We entered Boston, officially ushering in the beginning of our tour of the original 13 colonies. This is the land of our great American tales. Tales about the harbor where rabble rousers of old rebelliously dumped tea and where Paul Revere made his famous ride – suddenly that enthusiasm of your old civic teacher starts to make a little more sense.
But before we got there, we had to make a stop in Cooperstown, NY – home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees included Bay Area legend, Tony La Russa – Manager of the 1989 World Series Champion Oakland Athletics and founder of Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (“ARF”). But I digress. The history of the Hall of Fame is a bit interesting. After much debate about he origin of baseball, a commission was formed in 1905 to put an end to the matter. While there is some controversy about the dubiousness of the results, Abner Doubleday was credited with the invention of American baseball in 1939 in his home of Cooperstown. While the museum is very cool for the baseball fans out there, I would not recommend going during the summer months when the swarms of Little Leaguers gives the Hall an atmosphere reminiscent of Chuckie Cheese’s. We were off to Boston shortly.
We crashed with Kyle and his pooch Mali out in Medford, Massachusetts – home of Tufts University – and we spent our first evening enjoying our signature gruel and relaxing – Kyle even had some too! In the morning, we made our way to the city center and explored Boston Common, seeking out interviews. Will and I spoke with a young Vietnamese immigrant who was currently a self-employed salesman and his vibrant interview made Will and I’s day. From there we walked to the neighborhood that Fenway Park calls home, traveling by way of Beacon Street along the Charles River Basin which hosts MIT along its Northern banks. We explored what’s known as Fens Park to the south of Fenway and then made our way towards the ballpark for game time. The Red Sox were hosting the Houston Astros and Yawkey Way was jumping. We opted out of the game that evening but did enjoy a pint and a couple rounds of billiards at Cornwall’s where we fraternized with some locals before heading back to Medford.
That evening, we explored a bit of North Boston. Through the awesome connecting power of social media, we met up with a with one of the millennials we interviewed in Seattle for a drink at Tia’s. We explored a little more of that part of the city, stumbling on a street fair featuring an amazing a cappella group and a variety of street food. While Malc and I were a little annoyed that a pasta vendor charged Matt $5 and us $10 per plate, we still had a pleasant evening and retired with full stomachs.
The next morning, Malcolm and I went to get haircuts at a well-reviewed Medford barbershop. We both sat down with our tried and true Boston barbers, John and Mike. John was the most charismatic and enthusiastic barber that I have had the pleasure to sculpt my scalp. While he has, in his words, “never claimed to be God’s gift to barbership”, the sense of comradery that he has created in his shop is special. Feeling good and looking great, we had breakfast at another Medford gem, the Lighthouse Cafe – a diner the way it’s supposed to be, straight forward and affordable.
We set-off for a brewery tour at Harpoon – the first brewery licensed in the state of Massachusetts in 1986. After sharing some tasting flights, we began our tour at the sight of the original brewery. Breaks in the warehouse architectural showed where expansions had been made – perhaps left there to show the gains of persistent and patient small business owners. After our tour we grabbed some classic Northeast delicacies – lobastah rolls and clam chowdah! before heading back to Medford to regroup.
At this point, the team split. Malc, Matt, and Will headed off to socialize and I was left alone to complete my baseball fan pilgrimage to Fenway Park. The sky was a bit ominous, so I bundled under a waterproof windbreaker and tucked my A’s cap low. As I left my Uber, I headed to will call to pick up a ticket in bleachers. I was early so I acquainted myself with the stadium and shared some high-fives with the locals. Then I took my seat – number 12 against a guard rail at the end of the row in right field. The first few innings passed without much excitement. The 12 year-olds sitting a couple seats to my right were not much company and I quietly kept to myself and enjoyed scoring the game. The second time around the batting order, former Oakland Athletic Yoenis Cespedes cracked a two run shot over the green monster. There was much rejoicing.
I left for the bathroom and when I returned, the season ticket holders to my immediate right were now in their seats. They went on to tell me about some of the characters they had met in the loner seat against the railing that I was now occupying. We hit it off when talking baseball, Boston, and travel over some ballpark brews. The game was actually quite exciting and went to extra innings, but I had to places to be. Still, experiences like this, where for a brief moment you can totally connect with complete strangers are something to cherish.
I headed out – making my way to Courtside karaoke bar in Cambridge to meet up with the legendary Toni Bellante. I had posted my presence at Fenway Park on Instagram and, through the magic of social media, Toni, in Boston for work, saw and reached out. It was great to catch up with a great friend from college but I also learned something new.. When Toni belts “Black Velvet”, people listen. I met back up with the other boys back in Medford and called it an evening.
The next morning was a little bit late starting and, after dragging ourselves to one last meal at the Lighthouse Cafe, we went to Harvard Yard to conduct some interviews. Harvard lies in Cambridge, Massachusetts – a pretty little town with a nice downtown near the campus. Will and I had a great interview with a female MIT engineering graduate who talked about working in a male dominated industry and had a call to action for those of you with big brains – put that intellectual prowess towards worthwhile causes! And with that, we bid farewell to Boston. A good looking city that knows it, but a pleasure none the less.