacation moments where you are so hungry, tired, and overwhelmed and you just want to sit somewhere and eat! I always get cranky at these moments. We knew we wanted Indian food, but we didn't want to pay a pretty penny to get the same stuff we can get for much less back at home. We read the menus of a couple of restaurants before we ended up in Tanjore near Harvard Square, which we ended up regretting in the end. Even though we travel with our 2 year old, we like to expose him to a variety of foods and places. I would not recommend taking a child to this establishment. Though they did have a high chair for us to use, they did not seem excited to serve us. The other diners were all clearly students, who were much younger than us, a lot snootier, and who do not yet have patience for children. We received a lot of dirty looks in regard to our son (who was just being a tired, hungry toddler).I ordered the Chicken Tikka Masala, but it didn't leave an impression on me. The prices were higher than the food was worth. The Masala being $13.95, which included rice. I think I can get a comparable Masala here where I live for about $8.The servers were not helpful and seemed to want to get us out of there asap. Everything seemed rushed. I think we sat down, ordered, ate and left in about 30 minutes. The bad vibe and the dirty looks made us just want to pay and get the heck outta there!
I am not sure if the problems we had with service here were due to an overwhelming crowd from the Boston marathon being held earlier in the day or if it is always like that there. I had made reservations online with opentable.com MONTHS before the scheduled date of our dining experience, however, we had to wait for about 15-20 minutes for our table. I expect to be seated immediately when I have reserved an exact time for my meal. Aside from the wait, everything else seemed to be going very well until all of our party except for my husband and I (so 6 others) were served their food together. It was another 20 minutes later and after much complaining that we finally received our meals. The waiter never apologized for the problems, but the manager was sent over to the table to make it up to us. He did end up taking both of our meals off of the bill, which was very nice.Favorite Dish: I ordered the Lobster Ravioli. It was very delicious, but was not enough food. I should have ordered a bowl of clam chowder and if I had known how little food I was to receive, I would have.
The Brown Sugar Cafe is a tiny little place with big flavor and atmosphere. They were able to accommodate our group of 8 without any problems. The service was timely and courteous. The decor of the restaurant was pleasant and created a nice environment for eating. Everyone in our group was very pleased with their food. A+ establishment!
My family and I stayed in three separate rooms for three nights in April 2007 (for the Boston Marathon) at the Bulfinch Hotel. It was difficult finding accomodations in the city for a reasonable price during the marathon, but we were happy to find the Bulfinch which looked great from their website. The property is a boutique hotel, which is supposed to be high quality, but can lack in some areas such as space and staff members. Our first issue with the Bulfinch came when we checked in and went to our room. My husband and I were in a room with our two year old son. Before our trip, we contacted the hotel by email to request a complementary crib for the room. The manager assured us by email that the crib was added to our reservation. However, when we entered our room, no crib was set up. I called down to the front desk and was told that a crib would be sent up in 10-15 minutes. After waiting for over 15 minutes, we all went downstairs to their new restaurant for some food. When we went back to our room over an hour later, there still was no crib. Once again, I called down to the front desk. 20 minutes later, with a very over tired toddler and without a crib, I called down again. This time the receptionist told me that the elevator wasn't working, but it should be fixed soon and when it is working again, she'd send a crib upstairs. Because my son needed to go to sleep asap, my husband instead carried the crib up the stairs HIMSELF. Of course, after setting up the crib in the room, we discovered that it was without sheets. After yet another call, someone eventually brought up some sheets. My husband then told the desk to tell the manager that he wanted to speak with them about the situation. The next day, the same front desk girl told us that she never talked to her manager, but that she would later. Eventually someone called us from guest services and after explaining what happened, they agreed to lower our rate for the next two nights from $175 to $150.We heard many other guests complaining about various other issues throughout our stay. One unfortunate woman was even stuck in the elevator for a period of time after it had supposedly been fixed. I understand that smaller hotels do not always have staff available for every little problem, but they should have made arrangements to have extra staff available since a special event was being held. Two of the rooms my family was in did not get cleaned until they had to call the front desk and complain. Plenty of minor issues built up for us over the course of our stay and we do not plan to stay there again.The new restaurant, The Flat Iron, had just opened before our trip. It was very nice and had great food, but the prices were very steep. A breakfast buffet is available every morning at $16.00 a person, but the food was certainly worth the price. This hotel does not cater to the average tourist, so if you're expecting a Best Western experience, look elsewhere.The location of the hotel was its best feature. It is within walking distance from North Station on the "T" line and the area is full of restaurants which range from brew pub to fine eating.
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009