Since we had to check out and fly home, we wanted to make the most of our full, final day in Boston. After packing up, asking the hotel to hold our luggage, and scheduling a free shuttle ride to the airport, we hit the T headed toward the Science Center. Here we would board a “duck” boat/trolley for a land and water tour of Boston. So many people recommended this that I’m not sure why I was hesitant. Maybe it was the price tag ($40) or the fact that people had just drowned in Missouri on one days prior. I was just not feeling this tour. That all changed when we boarded our “duck” named Charley and met our tour guide, “Disco Dan.” He had on a wig, what bell bottoms, and platforms that had goldfish swimming inside them (fake of course, but still). He had us quack at red lights and yell, “Discooooo Duuuuuuck!”
The tour itself was amazing. We saw every famous Boston sight without having to deal with crowds, lines, and walking. What more could one want? Once again our tour was filled with “bad” puns, but there was also a lot of history, which I liked since I didn’t have to read it on some monument or sign. When we transitioned into water, it was absolutely fantastic. Disco Dan let the children on board drive once we were out in open water. I would definitely take my kids on this tour if I return and then head into the Science Museum. It was immaculate with an array of exhibits and hands on learning opportunities.
After the tour we were famished so we walked to a T station and passed the place I will stay if I return: The Liberty. Absolutely stunning. Convenient, modern meets old, and two patios that looked so inviting we almost stopped in for a cocktail. But Anthony Bourdain was calling. We hit up a spot in West Boston that he had visited before during his No Reservations Boston tour: Rondo’s Sub Shop. I was geeked for this spot. I was also really sad about it, but feeling gratitude that I could at least visit a spot he loved. So we ordered, and did not pay, and it was really odd that no one asked us to pay. I ordered what Tony had, the full steak and cheese but then added mushroom plus eggs. The girls ordered onion rings, a meatball, and Philly steak plus cheese. We snuck in a Sam Adams crowler to share and poured some out for Tony.
When our order arrived, we still didn’t pay, but gobbled up the goodness. The girls even got a few more sodas out of the cooler and no one said anything. Kind of like you are at home. The local variety that entered this establishment was the best people watching we’ve done in a long time…Tony hit a jackpot here. So and so dated so and so in high school, who divorced, then began dating so and so who was a cop, who got fired, and on and on and on. It was amazing to be a part of a community conversation while eating such delicious food.
And I finished my full sandwich; pics above is only half. It took everything in me, but I did do it. For Tony. When we left, we approached the counter and they asked us what we ordered, then finally paid, gave our thanks, and felt fulfilled paying tribute to the greatest food writer, and I’d argue, one of the greatest humans, of our time.
After food, it was time to walk. We took the T to Boston Common and enjoyed a few souvenir shops and then the Frog Pond. It was a beautiful day so we sat with our jeans rolled up and feet in the cool water. Then we walked toward Shakespeare in the Park’s stage and enjoyed a practice run of Richard III. Faran Tahir (Iron Man, Picture Perfect) was not sure of many of his lines, but I am sure later he was incredible! Bad practice, good game. I wished our flight was later so we could stay and watch the performance, once again, for free. If you are a “friend” of the program, you can donate $75 and get an up front lawn chair. Otherwise, bring your blankets, a low lawn chair, and coolers to enjoy the outdoor show.
After playing with pups and enjoying listening to some Big Willy, we took the T back to Somerville. One more stop at Mike’s Pastry, then coffee, then the airport shuttle. Detroit was calling, and we were ready to sleep in our own beds. Boston for my birthday was a quick, but action packed trip. I think I will return with my best traveling partner, PQ, in the near future. We will stay at The Liberty, lounge on the patio, check out the Science Center, watch Shakespeare in the Park, and live on the local lobster, bakeries, and breweries. Boston was not as expensive as one might think, if you plan ahead, find a few freebies, and have friends to help along the way. Thanks to Haley, the Rachels, Papa Z, Jon, my librarian think tank, and my family for such an amazing experience.
If you go: Research Parts Unknown and No Reservation eateries. They are usually off the beaten bath, but worth it in terms of delicious goodness. Also try to hit up a Diners, Drive ins, or Dives if you want local food with no frills. It really is the way to travel. Eat as the locals do and you’ll never go hungry—or broke.