1. Saturday – We arrived at Logan from London late afternoon. Got the T to Massachusetts Avenue and walked the short distance to the apartment we were renting on Tremont Street in the South End. Nice residential neighbourhood with plenty of restaurants around. Not many watering holes in the area though – everything seemed to be about food.
Anyway, we did need to eat, and we randomly chose Stephi's - apparently big on Newbury Street and now to be found here in the South End. Wary of US-sized portions, we just ordered entrees. My meatloaf was superb. Graham's medium burger was closer to medium rare and therefore impressed him less. The wines were expensive - well, we thought so. We paid $36 for a nice merlot from Sonoma. The handful of cheaper wines were from Europe and we wanted something 'local'.
2. Sunday - We walked the Freedom Trail. We'd been to Boston before, albeit years ago, so sightseeing wasn't really high up on our agenda. The Trail was nice though, especially in the glorious sunshine. Highlights were seeing the painting of a horse's backside in the meeting room of Faneuil Hall - make sure you go up the outside stairs and through the door that looks locked to get in - and climbing the Bunker Hill Monument to get the great views.
By the way, we were impressed by the number of free/open wifi networks around town. Very handy.
In the evening, back at base, we did a large circular walk via Washington Street to find a pub, but to no avail (actually, we found the Eagle, but didn't feel in the mood for it!). We ended up back at the Parish Cafe on the corner of Tremont and Mass Ave. Quite busy, probably because it was the day before the Memorial Day holiday. A good selection of beers here - we tried the local Harpoon ones. Couldn't face a full-blown dinner, so we just ordered a couple of appetizers: the corn cakes and chicken satay were nice. Good service.
3. Monday (Memorial Day) - Took the T to Boston University and headed on foot across the bridge to Cambridge and on to Havard. Another day of glorious sunshine. Had a simple lunch at Leo's Place on JFK, then checked out a couple of bookshops and walked through Havard Square.
We then headed down Cambridge's Massachusetts Avenue towards the Cambridgeside Galleria shopping mall. Graham was after an iPad. Silly us, we thought we'd just be able to walk into the Apple store here and get one. Ah. No, we couldn't. And Best Buy were out of them, too. But Best Buy suggested we follow them on Twitter, where they announce when the shipments arrive.
Having seen all the Italian restaurants in the North End the day before, we decided to head back over there in the evening for dinner. We did some research online and Antico Forno on Salem Street got good recommendations. It was packed when we arrived but they managed to fit us in.
Again, the wines were expensive - compared to what we would pay in London, anyway. We had an excellent shiraz from California, at $31. (By the way, there wasn't much drinking going on. We were next to a party of about 25 celebrating a 30th birthday, and they had one bottle of beer between them. Oh well, I guess we're just a couple of boozy Brits.)
Disappointingly, the food was nothing special. We chose a couple of simple pasta entrees, but they didn't wow. Probably too much sauce - nothing very subtle about them. Nice bread and olive oil though. And given how busy they were, decent service.
Needed a nightcap, so headed to the area of bars near the Haymarket T. Can't remember the bar we went into - might have been the Green Dragon. The barman helpfully told us to stay clear of the house beer, so we opted for a Sam. Just as we sat down, the Amateur Stand-up Night began. Whoops. No-one had warned us about that when we went in! The compere made us chuckle a wee bit, but the acts didn't. As soon as we could, we scarpered.
Really needed another nightcap now, so headed back on the T to Back Bay, and into Brownstone.
4. Tuesday - Had a slow start to the day. Popped down to a supermarket and returned with stuff for lunch. There had been a thunderstorm in the early hours, and although the morning had seen some sunshine, the clouds began to return as the afternoon wore on. Very humid.
We fancied seeing a film, and after some online searching, came up with 'The Secret In Their Eyes', a film from Argentina showing at the Landmark back in Cambridge. Only four of us in the theatre, but it was a good film. Dark. Recommended.
The other benefit of the Landmark was the Cambridge Brewing Company round the corner. Headed there afterwards for some beer and din dins. Graham had the miso salmon fillet and I had the lamb shank. Both very good.
Got back to the South End to find our local offie ('liquor store') had just closed. Probably a good thing. So we had a cup of tea and watched Doctor Who on the iPlayer. Rock and roll.
5. Wednesday - Just as we were starting to think about a plan for the day, a Tweet from Best Buy popped up - 10 16GB iPads had come in. Graham had had his eye on a 32GB one, but this chance was too good to miss. So, back to Cambridge. Back to Best Buy. And an iPad was his.
On the way to the store we'd seen the long line outside Boca Grande. A good sign. So we headed back there and came away with tasty burritos for lunch.
Walked all the way back into town and to Long Wharf. There we bought tickets from http://www.bostonharborcruises.com/ for the fast ferry to Provincetown on Thursday. (Tip: we'd found $8 off vouchers in the Bay Windows newspaper.)
Returned to the apartment, so Graham could play with his new iPad and I could start writing this report.
In the evening we went to the Addis Red Sea Ethiopian restaurant just down the road on Tremont. Unfortunately they'd run out of the Ethiopian red we wanted to try, so we settled for a Malbec, which was so-so. The food was very good. We had a selection of dishes, all served on a pancake type thing, with extra bits of pancake type thing to pick the food up with. Warning: no cutlery allowed! It was just like an Ethiopian meal we'd had in Kentish Town, London, so authentic or not, it was consistent.
Afterwards we dropped into Sister Sorel for another glass of wine. Very pleasant.
6. Thursday – Our last full day in Boston, although it was time for our trip to Provincetown. We set sail at 9. The fast ferry was pretty empty. The journey was quick – just 90 minutes or so – and the free wifi worked without a hitch.
Graham had been to P-Town years ago, at the height of the season, and noticed a big difference between that visit and this early June jaunt, which was much quieter. In spite of the fog, which did eventually lift, we had a lovely time wandering around. For lunch we walked deep into the East End and went to Fanizzi, apparently the place many of the locals eat in. Very good food. We had the clam chowder to start, followed by baked scrod for Graham and mussels and linguine for me. All washed down with Sam Adams.
After another stroll, we popped into The Squealing Pig for another beer and then it was time to catch the 4 o'clock trip back. Perfect.
Back in Boston, the thunderstorms had returned. We made it to the Back Bay T just in time for a torrential downpour. Got home relatively dry in the end.
Decided to keep it simple in the evening. Got a bottle of red from the local Wine Emporium and a pizza from Upper Crust and stayed in. After all, Graham had his iPad to play with and 'scrod' to look up on Wikipedia and I had to finish writing this. All to the soundtrack of Radio 92.9.
7. Friday - Hasn't started yet. But we have to pick up a car from Avis and then head out of town.
Thanks Boston for looking after us. We enjoyed ourselves.