If I had to pick an East Coast city to live in, Boston would not be on the top of the list. In fact, it wouldn’t even be near the top. Manhattan, DC, even Philly would outrank Boston – which is near sacrilege for any true New Englander. I love the Red Sox, I love the Patriots, I love the Bruins and Celtics…but otherwise, give me a better metro system, gridded streets, and a lot more hustle and bustle with less Massachusetts fuss.
Despite all this, I found myself in Boston this weekend for my cousin’s 40th birthday. While she wanted something lower-key, my family (namely my aunt) had other plans, and so we trekked to Beantown for some shopping on Newbury Street, a show, and dinner.
Lunch was turkey sandwiches at the Harborwalk, which was really quite lovely. Like everything in this city, it’s a bit of a frustrating drive to get to, but once you’re there, it’s very nice. I’m also a sucker for anything ocean and beaches, so I might be biased, but it was a gorgeous place to have a nice picnic. We walked around some of it, and while I would have liked to spend more time, we had an agenda to keep, so off we went.
Following lunch, we went to the famed Newbury Street, which is really the social street of the city. It’s eight blocks long, and has everything you can imagine. Shopping, food, self-care…you name it. We stopped into some stores, as the women in my family adore shopping (I’m much more of the online browsing type), and while only my aunt bought anything, my grandmother had fun looking at the antique sewing machines in one of the trendy and very expensive shops that used to be a sewing factory.
I’ve not ever been huge on drinking in front of the older women in my family, even though I’m Italian and wine is practically in my blood. But we were celebrating, and decided that celebrate we will, for life is short, but sweet for certain. And thus, seven weary women stopped into the Met Back Bay’s Library Bar for a drink. We chose poorly. I’m going to spare you the gory details, but my Yelp review is here (I’m Jenna C), in case you were wondering about probably the worst experience I’ve had in a really long time. It was unfortunate, too, since the place was charming, old-timey, and I totally would have spent hours here reading something – though I think the books on the shelves were mostly decoration 😦
The service was so slow and poor, we had to hightail it to the Charles Playhouse, where we were going to see Blue Man Group. I’d never seen this show before, but three of my aunts and my cousin had, as had many of my friends. It was entertaining, and while I wouldn’t pay to see it again – though I might go if someone handed me free tickets and really, really wanted to go – it was done well. They’re always changing the sets and making it interesting, and the Charles Playhouse is very small and intimate, which makes performances there feel special.
Dinner at Rock Bottom Grille was….fine…but contrasted against the service at the Library Bar, it was top-notch. It’s not a place to go if you have dietary restrictions, but otherwise it’s fine, and offers a great view of the W Hotel – bachelorette party watching is probably my new favorite sport. Seriously. My eyes bugged out of my head and I had trouble processing some of the attire, language, and activities. You can’t make this shit up. And they kiss their mothers with those mouths.
I think the best part of being in Boston all day was the walking around. One of my favorite parts of any place is the contrast between old and new – the old New England brownstones and churches against the stark modernism of buildings like the Pru. I still wouldn’t live in Boston, but I’d visit on occasion, and with the right company, I think it would be quite lovely.