Tag Archives: Boston Celtics

Visito[u]r Guide: Boston, MA

6 Feb

Yesterday while I was entertaining Bostonians with my killer dance moves on Storrow Drive I had that feeling of nostalgia remembering how much I love this city. 

Rewind.  

I was taking a walk along the Esplanade and as I was crossing Storrow Drive on the footbridge, I realized how weeeeeird it feels to be standing directly over a car that is going 50+ mph.  I’ve probably walked on these footbridges at least 23043259 times in the three and a half years that I’ve lived here and somehow it had never occurred to me that this is AWESOME.  I got excited.  So then I started walking in slow motion…  then backwards… then forward… added a moonwalk and realized that people driving under the bridge were smile-pointing at me.  Lord knows I should not be encouraged….because the next thing you know I’m dancing.  Obnoxiously.  My moves were obviously killer because everyone driving under me was laughing/smiling/honking/pointing/thumbs-upping/waving/dancing… etc.  That means they love me, right??  This went on for about twenty minutes until I realized that 1. it was freezing  2. my friend was waiting for me to actually cross the bridge (ie: not dance) 3. I had been spilling my $14 peppermint hot chocolate from Starbucks all over myself and most importantly #4. I’m not half as hilarious as I think I am.  I LOVE YOU BOSTON!

That said – this really is an amazing city.  Last year I (very literally) spent 27 hours creating a PowerPoint for The Mullet Reunion Weekend (three of my best girl friends’/college housemates’ annual get-together) of things we could do while they were here; this PowerPoint has now become a template for all my visitors, and I’ve even had friends here use it for their visitors! (I need to start charging for that thing)  So here’s some free advice for things to do in Boston if you’re visiting, or live here and are bored with your life, or are trying to stalk me (please don’t stalk me).

  • The Obvious “Must Sees” and historic sites – most of which can be seen on the Freedom Trail
  • Favorite walks around the city
    • Esplanade (noun: ess-pluh-nod) – paved walking/running/biking/rollerblading path along the Charles River.  Quite possibly my number one favorite thing about this city.  Stop on the Mass Ave bridge for a great view of the Boston skyline
    • Comm Ave Mall – gorgeous in all seasons.  Dec –Feb they light ALL the trees with white lights and it’s soooo beautiful.  In the spring there are these huge crazy awesome pink  Magnolia trees, and fall – well it’s Boston, everything is gorgeous in the fall… and the brownstones along the way are ridiculously beautiful too
    • Jamaica Pond/Riverway – good if you feel the need to get out of the city without driving; a little gem I found not too far from my apt
    • Fens – used to take Dude here all the time after work; gorgeous in the fall and a little bit of a shorter walk.  Another gem that not a lot of people take advantage of!  ::Disclaimer:: DO NOT GO HERE AT NIGHT.
    • Public Garden/Boston Common – DOI!  Great for people watching too.
    • Forest Hills Cemetery – it IS in fact a cemetery and I generally would not go to a cemetery, but this place is BEAAAAUTIFUL!  Again, great if you feel like getting out of the city but don’t want to drive.
    • Arboretum – HUGE area with tons of walking trails.  Generally pretty packed with people/strollers, but really pretty.  Also provides a great view of the Boston skyline if you go to the end of the park and go up the ginormous hill.
    • Blue Hills Reservation – great walking trails, especially gorgeous in the fall.  I once got lost for 3 hours in there because we were pretending the leaves that were falling were bombs so we tried to run after them and catch them before they hit the ground in order to save the world.  DUH.  All fun and games until we realized we were off the trails and had no idea where we were… whoops.
    • Amory Park – small local park, so I guess not really a “walk” BUT! you can catch little league games here and play with cute cute cute puppies.
    • Memorial Drive shuts down on Sundays making for a great walk on the other side of the river, near Harvard.  Don’t recommend rollerblading there… FYI.
  • Coffee Shops
  • Breakfast Spots
    • Zaftigs – Jewish style deli.  Great food.  HUGE portions.
    • Busy Bee – comical service.  Cheap and divey – don’t go expecting to linger and drink your coffee, you will be kicked out.  Lots of charm and the best TRUE diner I’ve found here
    • Friendly Toast – Great food.  HUGE portions.
    • Paramount –Great omelettes
    • Mckay’s – Irish place with a huge/cheap breakfast sandwich and homefries.  Most of the wait staff are Irish which makes everything more fun AND it’s across the street from John Quincy Adams’ birthplace…. pretty awesome if you ask me.  I lived around the corner from this place when I first moved to the city and they saw A LOT of me.
    • Martin’s Coffee Shop – great little diner close to my apartment.
    • Stuart Street Grill – across from my office.  They have great breakfast sandwiches that are made to order and super cheapt; this place is a hidden gem for the local workers
    • Make sure and checkout Phantom Gourmet for good food – breakfast, lunch, dessert, dinner… ANYTHING!  They’re great and I love their “hidden gems”
  • Burrito Spots – the California in me had to include this as its own sub point.  I even ranked them for you:
    • #1 – El Pelon – My roommate introduced me to the super burrito.  Try it immediately
    • #2 – Villa Mexico (aka Grandys gas station) – Although in a gas station, this place is MOOOONEY and the woman (owner?) calls you ‘my friend’ making standing in a gas station convenience store totally worth it.  AAHHH that’s her on the front page of the website!! So cute.
    • #3 – Viva Burrito – great if you’re heading to The Garden for a Celtics/Bruins game; quality meets quantity at an extremely reasonable price.  Plenty of seating too.
    • #4 – Backbay Station burrito cart – don’t let the cart food fool you, SO GOOD and Mario and Luigi work there.  Stop by sometime… you’ll see what I mean.
    • #5 – Boloco – I love this place and eat here a ton, but I ranked it fifth because it’s more of a wrap place than an actual burrito place.  That said, their Summer burrito with white chicken is totes delish and I have yet to get anything else on the menu.
    • #6 – Boca Grande (tied for 6th) – decent burritos, but not my fave… pretty much Anna’s
    • #6 – Anna’s Taqueria (tied for 6th) – decent burritos but extremely overrated but they’re all over the city so good to get your fix in if you’re in a bind
    • #8 – Burritos Express – not that great, but had to be included in my ‘best of’ list because if you get the special they pay you $0.15 to take a can of soda… meaning the burrito special (soda included) is cheaper than a lone burrito… something tells me this place won’t be around long
  • Favorite Bars/Pubs/Drinks
    • Cornwalls – my old homebar where everybody knows your name… literally.  It’s a family run pub and if you go one time they’ll at the very least remember your drink order – the Cheers vibe is definitely what keeps you going back.  Or maybe it’s the local brews on tap.  Or the board games.  Or the bartenders.  Or the Cali Burger (my favorite burger in the city).  We may never know, but I’ll continue to go back until I find out!
    • Coolidge Corner Clubhouse – slowly becoming my new home bar; lots of beer on tap and locals only/minimal college students.
    • Post390 – my favorite cucumber cocktail in the city
    • Eastern Standard – love ALL their cocktails
  • Live Bar Music
    • Wally’s (jazz) – went for the first time this weekend and loved the hole-in-the-wall, low-key, exposed brick, underground vibe
    • Beehive – food here is a little over priced, but pretty decent… music is allllllways good
    • All Asia – the dive bar of all dive bars…  they have pretty decent local musicians and there’s never aaaaanyone there; support your local music!  Also important to note – this is where I first became friends with The Compass Rose; love you guys!
    • Courtside Karaoke – “music” might be pushing it, and it’s a horrible dive in east Cambridge (read: unsafe) and they have a claw machine with porn instead of stuffed animals… but both times I’ve been I’ve had the best time ever.  To quote Brittany: “It’s like I have my own personal Aretha Franklin”
    • O’Learys – tiny tiny bar with older guys that just like to jam.  More of a weeknight-need-to-get-out-of-the-apt-but-don’t-feel-like-dressing-up spot.  Not worth going if you have to travel more than 15 minutes to get there.
    • Green Briar – a little out there, but a good scene balance of going out but staying low-key.  Not worth the drive, but if you’re nearby you should stop in… definitely a good time.
  • Favorite Dance Spots
    • Bell in Hand – yeah, yeah… I know it’s ridiculous, but I have yet to have a bad time here.
    • Clery’s – good if you’re not feeling the Faneuil scene but still wanting (needing) to dance
    • An Tua Nua – horrible place where your feet stick to the floor and at least half of the people there used a fake id to get in, but for some reason my friends go here a lot and it’s aaaaaaalways a good time.. no joke!
    • Wednesday nights at MIT – Swing dancing!  I’m a horrible dancer and I only went one time but had a blaaaaaast!!  Everyone there is so good and willing to teach you awesome moves and twirl you around as much as your little heart desires.
  • Churches
    • Park Street Church – my home Church and an awesome place for people in their 20’s looking for community.  Highly educated pastors that aren’t afraid to tackle tough issues and guide you through the issues using scripture.
    • Reunion Church – awesome community and an incredible pastor with really inspiring sermons
    • Hope Fellowship – haven’t made it out there for a service, but I know a lot of really awesome people that go there, so I can only imagine it’s great
    • Unite Boston – great way to get plugged in to the Christian community in Boston and see events going on at aaaalllll the churches
  • Sports Leagues
    • Social Boston Sports – great/afforadable way to play the sports you love with people you’ve never met.  Super social and good competition without going over the top.
    • Boston Ski and Sports Club – pricey and pretty hardcore; I’m about to start playing in their volleyball league because me and my vball friends (that I met at SBS) have outgrown the SBS league and won the championship at least twice… haha… hopefully we survive in this league!!!
    • Monday nights there’s a good crew that gets together and plays ultimate.  Sadly I haven’t played in over a year, but still sending my love!  They used to play at the Hatch Shell and now are in Cambridge at MIT, but maybe will move back to the Hatch Shell once it starts staying light out past 5pm

So there you have it!  Some of my favorite spots around the city and things to do.  If you live here, or have ever visited… please feel free to add your favorites too.  This place is incredible.

Sincerely,

Sarah “I’m quitting my day job to write travel guides” Iverson

P.s. The pictures below are mostly from my phone… you should probably come visit and take better pictures for me 🙂

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Top Ten Moments in the History of (my experience with) Boston Sports!

19 Sep

This morning I got on the T and looked out the window only to see three Storm Troopers.  The Storm Troopers were in fact lamp posts.  I need more sleep.

Back to reality… my most recent life accomplishment:  I have gone to games for all of the professional sports teams in Boston!!!!  It is an amazing feeling 🙂 Walk with me as we take a look at the journey…

It all started in October of 2008 when the Sox were in the playoffs.  I had arrived in Boston two weeks prior and was trying to get a feel for what it was going to be like living in this city… by that, I mean will the blisters on my feet ever heal from walking everywhere in heels???  Do people in this city every stop drinking??  Are Boston sports fans really that intense?  What is wrong with these people pronouncing their R’s?? (Yes. No. Yes.  No one will ever know)  I would walk home and every living room and/or bar was filled with people decked out in Sox gear cheering/awww’ing after every pitch.  It was pretty cool to see, but I wasn’t totally sold on the idea of “Red Sox Nation”

The Sox were knocked out of the playoffs that year, which focused the attention of the city onto the Celtics.  OOOHHHHHHH the Celtics.  I went to my first game in November ’08 with my brother while he was in town visiting for Thanksgiving.  Although neither of us were fans of basketball (at all), we are both pretty big sports fans that enjoy attending (most) sporting events.  After a hilarious attempt at scalping, we managed to get tickets on the third level… my life was changed that night.  I had been to a Mavs game and college and found in horrendously boring (personal apologies to Brenna and Beth, but seriously… what venue plays music WHILE the game is going on?!)  Based on that one and only experience with the NBA, it’s safe to say that my expectations for a Celtics home game was extremely low.  Until that crew walked out on the court…  Ray Ray.  Eddie House.  Scal.  KG.  Big Baby.  ROOONDOOOOOOO!!!!  The crowd went nuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuts.  DJ and I literally looked at each other and busted out laughing at how ridiculous this crowd was!  An entire stadium of green, prompted by a noise-0-meter on the big screen gauging the noise as “wicked loud” made for a true Boston sports experience.  We went on to watch and AMAZING game, see the most insanely Boston-esque people on the big screen, and danced alongside Gino when prompted.  That season I went to 10+ games and absolutely fell in love with the team.  Specifically Rajon Rondo and of course Scalabrine.

First game - November 2008

Most recent game - Playoffs 2011!

Fast forward to 2009 and to what has now become my favorite week of the year… the first week in April: NBA playoffs, NHL playoffs and opening day at Fenway.  Not a lot of cities get to experience this!!  It’s a great time in the city 🙂  So the first April I lived here, a couple of my girlfriends and I got tickets for Game 2 to the Sox game… didn’t waste any time!  I walked in the stadium and immediately felt a flood come over me… this stadium is 97 YEARS OLD!  I walked up the ramp to head towards my bleacher seat, and as I stood at the base of the stadium in center field under the lights, I literally got teary eyed.  The game was absolutely FREEZING, but sitting next to a group of men that were construction workers by day and hockey refs by night… it was well worth it.  That coupled with an entire stadium of people singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ could not have made for a better Fenway experience.  I can’t even count how many games I’ve gone to since 🙂

Bruins.  Stanley Cup champs… word.  I’m proud to say my first Bruins game was this season against their long-time rivals the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Again, it was awesome.  We witnessed some brutal fights and of course some crazy fans… I had a BLAST!  I would have gone sooner but 1. tickets are pretty pricey 2. I don’t really know anything about hockey and 3. I honestly feel guilt taking a seat in the arena when some kid is probably crying at home because the game was sold out.  I love it and appreciate the sport sooooooo much but will prob just stick to making sure I know the score of the game for office conversation.

Pats.  Not going to lie, I did laugh after the 2008 Superbowl went the Pats ended their season at 18-1.  Please forgive me Tom.  Yesterday I went to my first Pats game.. and my first NFL game since high school.  I completely forgot how much fun it is!  I’ve always loved watching football and would make sure to catch highlights on ESPN, but never really followed.  But yesterday was a great game, great fans, great (and extremely attractive) quarterback who I hope to see walking around Back Bay at some point in my life… maybe invite him out for coffee, who knows.  Congrats on 517 😉

I’ve even been to a Revolution soccer game, but soccer.  Meh.  After the Revolution game they had two Mexican teams play… and I got way more into that!!  Green vs. Yellow is all I remember… and laughing hysterically at the amazing homemade noise makers the fans brought to the game!!  Team Tractor!

Before I move onto my top ten list.. I feel the need to clarify that I am, and always will be an Astros fan.  Always.  And also that I feel completely ok with going to games and being excited about Boston sports… I love this city and I love its passion for their teams!  What other city will boo their own team when they make a mistake… it’s tough love, and I love it.  I will however claim to be a Celtics fan… I never even liked bball before and the Celtics/fans single-handedly made me a true lover of basketball.

My brother, in his sports wisdom, has created a rule that I have adopted with regards to calling the hometown team your  hometown team: you have to spend at least one full season in the city before you can call it your team.  Welp… 3 years later I will proudly say that Boston has become the city of my home teams 🙂 Does that mean I claim to know all the stats of every player?  Absolutely not.  Does it mean I get to participate in the successes and groanings of the city?  Absolutely yes.  Are we good now?

So there’s the timeline and my soapbox… now onto my top-ten list of favorite Sarah-in-Boston sports highlights:

10. Bruins Fight – these guys were straight up BOXING on the ice for at least two minutes.. and it happened to be the first game some crazy important MapleLeaf’s player was back after being knocked out by a Bruins player.  INTENSE.  I literally hid behind Chuck because it scared me to watch… from the third level…

9. Box Seats – I’ve gotten to go to a few Celtics games in the box seats through my old firm I worked for… AMAZING.   Since working at my current firm, I have gone to one Sox game in the box… looking forward to more of those!!

8. Sox/Yankees game – my first Sox/Yankees game also happened to be my first game at Fenway.  As I walked in the stadium before the game started, before I even got to my seats… two police officers were escorting a man out of the park that decked out in Yankees gear, stammering drunk saying ‘i didn’t start it.  i swear i didn’t start it’ … you wore Yankees gear in Fenway.  You started it.  The entire game was spent chanting “Yankees Suck!  Yankees Suck!”  Crude, but hilarious.

7. Celtics Playoffs – also my first experience at a playoff game EVER!  SOOOOOOO MUUUUUCH FUNNNNNNNNN!!!!!  We didn’t make it out of the series, but I got to go to the first home game and we won… so I’ll take it 🙂

6. Tom Brady’s Phone Number – the firm I used to work for was a private wealth management firm and all of the clients we had were ranked on the Forbes’ Top 500 Richest People in the World.  That said, they have some pull with the Boston sports teams to say the least, and I may or may not have happened to snag Tom Brady’s cell number off of one of their appointment books… hahaha I had it on a post-it note on my fridge for a while, but decided to remove it for fear of losing my job.  But I can say at one point in my life I did in fact have his number 😉  Lookout Jazelle

5. Gino (pronounced: gee-no) – I have no idea where this guy came from, or why he’s shown on the big screen at the Garden, but he is hilarious and makes Celtics fans go nuts.  Mad love to Gino.

4. Nomar Jersey – I went on a date with this guy I had been out with just a handful of times and he took me to a Sox game.  We had both come straight from work, so looked a little ridiculous in our business attire, but were excited for the game.  He was a Boston local and since they were playing the A’s that night… he was also apparently excited to see Nomar Garciaparra… so much so, that he cared his Nomar Sox jersey into the stadium in a plastic grocery sack.  We got to the game early and walked around the stadium when he noticed Nomar was near the dugout signing autographs.  Without any explanation, he said “I’ll be right back” and started hopping over chairs and pushing innocent children out of the way… for Nomar’s autograph.  When he got the autograph, he proudly turned around and waved the jersey at me, looking much like the 10 year old that was standing next to him, except in business clothes.  Classic moment.  I learned how to say “Hit a homah Nomah!!” that night!

3. Ice-Cream at the Pats Game – at the Pats game yesterday, Mark decided to get an ice-cream cone, because what 30 year old guy doesn’t get an ice cream cone at the game…?? We were sitting on a row of intense, very large, very manly Pats fans that we could hardly understand through their accents… as Mark excused himself past these gruff men with his ice cream, they heckle him.  The man on the end of the row literally stood up and shouted “Ice Cream?! Where does this guy think he is… a Sox game?!?!”  laughter ensued.

2. Ray Allen at The W – we were out for my friend Megan’s bday (within a week of Ray Allen breaking the all-time three point record, mind you) and who walks in but Ray Allen.  I was less than 10ft away from him and his body guard, standing between two of my guy friends.  I look over, make eye contact with Ray Ray and for SOME REASON STARTED DOING THE PUNCHING BAG FIST PUMP… all the while chanting WHOO!! WHOO!!! WHOO!! WHOO!!!!  Ray Allen was unimpressed and  immediately taken away by his body guards.  I guess normal people would casually approach and ask for an autograph, but me?  Excitement could not be contained.  Thus the speed bag fist pump.

1. Sweet Caroline – my number one all-time favorite Boston sports moment.  Thankfully I can experience it as much as I want.  When I lived within walking distance of the stadium, I would have the game on in the living room and when the 8th inning started I’d grab Dude and head down to hear the crowd sing it from outside the stadium.  Moments like that make me remember that I’m really here and I really made it.

Your turn!  Top Ten lists are so much fun 🙂