phillip and kelsey do boston – day 1

our summertime travels continued with a trip up to boston.  phillip and his sisters were born there but none had been back since, and since i loved the city the last time i came with my friend vinh, i was all in, no doubt about it.

we were up bright and early that friday morning and landed at boston-logan international airport around eleven a.m.  seeing as how our trip would total to barely 48 hours, no humongous luggage bags were necessary (shocking, i know), so we deplaned, grabbed some local transit maps, and hopped on the free silver line bus to south station.  as my father would say, “if it’s free, it’s me!”  about ten minutes later we exited and began to roam the city streets.  we couldn’t check into our airbnb for a few hours, and since we were hungry for some local eats, we asked a friendly bostonian for directions to the original cheers restaurant.  i mean, when in boston, where else would you go?

it was easy to find the restaurant, just a few turns away and a gathered crowd.  there was a slight wait due to the start of the lunch rush, so while we waited we did what every good tourist would do and took a junk ton of pictures.  aren’t they fabulous?  🙂

once our buzzer buzzed, we took the stairs down and crammed ourselves and all our stuff into a cozy booth.  the restaurant was coming to life right before eyes, the energy was tangible, and it was a great way to begin our visit.

like all great day-time vacations, we were not on the clock and were quick to order a couple of adult beverages.  phillip had a local dark something and i stuck with a standard wheat beer – you know, easing myself into things.  both were crisp and cold and quite refreshing.

in no hurry at all, we also ordered ourselves a little appetizer to munch on while we looked over the rest of the menu.  per the waiter’s recommendation, we enjoyed the spinach artichoke dip.  what a classic!  the picture may not be doing it justice, but this popular dish was nice and hot with fluffy gobs of whipped cream cheese, hearty artichoke hunks, gooey cheese, and tasty spinach.  a bite here, a sip there, things were off to a good start indeed.

pretty satisfied with the dip, we decided splitting an entree would be the way to go next, and the kitchen gladly served us our reuben on two individual plates.  this sandwich is such comfort food to me, and the only thing it needed was more thousand island dressing.  i can never get enough!

with full bellies and a second wind, we killed some time on the self-guided freedom trail tour.  the map directed us through boston common, over to the old south meeting house, and, for us, ultimately to faneuil hall.  it could not have been a better sightseeing day, as the air was cool and the cloud coverage was substantial – a welcome change from the stifling georgia heat!

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at last we received word that our airbnb was ready for our arrival, so we navigated our way through the financial district to our studio apartment for the weekend.  the space was just perfect for our two-night stay and ended up being a great, central location for all our adventures.

we unpacked a bit, rested our feet, and eventually came to a decision for our evening plans.  now, years ago vinh had taken me to a place called neptune oyster, and it was one of two places i insisted phillip and i go to while in town.  this place is so popular that we put our name in around seven o’clock and were not seated until almost nine pm.  i know!  the good news is we were able to entertain ourselves in those couple of hours, starting with polka dog.

polka dog?  yes, polka dog.  it is a local pet food supply store that just happened to be located right next to neptune oyster.  how convenient!  and, because we’ve become those pet parents, we just had to stop in and get something to take home to grace.

this place is like a willy wonka candy store for pets.  there are endless jars of doggie treats of every shape and size and flavor, all made right there in boston.  it’s probably good grace wasn’t with us, as i can only imagine her having a field day in there.  after much perusing, we decided on the clam chowda sticks and chicken littles bites.  couldn’t you just die, they’re so cute?!  and not just cute but tasty too, proven by grace’s immediate consumption of them once we were back home.

with a bit of a wait still ahead of us, we were able to cross off my next boston must-have:  mike’s pastry!  typically i don’t like to spoil my dinner with dessert first, but resistance is futile when a homemade, fresh chocolate chip cannoli is practically calling out to you from the pastry case.  with a delicious meal still ahead of us, phillip and i split this irresistible staple.  a crisp cannoli shell with rich filling and generous amounts of chips were more than enough to satisfy our sweet teeth, even for phillip!

before we knew it, we received a call that they were ready for us at neptune oyster.  this tiny restaurant was packed full of customers from wall to wall, so we ended up with a couple of spots at the bar.  works for us!  phillip ordered the local trillium brewing company free rise and i wasted no time ordering the food:  a lobster roll with fresh salad and a bowl of the clam chowder.  when in boston, do as the bostonians would do!

the lobster roll was prepared warm with a hot buttered roll and monster-sized lumps of meat.  the salad was a nice light accompaniment to this heavy sandwich, most certainly a good pairing.  phillip worked on the roll while i spooned into the chowder.  it was a bit more peppery than what i recalled but still did an excellent job of warming me from the inside out.  another visit to neptune oyster, another delicious meal.

by this time it was later into the night and this tired duo was ready for a restful evening.  we bid the city goodnight, headed back to the apartment, and slept soundly into saturday.

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